1 Corinthians 1:31
That, according as it is written, He that glories, let him glory in the Lord.
That men are sinners I shall assume. If, then, there is any salvation for them, it must be by grace. And such a salvation cannot fail to exalt God and humble the sinner. None will deny that the world are proud. The tendency of the gospel to exalt God and humble the creature appears —
I. IN ITS OUTWARD ADMINISTRATION. This includes —
1. The humble appearance of Christ in our world. When we understand the reasons of this humble appearance of Christ, we see in it the wisdom of God; but had it been left to us beforehand, we should have assigned Him the most magnificent state. Thus did the wisdom of man pronounce. Indeed, the pride of man, showing itself in lofty pretensions to the omniscience of wisdom, was seen to be the most intrepid enemy which the religion of heaven had to encounter. It therefore was a main point in the outset to overwhelm this enemy with convictions of his own ignorance and folly and of the far superior wisdom of God. In all these proud pretensions reason aspires to a place for which it was never designed. It is not its province to penetrate the mysteries of the universe by its own ken, but to work up into judgments materials furnished by information. It is the eye, but it cannot see without, light. In no other science but that which relates to the incomprehensible God and to the interests and government of the universe, does reason attempt to build on its own independent discoveries. The anatomist does not presume to tell you how a man ought to be made, but with all submission proceeds to examine the animal system which God has exposed to his view. And why does man act so differently in this case from what he does in all others? Because in other sciences he wishes to obtain accurate knowledge; in this, relief to his conscience and fears and mortified pride. He does not like God, and wishes to modify Him after his own taste.
2. Another way in which the outward administration of the gospel took the pride of the world, was in the weakness of the instruments employed, the simplicity of their preaching, and their triumphant success. Instead of angels or Jewish doctors or Grecian philosophers, Christ chose fishermen.
II. THE SAME TENDENCY APPEARS IN THE TEXTURE OF THE GOSPEL. This is noticed in our text and the preceding verse. "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption; that, according as it is written, He that glorieth let him glory in the Lord."
1. Our wisdom. Instead of ignorant and prejudiced reason, on which the wise men of the world proudly rested for the discovery of God, Christ, the great Prophet of the world, was appointed to lay open the secrets of the eternal mind, and to bring "life and immortality to light"; "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him."
2. Our righteousness. There is nothing to which men more strongly adhere than to the claims of their own merit. The whole texture of the gospel is fitted to put down this arrogant pretender, to annihilate the last lurking pride of man.
(1) The atonement.
(2) The obedience of Christ.
(3) The intercession of Christ.But the soul-humbling and God-exalting process is not yet ended. Not only are the atonement, obedience, and intercession of Christ thus provided, in a way to support the rights and claims and government of God, to condemn sin, and cover pride with eternal confusion; but no man is allowed to share in this salvation until, from the bottom of his heart, he has approved of all these measures and all their expressions; until he has taken back all his proud speeches against God, and bent his imperious head to his Maker's feet. Even pardon itself buries the sinner still lower in the dust. This is none of that poverty of spirit which involves degradation. It is only viewing things according to truth.
III. THE SAME TENDENCY OF THE GOSPEL APPEARS IN ITS APPLICATION. Christ is made of God unto us sanctification, "that, according as it is written, He that glorieth let him glory in the Lord." As the race were condemned by the law to the curse of eternal abandonment, the Spirit could not come to men without the mediation of Christ. The heathen philosophers depended on the self-determining power of the will for all their personal virtue, and on their self-Caught ethics for the reformation of the world. In opposition to all these proud aspirations, the gospel casts the world fur sanctification on the Spirit of God and the purchase of Christ. Nor is this all. In their spiritual death it finds nothing in them to aid their resurrection, and ascribes to God, not only the whole power, but a conquering power, "the working of mighty power," as great as that "which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places." Thus every part of the gospel is calculated to abase the pride of man, to break and subdue and humble the sinner, to support the rights, the claims, the government of God, and to give all the glory to Him. "Whatever light or holiness or title to salvation we possess, comes from God through the Redeemer. Whatever brings out God to view, exalts Him, abases sinners, and humbles and blesses the creation. Let us, then, see what and how much of God is revealed in the plan of salvation. In the first place, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are brought out to view in their own proper and infinitely important characters; a distinction never whispered to the universe in any of His other works. In the next place, His inflexible resolution, at all hazards, to support His moral empire over the creation, comes out; disclosing His infinite attachment to all the principles of His law and to the happiness which it subserves, and thus manifesting His holiness, justice, and benevolence. In the next place, His amazing compassion and mercy and patience and condescension and accessibleness and truth are brought to light; His power, too, in subduing the carnal heart, in restraining, bounding, and defeating all the machinations of Satan. But the wisdom elicited is that on which I wish chiefly to dwell. This wonderful plan of the Incarnation was the forming of a connecting link between finite and infinite natures, and filling up the whole chasm between God and us. He confounded the wisdom of men by the triumphs of that very weakness which provoked their contempt, and by making, in various ways, the most unpromising means lead to the most splendid success. He so shaped the gospel, that, in every part, it should be at war with pride, and touch it in every tender spot, and call into the field every arm of that foe, and exhibit it before heaven and earth in the hideous attitude of warring against all the love and authority of the gospel. He pressed into the service of His cause all the agents in the wicked world; the policy of kings, the pride of philosophers, the craft of priests, and the very ferocity of bloody persecution. He defeated all the stratagems ,of Satan and effectually bruised the serpent's head. Elect man is a gainer by his own ruin. His sin is made the occasion of higher advances in holiness; for to whom much is forgiven the same loveth much. His misery is made the occasion of his greater blessedness. And finally, the wisdom of God appears in that capital measure to vindicate His own impartiality, the appointment of the Friend and Brother of man to be his Judge. "The Father hath given Him authority to execute judgment also because He is the Son of man." Why should you think that this grandest of all the exhibitions of God will be shut up in the nut-shell of a single world?
(E. D. Griffin,. D. D.).
Parallel VersesKJV: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.