Lucia's Blog: HEAVENLY WISDOM VERSUS EARTHLY WISDOM
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Friday, June 9, 2017

HEAVENLY WISDOM VERSUS EARTHLY WISDOM

"Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom... The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy... " 
James 3:13-18


Some of the smartest people are the dumbest in the most important matters on this earth. Education and intelligence will not do us any good if we are too foolish to see the obvious. One such matter is the wisdom of God. If He was wise enough to create the heavens and the earth, is it not reasonable that He is wiser than the wisest of men? Let's think for a moment about the differences between conventional wisdom, that of smart men, and the wisdom of God's Word.

Everything in life is vanity without God's wisdom in our lives.  Earthly wisdom, the pleasure of the eyes, physical labor and riches are all worthless without proper communion with God, our Creator.
"Wisdom along with an inheritance is good and an advantage to those who see the sun.  12 For wisdom is protection just as money is protection, but the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the lives of its possessors."  (Eccl. 7:11-12). 
God's wisdom is the excellence of knowledge and those who have it have life.  Wisdom is far superior in that it gives life and protection to the one who possesses it.  God's wisdom sets the standard of morality and man can never change it or modify it, (Isa. 5:20).  No matter how he might attempt to justify his sinful behavior or conduct by making it acceptable, (trying to straighten what God has declared as crooked), it will always be wrong and sinful before God.  Earthly wisdom is vanity.  In Ecclesiastes 1:12-18, Solomon writes about the futility of human wisdom and how most men seek it without God in the picture.  The wisdom of the world leads men to their grave.  The grave is precisely where most fools end up.  Human wisdom often increases suffering.
"I, the Preacher, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I set my mind to seek and explore by wisdom concerning all that has been done under heaven. It is a grievous task which God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with. 14 I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind. 15 What is crooked cannot be straightened and what is lacking cannot be counted.  16 I said to myself, 'Behold, I have magnified and increased wisdom more than all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has observed a wealth of wisdom and knowledge.' 17 And I set my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly; I realized that this also is striving after wind. 18 Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain.'"

The Book of Proverbs is full of godly wisdom.  As I read through the book, I notice how the wise men contrast wisdom and folly.  Folly (foolishness), according to the writers, is loud, seductive (simpleness) and knows nothing, (Proverbs 9:13). She entices those who are naive (simple), (Prov. 9:16). She lies about what she's offering without revealing her real purpose, which is the way that leads to death, (Prov. 9:17-18). On the other hand, wisdom is calling out, crying out (Prov. 8:1-3), proclaiming righteousness (8:8), instead of deceiving everyone with temporary pleasures.  Wisdom offers understanding, knowledge, and instruction. She is more valuable than silver, gold, and jewels; nothing can measure up to her. Instead of death, she says, "For by me your days will be multiplied, and years of life will be added to you."  (Prov. 9:11). The world's wisdom leaves men empty with no answers, (Ecclesiastes 1:16-18). God's eternal wisdom in Jesus fills us with hope. In Him, we live and love with meaning when we seek after Him. In Him not only do we find purpose and meaning, but also a renewed and restored hope.   

In Proverbs 12:15 we read that “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.”  As I look around me, I notice that there a lot of people who are fools in their beliefs. That is especially so because they see themselves as wise when in reality they're fools.  In the Bible, the word “fool” and its plural “fools” is found 113 times.  In the New Testament, there are eight different words translated “fool, foolish, foolishly or foolishness.”  It speaks of those who are “without reason,” "without understanding," “dull, sluggish; hence stupid, foolish,” “without discernment,” “to make foolish,” “to be deranged,” “foolishness,” and senselessness.”  (Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, pp. 453, 454).

Indeed, the apostle Paul dealt with this kind of fool at Corinth. They saw themselves as “wise” when in fact they were fools, (1 Cor. 1:20-25).  The Word of God calls some people fools, because of their choices and conduct or behavior.  A fool is “a person lacking in judgment or prudence, wisdom.”  It is one whose choices and behavior reflect a lack of sound, righteous judgment and wisdom.  It is not one who is imbecile, idiot, stupid, simpleton or dimwit.  On the other hand, the wise according to God is the one who abounds in real knowledge and all discernment, so that he can approve the things that are excellent, “to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; 11 having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:9-11).

