"And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God." (1 Cor 2:1-5 ESV)
Well, first, I definitely need to ask for forgiveness from all of you. On Monday when I read these verses after being told the scriptures for the link up, I felt mega convicted. Instantly I felt the overwhelming weight of sin, knowing that I had been doing exactly what Paul went to Corinth to speak against!
My blog has been a great outlet to force myself to study deeper (which isn't a bad thing) and these devotionals have rocked as a form of spiritual discipline. But sometimes I get so haughty at how awesome I think some of my content is. Which is lame of me! My hope was never to be some super smug, popular blogger, but rather to just share what God was teaching me with some sisters and share the gospel with women (and whoever else reads this guy) that potentially don't know or haven't heard the GREAT news. All of that being said, I genuinely ask for your forgiveness. I also want to thank you guys for the encouragement that you always give via the comments, emails and social media. You have no idea how quickly it turns my day around.. ah.
Okay. Moving on:
Let's start with a little bit of a history that will help us to get a little bit deeper into these verses. So, the church of Corinth was (as put by the Gospel Transformation Bible), "both deeply flawed and greatly loved." This was a group of people that began to believe that their sin was okay because they were letting the values of the culture influence their faith and therefore the way they lived. Because the Greek culture was a very strong influencer of Corinth, knowledge was of great value.
So, I can't get rid of this tug on my heart about false teachers when I read the verses above. In Casper, there are so many churches, but there aren't very many Christians. Literally, there are like three churches per block in this place. I say that because in these verses Paul doesn't just mention the name of Jesus, he tells them to know nothing except Jesus Christ and him crucified. It breaks my heart to say that in my city, and most likely your city, most "churches" have a tendency to focus on everything except Christ and him crucified. I've been to the most popular "Christian" church in this town a few times for a few different reasons, and every time I've gone, Jesus wasn't even mentioned. Maybe in the prayer at the end when the pastor asks for God's will to align with his and says, "In Jesus' name, Amen." But the rest is always stories about the pastor's life and how-to [be a better person, live a happier life, etc].
If the gospel of Christ and him crucified isn't preached, what is being preached? If the gospel is truly the "power of God for salvation" (Romans 1:16) and it is not preached, how are people to be saved? When there is no gospel, there is not transformation. When there is no transformation, there is no salvation. People are receiving a FALSE sense of renewal and walking away thinking that they're "good enough" to be accepted into Heaven. My husband likes to call these people "the comfortably condemned" because they live their lives thinking they are saved because they attend church and listen to a pastor preach messages on morality and how to be the best "you" possible. That is not the gospel, and there is no salvation to be had in those messages. In these verses, Paul is emphasizing the absolute necessity of the gospel and the futility in flourishing words and fascinating stories.
With that in mind, I urge you to check out verses 18-31 in the previous chapter and let your mind be blown. Paul goes ham. When I think about all of these people that are receiving false gospels, or no gospel at all, I get angry. I can only imagine how Paul must've been feeling when he was writing that.
My anger only births out of sadness, because I know many are deceived. We should examine ourselves. Does our faith rest in the "wisdom of men" or the "power of God"? The power of God is the gospel. The message of Jesus Christ, crucified for our sins, so we may have eternal life. Paul took this seriously and we should too.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’" (Matthew 7:21-23 ESV)