What is true wisdom? How does someone come to have wisdom? Wisdom is something that parents are concerned with all the time. They are concerned about it because they are hoping to pass down wisdom to their children. Proverbs 4:1 is entitled “Gain wisdom at any cost” and goes like this: “Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding.” The gaining of wisdom is a topic throughout all of Scriptures.
That being said, not all wisdom is the same. As I have preached about before – we know that there are two kinds of wisdom: Godly wisdom and earthly wisdom. The Scriptures warn us not to be enticed by the latter, but to try to gain the former.
Today we’re going to look at true wisdom, how one acquires it, and how it reveals the nature of who God is. We’re going to continue our series in 1 Corinthians. Today we’ll look at 1 Corinthians 2:6-16.
Our main question will be – how can one acquire true wisdom.
Nature of God’s Wisdom (vs.6-10a)
Paul begins by going into a discussion of what God’s wisdom truly is. The first fact we see is that God’s wisdom isn’t like other wisdom and it is not for those who are not mature. What does this idea of maturity mean here. Quite simply it means those who have been embraced by the Holy Spirit in salvation. There are those who know God in Jesus and there are those who do not. Those who know God through Jesus has the wisdom that comes from God. It says something about the individuals. They have the mind of Christ of Christ. They no longer see things through their eyes, they see reality through the eyes of Christ.
What is it that Christians declare? It’s a good question during this time in our culture. Do we declare political beliefs? The Bible here in v. 7 says that Christians declare God’s wisdom. Sometimes declaring God’s wisdom is difficult isn’t it? God’s wisdom is counter-cultural and gets rejected by the world. In fact, Paul says here that it is hidden from those who do not know it – what does this mean? Wisdom is hidden from those who do not want it – those who reject it before they even have a chance to hear it. If they had understood it they would have accepted Christ and not rejected Him. With their rejection of Christ, they reject the true knowledge of God and begin to preach the wisdom of the world that mocks the cross of Christ. Paul quotes a part of Isaiah 64:4 and that reminds the reader that wisdom comes from God alone and is given by God alone.
Revealed Wisdom (vs.10b-13)
Paul has now established that true wisdom comes from Him alone. No one can “work up” to God and His wisdom, God “comes down” to humanity and brings His wisdom to humanity.
In the next section of verses Paul establishes how God gives this wisdom to us. God wouldn’t be a good God if made a promise to us and didn’t fulfill it. So God gives us this wisdom – but how? Simply put, God gives us wisdom through His Spirit, the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit the key to the wisdom of God. The Holy Spirit, the Scripture says, searches the deep things of God and reveals them to us. The deep things of God are only available to us because God makes them available to us.
How do we speak of the deep things of God? In this passage Paul teaches that we speak through the Holy Spirit. The wisdom that we have from the world doesn’t inform others or us about God. Our lips don’t confess the truth of Christ. They give earthly wisdom which may be helpful, but fundamentally aren’t the truth of God. So we as Christians speak the “language” of the Holy Spirit.
What are the deep things of God and how does this inform the wisdom that the Holy Spirit gives us? This is a pretty important and deep theological question. The wisdom of God is simply Jesus Christ. As I mentioned earlier, Godly wisdom is wisdom that believes in the death and resurrection of Jesus as the Son of God. Everything in our world, our own reality, is funneled through this wisdom, this truth.
Natural verses Spiritual (vs. 14-16)
In this last section of verses Paul compares those who have the Spirit of God and those who do not as he wraps up the discussion about true wisdom from God. What does the person who doesn’t have the Spirit look like? Those who don’t have the Spirit reject the message of the Spirit. Not only do they reject the message - Christ, but also they consider it to be foolishness. The idea that we are far away from God and that Christ reconciles us to God is foolishness to them. “I’m good,” they say. God might be a fact in their lives, but He is far away from them. They certainly don’t need any kind of saving – they are smart and they know their stuff.
In contrast to the natural man that depends on his natural abilities Paul presents the spiritual man. The spiritual man is able to make judgment on all things. We have to be careful here. The passage doesn’t say that man can be judgmental in all things on his own – no. It says that through the Spirit they can make judgments – not on their own. The Spirit gives people the truth of Christ and through this truth everything can be judged. Christ is the measuring stick that we should use to judge every situation. In turn, because of the presence of the Spirit in their lives, they cannot be judged by human standards. This is a theme that comes us a couple times in Paul’s writings. Those who have Christ are not subject to human judgment – only those who also have the Spirit can judge them. Popular culture has no right to judge Christians because Christians live by a different standard. Now we have to keep in mind that Christian who have the Spirit are Christians that follow civil law and honor God through their obedience to authorities to the degree that they can with good conscience.
Conclusion – Application
Our main question at the beginning of the teaching was “how does one acquire wisdom?” We learned here that only those who have the Spirit have true wisdom. True wisdom is defined as belief in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Paul reminds us that we judge everything through Christ Judgments that are funneled through Christ will ultimately be judgments right and true.
We must allow the Gospel message to bend, mold, and shape our lives. We have to be more informed by the Gospel than we are by the world. When we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, the true and highest wisdom, God gives us wisdom to run our lives with and by.
The question needs to be asked then – are we allowing the Gospel to bend our lives? Where are we challenged by the Gospel and ignoring God? Where are we clogging up the pathway of the Gospel in our lives; is it in our personal relationships, our finances, our time, or something else?
Above all get wisdom – Christ is the ultimate wisdom, let Him move you to the wisdom that God has designed for you.