God's wisdom displayed in the gospel

To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 3:8-10

But we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord."

1 Corinthians 1:23-31

One of the ways that we can talk about the coming of Jesus Christ and his work is this: the coming of Christ is the revelation of God’s great wisdom. One of the effects of the work of Christ is this: as the gospel spreads throughout the world, the multi-faceted wisdom of God spreads throughout the whole world. Where God’s wisdom was given to the Israelites, it now is spreading throughout the whole world, and we can say that God’s great wisdom is displayed greatest in the sending of his son to bring about redemption.

The wisdom of the world all around looks different than the wisdom of God. When Greeks heard of this great wisdom, what did they do? They rejected it as foolishness. They had their own ways of viewing the world that they thought were better than this odd Jewish religion. The Jews themselves stumbled at the message as well. How could this be the fulfillment of our scriptures? For both the Jews and Greeks the message of Christ wasn’t an easy message to get. Instead, they had to humble their own thoughts and minds to accept this message which was foolishness to the world.

Now our times are not different. To many in our world, the message of the Bible and the gospel of Jesus Christ is foolishness. When our families, friends, and neighbors hear it, it is patently stupid. The world has its own philosophy that provides at least an initial pleasure. Eat, drink, be merry, and experience the world they say. Work hard now so you can play when you retire. Authentic food and natural medicine will be gateways to great and lasting enjoyment. There is no purpose to life so you should find your own way that gives you the most pleasure. You could continue to list other philosophies that people live by. But when each of these philosophies is tested, it fails. Some fail when suffering enters the picture. Others fall apart when you can’t get enough money to do everything you want to do. And old age comes and may end up showing how impossible it is to fulfill any and every desire.

Although we speak the message of Christ, we also pray that God would be at work revealing the truth. Faith in the gospel is a gift of God. When a person puts their faith and understanding in the gospel, this person has come to see the glory of the wisdom of God and the foolishness of man. And this gospel of Jesus Christ is being proclaimed to all nations first through Paul and now through his church. And the church’s proclamation declares the manifold wisdom of God; it proclaims the way that humans were created to live. The church teaches how redeemed humanity ought to grow towards its ultimate purpose: to glorify God in all things.

To live in light of the gospel and in light of the wisdom of God looks like many things. We grow in our understanding of our created and redeemed purpose. We seek to put to death wrong or misdirected desires, and we grow to cultivate desires that are good, true, and beautiful. And ultimately we seek to give God glory in all things.

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