Can Salvation Be Found in Human Wisdom?

man_studying2In 1st  Corinthians 1:17 Pauls says, “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel -not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”  As we continue we find these words in verse twenty three, “but we preach Christ crucified:  a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” Verse twenty-five says, “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”  Where do we find salvation?  Is it in man’s intellectual ability and wisdom to interpret Scripture?  Is salvation found in man’s ability to search Scripture and draw  lines of fellowship  by his wisdom or is salvation found in faith that Jesus is the Son of the living God?

For many years men have prided themselves on their ability to read and interpret Scripture.  Lest anyone misunderstand, I believe fully one should study Scripture.  I firmly stand in the position that it is important to search the Scriptures so we may know  the things being taught are truth. That being said, knowledge of Scripture does not guarantee eternal life.  In John 5:39  Jesus said, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life.  These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”  Knowledge of the Scripture does not produce eternal life.  Our willingness to come to Jesus produces eternal life.

We have produced rules by which one is to study scripture that have become almost as important to us as Scripture.  We call these rules hermaneutics.  I do not question the value of the hermaneutical process.  What I question is our placing such value on our human reasoning and wisdom in regard to salvation.  Human reasoning cannot produce salvation.  Faith in Jesus as the Son of God produces salvation.  I fear that we sometimes place so much trust in Scripture that we fail to know the Word,  Jn. 1:1.  There is only one name that brings salvation and that name is Jesus.  Perhaps it would be worthwhile if we placed our trust in the Christ rather than our ability to understand and apply Scripture.  A big dose of humility before God would be very beneficial because our salvation can never be found in human wisdom.

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4 Responses to Can Salvation Be Found in Human Wisdom?

  1. Jan says:

    So true! The simplicity of the scriptures, as to salvation, is a stumbling block to many. Who can improve on God?

  2. Wayne McDaniel says:

    Dell,
    I wholeheartedly agree with the thoughts you have expressed. Our pride and the pride of others has led us away from relying upon Jesus’ sinless life to cover ours. If we allow others to frame questions of supposed importance, we will not have Jesus’ peace. The earliest Christians did not have any of the 27 books of the NT to read, memorize, and argue over. They had a message of a humble and compassionate man who humbled himself to bear the shame of our sins upon the cross and die, that we might be received by his Father. Our baptism expresses our trust in him to bring us to God (1 Pet. 3:18), and as often as we eat and drink of him we acknowledge that we have no life in ourselves (John 6:53). Paul’s call to examine ourselves (1 Cor. 11:26, 2 Cor. 13:5), is expected to lead us to see our remaining sinfulness (1 John 1:8-9), and our continuing need for our life to be hid with Christ in God (Col.3:3). As we read and understand the scriptures more completely, we should see our need more clearly. Our common failure today is in not seeing and confessing our remaining sin (James 5:16, 3:2, 1 Jn.1:8, 2 Cor.10:5). For if we do not see our ongoing need for Jesus, what do we have to say to others?

  3. Jerry says:

    Dell,
    I love you but I feel you are moving away from any hermaneutical process. You said you do not think salvation comes from human reasoning. If it doesn’t come this way how does it come? The faith in Jesus must be preached…those who preach must be sent……..they must preach the word…………What will they (you, I) preach? Will we just get up and say “faith in Jesus saves man?” And… not explain how this comes? Jesus said that WE COULD KNOW THE TRUTH………(JN.8:31-32) Is this not human reasoning? I am sending you something to read.
    agape,
    Jerry

  4. Jerry, thanks for your response. You are partially correct in your assessment. I am moving away from the dependance on human wisdom to determine salvation. I am moving toward faith in the fact that Jesus is the Son of God and died in order that my sins be forgiven. I stated in my post, “For many years men have prided themselves on their ability to read and interpret Scripture. Lest anyone misunderstand, I believe fully one should study Scripture. I firmly stand in the position that it is important to search the Scriptures so we may know the things being taught are truth. That being said, knowledge of Scripture does not guarantee eternal life.” In too many instances we place our ability to understand and comprehend Scripture above faith in God. Our background has produced a mindset in us that was “born to argue and bred to fight.” We may be able to win the battle but we lose the war. We have even set up a hermaneutical process to prove our view of truth. The process has become almost as valuable to us as Jesus. The world doesn’t need a comprehensive view of CENI. The world needs the preaching of Jesus as Lord. The world needs to be taught to obey from the heart that form of doctrine rather than whether in the original Greek the word used was in past, present of futurist tense. We stress and pride ourselves in the wrong things. I realize that I am preaching to the choir when I write this to you because I know your history, you will always be a soul winner. You will always be concerned with bringing souls to Jesus. Jerry, you are the exception to the rule. It remains a matter of emphsis. We sit in classrooms arguing Greek tense while the world dies outside Christ. God have mercy on us. Thanks for your thoughts.

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