Reading for Tuesday, Aug 28: 1 Cor 2
Paul continues to hammer away at the centrality of the cross: “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified,” (v2). This is more than a template for his preaching ministry; for Paul, the cross holds the key to life itself. Paul’s vision is cruciform, that his entire being would be conformed to the image of the cross. He understands that this sort of existence appears as weakness to the worldly, but he insists that our faith rest not in “the wisdom of men but in the power of God,” (v5). And as Paul will remind us, God’s power is most profoundly demonstrated through weakness.
How is that some receive this Gospel for the “Good News” it is while others reject it as foolishness? Paul helps us understand the spiritual “players” involved in this process as well: “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God,” (v12). Through faith, God mediates His own Spirit to us, countering the wisdom of the world and “interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual,” (v13). It’s as if the Spirit equips us with new lenses, replacing our old way of seeing through “worldly” eyes with a deeper level of vision, one of true clarity and spiritual insight. Lest we should boast, we remember this is all grace, the complete gift of God.
But this leads to yet another gift that Paul mentions at the end of the chapter. The Spirit works to bring discernment, yet the “natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him” (v14). Blessed with the Spirit of God, the believer’s mind is also conformed, culminating in this glorious statement: “But we have the mind of Christ,” (v16). Even our thought life is capable of being redeemed, transformed by the Spirit’s work to form us into the image of Christ. We’re reminded that this mind is one focused on humility, service, and obedience (Phil. 2:5-11). This is the mind Paul desires for us (Phil. 2:5). And this is the mind for which we strive.
A mind formed around the cross.