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Not By Human Wisdom — 1 Corinthians 1:21

Pastor of Iglesia Conexiones, a baptist church in Jessup, MD. B.A. in Bible, B.S. English Ed., M.S. in Educational Leadership.

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"Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." (John 5:39, KJV)

"Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." (John 5:39, KJV)

1 Corinthians 1:21

For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. (1 Corinthians 1:21, ESV)

The Indispensibility of The Gospel

Humanity can never achieve a personal relationship with God through wisdom, whether it be religion, philosophy, or science. God transcends the physical universe and human knowledge, consequently it is impossible for humanity to know God through human forms of wisdom. Therefore, if humanity is to have a relationship with God, it is up to God to reach out to humanity—and that is what God has done.

From beginning to end, the Bible tells us about God's effort to reach humanity. He spoke to humans such as Eve, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Moses. Afterwards, God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to teach humanity about Him. And, finally, God commissioned the apostles and gave the New Testament to the world.

God did all these things to reach out to humanity and to make Himself known to us. But He chose to reveal Himself in a very particular way—not through human wisdom, but through the preaching of his word, particularly the gospel.

God is hidden to science. Even though science may find traces of God's work, science cannot bring us into a personal relationship with God.

God is hidden from philosophy. Even though philosophy can conclude that God exists, philosophy is incapable of bringing us into a personal relationship with God.

God is hidden from religion. Even though religion points to humanity's great need for God's mercy, religion can never bring us into a personal relationship with God.

Only the message of the gospel (that Jesus of Nazare, the Son of God, became a human, lived a sinless life, preached God's word, died for our sins, rose from the dead, ascended to heaven to sit at God's right hand)—only this message—can bring us into a personal relationship with God.

When we repent and trust God's gospel concerning Jesus Christ, God forgives us and comes to live with us and in us through the Holy Spirit. He forgives us and adopts us as His own children. God's love is poured on us through his Holy Spirit. So then, only the gospel (God's message to humanity concerning his Son, Jesus Christ) can reconcile us with God and bring us into a personal relationship with Him.

God's Design

Things are so because of God's design. God could have chosen to reveal Himself through religion, philosophy, or science—but He has chosen to reveal Himself through the gospel. In other words, God only responds to those who embrace (those who receive and believe) the gospel of Jesus Christ.

By responding only to those who believe the gospel, God has demonstrated the true nature of things: whether we like it or not, a personal relationship with God is only possible because God is good, mercifiul, gracious, and most generous. He has not given us the punishment we deserve, but the forgiveness we most desperately need—if we believe in his Son, Jesus Christ. And He has done this out of love.

A personal relationship with God, then, is completely possible (and only possible) because of God's mercy, grace, and initiative. All we have to do is open ourselves up to God and trust his message concerning Jesus Christ.

So then, it is not by religion, nor by philosophy, nor by science—it is not by humanity's own works—but by God's grace and the work of Christ. To Him be the glory!

Yes, this is God's design: this is God's wisdom. Anything else would point us away from God's mercy and God's grace—but God wants us to see things as they really are. Therefore, God does not respond to religion, philsophy, or science: God only responds to those who believe in Jesus Christ.

Questions for Reflection

How does humankind use religion, science, and philosophy to know about God or to know God in a personal way?

Why would it be wrong (incosistent with God's character and reality) for God to rspond to anything else other than His gospel concerning Jesus Christ?

In light of everythinf we have said thus far, how must the Christian approach religion, philosophy, and science?

Prayer Prompt

  • Praise God for His grand design of all things.
  • Thank God for his mercy and grace, which are revealed in Jesus Christ.
  • Tell the Father about any struggles you are having with believing the gospel of Christ.

© 2021 Marcelo Carcach

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