1 Corinthians 1:30, 31
But of him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made to us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:…
But of him are ye, etc. Here is central truth well compacted. And plain sermons on such texts ought to be frequently given, in order to feed the Church of God, which grows lean on mere fine phrases, sounding periods, controversial janglings, and vapid exhortations.
I. THE WAY OF BLESSING. It is obtained from the grace of God, and by a twofold action of his grace.
1. "Of God are ye in Christ Jesus." This union to Christ, engrafting into Christ, enclosure in Christ, is the root secret of all spiritual blessing. And while we take action in fleeing to Christ, clinging to him, and making him our Refuge, this very action on our part is ultimately due to the drawing of the Father and the inward operation of the Holy Spirit. Therefore "of God" we are in Christ Jesus.
2. "Of God, Christ is made unto you" who believe, all sufficient. It is according to God's good pleasure that the merits, riches, and perfections of Christ are made available to you. It is at all events conceivable that one might be saved in and through Christ, and yet receive only in part and scantily out of his fulness. But such is not the will of God concerning us. It is his purpose that we should be, not merely rescued from destruction, but enriched with heavenly blessings in Christ Jesus.
II. THE SUBSTANCE OF BLESSING. What Christ is to his own, who are in him: Wisdom, for they are foolish; Righteousness, for they are unrighteous; Sanctification, for they are unholy; Redemption, for they are lost as other men.
1. Wisdom. The early Christians were made wise, not after the type of Jewish rabbis or Greek sages, but as cast into a higher mould - the mind of Christ. And so also now. It must be confessed that some who profess and call themselves Christians speak and act foolishly; but the more Christian at heart one becomes, the more does he gain of a wisdom far beyond the keenest penetration of worldly minds, for he makes his estimates in the light of God, and learns to look on earthly things as from "heavenly places." Christ in us is Wisdom from above.
2. Righteousness. "There is non righteous, no, not one." The world can show men of strength, skill, valour, shrewdness, eloquence, erudition, enterprise; but where is the righteous man? Alas! there is not one. Nay; but there is One righteous. Jesus Christ was and is that "Just One." And as the wisdom ascribed to him is "the wisdom of God," so also the righteousness attributed to him is "righteousness of God." This righteous One died for us, the just One for the unjust many. And in his restoration from the dead and return as the righteous One to the Father, there is the basis of acceptance for all who are " of God in him." So righteousness is imputed without works. Christ is made to us Righteousness.
3. Sanctification. "Holiness to the Lord" is not known, or even possible, without Christ. Yet "without holiness, no man shall se the Lord." Now, the apostle does not say that Christ is made to us Holiness; for this might seem to favour a doctrine of imputed holiness, which is full of peril. But he is made to us Consecration; so that in him we are constituted saints, separated from evil to the services of the holy God, and from him we derive purifying and sustaining grace for that newness of life to which we are called and pledged.
4. Redemption. There is no need to say "complete redemption," or "final redemption," as some menders of Scripture have been wont to do, because the thing in view is not "the redemption of the purchased possession," or the redemption of the body at the resurrection of the just; but the redemption which is now obtained by reason of the precious blood of Christ, because he gave himself a ransom for us. So we have decisive and conclusive quittance, both from guilt and from "the house of bondage." And here also Christ is all.
III. THE AIM AND ISSUE OF BLESSING SO CONFERRED. (Ver. 31) That the saved may have confidence in the Lord, and ascribe to him all the praise and glory of their salvation. It is a good test of doctrine, whether it refers all sufficiency and renders all praise to God in Christ Jesus. It is a test of the heart, whether it delights to have it so. We mean not merely glory and thanks to God for sending the Savior into the world -for so much is common to all types of Christian doctrine; but also glory and praise to God for bringing men into union with the Savior, and so into personal possession of the blessings of salvation. It is reckoned a mark of a base spirit among men that it assumes credit to which it is not entitled, and ignores its obligations to others. But noble minds are the first to say that, for whatever they have accomplished, they were not sufficient of themselves, but had help of Divine providence, help of favouring circumstances, and help of their fellow men. When grace is received from Heaven, how base and unthankful would it be to boast as if one had not received it! Some cannot give glory to the Lord, because they really are not in Christ; and some because, though perhaps in him, they do not trust in him with steady faith. Some too are always trying to be saved. They spend their lives in the channel of the Red sea, sore afraid of the Egyptians. They never come up on the shore where the delivered sing to the Lord who has triumphed gloriously. - F.
Parallel VersesKJV: But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: