For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God….That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glories, let him glory in the Lord. (I Cor. 1:22-24, 29-31)
Paul’s statement, “Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom,” is significant for the church today, for these represent two common substitutes FOR THE LIVING CHRIST.
On the one hand, there are SIGNS. “Signs” include emotionalism, psychic manifestations, and other supposed supernatural events that are used to “prove” that the power of the Spirit of God is present. God can certainly do miracles today, but there is a reason why Jesus said it was, “an evil and adulterous generation that seeks after signs.” He said that because people often seek after signs instead of seeking after Jesus Christ. Today many who are of the “signs” mentality have by-passed scripture in favor of experiences, indeed, have become blinded to the living Christ in favor of experiences. They focus on the power of the believer, but have forgotten that Christ is the power of God. We have forgotten that everything that God does by His Spirit glorifies Christ.
On the other hand, often those of the “wisdom” mentality generally reject all of the practical experiencing of the Living Christ — and turn Christianity into nothing more than a philosophy, or into a big theological belief system. Taken to it’s extreme, those who are of the Greek “wisdom” mentality can be blinded to Christ in favor of their intellectual understanding of the Bible, or in favor of their ability to argue their case for Christianity. They have forgotten that knowing the verse that says, “Christ, our life,” (Col. 3:4) is not equal to Him actually being one’s life.
Many of us might say that the solution to both the “signs” and “wisdom” mentality is a balance between the two. No. This is INCORRECT. Rather, the solution is the Person of the Living Christ. Note that in the passage above, Paul said, “For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But…Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”
Paul concludes by saying, “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glories, let him glory in the Lord.”
Here we see that wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption are not THINGS that God gives us — not even THINGS that God gives us because of what Christ did for us. No. Neither are they THINGS that God does TO US. God doesn’t give us THINGS or do THINGS to us. Rather, God gives us Christ IN US, in whom are all things — and out from Whom comes all that pertains to eternal life. In short, CHRIST IN US — His very Person in us — IS wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. As He is manifested through a believer then these spiritual realities are manifested through a believer — and in NO other way.
So what we see is that through the Cross of Jesus Christ all that would substitute for the Living Christ in us, and satisfy natural man — signs or wisdom — neither of these are given place any longer. Paul said, “We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to those who want a signs Christianity, and a stumbling block to those who want a wisdom Christianity. We preach Christ — the power and evidence of God — and we preach Christ, who is the wisdom of God.”
Paul is not ruling out the possibility that God would do a sign. And He certainly is not ruling out wisdom. But He is ruling out BOTH as THINGS that are apart from Christ. In short, Paul is saying that all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are found IN CHRIST. (Col. 3:2) And He is saying that Christ is the evidence of God. (I John 5:9-13)
May God gives us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Himself that we might know….that we might know Christ and what it means for all to be given to us freely in Him. (Eph. 1:16 )