And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:1-2 (ESV)
All the divisions and varying opinions that exist today are nothing new to society. In the apostle Paul’s day there were numerous Greek philosophers of the Epicureans and Stoics who spent their time telling and hearing something new (Acts 17:18-21). The city of Corinth had a mixed population of Romans, Greeks and Jews all of whom worshiped different philosophies, gods and idols. It was the same within the religious community; there was a division among the Jews; the Pharisees and Sadducees. There were even divisions within the church that Paul founded in Corinth. There were those who were saying “I am of Paul” and others were saying “I am of Apollos” or “I am of Cephas” (Peter) and others “I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:12).
Paul was aware of the divisions in the church at Corinth and that they were boasting in their wisdom and understanding. Pride had crept in and prohibited them from dealing with the sexual immorality in the church. They were experiencing God’s grace in signs and wonders and spiritual gifts as well. However, Paul reminded the Corinthians of his main focus when he came to them; Christ crucified.
It is obvious when you read the letters to Corinthian church that Paul spoke to them of other issues in addition to the cross and Christ crucified. So, what did Paul mean when he said he decided to know nothing but Christ crucified? I believe he meant that everything he had to say he wanted to say it in relation to Christ crucified. He wanted everything he did in his ministry to reflect Christ crucified. Why? Paul wanted to ensure that the message of Christ crucified was not lost in words of eloquent wisdom and the practice of spiritual gifts.
Paul, in warning the Galatians about returning to the law once they had been saved, said, But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Galatians 6:14 ESV)
Apart from Christ crucified there is nothing we can do to neither save our souls nor perfect them. We cannot read our bibles enough, pray enough, attend enough church services or feed the poor enough to reach perfection. Paul went on to write the Corinthians concerning the cross, 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. (1 Corinthians 1:27-29 ESV)
Have you believed in Christ crucified for the forgiveness of your sins? Are you trusting in/relying on the power of Christ crucified to overcome your fleshly desires? Have you been crucified to the world and the world to you?
Scriptures for meditation:
Romans 1:16; 6:6-11
1 Corinthians 1:17-24