BLOG: Embracing Weakness

Written by Melissa H. Strautman, LMT

Companion Blog to “God’s Power“, from December 9, 2018

The sermon I’m covering this week takes us through one of my favorite passages, 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5. It’s a little long to post here, so please grab a Bible and refresh your memory.

Paul lays out some harsh words to the folks in the Corinthian church. He basically tells them that there are two kinds of people, the ones in the process of salvation and the ones headed to hell. He could see both types right in the church, and he wanted to give them a reality check. He says to know who is who, you just have to hear and see their response to the Gospel.


Paul says that the people headed to hell see the message of the cross and all that goes with it as “moronic.” They feel the need for a spin doctor to glam-it-up or twist and tweak it a bit because everything about it is weak and not likely to fill seats. They were employing fancy “super-apostles”,  men who were slick and charismatic, to grow their membership. Paul told them that while they were growing strong in numbers, they were growing weak within.  Remind you of any churches in your town?

The Antidote

Paul employs them to snap-out of their “spiritual amnesia”[1] and remember that the weakness of the cross is the real power of God.[2] Paul tells them that by using clever words of human wisdom instead of just plain-ole-Gospel, they were making the work of the cross null and void. They were losing the divine power and purpose of the cross for themselves individually and for their church. His antidote was to reject human wisdom and embrace the weakness of the cross once again.

The Irony

Paul doesn’t miss the opportunity to make an even broader point about these Greek showman trying to sell the message of the cross as something it wasn’t.

1 Corinthians 1:1:19
For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”[3]

The absurdity of their thinking weakness wasn’t an asset, makes null and void their wisdom and supposed discernment. Setting themselves above their Maker, as if living hidden from God, was a sheer delusion. Paul further warns that God will not stand for their continued lip service and will destroy them and their wisdom.[4]

1 Corinthians 1:26
God chose what is weak in the world to shame the wise.

God tells us that He intentionally chose (“called”) people of low-birth & low-wisdom to be His people in the church to shame the wise from their boasting. He literally built His church with a bunch of nobodies to reach the masses with a story about weakness. That just shouldn’t work at all, right?

Why does God disallow human knowledge and wisdom as a way to know Him?[5] Because it is boasting in one’s own self and abilities to achieve salvation! He drew us to himself, all by Himself, and we could not resist Him (effectual call). He wants to say He did it all because He does. Our weakness in the process is beautiful. It allows us to rest in the security of the most divine sort that can be had nowhere else; ever. Why would we, even for a moment, think we could have any hand in this supernatural event? We don’t choose God. He chooses us; a people for Himself. This may look weak to the world, but it’s a strength to those being saved.[6]

2 Corinthians 12:9-10
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Being in a church full of nobodies, hearing a message of glorious weakness from a pastor who does nothing more than just point me to the cross in every situation………that’s where I want to be.

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[1] Judges 8:34; Ephesians 2:11-13

[2] 1 Cor. 1:18, 24; 1 Cor. 2:5

[3] A quote from Isaiah 29:14

[4] Rom. 1:18:25

[5]1 Cor. 1:17; Prov. 14:12; Isa. 29:14; Jer. 8:9; Rom. 1:18-23

[6] 1 Cor. 1:21