Reading: 1 Corinthians 1
Summary: Paul was no doubt excited to receive visitors from Corinth. He was undoubtedly very disturbed to hear the news they bore: there were quarrels and divisions among the brethren there. Much of it had to do with divisive attitudes towards preachers who had in some way or another had association with the church there. Paul begins his lengthy response to this serious, emotional, and potentially destructive issue. They first needed to all possess an attitude that promoted unity; to know their minds and their thinking should all be pointed in the same direction.
Man Overcomes God’s Power
Here’s a depressing thought: man’s greatest need, by far, is for salvation from sin and the power of God for that salvation is the gospel of Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:16) —now here’s the thought—the cross of Jesus Christ can be emptied of its power (1 Cor. 1:17).
How can that be? How could God’s power as found in the cross be made “useless” (NET)? Paul said it was if the gospel were presented by words of eloquent wisdom. What’s the problem with eloquent wisdom?
If someone were to respond to the message what would move them to do so? Would it be the human eloquence or the truth of the gospel message? The power of the gospel, the power of the cross is the truth of man’s sin, the truth of Jesus’ identity as God’s Son, the truth of Jesus’ death on the cross on our behalf as the price for our sin. The power of the gospel is in the gracious acts of God for our salvation; that power is from God. Eloquent speech, though, is from man. So to rely on eloquence empties the cross of its power.
What a remarkable thought that man can take the greatest act of God and deplete it of its power; remarkable and frightening.