July 1, 2007
MYSTERIES AT CORINTH
1 Corinthians 2
Paul’s ministry to the Corinthian church was unique in that he used the word “mystery” six times in 1 Corinthians, more than all his other Acts period epistles combined. Both during and after the close of Acts, Paul was greatly used as God’s apostle unfolding divine secrets.
“When I came to you, I came not with excellency of speech or of wis-dom, declaring unto you the mystery of God” (1 Cor. 2:1). This secret was focused on “Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” Paul was careful to not use human wisdom or excellence of speech in order “that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (2:5). He shared God’s “wisdom among them that are perfect (mature): yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this age, that come to nothing, but we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory which none of the princes of this world knew.” They boasted wisdom, yet they were ignorant, and their deeds proved it, for had they known, “they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (2:6-8). Through His death and resurrection Christ gained victory over sin, death, and Satan, and spelled out his ultimate defeat!
The Corinthians were to “account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God” (4:1). Paul’s sacred stewardship or administration was over God’s secrets. Yet he stressed that though he had “the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries... all knowledge; and... all faith,” without love this would amount to nothing (13:2). Also their misuse of the gift of tongues was likewise worthless for “no man under-stands him; even though in the spirit he speaks mysteries” (14:2).
Finally after teaching so thoroughly about the resurrection of Christ and of the believer, he showed them another “mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed” (15:51). That the dead would be raised had been revealed long before Paul, but the secret here was that when the Lord came, the living would also be changed. Neither flesh and blood nor corruption could inherit the kingdom of God. Therefore corrupting dead would be raised to life again, and the living would be changed and all would have bodies of glory like unto His own body of glory.
“Thanks be to God, Who gives...victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Ivan L. Burgener