Power of God

1 Corinthians 1:18-21 

18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” 20Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 


            Someone wanted to rent a car. The receptionist asks, “What’s your name?” “Policarpio Perez!” he replied. Curiously the receptionist asks, “Are you tourist?” The renter thought, he was asked if he’s “Torres,” so he said, “No. I’m Perez!”

Tourists travel to another place for leisure. Tourists are transients. Have you heard someone said this statement? “I’m a transient in this world; heaven is my eternal home!” Life on earth is temporary. We are all transients on earth. Nobody lives forever on this temporary world. Everyone will be transported into eternity. Believe or not yet, we have to prepare for eternal life. What aspiration, ambition or goal do you wish that could be significant to your life in heaven?

            Do you hope to enter heaven one day? You are not alone. Multitudes want to live eternally in heaven. Yes! Be sure that you have sincerely accepted Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. And, perfection is a requirement to enter heaven.

            Christ requires all children of God to be perfect. He says in Matthew 5:48, 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

            To be perfect is impossible with human ability. Nobody is perfect. You know that! Yet Christ requires perfection from all children of God. How could that be?

            Listen carefully. The Lord took all our sins and crucified them with Christ. Do you believe that? If you sincerely believed that the Lord took all our sins (past, present and future), therefore, we are perfectly cleansed from sin in the eyes of the Lord. The blood of Jesus washed away all impurities in us so that sin can’t dictate us to commit sin. How strong do you accept such mysterious truth?

By faith we believe in Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Saviour; a mystery happened to us. It explained in 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 (NIRV), 17When anyone lives in Christ, the new creation has come. The old is gone! The new is here! 18All this is from God. He brought us back to himself through Christ’s death on the cross. And he has given us the task of bringing others back to him through Christ. 19God was bringing the world back to himself through Christ. He did not hold people’s sins against them. God has trusted us with the message that people may be brought back to him. 20So we are Christ’s official messengers. It is as if God were making his appeal through us. Here is what Christ wants us to beg you to do. Come back to God! 21Christ didn’t have any sin. But God made him become sin for us. So we can be made right with God because of what Christ has done for us.

Our Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross. His torture and death were eternal punishment for our sins. Our sins were buried with Christ but Christ resurrected. He returned to heaven; he prepares a place in heaven for all believers and he is waiting for the time that God set for him to come again and take into heaven all believers – believers who died and believers who are still alive when he comes.

            That should be very simple explanation of the good news of salvation from eternal destruction, but not everyone is ready to seriously accept it sincerely.

Why? Let’s reflect on what is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise?”

1.  Destroy

18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

            Listen carefully. Without inspiration and without empowerment of the Holy Spirit of God, nobody accepts that Christ was crucified as payment to the penalty of our sins. They think, it’s nonsense foolishness! How can the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross be a substitution to the punishment of all sins in the world?

Together now, let us reflect on Romans 5:8-11 (NIRV), 8Here is how God has shown his love for us. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9The blood of Christ has made us right with God. So we are even more sure that Jesus will save us from God’s anger. 10Once we were God’s enemies. But we have been brought back to him because his Son has died for us. Now that God has brought us back, we are even more secure. We know that we will be saved because Christ lives. 11And that is not all. We are full of joy in God because of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of him, God has brought us back to himself.

It’s very simple explanation, but it’s only by faith we believe the Scripture is true. The intelligent may argue, “How can the Scripture prove that believers are reconciled to God?” It’s by faith we believe and not by reason or logical knowhow. We are enlightened by the Holy Spirit in us to trust that God speaks through the Scripture; he confirms in our heart and mind that Christ saves us from the wrath of God. Practically, the Holy Spirit transforms us also into godly righteousness.


            Apostle Paul was formerly called Saul before he believed in Jesus Christ. Previously, Saul zealously promoted Judaism and he persecuted Christians.

After Christ revealed himself to him, he was transformed and defended the gospel of Christ. Paul testified in Romans 1:16, 16I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.

            God loves all his creation but only when we believe the gospel of Christ, the power of his cross that we can be assured of salvation from eternal destruction.

            Let us learn from Matthew 16:1-4, 1The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. 2He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ 3and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. 4A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.

            Christ knows that the Pharisee and Sadducees will never believe in him. Actually, Christ declared that we have to surpass the righteousness of Pharisees to enter heaven. In the eyes of Christ, the Pharisees practised best righteousness among humans but still their Pharisaical righteousness is never enough for them to enter heaven. So, if we rely upon our human effort of righteousness to enter heaven, we have to surpass the Pharisaical righteousness. It is not possible.

It’s only by faith in Christ that we enter heaven because by human effort, we can never surpass the very rigid practices of Pharisaical righteousness.