According to God, he who is a wise man is one who fears Him, (Prov. 1:7); wins souls, (Prov. 11:30); hears counsel, instruction, and correction, (Prov. 12:15); is cautious and turns away from evil rather than being arrogant and careless as fools do, (Prov. 14:16).  


I.  WHO IS A WISE MAN ACCORDING TO JESUS:

A wise man is he who hears His words and does them or acts on them, (Matt. 7:24-27).  
Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” 
Those who reject the doctrines of Jesus are foolish.  According to Thayer's Greek Lexicon, the word “foolish” is equivalent to without learning or erudition, 1 Corinthians 1:27; 1 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Corinthians 4:10; imprudent, without forethought or wisdom, Matthew 7:26; Matthew 23:17, 19 (see above); Matthew 25:2f, 8; equivalent to empty, useless, 2 Timothy 2:23; Titus 3:9; equivalent to impious, godless.  Those who reject the teachings of Christ have their own way of reasoning to justify not obeying Him.  They think they're wise, but Christ calls them foolish men.  In the parable of the virgins, (Matthew 25:1-13), there were “ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.”  They were expected to be prepared and ready to go out to meet the bridegroom when His approach was announced.  Those virgins represent those in God's kingdom who are pure, 1 John 3:3.  The “lamps” were small earthenware vessels with flaxen wicks.  They represent the Christians' faithfulness, (Matt. 5:16).  The ten virgins in this parable represent Christians.  Jesus' message in this parable is the necessity of preparedness.  

According to verse two, there were wise and foolish Christians in God's kingdom, (2 Cor. 13:5). The foolish virgins brought their lamps without extra oil.  They were foolish because they should have brought the extra oil for their lamps in a separate vessel.  They did not know the time when the groom would come.  Though all the virgins made some preparation, in fact, these foolish virgins did not prepare enough.  You see, the wise virgins brought extra oil in a separate vessel and were prepared for a delay.  In this parable, the additional oil represents the active, living faith of Christians, (Eph. 2:10; James 2:14ff).  It is their perseverance and active living faith!  Those who strive to make their election sure are the wise ones, (2 Pet. 1:10).  Jesus says that those who are not prepared are foolish.  

The natural man who seeks the foolish wisdom of this earth says that such preparedness is useless and not essential.  Those who only care about earthly pleasures, (Matt. 24:38-39) are but fools because they do not make any preparation to receive the groom, Jesus our Lord (at His second coming, Judgment Day) to avoid eternal punishment, (1 Thess. 5:1-3).  Those who seek human wisdom believe that their beliefs, religious tactics, and practices are better than the teachings or doctrines of Christ.  But what is their end?  Destruction!  The Pharisees and Scribes of Jesus' time exalted themselves as wiser and well known for their Jewish religion and traditions, but in reality, how were they?  Jesus called them, “You blind fools!”  They were blind fools for rejecting Jesus and wanting to follow their own traditions or teachings.  In Matthew 23, Jesus calls them “hypocrites” seven times.  You see, worldly wisdom produces hypocrites.  Hearing is useless unless it is followed by obedience, (James 1:22-25).  He who hears the warning call but fails to heed it shows a lack of wisdom in his actions.  Likewise, he who does not prepare himself for judgment is a fool though he thinks himself wise.


II.   WHO IS WISE AND FOOLISH ACCORDING TO THE APOSTLE PAUL:

According to Paul he who obtains his wisdom from the Sacred Scriptures, (2 Tim. 3:15).  The wise man watches carefully how he walks, making the best use of his time here on earth because the days are evil, (Eph. 5:15-16).  Paul describes fools as those who do not honor God and whose hearts are darkened by their futile thinking (empty and vain).   He then goes on to talk about their corruption or degeneration.  Their human reasoning did nothing good in their lives, but rather it encouraged self-indulgence of every kind, (Romans 1:24-32).


III.   THE WISDOM OF GOD VERSUS THE WISDOM OF MEN:
  • The Gospel is God's Wisdom:
"For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.'  20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.  26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, 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 base 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 man may boast before God. 30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”  (1 Corinthians 1:18-31)


God's wisdom is the Gospel, the word of the cross, (v. 18).  The apostle Paul was writing about how he preached to the Corinthians. He did not preach to them with lofty speech or wisdom, humanly persuasive words of wisdom, but rather he came to them in weakness, fear and trembling along with power and revelation of the Spirit so that their faith would not be based on human wisdom but on the power of God alone.  The message that the apostles proclaimed is God's wisdom, (1 Cor. 2:6-9). 

"Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; 7 but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; 8 the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; 9 but just as it is written, 'Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him.”  10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.  14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. 16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.”  (1 Corinthians 2:6-16).

Paul spoke wisdom among those who were mature.  When Paul was speaking in 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 as “we,” he did not include himself with the Corinthians as imparting wisdom for in 1 Corinthians 3:1, he calls these Corinthians immature (spiritually) and infants in Christ.  In 1 Corinthians 4:6 he later identifies who the “we” are:  Paul and Apollos.  Remember that these Corinthians were dividing over which apostle or messenger of God had taught them (Paul, Apollos or Peter).  So, the “we” in this context is speaking of those apostles and preachers who came to them.  Paul explains who they are and what they had done.  Therefore, the apostles and those who preach and teach the gospel are indeed imparting wisdom, but are doing it in a manner that is not recognized by the world or respected as human wisdom.  Those who believe will indeed recognize that what is taught to them is the wisdom of God.  Paul calls such believers “mature” because they can grasp the message that is proclaimed to them as wise and mature.  The Corinthians thought the proclaimed message was immature.  The mature will understand that the message that is being imparted is God's wisdom.  The apostles' message of wisdom is not the message of the earthly.  Those who willingly accept God's message of wisdom do not live according to the world's ways.  “For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked will perish.”  (Psalm 1:6).  Thus, the apostles and those who preach and teach the Gospel speak God's hidden wisdom which is nothing more than the message of the cross.  God's wisdom was hidden for a long time but was being revealed through the cross.  In Romans 16:25-27, Paul explains this idea well.
Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, 26 but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; 27 to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.”
Though the prophets spoke about the wisdom of God, no one understood these messages until God did it.  The apostles proclaimed the hidden wisdom of God “which God predestined before the ages to our glory.”  God did this for us!  But the rulers and authorities could not guess or even dream what was on God’s mind, this revealed message.  The world (human wisdom and philosophy) did not understand what God was doing for our glory.  Human wisdom and philosophy along with their worldviews cannot comprehend the things of God.  The main point here is that no human can understand the wisdom of God or His plans using their own power, knowledge, reasoning or thinking. They cannot figure it out on their own!  Paul quotes, Isaiah 64:4 and 65:17 in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “but just as it is written, 'Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him.'"  Paul makes the Corinthians aware that they were not so smart, neither were they so mature.  And though the world may boast on their values, culture, worldview and human wisdom or philosophy, they still can't understand God or what He has done for them.  Nothing they do out of their own will or knowledge can bring or draw anyone closer to the throne of God even, regardless of their claims.  The Gospel message that the apostles proclaimed is the wisdom of God that every man can and must come to know and understand.  

In 1 Corinthians 2:10-16, God's wisdom is revealed through the Spirit who knows the depths and wisdom of God.  And no human can reach that wisdom on own power, knowledge or skills.  Paul proves this point in verse 11.  No one knows the thoughts of another person unless that person reveals them to them.  In the same way, “the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.” Only God knows His own thoughts.  Therefore, man must have the Spirit of God to know God's thoughts.  It will be impossible for any human being to know or understand God, His ways and thoughts simply by one searching within himself.  No human wisdom can help.  The Spirit of God is the agent who can bring this required revelation.  The spirit that the apostles had was not the spirit of this world. They were given the Spirit of God that they might understand the message that was revealed to them. They were not teaching human wisdom, (2:13) but God's spiritual truths that were taught to them by the Spirit Himself.  The apostles express spiritual truths revealed in the Spirit's Words.  I don't see any other way to divine wisdom and knowing God.

You see, the natural man does not accept what the Spirit of God teaches because such divine truths are but foolishness to him, (1 Cor. 1:18-25 and 2:10-13).  They are not able to understand or accept the apostles' teaching, doctrines because they are prejudiced against spiritual things and refuse to accept them.  They do not care or desire to know the wisdom of God because of their foolishness, self-indulgence, self-centeredness and focusing on themselves.  On the other hand, the spiritual man listens to the apostles' words and teaching and judges the apostles' words.  Those who walk according to the Spirit can discern these truths.  They are not going to be judged by their worldly thinking and wisdom.  Those without the Spirit of God cannot understand or judge the spiritual one. For they have the Spirit of God and speak the wisdom of God, whether they like it, accept it or won't.  The apostles revealed the Spirit’s Words that we might understand the mind of God, (Eph. 3:3-5).

