1 Corinthians 1:26-31
26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.
27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;
28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,
29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.
30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption —
31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”
for (v.26) — refers back to v. 25
not many (v.26 — 3x) — but a few are
according to the flesh (v.26) — based on human attainments and qualities
of the world (v.27) — in the world’s estimation
base (v.28) = ignoble, of low birth, of no value in the world’s estimation
despised (v.28) = treated with contempt
things which are not (v.28) — nonentities as far as the world is concerned
bring to nothing (v.28) — loss of well-being, not loss of being
God does not merely bear with common people; He has chosen such to be instruments of glory in His hand. God’s point in verses 26-29 is: “Most of you are ordinary people; few are from the so-called upper classes.”
This is not because the wise man is automatically deprived of salvation just because he is wise, or the mighty man for the power he wields, or the nobleman because he was born of princely parentage, any more than that the uneducated, the weak, the base, the despised, and the “nobodies” are automatically saved because they are uneducated, weak, base, despised or unrecognized. Generally the “great” shut themselves out by their pride, for such are usually the last to bow before God, acknowledging their sins and their need of Christ, and until they do, God will not have them. This was the case with the rich young ruler of our Lord’s day (Mark 10:22-23). It was also the case with “intellectual” Capernaum (Matthew 11:23, 25). — Stam, page 52.
Verse 29 is probably referring to a condition in the Corinthian church (1 Corinthians 3:21).
you (v.30) — stressed
became for us wisdom (v.30) — in contrast to vain human wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:14).
righteousness (v.30) — In Christ, believers become what God requires them to be.
sanctification (v.30) — In Christ, believers are set apart to God.
redemption (v.30) — In Christ, believers are delivered from sin and its consequences.
Verse 31 is from Jeremiah 9:23-24 and 1 Samuel 2:10 in the Septuagint. It is repeated in 2 Corinthians 10:17.
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