We Speak the Wisdom of God Ordained before the Ages for Our Glory
O Lord God, You alone possess the wisdom that I need both to live my life with faithfulness here in this world and to enjoy my life forever in the world to come! Please send Your Spirit to open my heart and my mind to Your truths as I worship in Your presence this day. Teach me Your wisdom as I grow in my understanding of Your Word as it reveals my Savior. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Isaiah foretold the fact that the Spirit of the Lord GOD would anoint the coming Savior, Jesus, and move Him “to preach good tidings to the poor” and “to proclaim liberty to the captives.” Those who believe Him are “trees of righteousness” that the LORD Himself might “be glorified.”
Philip brought a hesitant Nathanael to meet Jesus. Upon meeting and hearing Jesus, Nathanael concluded Jesus was “the Son of God” and the promised Savior. Jesus assured Nathanael, even as He does us, that as His followers we will see great things!
Text: 1 Corinthians 2:6-16
However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
In Christ Jesus, who is wisdom from above, dear fellow redeemed:
When you are confronted by challenges in life where do you turn for advice? When a family member or friend is confronted by challenges and seeks your advice, whose advice do you offer? Do you turn to or get your advice from television personalities, such as Dr. Phil or Judge Judy? Do you turn on your computer or go to your phone and ask Google? Do you consult any of the myriad of “self-help” books on sale at Barnes and Noble or on Amazon? I would imagine that all of us at one point or another, depending on the challenge being faced, have consulted just such or at least similar sources, and have either received or offered some helpful advice.
There are limits, however, to and oftentimes dangers involved with securing advice or offering advice received from worldly sources, especially if the challenges being faced involve spiritual or moral issues. God warns us in the Bible that worldly sources will often offer advice, which is contrary to the revealed truths of God. Indeed, in our text Paul states emphatically: “The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” Consequently, we must always be ready, as the apostle John exhorts us, to “test the spirits, (to see) whether they are of God” (cf. 1 John 4:1).
When introducing Jesus at the beginning of his Gospel, John writes: “He (Jesus) was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:10-13). Yes, by nature all oppose God and His wisdom, but by God’s grace and the Spirit’s power we have each been rescued from Satan’s cruel bondage and brought into the family of God. Consequently, the apostle Paul urges us: “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light”(Eph. 5:8).
Knowing these truths, may we all face the challenges of this life as did the apostle Paul by stating: WE SPEAK THE WISDOM OF GOD ORDAINED BEFORE THE AGES FOR OUR GLORY! A wisdom revealed to us through His Spirit! A wisdom freely given to us by God!
Paul begins our text by stating: “We speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”
Who are the “mature” of whom Paul speaks? This is not a reference to physical age, but rather to spiritual maturity. Consequently, you may well find a child who will already know and be able easily to share the wisdom of God, whereas someone who is fully an adult will not be able to do so. Not long ago, one of the fathers of a third grader here at Immanuel reported to me that he is amazed that his son is able to correct him in spiritual matters, whereas this past Friday evening I had a twenty-year-old man at the Blue Earth County Jail approach me and confess that he had never read the Bible until coming to jail earlier this past week. He had so many questions to ask and wondered whether I would be able to meet with him one on one.
Paul distinguishes between the supposed “wisdom of this age” embraced by the “rulers of this age” and the “wisdom of God.” The wisdom of secular man is limited to the observations and conclusions he can draw apart from God and divine revelation. That wisdom may possess some truth, but it will always be lacking for it is colored by the sinful mind of man—a sinful mind that inevitably rejects Christ, and which at one point led to the crucifixion of Christ. God’s wisdom is described by Paul as a “hidden mystery.” That means that God’s wisdom is not known by natural man and must be revealed to all men. It is a wisdom that is eternal and involves God’s plan leading to our glory in heaven. Yes, God’s wisdom will always keep our salvation in mind and point us in some way to Jesus. God's wisdom will help us see things and approach challenges through the eyes of Christ!
This is something, Paul says, could never be conceived within the mind of man. It simply is not possible. In our text Paul quotes the prophet Isaiah: “But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.” God’s wisdom bespeaks mercy, whereas man’s wisdom rises no further than merit. God’s wisdom reveals His grace in the person of Jesus Christ leading to love, whereas man’s wisdom requires human works resulting in fear. God’s wisdom brings certainty into our hearts and lives leading to confidence in God, whereas man’s wisdom abandons man to uncertainty and lives filled with anxiety.
But God has chosen to reveal His wisdom to us through His Spirit. “No man can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit,” Paul writes later in this same Epistle (1 Cor. 12:3). “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” Paul told the Romans (Rom. 10:17). To Titus he writes this: “For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Tit. 3:3-7). Truly, as we face the challenges of life and help others face their particular challenges WE WILL WANT TO SPEAK THE WISDOM OF GOD ORDAINED BEFORE THE AGES FOR OUR GLORY! A wisdom revealed to us through His Spirit!
A wisdom freely given to us by God! Paul goes on to explain: “For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” Note specifically the word “freely.”
Consider the case of the jailer of Philippi. When he awoke and found the doors of the prison open, he assumed that his prisoners had escaped and that his own life was now in peril. He pulled out his sword and was about to commit suicide when Paul cried out to him, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here” (Acts 16:28). The jailer, calling for a light and seeing that what Paul had said was true, fell down trembling before Paul and Silas and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30) The natural assumption of all people is that anything of value, and especially the matter of salvation, will always involve paying a price. Nothing of value is ever gained for free. Paul and Silas responded, however, with these words which express the wisdom of God: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:31).
While there are many religions in our world today, there remain only two ways by which any human being can gain eternal salvation. He can do so either by his own works or by God’s grace. Every religion apart from biblical Christianity requires that a price be paid—that some type of works be done to earn or merit salvation. Biblical Christianity, based upon and flowing from the wisdom of God, bestows salvation upon the sinner by grace…the undeserved love of God. Consequently, Paul explains to the Romans: “God demonstrates His own love toward us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8) and informs the Ephesians: “By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). In His wisdom God has saved us through Christ and gives us a great gift freely!
Paul concludes this text by saying: “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual…. He who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For 'who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?' But we have the mind of Christ.” We want to meet the challenges in our lives and counsel those facing challenges in their lives with “the mind of Christ.” How do we achieve such a mind? Well, certainly and only as the Holy Spirit teaches us the truths of God. How does He do that? Jesus said: “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:31-32). Do you want to know how to deal with the challenges facing your life right now? Do you want to be able with confidence to advise those coming to you in the midst of their challenges? Then abide in Jesus’ words, as you find them revealed in your Bibles.
My dear friends, which of you has a perfect marriage? Which family among us is facing no problems? Which individual has a perfect life? I dare say, “None!” May I invite you to join your fellow believers each week during our Sunday morning Bible Class as we abide in Jesus’ word and study what God has to say first about marriage and then about family. Let us not take the attitude that “I know all that stuff and can learn nothing new.” The Spirit has a way of opening our eyes to His truths in ways that we might not expect as we review and consider together what He has to say and how we might apply it within our lives. I would encourage you to make your personal Bible study, your family devotions, and your weekly time of worship a priority in your lives, for it is through such study that the Spirit of God will instruct you, strengthen you, and prepare you both to address the challenges of your life and to assist others in meeting the challenges of their lives. May it ever be said of us as members of this Christian congregation that WE SPEAK THE WISDOM OF GOD ORDAINED BEFORE THE AGES FOR OUR GLORY, for if we then listen and apply that wisdom, we will be blessed!Amen.