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Point of Reference

    by Fred Price

"...the message of the cross is foolishness..."
Date Posted: February 23, 2024

Does that get your attention? Many in our world today believe just that, primarily because they try to understand the gospel intellectually before they will allow themselves to believe, while the gospel requires us to believe in order to understand. The message of the cross is indeed foolish to some. “…to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18

Mankind’s physical surroundings and capabilities have greatly improved since the writing of the New Testament as a consequence of advanced technologies; the human heart, however, has changed little. We still demand miraculous signs to boost our faith and a scientifically reasoned approach to the gospel that will soothe our doubts, or allow us to dismiss it entirely. ( 1 Corinthians 1:22-24) Whereas scripture continually challenges us to accept Christ as the expression of God’s power and wisdom. Christ, the mystery and means of understanding ( Hebrews 1:3), “…in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” – and our protection against deception, “…by fine-sounding arguments,…” used to refute God’s word. Colossians 2:2-4

It’s difficult for believers and unbelievers alike to fully comprehend God’s purpose and means of salvation. Paul telling us that, “Christ was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power.” 2 Corinthians 13:4 But aren’t death and life, weakness and power contradictory realities? The church’s teaching on the reality of sin and it’s call to repentance, the offer of grace and mercy coupled with a demand for holiness – God’s solution of substitution – can also be confusing; especially for those whose decisions are grounded in a worldview based on selfishness and lustful boasting. ( 1 John 2:15-17) The unregenerate foolishly exchanging the glory of God for the futility of self-fulfillment ( Romans 1:21,22), “…having a form of godliness but denying its power.” 2 Timothy 3:5

“Fools mock at making amends for sin,…” Proverbs 14:9; yet that’s what you’d expect from an unrepentant heart and an unchanged mind. They can’t understand the purposes of God because, “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, they are foolishness to him and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14,15 (See also 1 Corinthians 2:10) However, God purposefully chose the foolish things of the world – such as weakness instead of strength ( 2 Corinthians 12:10); turning the other cheek in place of striking back ( Luke 6:27-31); giving with no thought of receiving ( Luke 6:32-36) and treating others as you would want to be treated, even when they take no notice or refuse to reciprocate ( Matthew 7:12); loving not only those who love you in return but loving those you don’t know and have no emotional attachment to – but even more than that, loving your “enemies” – those who know you well enough to be aware of your short-comings and dislike you because of them or those who mis-represent you and, “…persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you.” ( Matthew 5:11 & 43) He does so to shame the self-important, self-appointed rulers of this world. ( 1 Corinthians 1:27) So, “Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he can become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.” 1 Corinthians 3:18,19 (See also 1 Corinthians 1:25) Evidenced by the Non Human Rights Projects past lawsuit, attempting to get research chimpanzees legal status changed to “legal people,” unlawfully imprisoned. Which would not only elevate an animal to at least a degree of humanity but more importantly, devalue what it means to be truly human. In the end, allowing for and excusing behavior that used to be considered “animalistic” in human beings. Further evidenced by Time Magazine’s past consideration of Miley Cyrus for Person of the Year – precisely because her outrageous behavior on and off screen has garnered so much attention and “influence.” (I’m not sure how seriously she was being considered, but the fact that she was considered at all is indeed outrageous.)

To some, the gospel of Jesus Christ may not sound particularly eloquent or even reasonable, but it is never-the-less anchored in God’s providence ( 1 Corinthians 2:2 & 1:17); the power of salvation for all who believe. ( Romans 1:16) And yet our acceptance of this gospel leaves no room for boasting – unless it be in Christ and what he has done. ( 1 Corinthians 1:30,31 & Galatians 6:14) Because, “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we have done but because of his mercy.” Titus 3:3 (See also Ephesians 2:8,9) Since then, “You (have been) taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by it’s deceitful desires, to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24 (See also Romans 1:2 & Philippians 2:5) This is done in part as, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, (taking) captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 We are further instructed to, “Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives tales, rather train yourselves to be godly.” 1 Timothy 4:7; guarding what has been entrusted to us, opposing what is falsely called knowledge by the world; which causes some to wander from the faith. ( 1 Timothy 6:20,21)

Check back next week for more on becoming “fools” for Christ.

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Biography Information:

Fred Price - married (50 years), father of two grown children, grandfather of six.

Fred retired earlier this year after 42 years as a factory worker.  He has always had a heart for young people and the challenges they face today.  Over the years Fred has taught Discipleship Groups for High School and college students.  

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