Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
— 1 Corinthians 3:18-23
So when Paul wants to dismantle the soul-destroying, community-rending, God-dishonoring pride at Corinth, he must do at least two things not just one thing.
- He must overcome the deception of human self-sufficiency, and
- he must solve the problem of human insecurity.
That is what he is trying to do here in this text.
Let me put it another way. Human pride is rooted in two kinds of self-deception.
- One is the deception that I can handle my own problems.
- And the other is the deception that nobody can handle my problems.
Or to put it another way, there are two ways for the pride of man to dishonor Christ.
- One is to feel no need for him.
- And the other is to feel your need is so great he can’t meet it.
The one says, I don’t need a crucified Christ to help me. The other says a crucified Christ can’t help me. The one looks strong. The other looks weak. Both are demeaning to the grace of God.
The Grace of God as Indictment and Deliverance
Why? Because the grace of God means these two things:
- We do need help; let’s admit it.
- And the help is there; let’s accept it.
Grace always means these two things: humility, we do need help; and encouragement, the help is there.
Indictment and deliverance! That’s the work of saving grace!