GOD’S ELECT – LOSERS BY THE WORLD’S STANDARDS

26Consider your calling, brothers and sisters, that there were not many wise by human standards, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and GOD HAS CHOSEN THE WEAK THINGS OF THE WORLD TO SHAME THE THINGS WHICH ARE STRONG, 28 AND THE INSIGNIFICANT THINGS OF THE WORLD AND THE DESPISED GOD HAS CHOSEN, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29 so that no human may boast before God. 30 FOR IT IS DUE TO GOD THAT YOU ARE IN CHRIST JESUS, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness, sanctification and redemption 31 so that, just as it is written: “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1Cor1:26-31)

I referred to this passage when considering Romans 8 and the doctrine of election: i.e. that “those whom God foreknew, He predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers;and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified (Rom8:29-30). The apostle is saying much the same in this opening chapter of 1Corithians. Here he is emphasizing that the wisdom, righteousness and sanctification the Christian obtains is because he or she is in Christ. These qualities are not imputed to us as some believe with regard to righteousness (we could hardly possess God’s own wisdom either), it is that Christ has become the source and resource by which these qualities are nurtured as the Christian participates in His life (Rom5:10). Yet again Paul puts paid to the idea that God wishes all humanity to come to Christian salvation or that man by nature has any ability to do so: “for it is due to God that you are in Christ Jesus (v30; cf. Jn6:44). So whilst our Heavenly Father loves and desires the wellbeing of humanity as a whole (1Tim2:4), He does not intend that all should marry His Son (Rev19:7).

But what of these children of God that the Father has given to His Son (Jn17:6 nota bene)? As I previously observed, by the world’s standard, God’s elect are a bunch of losers (vv26-28 of our passage). Losers indeed, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; but WHOEVER LOSES HIS LIFE FOR MY SAKE will find it” (Mt16:25). God is fair to all: those destined for unimaginable glory as Christ’s eternal Escort are in the meantime required to lose their very lives and what they might have wished for them in worldly terms – so that they might faithfully serve Christ. If only the mighty glory-seekers of this world were aware of what they were going to be missing in the ages to come (cf. Mt19:29-30).  That is why certain inessential mysteries of the Kingdom have been veiled through much of the gospel age even from the Church: so that the rich, the mighty, the proud and the glory-hunters might be detracted by the shame of the cross of Christ and humble cruciform service as His disciples; whilst the humble, the gentle, the poor in spirit and in material possessions who are rich in faith will be the true inheritors of the Kingdom and the Earth. Such is the wisdom of God.