Paul’s opening chapter is pretty encouraging, but also pretty humbling. He’s getting ready to deal with some problems in the Corinthian church, but first he wants to remind his readers about who they are and what they have. They have the gospel, which is “foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is God’s power to us who are being saved” (1:18). As for themselves, they are not those who would be called wise or noble or particularly significant. Yet, “God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong” (1:27). And they are in Christ. And in him they have righteousness and sanctification and redemption. And they can boast in the Lord.
I guess the world will never understand Christians. We have something they do not have. And we have become something that they are not. That’s not to brag or to suggest that, somehow or other, we are wiser or stronger or such. But it is to acknowledge the reality that a great gulf exists between those who believe and those who do not. Even Paul came to the Corinthians, not with brilliance of speech or wisdom; he came to them in weakness and in fear and in much trembling (2:3). But he preached “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (2:2). Jesus really does make all the difference in the world!
Paul explains: “We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. But the unbeliever does not welcome what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually. . . . But we have the mind of Christ” (2:13-16). I’ll say it again, Jesus really does make all the difference in the world!
The church’s one foundation
is Jesus Christ, her Lord;
she is His new creation,
by water and the word.
From heav’n He came and sought her
to be His holy bride;
with His own blood He bought her,
and for her life He died.
Elect from every nation,
yet one o’er all the earth,
her charter of salvation:
one Lord, one faith, one birth.
One holy name she blesses,
partakes one holy food,
and to one hope she presses,
with every grace endued. -- S. J. Stone (1866)