Foolishness

by Bryant Evans on July 25, 2015

standing aloneThe mind of the Christian is vastly different from the mind of the worldly person. In our conversion and sanctification we have been changed. We do not see life the same way as before. And, as we mature, our thinking changes more and we become more like Christ in our thinking and actions. Today, we see this clash of worldviews clearly in the way  society thinks and the government governs. But this conflict is not new. It has been a problem for centuries. Paul sees at least four ways our thinking is different from the world.

The World Thinks the Cross is Foolish

“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing…but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18)

“But we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and folly to the Gentiles” (1 Corinthians 1:23)

I am not sure there could be any greater disunion between Christians and the world than our views of the cross. We cherish the cross; the world scorns the cross. We weep at the cross; the world laughs. In fact, the word that is here translated folly (foolishness in some translations) is from a Greek word, moros, which comes to mean “moron” in our modern tongue. In other words, people think the crucifixion is a moronic idea.

But for the Christian, the cross is the pivotal moment in history when God’s glory shined upon the lost. The crucifixion was a required moment when God was shown as just in his actions and the moment when he justified us (Romans 3:25, 26).

Far from being a stupid idea, the cross is the power of God on display. 

The World Thinks Preaching is Foolish

 “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.” (1 Corinthians 1:21)

It’s not hard to imagine that the world thinks preaching is foolish too. After all, if we preach Christ crucified and if the world things the crucifixion is foolish, it is obvious they would think the preaching was foolish too.

Honestly, some preachers seem to think Biblical preaching is foolish. They have exchanged the old rugged cross for the comfort of soft, easy words. In their judgment, the preaching of sin and sanctification is too hard.

The message is not ours. That pulpit belongs to Christ. For Jeremiah, the Lord’s words were a “burning fire shut up in my bones” (Jeremiah 20:9; Lamentations 1:13). Peter and John could only “speak of what we have seen and heard” from Jesus and the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:20). Paul determined that his preaching was only about Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2). 

Let the world laugh at the preaching of truth. We know God’s word makes the spirit of man alive!

The World Thinks the Things of God’s Spirit are Foolish

“And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:13-14)

The Gospel message is not of human origin. It was delivered by the Holy Spirit to inspired men who then wrote it down for us (2 Peter 1:20). Paul’s message was not his own but rather that of the Spirit. By extension, the Bible is not from men as some assert, but a message from the Creator Himself. The worldly man will not understand, nor does he desire to, but the man of God will drink deeply at the well of God’s wisdom.

Spiritual discernment is a characteristic of maturity. Solomon prayed for a discerning mind as he led God’s people. He did not ask for worldly wisdom but Godly discernment (1 Kings 3:9-12). Paul called on us to be a changed people of transformed minds so that we can discern the will of God (Romans 12:2). This Godly ability is not cultivated by my own thinking or analysis. It is a gift of the Holy Spirit given to those in the body of Christ, the church.

The World’s Wisdom is Foolishness to God.

“For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile” (1 Corinthians 3:19, 20).

Inspiration now turns the tables on the world. It is not godly wisdom that is folly but the wisdom of the world! From God’s perspective – the only perspective that matters – it is the world that is foolish.

Notice the last word, futile. It means useless or empty. It is a perfect description of fleshly thinking. At the very best the world can only offer temporary happiness and fulfillment. It offers nothing beyond the here and now. Only the wisdom of God sustains for eternity.

A quick look at where society is today should confirm the view that the world is devoid of wisdom. Wickedness is growing, abortion is prevalent, drugs and alcohol are destroying lives and divorce is shattering homes everywhere.  Goodness is not possible through worldly thinking.

What is your worldview? Is it God’s or is it the world’s? Choose wisely.


Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at preachersstudyblog.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.

 

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