Lesson 5

Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

1:26 For you see your calling, brothers, that not many are wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, and not many noble; 1:27 but God chose the foolish things of the world that he might put to shame those who are wise. God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong; 1:28 and God chose the lowly things of the world, and the things that are despised, and the things that are not, that he might bring to nothing the things that are: 1:29 that no flesh should boast before God. 1:30 But of him, you are in Christ Jesus, who was made to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption: 1:31 that, according as it is written, "He who boasts, let him boast in the Lord."

Today's Lesson 

Paul had preached to the assembly at Corinth. He had founded the church in that city. While he was there he had told them the way of the gospel as it had been revealed to him. Paul wrote that he didn't preach the gospel through the wisdom of man, but through the Spirit. Paul preached "Christ crucified." The wisdom of the cross was an affront to both the Jew and the Greek. In this manner, God sought to reveal that the wisdom of salvation is not the wisdom of man, but the wisdom of God.


Paul gives them an example from their own lives to explain this concept. Paul asks them, how many of you were mighty or noble when God called you? During the first century, the average member of the church was normally very poor, often a slave. The church did not become politically powerful until much later. During Paul's day, the people who typically responded to the gospel were the disenfranchised, those who sought acceptance from God because they could not find acceptance from the world.


But Paul writes to these Corinthians that God deliberately uses the foolish things of the world in order to bring shame on the wise and the powerful. God has always worked in this fashion. God raised up Israel and used them to shame nations that were far greater than them. While they were slaves in Egypt, God brought the plagues and eventually the people were freed. God used prophets who dressed in rags to rebuke kings in their finery. God has always used the simple things to bring shame on the rich and the powerful.


God does this so that in victory we will not be able to boast in ourselves. In the end, we cannot say we have accomplished great things on our own. We have accomplished much because God is on our side. Throughout the centuries the church has not become what it is because God chose good and talented people. God chose lowly people, foolish people. God chose the poor in order to humble the rich. God takes people that are without value and makes them valuable. God chooses the foolish things to humble the wise. He chooses the weak to humble the strong.


God does this for our own sake. Without God, we are lost. We must place our faith in God's mercy and grace to be saved. When we do so, as Paul has written, God is faithful. God will save those that He has promised to save. God will redeem His chosen people.


But we cannot boast in ourselves. "He who boasts, let him boast in the Lord." Our pride and our trust should be in the Lord and what He has accomplished in us. We can be proud that God is at work in our lives, but our pride should be in our God, not in ourselves. God has placed us into the body of Christ. He has given us wisdom and righteousness. He has redeemed us and made us holy. For this we should give him praise and glory and honor.


What are you proud of in your life? What is God accomplishing through you?


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