It is hiding in plain sight, this great mystery that the apostles and prophets wrote about. It is not in man’s old nature to see and understand what it is, for this hidden wisdom of God entails attributes that are completely opposite of the old nature man is born with.
In fact, when old man Adam glimpses the hidden wisdom in operation in a human’s life, it appears as foolishness. But God has chosen the foolish, weak, base, and despised things on this planet to confound the current powers that be–those humans who think that they in their own strength and position rule their own destinies (I Cor. 1: 25-29).
So just what is this wisdom of God that is hidden from men? What is this secret mystery of God that He withholds from carnal man’s eyes? The answer is in that first letter to the church at Corinth that the apostle Paul wrote. In it he upbraids them for their lack of spirituality, citing many instances of their carnality and lack of the Spirit.
Paul explains early on in the letter that he was not coming to them “with enticing words of man’s wisdom,” but in the Spirit and its power” (2: 4). They were hung up on following the teachings of a man. Some were saying, “I am of Paul and I am of Apollos, and I am of Cephas” (1: 12). Sounds like, I am of Luther; I am of the Pope; I am of Wesley; I am of Russell; I am of…ad infinitum. Denominationalism was already in full bloom by AD 59. “Only by pride comes contention.” And such contention as seen in the modern day churches comes in believing that they are the only ones who have the truth.
It is this vain glory that causes the divisions and schisms in the church (1: 10-17). Most denominations, distrustful of each other, labor in carnality, thus showing a lack of the wisdom of God. We all should be “perfectly joined together.” But how? “By having the same mind.” Which mind? “Let this mind be in you that was in Christ,” which was a mind of humility, which is exemplified in the cross.
The Preaching of the Cross
The cross experience is for us to go through, not just observe in another. Man’s wisdom looks at this as the man Christ dying on the cross for our sins. But Paul speaks of the hidden wisdom of God as “the preaching of the cross” and what it spiritually represents.
Had the rulers of this world in Christ’s day known of this hidden wisdom of God, “they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” Make no mistake of who they were. They were the offspring of Edom who had converted to Pharisaism and by Christ’s day held most of the top posts in the religious hierarchy of Jerusalem. They were the chief priests and religious henchmen who conspired on trumped up charges to get rid of Christ. They goaded the people and the Romans to crucify Him, which is just what God wanted them to do. They thought in their carnal man’s wisdom that they were getting rid of Him, when they were in reality ensuring that “the cross” and the humility of God that it signified in the hearts of all mankind would ring down like joyful bells through the ages.
Of course, if the rulers at Jerusalem knew of this hidden wisdom of humility, they would not have crucified Christ. For His cross experience put to death our old sinful nature, which was placed upon Him just before He expired on that cross. Not only our sins died with Him that day, but also our old sinful carnal nature died as well. When He died, our old sinful self died; when He was buried, our old lives were buried with Him. When He was resurrected, we were also “raised to walk in a newness of life.” We are free from the bondage of having to sin,” for “he that is dead is freed from sin.” Those who believe this become “new creatures” by faith, and we receive His Spirit within and receive a new heart.
This is the preaching of the cross. This is the hidden wisdom; this is that special knowledge of God that is hidden from carnal man and definitely hidden from the rulers of this world system, as it was hidden from the rulers of Jerusalem 2,000 years ago. This act of humility–giving up our old lives–is the cross experience and is the hidden wisdom put into action in our hearts. It is the only sacrifice that God is pleased with, for it takes faith. It takes believing that He has done all this for us.
Those who go through this cross experience receive the resurrection power of the Spirit into their new hearts and their lives begin to change, and through proper nurturing, they will grow up into Him and He in them. But they are the desperate ones to change, and they will love much, for they will know that they have been forgiven much. In this crucible lies the hidden wisdom and the power of God. KWH