The world is constantly criticizing Christians for being ignorant, narrow-minded and incapable of understanding. They do so because they believe in worldly wisdom and not in God's wisdom.  As Christians, it would be foolish to exalt their worldly perspective as the Corinthians did.
  • Christ, The Power, and Wisdom of God:

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.'  20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men."  (1 Cor. 1:18-25).

The apostle Paul states that the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but that it is the power of God to those who are being saved, (1 Cor. 1:18).  By the way, Paul is quoting this Scripture from Isaiah 29:14.  Isaiah 29:11-14 describes a people who did not desire to know God.  They drew near to Him with their lips, but their hearts were far from Him, (29:13).  God was going to destroy the wisdom of the wise and thwart the discernment of the discerning.  The message of the cross is God's way of doing what He has promised He will do.  Through the message of the cross, God was going to destroy all human wisdom and pretensions.  This is a focal point in the Scriptures. God will indeed destroy everything that mankind depends upon for strength and wisdom so that they will have to rely on the only true God for their salvation.  Man's problem is that he thinks he can outsmart God because he is self-centered and self-glorifying.  The Gospel is not just some good advice or good news about God's power, but rather it is His power to those who believe in Him. God has destroyed all human arrogance through the Gospel, the cross.  

In Corinth, wisdom was human philosophy and worldview that tried to make sense of life.  According to them, the wise man was one who adopted and defended one of many competing worldviews by articulating them.  Not much has changed in our culture today.  Scholars, talk show hosts, and many others claim to be wise or wiser by supporting their own worldviews.  They openly claim to make sense of life, death, and the universe.  Like the Greeks of Paul's time, there are many today who believe they are in control of life.  Did the “wise men” of this world discern God's plan of redemption?  Did they figure out that the cross was and is the only way to salvation?  Even the best public philosophers and most excellent rhetorical speakers of Paul's time did not understand the cross. No matter their brilliant oratorical performance, none was able to comprehend the cross by his own abilities and so it is today.  For everything the world values is brought to nothing before the cross!!  God has made the wisdom of this world, and all that they value, to be deemed foolish.  God made the wisdom of the world foolish for it does not bring knowledge, nor does it draw any man closer to God. Indeed, this is a great truth!  Everything that the world teaches as “spirituality” or drawing man closer to what they call divine is false.  Nothing in their worldly wisdom can come close to God's wisdom.  Holding any specific worldview or human philosophy cannot draw man to God.  Those who emphasize spirituality, utilizing health, saving the planet, being tolerant or whatever worldly tactics cannot bring them to the knowledge of God, their Creator.  The wisdom of the world is idolatrous.  God must be the center, our Rock, our help, our anchor, our confidence and not something else that's outside of God's realm and Word.

For the Jews, the Gospel was a stumbling block.  The Jews demanded signs, (1 Cor. 1:22-25).  The Jews of Jesus' day demanded that He perform signs, (Matt. 12:38-39; 16:1; John 4:48; 6:26).  By demanding signs, they were putting themselves in the driver's seat.  Jesus would not yield to their requests because it would have turned Him into nothing more than a performer on demand.  Nothing has changed today.  Many reject God because they demand that He do something for them as a condition to obey Him.  “God must heal my marriage, my wife or child so that I can follow Jesus.”  

The Greeks sought wisdom.  Like the Greeks, we have many today who believe that because they are scholars, scientific, compelling and philosophical, God has to do something for them, before they follow Him.  For if God exists, He must fit into the philosophical worldviews and way of reasoning of their thinking.  They are self-centered for they will determine God's existence if he fits their worldview of life and expectations.  Paul preached Christ crucified which was the biggest problem for both people, (1:23).  The message of the cross was a stumbling block to both the Jews and the Gentiles.  For the Jews, the Gospel was foolishness for they could not understand how God's Messiah was crucified.  Jesus did not meet their conditions and expectations for the Messiah.  For the Gentiles, Jesus could not be Savior who was crucified as a hero.  So, Jesus did not fit their philosophical worldview, for it was complete foolishness for a Savior to be killed through capital punishment by any government.  But for those who are the called, Christians, the cross (Christ crucified) is the power of God and His wisdom, (v. 24).  

