1 Corinthians 1:18-25 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are
perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For
it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law?
Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the
wisdom of the world? 21 For
since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him,
God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those
who believe. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for
wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a
stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but
to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of
God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of
God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than
When Paul and Sosthenes
write to the Corinthian church, the first thing they have to address is the
message of Christ and him crucified. The
brethren in that church believed the true Gospel and were saved, but in the course
of time, they lost sight of that truth and focused on gifts and powers. Sosthenes, a rabbi who was beaten up for
believing in Jesus, and Paul, a man who used to arrest and have Christians
executed for believing until Jesus stopped him on the road to Damascus, testify
that their whole lives had to change for believing that Jesus died to take the
punishment for their sins and then rose from the dead. The church to whom they write must not start
compromising with the world to lessen that message and get distracted by cool
gifts and powers.
How do we compromise this
message today and how can we present Biblical truths to people today without
Let’s use the account of
when Eve and Adam ate from the forbidden tree in Genesis 3:1-7.
Now the serpent was
more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He
said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the
woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say,
‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and
you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows
that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like
God, knowing good and evil.”
6 When the
woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye,
and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also
gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of
both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed
fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
There is a song that I
like, but it presents the message in a way that shows it might see the cross as
foolishness like the Greeks. It shows a
God who made a paradise and made man in his image, but suddenly, the people had
low self-esteem, and now they are separated from God because they will not realize
that they are not mistakes.
It is true that we are
made in God’s image, and it is true that he did not make a mistake when he made
us. It is even true that Eve doubted her
status as made like God and knowing good and evil when she ate from the tree. However, it was not mere self-esteem that caused
Adam and Eve to be cast from the garden and to eventually die. In listening to the serpent and eating the fruit,
they accused God of lying by saying they would not die, and they betrayed him
when they believed that they knew better what it means to be made in God’s
image and know good and evil than he did.
But the writers of the
song that I mentioned present people as already good and only needing to boost
their positivity toward themselves.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they
were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
8 Then the
man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was
walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from
the Lord God among the trees
of the garden. 9 But the Lord God
called to the man, “Where are you?”
answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was
naked; so I hid.”
11 And he
said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that
I commanded you not to eat from?”
12 The man
said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and
I ate it.”
the Lord God said to the
woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Other teachers present this
account in a way that shows that they see the cross as offensive like the Jews. Eve could eat from every tree in the garden
except one, but she wanted the one tree she could not have. She was ungrateful for what she had and could
not see its beauty. Later on, however,
Jesus went to the wilderness to be tempted.
Satan told him to turn stones into bread to prove that he was God’s Son,
but he quoted Scripture and refused to do that.
These teachers unintentionally give the impression that we would be
better if we would follow Jesus and be content with what we have. If we resolve from henceforth to emulate his
example, then we can attain self-worth and return to his presence. We can bypass the cross by being moral.
But resolving to follow
Jesus from now on will not erase the fact that Adam and Eve betrayed the Lord
and cannot undo their actions. Neither
can I undo my grievous sins against my Lord.
Anything I do in my own power is like sewing together fig leaves to
cover my nakedness and hide from God. It
won’t work. Our sins need to be judged,
and our future good deeds cannot do that.
So what will God do? Genesis 3:14-24
the Lord God said to the
serpent, “Because you have done this,
“Cursed are you above all livestock
and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring[a] and hers;
he will crush[b] your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
16 To the woman he said,
“I will make your pains in childbearing very
with painful labor you will give birth to
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”
17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your
wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat
“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from
all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”
20 Adam[c] named his wife Eve,[d] because she would become the mother of all
21 The Lord God made garments of skin for
Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And
the Lord God said, “The
man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be
allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat,
and live forever.” 23 So the Lord God banished him from the
Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After
he drove the man out, he placed on the east side[e] of the Garden of
Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to
guard the way to the tree of life.
First, God lovingly tells them that they did betray
them. He could have had no interaction
with them from then on but he initiated a new relationship with them by telling
them that they messed up, and their error will reap consequences such as pains
in having children, trouble earning food to eat, and death, which God withheld
from them that day, though they did die many years later.
Then, in verse 15, God
promised Eve that one of her descendants would have his heel bruised, but that
he would crush the serpents head. He
would defeat Satan, and that child would be the very man who defied the devil
in the wilderness.
And then, in verse 21, God
killed some animals and made clothes out of their skins so that they would be
covered. In the same way, this child of
Eve would die on the cross after living a perfect life so that those who
believe in him would be covered in his righteousness and be able to come before
God clothed and presentable.
And like Eve, I have many
wonderful fruit trees that I can eat from and enjoy, but I want to enjoy the one
tree that, for reasons known to God, I can no longer have access to for
now. And no amount of thought control
can make me desire that tree any less or keep me from asking day after day if I
can finally eat from it. But with a
wounded heart, God points me to Jesus Christ and his sacrifice for me on the
cross, taking the punishment that I deserve.
And you must look to him to fill that emptiness in your heart that only
he can fill.