2004-12-21 - The Foolishness of Christ
Ephesians 1:9, "He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him."
I have not given the context of the verse here, but we have to take this verse in the context in which it sits, or it makes no sense.
First, let's look at the three doctrines we should gain from this verse:
We have to remind ourselves that this passage we are working through is a passage on salvation. So the mysteries spoken of in this verse are the mysteries of salvation. The mystery of the Gospel is that it is foolishness to those who don't understand it. In some measure, it is foolishness to those of us who do understand it. I would like to look into these two foolish issues today, starting with the second.
The Gospel is foolishness to believers. It is not foolishness because we don't understand it, but rather it is foolishness because we do understand it and believe it. A believer has a grasp of the seriousness of sin, his/her need for forgiveness, but also the realization that many, maybe most, are not saved. Knowing our sin, it seems foolish that we, out of so many that are not saved, are saved. The Gospel is plain. You know your sin, and Christ has paid the penalty for that sin. Trust in His sacrifice, and ask forgiveness.
For the Christian, that is not where the mystery exists. The mystery is "why us?" Why us and not so-and-so? We are not smarter than those who don't believe. We are not better people than those who don't beleive. We are all sinners. It seems foolish that God would have mercy on us and pass others over. But a believer is freed from the debt of sin, and the unbeliever is not. Thus the Gospel is foolishness to the believer. We can't answer the question "why us and not others." It is a mystery.
The Gospel is also foolishness to the unbeliever. The smartest people often can't get past the simplicity of the offer of salvation. As stated above, the Gospel offer is simple. Children can grasp and understand their need for Christ, but its very simplicity causes many to view it as foolish. Many who are wise or gifted in other things just can't get past the simplicity of the message of salvation. "For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God," 1 Corinthians 1:18. This is another way the message of the Gospel is a mystery. It is foolishness to those who are perishing.
Soli Deo Gloria,