Many Corinthians accepted the wisdom of God (salvation through the cross of Christ).  Christ is the answer for both groups.  The Jews demanded a sign, so God gave them Jesus and His resurrection.  The power of God was displayed through the cross of Jesus our Lord and Savior.  The Greeks demanded wisdom, so they were given Christ, who is the wisdom of God on full display.  The cross of Christ is God's breathtaking display of wisdom.  For the unbelievers (the world) God's wisdom was and still is foolishness because it does not go along with human wisdom (Greek philosophies).  They cannot grasp the meaning of the cross! Paul explains that the wisdom of men did not help people to know God.  Therefore, God made foolish the wisdom of men by revealing to man true wisdom, salvation through Christ.  The power of the Gospel does not have intellectual reasoning according to human wisdom.  Likewise, it does not harmonize with their concepts and philosophies of what comprises wisdom (like that of the Greeks). No matter how much men call the Gospel madness or foolishness, it is still the wisdom of God and His power to save those who choose to believe in Him, (Rom. 1:16).  God proves to be better and greater than human wisdom.  And what the world describes as hopeless weakness, God declares as being stronger than any human strength or wisdom, (1:25).


IV.    THE WISDOM OF THE WORLD REJECTS THE IRREFUTABLE EVIDENCE OF GOD'S CREATION:

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power, and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”  (Romans 1:20).

The fact that one is alive and breathing is plenty of evidence that there is a Supreme God who created the whole universe and everything in it.  Therefore, all humanity must be compelled to worship and serve Him according to God's divine will revealed in His Sacred Scriptures.  The Bible from cover to cover, claims that God created all things in nature, heavenly bodies, plants, animals and men,(Genesis 1:1,3,9,11,20,24,26; Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 8:3-9; 86:8-10; 95:1-7;100:3; 96:1-10; 148:3-5; 1 Chronicles 16:25-36; 2 Kings 19:15; Isaiah 37:16; 17:17; 40:25-28; 42:5-9;45:18; Jeremiah 10:11-12; 32:17; 14:22; 51:15-19; John 1:1-3, 14; Acts 4:24; 14:15; 17:24-29; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Cor. 6:16; 1 Thess. 1:9; Colossians 1:16-17; 1 Timothy 6:13;   Hebrews 11:3; 12:9; Rev. 10:6, etc.).  The only explanation for the existence of all things created is that a Supreme God created them.  God's creation proves that He exists and that He is the true God.  No other god can be true unless he is the only God and Creator of all.  Everything proves that He is the Creator of the heaven of heavens with all their hosts, the earth and everything in it.  Thus, all humanity is obligated to worship Him for He alone is God and there is none like Him among the gods.  He is the great God and King of all gods.  He made us and not ourselves. We did not make Him.  He is the Maker and has established all His creation.  In the New Testament, all His disciples raised their voices to confirm that He is the God who made the heavens, the sea and the earth and all that is in them.  He is the true God who created the world and gives us life.

In Acts 14:15-17, Paul exhorts the people of Lystra toturn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 16 In the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways; 17 and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.”  Paul taught these people who worshiped idols to turn from those useless, vain things to the living God, who made the earth, the sea and all things that are in them.  In Acts 17:24-29, Paul taught the philosophers of Athens, idol worshippers that they should stop worshipping idols of gold or silver and seek the true God “and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for in him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ' For we are indeed his offspring.’ who rules the heavens and the earth and gives us life.'”    

In Romans 1:20 the things that God made prove His existence and reveal His power, His wisdom and His Godhead.  Those who fail to recognize Him as God and Creator of all, are without excuse.  Moreover, those who reject these truths will fall deeper and deeper into error and will definitely be rejected by their Creator, (Romans 1:18-32).  Thus, those who promote human wisdom reject the evidence given in Romans 1:18-32.   They reflect rebellion against the established facts of God's creation.  In both the New Testament and Old Testament, we can find enough evidence that proves the existence of the true God.  The true God created the heavens and the earth.  No other god could have made them but the living God.  The universe confirms the truth of God's creation.  We can see that when we observe the universe.  Therefore, there must be a God who exists and created the universe.  A lesser god could have never done what the all powerful and all wise God did.  Likewise, there can be no other system of true religion unless it worships that all powerful and all wise Creator. 

