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 and in our lives!
O Word of God incarnate,
O Wisdom from on high,
O Truth unchanged, unchanging,
O Light of our dark sky,
we praise thee for the radiance
that from the hallowed page,
a lantern to our footsteps,
shines on from age to age. -- William Walsham How (1867)