Useful Bible Studies > 1 Corinthians Commentary > chapter 1

True greatness

1 Corinthians 1:30-31

If you want to speak about true greatness, you certainly must not speak about yourself. It is only proud people who talk constantly about their own skills, strength and successes. They praise themselves when they should give honour to God. They depend on themselves when they need to trust in God. And those proud attitudes make God angry.

Instead, you should talk about the good things that God has done for you. And if you have invited Christ into your life, God has done many wonderful things for you. Paul mentions righteousness, sanctification and redemption; we will explain each of these words below. These things show the wisdom of God from which we can benefit because of Christís death.

Righteousness means complete goodness. Of course, Christians cannot pretend that they are completely good (1 John 1:8). Their goodness can only come from God, by means of the death of Christ (Romans 4:22-25).

Sanctification means that God has declared someone to be holy. Holy means that a person (or a thing) belongs to God. God has separated them for himself. Paul has already used similar words to describe Christians in 1 Corinthians 1:2. Christians are the people whom God has made holy, by means of the death of Christ.

Redemption means that God has paid the price to free his people. He saves them from the power of evil deeds, death, and the devil. The price that he paid was the death of Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19).

Paul declared that he would be proud about nothing except Christís death for him (Galatians 6:14). In other words, Paul refused to be proud about anything that he himself had done. Instead, he gave thanks to Christ. Only what Christ has done shows true greatness.

Next part: How to declare Godís message (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.