In the first chapter of 1 Corinthians Paul is going to teach us about three important topics. He uses the first nine verses to deal with introductory matters and to set the theme of the letter, which is that we are called to be God’s holy ones. The three topics that Paul is going to teach us about our unity within the church, the wisdom of God, and that the only thing we can boast of is Jesus Christ.
“For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers, by members of Chloe’s household, that there is rivalry among you. What I am saying is this: Each of you says, “I’m with Paul,” or “I’m with Apollos,” or “I’m with Cephas,” or “I’m with Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was it Paul who was crucified for you? Or were you baptized in Paul’s name?”
1 Corinthians 1:11-13 HCSB ( https://www.bible.com/72/1co.1.11-13.hcsb )
We see that division was coming about because people were starting to identify with leaders instead of Jesus Christ. Paul was quick to put a stop to it, asking if Jesus is divided? In the past, I used to see that denominationalism within the church was bad. I believed and still do that it was important for the Protestants to break from the Catholic Church because there was a lot of bad theology and practices within it. Although there has been some reform within the Catholic Church, there is still a lot of work to be done there. I use to believe that denominationalism was bad because, in my opinion, it created division.
As time passed and I grew in my understanding of theology and church life, I came to see that denominationalism is a good thing. It is a good thing because each denomination is unique in the style of worship, teaching, and church life. Although there are some differences of theology among each denomination, there is unity and agreement on the major theological issues. The only reason to break fellowship with others is if they deny the main doctrines of the Bible: the personhood of Jesus, Jesus as God, salvation by grace through faith, etc. Other areas we can disagree on: speaking in tongues, understanding of creation, revelations, etc.
Even though there are many denominations, there is only one universal body of Christ. We need to do better about having unity as believers. We should stand together unified to reach the lost and dying world with the message of God’s love and forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus. Christ is not divided! Neither should His church be.
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is God’s power to us who are being saved.” 1 Corinthians 1:18 HCSB ( https://www.bible.com/72/1co.1.18.hcsb )
Those that do not know God or believe in Jesus Christ will look at the messages of the cross, and the Bible, as foolishness. We see this in society every day and it will be amplified more and more the closer we get to the second coming of Jesus.
That is why I find Atheism as the epitome of humanistic pride. To claim there is no God, even outside of the knowledge you have, is blind faith in your wisdom and knowledge.
There is wisdom in the world and the ways of the world, but it is not to the level of God’s wisdom. Humans can only understand a finite amount of information. There is nobody that has complete knowledge on any one subject, let alone on everything within the world. That is why I find Atheism as the epitome of humanistic pride. To claim there is no God, even outside of the knowledge you have, is blind faith in your wisdom and knowledge.
“Yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is God’s power and God’s wisdom, because God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.” 1 Corinthians 1:24-25 HCSB ( https://www.bible.com/72/1co.1.24-25.hcsb )
What Paul is saying in these two verses here isn’t that there is foolishness or weakness in God. God is not foolish or weak. What Paul is saying is that the message of Jesus Christ appears to the lost world as foolishness and weakness. Even though the message of Jesus appears to be that way to the lost world; the gospel is still wiser than all human wisdom and stronger than all human strength. The wisest and strongest of the world are no match for God, even though many think that they are above God, they will be put to shame.
The last six verses of the chapter deal with the fact that God is going to bring the wisdom and strength of the world to shame. The way that God is going to do so is through the weak, insignificant, and despised of the world. Those that believe in Jesus are often viewed as such people. People declare that faith in Jesus is a crutch for the weak and so forth. The reality is that we have been chosen by God to humiliate the wisdom of the world, but we have no room to boast in ourselves. We must only boast in the Lord.
“But it is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became God-given wisdom for us — our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, in order that, as it is written: The one who boasts must boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:30-31 HCSB ( https://www.bible.com/72/1co.1.30-31.hcsb )
May we live our lives to boast of the greatness of Jesus Christ, never boasting in ourselves or our wisdom. The wisdom and strength of God is the only thing that we should boast about and we should be living in a manner to point others to the greatness of God. May we all be fools in the ways of the world, but wise in the ways of God.