The Distortion of Human Wisdom

1 Corinthians 1.18

Before conversion, we see the cross of Christ as the unfortunate end of a reformer-preacher. It has nothing to say to us. We trust human wisdom for life and happiness; we have no light on the soul. Here is the true meaning of that cross.

‘For the preaching of the Cross is to them that perish foolishness, but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.’

And our title is ‘The Distortion of Human Wisdom.’ Look at that word friends – ‘the preaching of the Cross is to them that perish foolishness’; it’s foolishness before we are converted to God, before we come to him, before we understand these things and are reconciled with God and know him, the preaching of the Cross of Christ is foolishness – it makes no sense to us at all. The Greek word translated ‘foolishness’ literally is ‘nothing’. The preaching of the cross is nothing; it has no value, it has no substantial content at all to us; literally, the word ‘nothing’ in Greek is derived from ‘silence’; it’s silence – nothing to say.

You know, there used to be a phrase: ‘the village idiot.’ A poor simple fellow, who never had anything to say, and he had no opinions but in any discussion or any talk it was ‘the silent one’; he had nothing to say, and that’s the idea because he had nothing – no thoughts, no depths, no great intelligence. He couldn’t react, he couldn’t form an opinion. You couldn’t put the gospel lower than that, when we’re not converted – it’s nothing, it’s worthless, it’s foolish in many ways.

Why, it’s about a man, a strange man – Jesus of Nazareth, who is said to have had remarkable powers and abilities and could command great gatherings, multitudes, when he preached and spoke – but it all came to nothing, and he was executed. It was an unfortunate and a sad end for him, and that was the end of his life, his work, whatever he may have envisaged. That’s how we look at things: it’s nothing and it’s come to nothing. But it’s nothing because we have no need of it.