Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
In Corinth, an ancient capital of Greek culture and world commerce, the apostle Paul, master missionary to the world, taught his hearers a supreme lesson. He told them that their ultimate pardon and peace with God—blessings too mighty for them to earn with a lifetime of hard labor—were theirs, surely and eternally, by grace through faith.
Exalting Christ on the cross, Paul proclaimed the heart and soul climax of Gospel truth: justification by faith. His told his audience that they were justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is, for their full and free atonement, the Redeemer's blood has made their cleansing from all sin and guilt possible.
To be sure, much has changed since Paul, this Scripture-filled servant, made his way across Greece at the breakneck speed of about six miles an hour. Today the world at large is instant and available through mass media and long-distance communication.
Yet our age, too, is encrusted with a Corinthian mindset bent against purity and righteousness. How necessary, then, that we and every other messenger of Christ's mercy repeat St. Paul's faith-filled words: "We preach Christ crucified."
This is the message proclaimed by Lutheran Hour Ministries. It tells the world that God offers His love to all people, in all classes and conditions, with no sinner too vile to be pardoned through faith in the sin-conquering Savior. It tells us—you and me—that no longer can our guilty consciences successfully accuse us, nor the fierce enemies in hell triumph over us. Because of Christ we have no more sin, no more guilt and, therefore, no more punishment.
This is God's foolishness—wiser than the mind of man. This is God's weakness—stronger than anything the world can offer. Through the cross of Jesus, God has put an end to every feeble excuse our old self can put up in our defense. When all our human props give way, the Savior's love can turn our terror into trust, our fears into fortitude, and help us bear up even under life's heaviest burdens.
Your Heavenly Father's greatest blessing is yours fully and freely by faith. The heaped up wealth of all of earth's treasures is as dust and ashes in comparison with the eternal, imperishable, spiritual riches that are yours when you fully trust your Redeemer's power "to save to the uttermost" (Hebrews 7:25a).
Heavenly Father, place the cross of Your Son in our hearts so that we believe rightly and then share the love of Jesus with others. In His Name. Amen.
Rev. Dr. E.R. Bertermann
1. Does God's way of saving people from their sins make sense to you?Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
2. How is Paul's preaching considered to be "folly" to the Jews and the Greeks?
3. In your own outreach, do you encounter resistance from others to the message of the cross? How do you respond at such times?
Does God's way of saving people from their sins make sense to you?