Instructions for Church Unity
As we discussed last time, God’s ways are often counter-cultural and opposite of what we might expect. Therefore, it should be no surprise that His values are completely different than ours. The things and people God uses to bring Himself glory and build His kingdom are often the least likely and most commonly overlooked. However, through this, He receives greater glory and reminds us that apart from Jesus we are nothing.
In 1 Corinthians 1, Paul continues to expound on the differences between the world’s wisdom and God’s, and at the end of the chapter he gives a nugget of truth that is crucial for us to understand and embrace.
“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’”
~1 Corinthians 1:27-31
One of the reasons God uses the opposite of what we would expect is to show us how great He is and how far above He is from our ability to comprehend and understand His ways. In His plan of salvation, God used the weak, foolish, and low to accomplish His purposes to show us that we can do nothing in our own strength. In the presence of God, we cannot boast or rely on our strength, wisdom, or abilities.
However, in Jesus we have access to everything we lack. He is our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. He is our everything. On our own, we are less than nothing, but in Jesus Christ we are redeemed and set apart. Therefore, while we cannot boast in our own strength before God, we can boast with confidence in the Lord.
But what does boast mean in this passage? The Greek word used here for boast literally means “to vaunt, boast, glory, rejoice.” It carries the image of taking pride in and identifying oneself with that person or thing. Often boasting has a negative association, but boasting in the Lord is completely positive and actually something the Christian should actively engage in.
We glory, boast, and talk about the things and people we value. Therefore, the Lord should be our number one boast. The first thing we’re excited to talk about. The Person we identify with the most. And the One in which we rejoice and find our confidence and identity.
Therefore, let us remember that in our own strength we have no confidence and nothing upon which to place our trust and glory, but in Jesus Christ we find all that we lack. So let us boast confidently in the Lord and praise Him for the gifts of salvation, love, and righteousness He has freely given us!