Faith not Human Wisdom

1 Corinthians 2:1-5 

1And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

Rich and Poor

Anyone may cry why the rich become richer and the poor become poorer. Have you ever lamented or cried why the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer?

It has been assumed that the more you get richer, the more privileges you may have in this world. You could buy anything you wish that can be bought with money. Hmn! If you can buy all the things you want in life will you be satisfied?

Well, the wisest King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 10:19, 19A feast is made for laughter, wine makes life merry, and money is the answer for everything.

Do you presume that money could solve your problems? If so, it should be helpful to learn how rich people may behave: Observed their lifestyle, priorities, hobbies, and their regular routine. Do they wake up very early and go to work? Do they avoid the rush hour traffic? Do they go home very late in the evening? Do they still work at home or just relax? How long do rich people sleep at night?

If you behave the way rich people behave, will you get rich, if you are not rich yet? Here’s a challenge for everyone. It says in Proverbs 20:13, 13Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare.

Still someone may claim: “I don’t want to get very rich; I will be satisfied if I have enough money for me and my family!” That seems very clever statement, but it does not necessarily define when enough is enough. Right? What is their basis for enough wealth for them and their family? How much is enough money for you and your family? If you earned enough money, will you stop working?

Don’t be misled. Having enough money cannot guarantee satisfaction in life either. Have you observed billionaires keep working and don’t just relax?

Personally, what can you interpret from the decree of the Lord in Genesis 3:19?  19By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.

God has decreed labor and sweat for human beings until we die. Why? Our physical body deteriorates if we stop exerting physical effort. Life on earth offers temporary pleasure but relaxing all day long, it’s a gradual suicide. Do you agree?

Is it foolishness to relax all day long? Unmindfully, people who relax all day long yield to their human instinct. It’s our human nature to oppose what God has decreed. What God has decreed is good for mankind, or is it punishment?

God is good, and his decrees are good for us. But it’s by faith, we accept it.

God decreed, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground.” The Lord implied that we have to be productive and physically active until we die, and it’s not necessarily manual hard labor all day long. We need rest.

Relaxation can be therapeutic but what eternal benefits can we get from it? By the way, have you read it if the Lord had decreed about relaxation all day long? Christ promised life in its fullness to all who believes in him. Could we interpret that life in its fullness is not just about life on earth but life in heaven also?

Godly wisdom helps us internalize fullness of life as we trust Christ as Lord.

1.  Wisdom

1And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.

Intellectuals may challenge what we believe. Argument with intellectuals is futile if they don’t accept Christ as Lord. It requires faith to accept Christ as Lord and follow his teachings. It is by faith we believe this mystery: Christ was crucified for the forgiveness of sins. Remember: Faith is gift of God, not from human.

Apostle Paul was former Pharisee; he’s well-trained and knowledgeable in the Scripture but he proved that eloquence or human wisdom cannot persuade anyone to believe in Christ. Remember always that the gospel of salvation in Christ is foolishness to intellectual. It requires faith to believe in Christ as Savior.


How many relatives listened when you proclaimed the gospel of salvation?

If relatives are materially well-off and loaded more than you, they may ignore it when you explain to them how they can be saved from eternal punishment.

A new believer eagerly shared his new found faith in Christ to relatives who were less privileged materially than him. He explained that Christ sacrificially died on the cross to save believers from eternal destruction; his relatives were attentive. Next, he explained to wealthy relatives that repentance from sins is necessary to be saved but they did not pay much attention to him. Instead, they challenged how much he knows about things that are not literally mentioned in the Scripture.

By the way, how do you respond when someone asks you: “If God is love, why did he allow sin into the world?” Clever question that originates from human standard of intellectuality could confuse you. So, you do not need to explain why.

You may explain it, but eloquent words can never convince anyone to trust Christ. Why? It’s only by faith that believers accept Christ as personal Lord and Savior.

Can you remember the time when you first believed the gospel of Christ? Did you trust Christ because eloquent explanation of the gospel convinced you? Or did you trust him simply because you need a Savior from eternal punishment for your sins? Together, let us reflect seriously on what it teaches in Titus 3:4-8:

4When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

By the grace of God through faith in Christ, believers are saved from eternal destruction. What’s next? Devote ourselves to do what is good in the eyes of God. We find what is acceptable to God in the Scripture. Keep in mind that persuasive eloquence won’t convince anyone to obey the Lord. In weakness with great fear and trembling, Apostle Paul preached the gospel by the power of the Holy Spirit.

