1 Corinthians 3:18-20
Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seems to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.…
Wisdom is one of the key words of these early chapters of the Epistle. Here again the contrast between true and false wisdom appears in the form of a warning against self conceit. "Let no man deceive himself."
I. TO BE WISE WE MUST FIRST BECOME FOOLS. The wisdom of this world has its uses within its own sphere, but it is no help to the understanding of the things of God. It is a hindrance which must be removed ere we cart learn the Divine wisdom. We must divest ourselves of our fancied wisdom and. become fools in our own eyes, in order to be spiritually wise. This is a general law. Pride or self conceit in regard to any branch of knowledge or art is an effectual bar to progress. We must confess our ignorance in order to knowledge, our weakness in order to strength, our folly in order to wisdom. "He that humbleth himself shall be exalted." This truth holds:
1. As to the beginning of the Christian life. How often are anxious souls kept back from entering into peace because they will not renounce their own ideas of the way of salvation! Only when they submit entirely to God's way as little children do they enter the kingdom.
2. As to progress in the Christian life. Even after conversion we must be careful "to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5). We can grow in spiritual insight, in holiness, in patience, in power for service, in faith and hope and love, only by esteeming ourselves foolish and being content to sit as learners at the Lord's feet.
II. THE WISDOM OF THIS WOULD IS FOOLISHNESS. This explains why our own wisdom must be renounced. In the judgment of the All wise it is folly. The speculations of men regarding God and our relation to him, however much of truth they contain, are yet on the whole vain, inasmuch as they fail to reach an adequate knowledge of him. Those who have worked the longest at the great problems of life are the readiest to confess this. One after another of the world's wise men have wrestled with them and passed them down to their successors unsolved. Or look at the schemes of men for the regeneration of the world. Education, aesthetic culture, the teaching of morality, social communism, religion made easy, - all have been tried and found wanting. None of them can redeem mankind from sin and restore them to their lost dignity. And in nothing do men seem so foolish as just in those things in which they think themselves wise. They are caught in their own net. Their schemes of salvation work their ruin. - B.
Parallel VersesKJV: Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.