Boasting in the Cross
Although we come from lowliness, God raises us up to shame the proud.
Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord."
Before we dive into this passage, let's focus on Paul's last phrase: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." He's drawing from an important couple of verses in Jeremiah 9. These verses are significant in our discussion this morning. Paul only quotes part of this passage, but he's really thinking about it all.
This is what the Lord says: "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the Lord (Jer. 9:23-24).
There are three emphases in this passage. First, God talks about three kinds of people, and we'll hear about them in the Corinthians text. Second, you can't miss the word boast all over these verses, and Paul is using this language in his own reflections. Third, notice what we are to boast about—"that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, ...
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Lee Eclov is pastor of Village Church of Lincolnshire in Lake Forest, Illinois and author of Pastoral Graces: Reflections on the Care of Souls (Moody Publishers). Eclov also leads a gathering of pastors for mutual support and learning called Pastors' Gatherings. To find out more about these Gatherings visit his site www.leeeclov.com.