Therefore, the Creator and Designer must be the true and living God. So if the God of the Bible truly created everything, the worship of all false gods is idolatry and is evil.  Creation proves God's eternal existence.  All things were made by Him (Jesus), and He is before all things.  Clearly, if God made all things, He must have existed before He created all things.  He is the everlasting God who created the ends of the earth.  He lives forever and ever.  Again, any god that is less than eternal cannot be true God.  No religious system can be true if it worships any god that is not eternal.  The true God is the only living source of all life.  So, creation proves that God must be alive since we are His offspring.  He gave us life.  Creation demonstrates God's ultimate power, for He created the universe.  There is no human or physical power that is capable of creating such a great universe. Again, no god can be the true God unless he is infinitely powerful.  Only infinite power could have created the vast universe that we are beginning to know.  Creation proves God's infinite wisdom.  No human wisdom is capable of creating the universe.  Again, no god can be the true God unless he is infinitely wise and no other religious system can be true if it worships a god that is not infinitely wise.  The universe belongs to God for He made it.  Creation proves God's control over it for He made it and has every right and power to control it and do as He pleases.  Since He is the Creator of all, He rules as Lord over it.  Therefore, all humanity is compelled to worship the Creator for He is worthy of man's worship.  No other gods are as powerful or wise as God for they cannot do God's marvelous works.  The Sacred Scriptures repeatedly argue for and support the existence of God. Period!
  • So, who is truly a fool?
  1. A fool is one who says there is no God, (Psalm 14:1, 53:1).  
  2. He thinks he is wise.  He willfully ignores the evidence of God's wisdom and power, (Romans 1:19;21; cf. Psa. 92:6).  
  3. He accepts the wisdom of unbelievers, (Col. 2:8).  
  4. He refuses to acknowledge God's Truth, (Acts 17:22-23, 32).  
  5. He trusts in his own heart though he thinks he is wise, (Prov. 12:15).  
  6. He does not control himself, his tongue, his speech, his emotions, the desires of his flesh. 
  7. He destroys the souls of his family, friends, etc.  (Prov. 19:1;10:8;10:18;12:16;27:3;7:24-27). 
  8. He ignores the dangers of sin and rejoices in its pleasures, (Prov. 23; 2:14; 15:21, Heb. 11:25; Jas. 4:3-4).  The wise person fears evil and flees from all its forms, (Prov. 14:16).  
  9. The fool is always right in his own eyes and refuses godly counsel.
  10. He speaks out of pride and rejects correction.  
  11. He is the expert on everything, (Prov. 12:15; 28:26; 14:3; 17:10; Eccl. 10:12-14). 
  12. He does not obey God, even though he thinks he is wise, (Matt. 7:26-27). 
  13. He does not prepare his soul for death for he is covetous and is self-centered.  
  14. He is not, nor will he ever be, ready to meet His God in judgment for what he has done in his life, (Lk. 12:20; 12:13-15, 19, 20-21).  Though he thinks he is wise.  
  15. He rejects the admonition to be ready.  Men, such as he, neglect the oil needed for their lamps, (Matt. 25:1-13).  
  16. He is not cautious therefore he is a fool in the sight of God.

The Bible is full of examples of people who engaged in actions which were foolish and who had to pay the negative consequences of their foolish choices.  The foolish man neglects the wisdom which is eternal salvation.  They snare themselves in a world of sin, and the end result is shameful absence from the presence of God for all eternity.  Fools choose to value that which is of no value.  They opt to accept corrupt knowledge rather than that which leads them to godly wisdom.  The wise prepares himself so he can be strong and have control over his actions by a foundation of Truth, (Eccl. 10:2).  But a fool does not keep his heart sound.  He trusts in emotions, feelings, and the praise and opinions of men.  They are fools because of their disobedience, speech, anger, and knowledge which will be rewarded with terrible consequences.  God values man's reverence and obedience to Him, (Eccl. 12:13-14).  Hence the fool and wise will be rewarded according to the deeds or works which they have done in life.  Are you choosing to be wise or a fool?


V.   SO ACCORDING TO JAMES, WHO IS WISE AND UNDERSTANDING AMONG US?
Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. (James 3:13-17).  

Human wisdom is earthly, unspiritual and demonic which produces jealousy, selfish ambition, disorder, and all forms of lawlessness, evil practices.  On the other hand, the wisdom that's from above, our God, is pure, peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, and without hypocrisy.  What a contrast between divine wisdom and the so-called human wisdom!  The tree is known by its fruits, “so every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.” (Matt. 7:16-17).  Therefore if we lack God's wisdom, we must ask Him to give it to us, “for He gives to all generously and without reproach,” (James 1:15). 