2.  Weakness

2For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 

What did Paul imply when he resolved to know nothing except Christ and him crucified? Previously, he explained that the gospel of Christ is foolishness to human standard of intellectuality. And, it wasn’t by human wisdom or eloquence that Paul proclaimed the gospel of Christ but by the power of the Holy Spirit.

He resolved not to cleverly explain the gospel of Christ in eloquent speech. He was determined not to impress intellectuals by his human wisdom. Physical appearance, intellectuality or economic abundance may impress listeners, but in his weakness and frailty, Paul proclaimed the mystery of the cross of Christ.

What is the mystery of the cross of Christ? How do you explain what was declared in Hebrews 9:22: 22In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

When Jesus was tortured and crucified, his blood poured out on the cross was divine requirement necessary for the forgiveness of our sin. Can you believe it?

Eloquence or human wisdom cannot convince anyone to repent from sins. What happens when we tell the mystery why Christ shed his blood on the cross? God regenerates believers to repent from sins and turn from worldly behavior. Repentance from sin is transformational work of his Holy Spirit. After repentance from sin, believers accept Christ as Lord and Savior, there’s rejoicing in heaven.

Certainly, it may offend listeners if you tell them to repent. Is it comfortable to listen to sermons about repentance? Are you offended by sermons against sin? Messages that are pleasant and tickle the ear can possibly deceive anyone.

Somehow, we prefer pleasant things attractive to our taste and preference. What color do you prefer for your hair? Do you grow white hair or white beard?

White Hair

A celebrity woman wrote on her social media that at very young age in her 20s, she had grown white hair prematurely. So, she dyed her hair to hide them. Eventually, she let everyone see her white hair. Her fiancée said, “My love for her is not based on appearance, wealth, or status. Love is about commitment and creating memories together over a lifetime.” That is wonderful outlook in life.

Together, let’s reflect on what’s biblical beauty from 1 Peter 3:3-6, 3Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, 6like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

Submission to husband is transformational work of the Holy Spirit. When wives submit first to Christ, he inspires them submit to their husbands. Unfading beauty of gentle and quiet spirit is also God’s transformational work in the life of believers. Wives submit to husbands by faith in God; it’s not by persuasive word.

3.  Word

4My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

It is by the power of the Holy Spirit, that we trust and obey the Scripture. Believers are mandated to proclaim the mystery of the cross of Christ and expect rejections. Is rejection of the gospel God’s will? We can’t be very sure if listeners accept Christ as Savior or not, but why we still preach the gospel of Christ?

Believers are saved from eternal punishment; that is the eternal goal of proclaiming the need of Savior in Christ. Another reason is we obey as practical proof of our faith in Christ, and as bonus and incentive for obedience, we store up treasures for ourselves in heaven also when we proclaim the gospel of Christ.

Sometimes we don’t know what to say. It’s best to pray and wait. We must rely upon the Lord to inspire us by his Holy Spirit and should not depend on eloquent persuasive word. Have you tried that saying nothing can be favorable?

Winston Churchill

Someone told a story during World War II. Prime Minister Winston Churchill was informed that their enemies were ready to bomb the city. Churchill had two choices: 1. He may order evacuation to save hundreds of lives; 2. Take no action, which would lead to more deaths but save even more lives in the long-term. He decided not take any action, and more British lives had been saved overall.

At every crossroad, we make practical decisions: Go straight, right turn, left turn, turn-around, or stop. In life, we should decide prayerfully during uncertain times. It is crucial for us to listen attentively to the guidance of the Holy Spirit to lead us in the right direction that God had designed for us to approach life in its fullness.

Right before he’s taken into heaven, Christ told his disciples in Acts 1:5-8: 5“In a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 6Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

At that time, the disciples hoped that the kingdom of Israel will be restored. After the Holy Spirit rested on them, they actively talked to listeners about salvation in Christ. Did they forget about the restoration of the kingdom of Israel? Hmn!

Naturally, we have inclinations and expectations in life. Nevertheless, we follow Christ and obey his instructions as proof of our faith in him. Pray to be filled with his Holy Spirit until you sense enthusiasm and testify for Christ.

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