The Wisdom of the Cross
1 Corinthians 1:17-24 NKJV: For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. 18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” 20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
Here, Paul speaks of the wisdom of the cross: Christ crucified reveals and releases the wisdom and the power of God.
What then is the wisdom of the cross?
Isaiah 53:4-5 NIV: Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
The wisdom of the cross is the legal substitution God made for us in Christ on the cross:
Christ took our sin and God gave us His righteousness. (2 Cor. 5.21)
Christ took our sicknesses and God gave us His healing and health (1 Pet. 2.24)
Christ took our poverty and God gave us His wealth and riches. (2 Cor. 8.9)
Christ took our death and God gave us His life (Heb. 2.9; Jn. 10.10).
The redemption we have in Christ is a legal one: it is based on the righteousness and justice of God, which are the foundation of God’s throne.
Psalms 97:2 NIV: Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
This causes God to be under legal obligation to enforce it in our lives if we fulfill the conditions in His written Word for the manifestation of a particular redemptive blessing.
For example, to enjoy the redemptive blessing of wealth and riches you need to:
Sow financial seeds by giving tithes and offerings promptly, regularly and completely (Mal 3.10).
Water these financial seeds by diligently praying and walking in the spirit (Ps.1.2-3).
Harvest these financial seeds by working and investing in ventures (1 Th. 4.11-12, 2 Th. 3.10, Tit. 3.14) God can bless.
As you fulfill these conditions by the grace and mercy of God using the written Word by the power of the Holy Spirit, God is under legal obligation to enforce the blessings of material prosperity in your life.
This same principle is true for all our redemptive rights.
Now, the greatest redemptive or covenant inheritance available to us in this lifetime is to be conformed to the image of Christ right here on earth doing the works Jesus did and greater.
Romans 8:29 NKJV: For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
John 14:12 NKJV: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.
The condition for enjoying this inheritance is
Ephesians 4:15-16 NKJV: but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ—
1 John 2:5 NKJV: But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him.
2 Corinthians 4:10-12 NKJV: always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death is working in us, but life in you.
We fulfill this condition by suffering self-denial by the power of the Holy Spirit as a daily habit:
Luke 9:23 NKJV: Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
Ultimately therefore, we apply the wisdom of the cross by applying the principle of the cross to our lives daily: using the power of the Holy Spirit to crucify the sinful nature in the flesh with its affections and lusts.
Romans 8:13-15 NIV: For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
Notice that using the power of the Holy Spirit to crucify the influence of the sin nature in the flesh causes us to become sons of God and not just immature children.
Galatians 5:24 NIV: Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
This will then enable you to inherit the fulness of Christ: having His life and power without measure (Jn. 3.34) manifesting in your mortal flesh like it did in the life and ministry of Jesus!