The Unfathomable Wisdom

1 Cor 2:6-10

In the previous passage, Paul ends by saying that his message and preaching did not depend on wise and persuasive words from humanity. They are, instead, a demonstration of the Spirit’s power. He said this so that the listeners will depend only on God’s power and not in the wisdom of humanity in their faith.

As he opens this passage, however, Paul immediately makes clear that though he did not depend on humanity’s wisdom, the words he spoke to mature Christians give wisdom. He specifically focused on mature Christians to indicate how he regarded the Corinthian believers. We see that Paul saw them as infants in 1 Cor. 3:1. Thus, he was assuring them that though they had not yet heard the message they gave to mature Christians, such message gives wisdom.

At the same time, his focus on mature Christians served as a challenge to the Corinthians. It is as if Paul was telling them, “We impart words of wisdom to the mature Christians. If you also want to hear it, I encourage you to be mature in your walk with Christ that you may be able to digest these words of wisdom.”

Interestingly, mature in the original Greek may also mean “perfect” or “finished.” These Christians are not perfect per se, but are being made perfect by the continuous sanctification of the Holy Spirit. At the same time, they are finished because they were ushered into a new life by the death of Jesus in the cross. They are no longer in darkness, but are already walking in the light with Christ.

And emphasizing again the source of such teachings, Paul said they are not the “wisdom of this age.” The King James Version renders it as “the wisdom of this world.” In the original Greek this refers to the accumulated learning of humanity in the past, the present, and the future. This indicates that no matter how much advancement humanity attains, these will never match the source of wisdom Paul was talking about—God Himself through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

This wisdom is also not from the “rulers” or the “princes” of the world. In the secular realm, Paul may be referring to the leaders, the politicians, the military chiefs of Rome. In the religious realm, he is referring to the teachers of the law, the Pharisees, Sadducees, the Scribes and all the religious leaders of Judaism. This is because all of them, all of humanity, in fact, will come to an end, will “cease,” and “pass away.”

Peter supports this when he said, “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever" (1 Peter 1:24-25). The wisdom that comes from God, passed on to us through the Bible, remains forever. It is true to the very end, the perfect instruction manual for us Christians.

In v 7 Paul begins to speak of this wisdom. He calls it “God’s secret wisdom.” Paul said this wisdom was hidden and was meant for our glory. This statement can be understood when we look at the Old Testament and God’s promises to His people there. The wisdom Paul was referring to was the promise of the Messiah who will save Israel. It is hidden in the sense that God told them about it through prophets, visions and revelations but He never said when and where exactly He would come. He did not even say who the Messiah would be.

This was what the Jews anticipated. They looked forward for the day the Messiah would come to save them. Unfortunately, they understood salvation more in a political rather than a spiritual sense. They were expecting a Political King with immense force that would overthrow the Roman rule. What God intended, however, was a Suffering Servant who will die for the salvation of humanity from sin.

That is the reason the wisdom was for the glory of those who would believe. When God revealed His promise in Jesus Christ, the wisdom was revealed. When Jesus conquered death, His glory was revealed as well. For those who believe in Him, they will share in the promise of eternal life and eventually the fullness of His glory.

Paul also stressed that such wisdom was not understood by any of the rulers of the world because they relied on the world’s wisdom. In fact, if they understood it, Paul said, they would not have crucified Jesus Christ for they would recognize Him as the Messiah.

But God’s wisdom is truly unfathomable. He allowed this world to be blinded from the truth so that His master plan for salvation would be fulfilled. This wisdom is beyond us, but we need to be truly thankful for without it we would still be under the punishment of death.
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