DAILY DEVOTIONS: "WE ALL MUST START WITH GRACE" -Bob Caldwell


DAILY DEVOTIONS
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"Honoring God in the Morning"





POISON OF PRIDE
READING FROM: 
 1 Corinthians 1:18-31
KEY VERSE:
“that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord. ’” –1 Corinthians 1:31


Throughout this letter, Paul pleads with these Corinthian believers to turn their focus away from seeing Christianity as a means for personal exaltation. It is Paul’s sincere desire that a genuine relationship with Christ will compel them to live to bring glory to Him—the One Paul loves.

Paul begins his teaching by showing that all believers are equally given the full benefits of salvation in God. Also, they are all equally sanctified and called to be saints (a reference to being set apart to God for holy use). Paul then goes on to remind them that God, by His unmerited grace toward them, enriches them all equally in countless ways. Paul’s goal was to renew the minds of many who falsely glorified themselves as better and more spiritual than others.

Sadly, they did not see believers as all being fundamentally equal before God. They saw themselves as superior to others based on their identification with a specific teacher. Paul refers to Peter, Apollos, and himself as men who did not glory in themselves even though many of these immature believers took pride in being identified specifically with one of them. 

He reminds these Corinthian believers that when Christ called them it had nothing to do with their superiority to others or identification with a particular teacher. It was just the opposite. He reminds them that, spiritually speaking, they had been considered foolish and weak, and would still be that way apart from what Christ had done to change them.

The carnal desire to elevate ourselves above others by identifying with a noted leader who, for whatever reason, is considered superior to other teachers remains very common. We love to glory in man. This is especially true if we think our identification with a person or movement elevates us above others. 

The poison of pride is the greatest evil among humanity. It is one of the most common battlefields for Christians. Pride is deeply rooted in our fallen nature, which fosters self-idolatry, and is itself rooted in Satan. Remember it was Satan who placed the seed of self-idolatry in Adam and Eve.

Satan knows the intoxicating power of pride. It is often his best weapon in destroying anyone who is found “enriched in everything” by God’s grace. He simply tempts us to take pride in these riches as if they were based on our own unique and special spirituality. 

Nothing could be further from the truth. The only reason we have been enriched is because we are all equally spiritually bankrupt. A lie of darkness feeds the delusion that our superior, spiritual qualities drew God to us. It is not true. He is drawn to us because of His glorious grace. Hear the warning at the end of this chapter loud and clear, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”

BIBLE READING

1 CORINTHIANS 1:18-31

CHRIST THE POWER AND WISDOM OF GOD

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.19 For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”
20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

GLORY ONLY IN THE LORD

26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— 31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”

VERSE-BY-VERSE STUDY NOTES

1 CORINTHIANS 1

CHRIST THE POWER AND WISDOM OF GOD (VERSES 18-25)

v. 18 Cross is Foolishness - This is the perception of those who reject Christ in the Greek culture, and many cultures ever since have rejected Christ for the same reason. This is a very humbling message. Those who perceive themselves as philosophical or intelligent find the cross foolish because it declares that all people are too sinful to save themselves from judgment. Their elevated sense of self, obtained through their wisdom, is of no saving virtue when it comes to their guilt before God for their sin.
v. 19 Destroy the Wisdom - Paul quotes Isaiah 29:14 as a evidence for God dismissing man’s hopes of being worthy of heaven because of the various systems of thought.
v. 21 Wisdom did not - Paul exposes the weakness of man’s various attempts to approach God without humbly accepting His own prescribed way found in the gospel.
v. 22 Jew Require a Sign - This was often seen during Jesus’ public ministry. However, whatever signs Jesus performed to reveal His deity were simply rationalized away and replaced with requests for further proof (John 9:9, Matt. 12:38-40).
Greeks Seek After Wisdom - This endless pursuit of intellectual and philosophical novelty was a primary trait in the Greek culture (Acts 17:21).
v. 23 Stumbling Block - Jesus was someone the Jews could not come to terms with because they had always expected a political and military Messiah, not one who would come first as a sacrifice to save mankind from their sins. They wanted a salvation that resulted in freedom from the Roman occupation. They could not accept that the Kingdom of the Messiah would not be set up until His second coming as outlined in the book of Revelation.
v. 25 Wiser than Men - Paul points out that even if the gospel did seem in some way foolish to man, God’s most foolish truth would be far wiser than man’s most elevated concepts.
Wisdom - The effective and fruitful wisdom of God is the privilege of every believer. It completely eclipses the wisdom of man because it is related to both the physical and spiritual world (Eph. 1:17, 2 Pet. 3:18).
Righteousness -  Righteousness contains two elements. First, it is the gift of being declared right before God (2 Cor. 5:21, Phil. 3:9). Secondly, it is a progressive life of expressing that righteousness until we see Him face to face.
Sanctification - This means to be set apart for God. This is an act of God in Christ where the believer is God’s property. The proper response is to become a living expression of sanctification to be used by God.
Redemption - This means to buy something back. Christ’s blood has paid the price for our sins, and it redeems us from the power and punishment for sin (Eph. 1:4, 1 Pet. 1:18-19).

GLORY ONLY IN THE LORD (VERSES 26-31)

v. 26 Not Many Wise - Paul points out the fact that the majority of those who had experienced the blessings of the gospel had done so because they did not have strong barriers. Intellectual pride, family nobility, financial status, and political power tended to prevent many people from receiving the gospel. However, this does not mean people from these backgrounds never accepted Christ. Even in Corinth some such people received Christ. These include people like Sosthenes (Acts 18:8, Cor. 1:10), the rich Gaius (Rom. 16:23), and the Chancellor of Corinth Erastus (Rom. 16:23).
v. 29 No Flesh Should Glory - Paul points out that one of the main reasons God chose to use the lowly, weak, and despised of this world is so that man would not use Christianity simply as another way to express its prideful desire to share in the glory that is due only to God.
v. 30 In Christ Jesus - This makes clear that the wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption that is the experience of every believer in the gospel is rooted in Christ, not ourselves.
v. 31 Glory in the Lord - Seeing the provision of salvation solely in Christ and  results in glorify God alone, not ourselves. This becomes a wonderful directing influence upon mankind to look to God for the good He has done for each one of His children.

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