 The Pharisees and Sadducees presumed that they were very intelligent but they failed to recognize Jesus Christ as the Savior. Instead of believing in Christ, the Pharisees and Sadducees engaged themselves in argument and debate.

2.  Debate

20Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 

            The term “Philosopher” is also interpreted as wise individuals who engaged in argument and debate. Which ancient city had many Philosophers? Athens. The Corinthians were very particular about it because the city of Corinth is less than a hundred kilometers from the city of Athens. Probably, there were Christians from Athens who joined the Corinthian church. Apostles Paul had personal experience of philosophers in Athens. Together, let us read through Acts 17:18-21: 18A group of Epicurean and Stoic thinkers began to argue with him.

Some of them asked, “What is this fellow chattering about?” Others said, “He seems to be telling us about gods we’ve never heard of.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus. He was telling them that Jesus had risen from the dead. 19They took him to a meeting of the Areopagus. There they said to him, “What is this new teaching you’re giving us? 20You have some strange ideas we’ve never heard before. We would like to know what they mean.” 21All the people of Athens spent their time talking about and listening to the latest ideas. People from other lands who lived there did the same.

The Epicurean promoted three ingredients to happiness: Friends, Freedom, and an Analyzed life. They also believed that self sufficiency secures happiness.

The Stoics promoted wisdom, justice, courage, and moderation. They have no concern of anything outside of their control.  They think and behave always under their control to achieve flourishing life and live well.

Areopagus is also translated as “Hill of Ares or Mars Hill.” Ares is the Greek god of war. The Romans god of war is Mars. Areopagus is open space on top of the hill of the god of war. The meeting of the Areopagus is the meeting of the supreme court held in the open space on top of the Hill of Ares or Mars Hill.

            Imagine that the meeting of the Areopagus, where Epicurians and Stoics have attended. It was open to spectators. There may have been heated debates and arguments. Spectators heard it when Apostle Paul explained the gospel of Christ. Actually it concluded in Acts 17:32-34, 32They heard Paul talk about the dead being raised. Some of them made fun of this idea. But others said, “We want to hear you speak about this again.” 33So Paul left the meeting of the Areopagus. 34Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed in Jesus. Dionysius was one of them. He was a member of the Areopagus. A woman named Damaris also became a believer. And so did some others.

            Among many places where he preached the gospel of Christ, did Apostle Paul plant a church in the city of Athens? Did Paul write a letter to the church in Athens? The Scripture has no record of letter of Paul to the church in Athens.

            People in the city of Athens spent their time arguing and debating about the latest ideas. There were many philosophers and wise men in Athens. It is truly interesting that there was no known church started by Paul in Athens. He left Athens and went to Corinth. Perhaps, believers in Athens transferred to Corinth.

            Did God design it that no church should be planted among philosophers?

3.  Design

21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 

            In the wisdom of God, he appropriately designed where local church should flourish. The Lord had designed it that wisdom of the world can never know him. Worldly wisdom assumes that the message of the cross of Christ is foolishness. Does God love the idea that the wise in this world reject that Jesus Christ had died sacrificially for the forgiveness of sins? God is pleased with that reality.

            Why? If by human logic, intelligence and reasons, a wise person comes to know God, it is not fair, right? Not everyone is logically talented. There are only few intelligent individuals who are good in reasoning. So, how about the ordinary person? How can they know God if they don’t know how to argue or debate?

            This is why, it is only by faith we believe in Christ and come to know God. Both the intelligent person and the ordinary have opportunity to believe. Isn’t that a very brilliant design of God? It is extremely brilliant to all believers.

            One practical proofs of practice of faith in God is to honor him by giving his tithes and our offering. Proverbs 3:9-10 (NIRV) says, 9Honor the Lord with your wealth. Give him the first share of all your crops. 10Then your storerooms will be so full they can’t hold everything. Your huge jars will spill over with fresh wine.

            Believers here and abroad who seriously honor the Lord with his tithes and their offerings have practically proven that the Lord had supplied their practical needs with sufficiency. It’s very clear when it declared in 2 Corinthians 9:6-10 (NIRV): 6The one who plants only a little will gather only a little. And the one who plants a lot will gather a lot. 7Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give. You shouldn’t give if you don’t want to. You shouldn’t give because you are forced to. God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to shower all kinds of blessings on you. So in all things and at all times you will have everything you need. You will do more and more good works.

            The intelligent argues if tithes are taken from gross or net income. The believers give cheerfully. Cheerfulness to give is inspired by his Holy Spirit.

God blesses abundantly the cheerful giver he loves. Do you believe that? The Lord’s Supper reminds us that Christ gave his life for us. How about us?

><((‘> .. ><((‘> … ><(((“> tmec\2023 <“)))>< … <‘))>< .. <‘))><

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.