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No One Can Ever Boast In The Presence Of God
1 Corinthians 1:28-29 God’s ways are always higher and greater than ours!
“God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.”
1 Corinthians 1:28-29 NLT
This verse comes from the first chapter of Paul’s first epistle to the church in Corinth, just after he has appealed to the new church for them to show unity and not break into factions over who is preaching the Gospel or baptizing new converts correctly. Looking at the many denominations and ways of Christian worship, it’s apparent that message didn’t stick… but I digress.
Paul segues into a lesson on the wisdom of God, with a focus — as it should be — on the cross. In 1 Corinthians 1:18 he makes a statement about the Good News that is as timely and accurate now as it was 2,000 years ago:
“The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.”
1 Corinthians 1:18 NLT
I know precisely what Paul’s saying here! During my wilderness years, I thought Christianity and all that was associated with it was foolishness, and I was most definitely heading for destruction. Thank God that He patiently waited for Barb and I to WAKE UP and see what He was offering us!
So what is Paul up to in verses 28-29? He’s telling the Corinthians that they are among the things despised by the world — according to that world, they are not wise, mighty, noble — they’re foolish! The Corinthian Christians were probably beginning to think of themselves as rather high and mighty because of the work that God was doing through them. Paul’s telling them that they were not chosen because they’re great, but because God is great!
God loves to use what the world thinks is foolish. Think of the birth of Jesus, where the first to know were lowly shepherds in the fields! The wise men came later. Or how about the disciples; initially he called fishermen, then tax collectors (despised by all) and others who were not held in high esteem by the world. Paul was the only disciple who was theologically educated, and he was last to be called by Jesus.
The 19th-century theologian Henry Alford explains this succinctly:
“The ancient Christians were for the most part slaves and men of low station; the whole history of the expansion of the church is in reality a progressive victory of the ignorant over the learned, the lowly over the lofty, until the emperor himself laid down his crown before the cross of Christ.”
The end result of this is that nobody will ever stand before God and say “Well, I already knew this” or “It’s about time you figured this out!”. God’s ways are always higher and greater than ours, and no human can ever boast in His presence.
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
God, thank YOU that we are accepted by You and that our salvation doesn’t require on any of the things we may think are important — our intellects, how well we do in business, our prowess in social media, or our human wisdom with all of its failings. I pray that my heart trusts in You always and that I always look to Jesus as the standard I emulate. Thank You for taking the insignificant things of this world and using them for Your glory. I pray that You use me to Your greater good, and help me to always walk humbly before You. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.
Alford, Henry "The Epistles of St. Paul - The First Epistle to the Corinthians: The New Testament for English Readers, Volume 2, Part 1" (London: Rivingtons, 1869)