By Dennis C. Abernathy
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18). “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Cor. 1:21).
These are very beautiful verses indeed. They show God’s power and His wisdom in the carrying out of His plan in spite of man. Man has always prided himself with his much wisdom. Why the learned men, the philosophers of the day, with all of their investigations, experiences, and etc. knew not God. Some even denied His very existence; some represented Him under some idol form (Acts 17) showing that they had no real acquaintance with the true God.
But the same is still true today. Our society is almost education mad. We pride ourselves with our much learning. We think we know so much. We are so self-sufficient! Therefore “the Bible is put-dated.” “It was fine for those ignorant people back there, but not for our enlightened age.” Men are still denying God in outer space, in the test tube, in the theories of evolution.
But, my friend, God chose His plan (it may not suit the learned of our day) but He is yet pleased with it. It is simple. This, of course, involves His only begotten Son, who left the riches of heaven and made Himself a little lower than the angels and became as man to suffer and die the cruel death on a Roman cross. All of this because you and I were sinners, and this was God’s means of saving us from our sins. It involves the teaching of God’s Son, that is recorded for us to read and understand and then do, so that we may be pleasing to the One who loved us so much and shed His grace forth unto us. It may not be like man would have done it, and man may think he can improve upon it, but it is according to the wisdom of Almighty God and it pleases Him. Therefore it should please us.
1.”The Foolishness of preaching”: Not, by “foolish preaching” but, by the preaching of the cross, which was regarded as foolish and absurd by worldly minded men. God’s plan is wise, but along corner puny man, and esteems it as foolish. Who can believe that we can live or have life through one who died? That we can be blessed forevermore by one who became a curse? That we can be justified by one who was Himself condemned? That we can be saved by one who could not save Himself? That is foolishness to many who do not know any better.
But not only was the preaching considered foolish, but also the manner of preaching the gospel was considered foolish. Not many of the famous men of wisdom and eloquence were employed, just a few unlearned and ignorant fishermen. But my friend, the power was not in the men, but in the message and the one from whom the message came. They had been with Jesus. They could not be discounted as just ignorant and unlearned men. Even the elite of the day marveled and took note of them (Acts 4:13).
Men yet today will scoff at the gospel of Christ, ridicule it proclaimers, and disapprove its precepts. These have never seen the beauty of the cross. They have not humility, and know not greatness through service.
2. It Is The Power of God To Save Them Which Believe: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation-to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). Man may consider it foolish and he may ridicule its proclaimer, but it is God’s power to save man. Man must put self behind, discard his human wisdom, humble himself at the cross and accept the preaching of the gospel-the cross, that he may be saved.
I may trust in my wealth, but it cannot save. I may trust in my wisdom, but it cannot save. I may trust in my popularity, friends, prestige and station in life but they cannot save. But God can save, and He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9). He wants all to be saved (1 Tim. 2:4); but His power to save is in the gospel.
Dear reader and friend, do you think of the gospel as foolishness and trivial? Give it a fair hearing, examine the evidence, and you will see God’s wisdom. It is the foolish one who does not accept the teaching of the Lord. He is as the foolish man who built his house upon the sand. The floods came and the winds blew and that house fell, and great was the fall thereof. A failure to accept the gospel means the loss of one’s soul. Think about it!
Truth Magazine XXII: 12, pp. 205-206
March 23, 1978