Wednesday, February 18, 2009

He that Glorieth, Let Him Glory in the Lord

I Corinthians 1:23-31

"But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.

But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." (I Corinthians 1:23-31)

The unsaved world rejects Christ as savior because, for those like the Jews, he does not perform according to their expectations, giving some spectacular sign of his authority. For the Greeks, he does not offer some logical way they can earn salvation.

As a result, most of the well known religious leaders, most political figures, and most highly educated people never fully accept Christianity, although many give mental assent to some of the basic tenents. They are like the politician who said, "I am a Christian, but I don't allow it to affect my decisions." In effect, he thinks it is good, but either impractical or unimportant. Most of the highly educated deny any validity to the gospel, including those who have theological degrees, especially among those who work in academic circles, rather than in the field.

It is interesting that God regularly uses simple things to stump those who think they are so brilliant. The common cold has stumped researchers for centuries, although they think they may have a clue now. The League of Nations, the United Nations, and World War II were to prevent war from ever happening again. The FDIC, the SEC, and the Federal Reserve were to prevent another recession or depression. Obviously, they have not been very successful, although the causes of the problems seem rather obvious.

God has deliberately done this, so that we would not brag about great people or what they have done, but about God. Paul was rebuking the Corinthian church for glorifying their leaders, yet we see the Christian Hall of Fame and various missionaries or leaders placed on a pedestal. Unfortunately, in my experience, as well as my reading of history, it would appear that usually the ones most exalted are the least deserving. Reading David Livingstone's scientific writings after his return from Africa changes ones perspective of him as a missionary. Reading David Brainerd's journal and comparing it to the Bible leads one to believe that most of his difficulties were the result of his refusal to obey God rather than satanic resistance.

We need to glory in Christ, who has done everything for us, not in men who, as Paul says, we are unable to judge properly, as we have insufficient evidence to make valid judgements. We do not even know what God wanted him to do, so how can we judge how well he did it? In Romans 14:4, Paul asks, "Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand." God is the judge, whether one has done well or poorly.

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