CONCLUSION:

Many reject God's wisdom and Christ crucified and the cross (the gospel) because they trust in their own goodness.  They are ignorant of God's righteousness and seek to establish their own righteousness.  Therefore, they refuse to submit to the righteousness of God.  The believe that their own moral excellence, according to their own worldly standards, is going to save them.  They are foolish because they trust in their own goodness to deliver them from eternal destruction.  They don't believe in the need for a Savior and His cross.  So, they make no room for the Lord, His Lordship, and His kingdom.  

Some refuse Christ crucified because they trust in their own sufficiency.  They rely on themselves and not in the Almighty God.  They ignore what Paul said, “Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God.”  (2 Cor. 3:5).  Others refuse God and His wisdom because they trust in their own wisdom.  They ignore that the wisdom that comes from man, like self-sufficiency, is vain and powerless and cannot save men.  Those who trust in men's wisdom have no room for Christ.  The Gospel message, the cross, becomes foolishness in comparison to human or earthly wisdom, (1 Cor. 1:21-23).  Others refuse Jesus because they love the world.  Their lives are full of many wrong things instead of the overflowing abundance of spiritual blessings.  They love to pursue earthly treasure, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life above spiritual things.  They have no room for Jesus either, (2 Tim. 3:4; 4:10).  What about you?  Are you trusting in yourself or God?  

The wisdom of the world and the wisdom of God are eons apart.  Human wisdom claims, “don't give up, don't give in, and don't settle.  Fight for what you want!!  Negotiate and compromise where you must but don't yield unnecessarily.”  But God's wisdom says, “Don't' be selfishly ambitious, be gentle, peaceable, full of mercy and willing to yield to others.”  Can you see the contrast?  The more self-centered we are, the less submissive we become.  Our humanistic culture highlights putting one’s self first because man is basically his own god.  Hence, they bargain with the only true and living God.  The more we seek self, the harder it will be to seek God and be submissive to Him as well as all those in authority.  Preaching Christ crucified is the ultimate picture of submission to God and one another.  God's weakness is much stronger than any human strength and foolishness, for the foolishness of God is far wiser than human wisdom.  We must have God's wisdom to understand the mind of God and not human wisdom.  Earthly wisdom will not help us to know God and His will. We will know the thoughts of God only by reading and studying His Word.   God's wisdom is revealed in the writings of the apostles.  

Today our churches are starving, malnourished and dying because they lack God's wisdom. Many lack wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.  Their faith is a dying faith that seeks after the lusts of this world that leads to their souls' destruction.  The world and the church desperately need the wisdom from above, but only God has the key. It can be found only when one seeks it with a sincere and humble heart. It is there for anyone who desires to benefit from it. It has been there all the time, waiting to be opened, read and obeyed (the Word, the Gospel, the Truth, the Way).  In it, we can find the tools necessary to become wise and righteous. Wisdom is still calling out to us.  God's wisdom can only bless us when we listen and obey Him.  God's wisdom, His Truth, is the only source of everlasting life.  For "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."  (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Those who rely on human wisdom and reject God's wisdom as revealed in His Word, are not able to submit to His wisdom. They are immature, fleshly (natural) and not spiritual.  The mature (spiritual) understands this.  Our lives must be built upon the authority of the Sacred Scriptures.  It will lead us to discover God's will and know Him better and be renewed through God's Word.  Why not live His Word and wisdom?  The fool brings sorrow to himself and those who love him.  Are you willing to be wise and start acting wisely or do you want to be like the dog that returns to its vomit?  Are you willing to repent of your foolishness and live for Christ alone?  Why not repent and obey God?  Be wise and not a fool!

May we keep our eyes on wisdom, the wisdom of God and not the folly of this world.  May we be truly willing to learn, listen to God's wisdom and counsel.  May we be wise (according to God's wisdom) and learn from our mistakes and not repeat them again.  May we let God's wisdom shape, mold and transform our heart into His likeness. May our Lord give us wisdom to be acceptable and equipped for every good work.  And may we not be deceived, but heed God's wisdom, God is not mocked, for whatever we sow we shall also reap.  

Luci