1 Corinthians 1:25-28
Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.…
In proof of the superiority of the gospel over human learning, the apostle points to their own knowledge of the working of the Divine power and wisdom. Two facts are adduced in proof.
I. THE UNFAVOURABLE CONDITION IN WHICH THE GOSPEL FOUND THEM, AND HOW IT MADE THEM THE SUBJECTS OF ITS POWER. The apostle divides society into two classes —
1. The one consisting of the wise, the mighty, and the well-born — the man of thought, the man of action, and the man of leisure. These three he further describes as those who "are" (ver. 28) — those who are deemed somebody, the recognised of the world; those for whose sole interest all things are deemed to exist — what would now be termed "society."
2. The other class consists of the foolish, the weak, and the base, or despised, &c. Those forming this class are further described as those which "are not." They were those who had no status, and were ignored by the world as things utterly beneath notice. Of this class were the bulk of the Corinthian believers. "For ye see your calling." Thus it will be seen that the gospel chose as the subjects of its gracious operations(l) Those whom the so-called wise, mighty, and noble utterly neglected, those who in the estimation of the world "are not."(2) Those who were incapable of helping themselves. Supposing they had been able to help themselves, society's neglect of them would not have mattered so much. Their utter helplessness is indicated by the descriptive epithets. But to such as these came the gospel. This proves its truly benevolent character, and sets it in direct contrast to the world's ways and methods. The spirit of this world is always to give where it sees the prospect of a return. The ancient gods always bestowed their favours upon those who brought to their altars the costliest sacrifices. The world follows the example of its gods. But it is the glory of the gospel that it seeks out the foolish, the weak, the base, and despised (Matthew 11:4, 5). It was a new thing in the world to supply a gospel to the poor. A gospel preached to the poor must be something more than human. God alone can afford such grace as this.
II. ITS EFFECTS UPON ITS SUBJECTS FAR TRANSCENDS THE WORLD'S HIGHEST GOOD AND MOST DESIRABLE POSSESSIONS. The world's highest good are wisdom, might, and nobility, i.e., culture, prowess, and rank. But the gospel bestows upon its subjects far higher things (ver. 30).
1. "Things that are not," i.e., without a status in the world, obtain one in Christ — one infinitely surpassing anything the world can boast of.
2. In Christ they are endowed with qualities far transcending the world's best gifts. Has the world wisdom, might, and nobility? The gospel —
(1) Endues men with a wisdom far surpassing in worth the world's highest philosophy or culture — the wisdom that makes wise unto salvation.
(2) It confers a might far surpassing in degree and nature the might of the world — the might of right.
(3) It endows with a nobility far more glorious than that of blood, the nobility of holiness. Nobility gives a right of entrance into the highest society, holiness into the heavenly society. It requires blood to give the social nobility that men prize. Similarly the spiritual nobility comes of the blood of Jesus Christ, which cleanseth from all sin. And by virtue of this we become endowed with rank. The blood is royal blood, and they who come under its influence become royally related — they become kings and priests to God His Father.
(4) They who "are not" are redeemed. This state of "being not," i.e., of being without social status, implies a state of slavery. But He Who was made for them redemption brings them freedom from the bondage and degradation of sin, a freedom far more glorious than any social one. From being slaves of sin, and ,though still slaves of men, they become, not merely free, but sons of the heavenly King.
(A. J. Parry.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.