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Summary: Consider your calling. Glory in nothing but the Cross!

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A CALL TO BOAST?

1 Corinthians 1:18-31

The Apostle Paul has established that the preaching of the cross was considered foolishness by this world’s wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:18).

Yet God has rendered foolish the wisdom of this world by the ‘foolishness’ of preaching (1 Corinthians 1:20).

Indeed, the preaching of which Paul speaks goes beyond the cross to consider ‘Christ crucified’ upon the cross (1 Corinthians 1:23).

To those who are called, the preaching of Christ crucified is ‘Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God’ (1 Corinthians 1:24).

This renders the so-called foolishness of God wiser than men, and the evident weakness of God stronger than men (1 Corinthians 1:25).

Calling has already been mentioned several times in this chapter (1 Corinthians 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Corinthians 1:24).

“For you see your calling, brethren,” continues the Apostle in the passage before us (1 Corinthians 1:26). This is a strong exhortation to behold, to look into, to consider our call.

There is a saying attributed to the late Queen Victoria, who allegedly suggested that she had been saved by the letter ‘m’! Then, according to the story, she cited the passage before us: “not Many high-born (are called)” (1 Corinthians 1:26). Her point, in the anecdote, was that at least it does not say ‘not ANY’!

Of course, there were those in the church in Corinth who had a higher social standing than others. Some, at least, were householders (cf. Acts 18:8; Romans 16:23). Yet many were people with little or no rights – and had no great boast to worldly wisdom either.

“But God chose the foolish things of the world to cause the wise men to blush” (1 Corinthians 1:27). Foolish things, perhaps, such as the whole idea of Christ-on-the Cross? There the weakness of God confounds the strength of men!

“And God chose the low-born of the world, and the despised” (1 Corinthians 1:28). God chose the things which are not (in men’s eyes) to confound the things that are.

In this respect, because none of us deserves to be considered by God in and of ourselves, we may NOT boast before Him (1 Corinthians 1:29). We cannot imagine that, somehow, we have earned God’s favour. All that we have is as a gift from Him.

This gift of “wisdom from God” (1 Corinthians 1:30) is summarised in:

(a) “Righteousness” – a forensic righteousness whereby we are declared righteous on account of the righteousness of Christ (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:21);

(b) “Holiness” or “sanctification” whereby we are set apart for God; and

(c) “Redemption” - whereby we are bought back from the power and corruption of sin.

So through the ‘foolishness’ of Christ’s death on the Cross - which was the ultimate wisdom of God – we are made right with God, redeemed by His blood, and sanctified.

We may, and indeed should allow the Christ-on -the-Cross to absorb our own attention – and we should preach it, teach it, and proclaim it to all and sundry (1 Corinthians 1:31; cf. Jeremiah 9:23-24).

By this, says Paul elsewhere, ‘the world is crucified to me, and I to the world’ (Galatians 6:14). ‘God forbid that I should boast in anything else!’


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