“But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, that, just as it is written, ‘Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.’ ” 1 Cor. 1:30-31
The apostle’s inspired penning of this Old Testament quote is from the book of Jeremiah, the ninth chapter, verse twenty-four.
The complete Old Testament verse reads: “but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things, declares the LORD.” The apostle Paul twice makes reference to this passage in his letters to the Corinthian church. In our text above and again in his second letter in chapter 10, verse seventeen. Let us retreat to the context of the letter of Jeremiah for further understanding concerning why the Holy Spirit impelled Paul to recite this passage twice in his letters to the Corinthians. Jeremiah, the servant of the LORD has been in general warning of the coming judgment of God upon a rebellious people who failed to heed the words of God. The more immediate context preceding this inspired statement (Jer. 8:4-17 & Jer. 9:3-9 in particular) helps us to understand the root problem in Judah. They were a people devoid of repentance, in denial, immersed in deceit, destined for destruction, desolation and deportation. Everyone of them was seeking after his own interests, rather than desiring to “know the ordinance of the LORD.” (Jer. 8:7b) Jeremiah spoke of the “lying pen of the scribes” who claimed to be wise having the Law of the LORD yet had made “it into a lie.” (Jer. 8:8) Wise men “rejected the word of the LORD.” (Jer. 8:9) The willingness to reject the words of God lay in their greed for gain, including the priest and the (false) prophets (Jer. 8:10) who greased the way of the people’s delusional view of things upon deceit and a false sense of security saying “peace, peace.” (Jer. 8:11) “And they bend their tongue like their bow; lies and not truth prevail in the land; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they do not know Me, declares the LORD.” (Jer. 9:3) We could go on and on with more from Jeremiah but we get the gist of it. Carnal minded people refuse to recognize truth and they will always seek some way to justify themselves and their behavior-usually through “the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion” (Col. 2:23) as the Holy Spirit has warned us. Now ask yourself, isn’t that exactly what the Israelites did in Jeremiah’s day, isn’t that what was going on in Paul’s day, and isn’t it the same in the religious realm today? There is nothing new under the sun, brethren. The Jews of Jeremiah’s day rejected God’s prophetic words and trusted in their own wisdom. The Jews of the apostolic period rejected God’s prophetic word concerning the Christ, refusing to see in the Law and the prophets, “the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23) in crucifying and resurrecting the Messiah for their redemption and sanctification. The Greeks (the worldly “wise”), when confronted with the message of Christ’s crucifixion, couldn’t accept the wisdom of God that He put to death His own Son like a common criminal. The false apostles that invaded the Corinthian church, well, they couldn’t accept the prophetic utterances given Paul as a prophet of God to the church. See, they too, like the false prophets of Jeremiah’s day, were self-serving in their approach, seeking for their own gain and notoriety, preaching another Jesus to the church. In this ruse lay the same false sense of security for those who fell under their sway. Today it would go something like this: ‘Just bow your head, pray this sinner’s prayer, and Jesus (another Jesus!) will come to rule in your heart.’ Can’t find that anywhere in the word of God, but, by golly, they’re continuing to preach that! Sounds an awful lot like the “lying pens of the scribes” doesn’t it? Why don’t they just follow Peter’s exhortation telling the people to “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38) It appears they too “have rejected the word of the LORD.” If we should boast, let us boast in understanding and knowing His wisdom of executing lovingkindness, justice, righteousness, sanctification and redemption for us through the revelation of Christ. Amen.