I've just concluded a bible conference where I taught the letter authored by Paul commonly called First Corinthians. It was interesting in my preparation to discover that, in fact, First Corinthians may have really been a second letter since a first one hinted at was probably lost. [1st Corinth. 5:9] Then there is perhaps evidence that a third letter was lost also, so a fourth one was written. If this is historically correct, then 1st Corinthians is really 2nd Corinthian and 2nd corinthians is really 4th Corinthians. Maybe I should have called this post "Inane Random Thoughts"...you think!
Well, I'll randomly continue.
Have you ever noticed that Paul NEVER mentions the Law of Moses in this letter we call 1st Corinthians? He's certainly having to deal with problems in the church that are grievous in nature such as drunkenness, arguing over who had been the greatest pastor, [ Paul, Peter, or Apollos] suing one another in courts of law and then there was that immoral situation they were not dealing with at all, and proud they were not as if it were a badge of honor that they were permissive.
In fact, the ONLY time Paul used the Law of Moses in his arguments for pure living was when he challenged the legalists who needed to be shown that even the law itself could not be kept in an effort to be holy. He NEVER used the law of Moses, even the ten commandments, as a standard to hold up for New Covenant behavior.
He did use the wisdom of God in the mystery of the gospel to show how shallow and foolish the wisdom of man was in dealing with real life. Paul seemed to have recognized that the Corinthians, who were basically Gentiles with only a few Jewish people, were more philosophers than anything else. Phileo means "love" and "Sophia" means wisdom in Greek, so he recognized they were lovers of wisdom in their culture and he moved right into their way of thinking to challenge them with the gospel which they considered to be foolish of course.
This shows me two things immediately.
One is that Paul was willing to engage the culture of his day and wasn't angry toward it or did not rail against it as if it were some kind of witchcraft at work against the gospel. He recognized its weaknesses and its inability to speak to the deepest problems and need of the human race, namely dealing with the fallen and hopeless nature of the human condition, but had no real answers. The wisdom of God seen in the gospel does have answers, however. Paul thought so at least. I do too.
The second thing I see is that Paul had a CONFIDENCE in the ability of the gospel to "cut to the heart" and to make true believers out of foolish and lost people without the law of Moses being the basis for bringing conviction. He thought there was something REALLY powerful in the gospel message itself.
Maybe we need to trust the Holy Spirit's power and ability to take in His hands the foolishness of sharing the true gospel of Christ as the tool for bringing conviction, light and understanding to the people of any culture who have no reference to the religious background of the Old Testament most of us have.
Do you suppose Paul had it right when he said, "For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified....My speech and my preaching were not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in the demonstration of the Spirit and of power..." [The gospel]
May we go and do likewise. Just some random thoughts.