Friday, March 13, 2015

God's Testimony

"When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God." 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (NRSV)

The translation note in the New Revised Standard Version tells us that some ancient manuscripts translate the word mystery in verse 1 as testimony. God’s testimony to us really is a mystery because there are no plausible reasons why God, who is so powerful, eternal, and expansive beyond human understanding, would create humans, allow them to become flawed, and then love and redeem them by putting their sin upon His own shoulders.

Early Christians, especially those influenced by the Greek culture, were encumbered with a desire for wisdom and knowledge. Does this sound familiar to us? Gnostics believed that Christianity was based upon a mystery that required a special spiritual knowledge in order to understand it, and only certain people were blessed with this knowledge. In the scripture passage above, Paul is telling the Greek Corinthians that God’s testimony is a mystery, but one that we can understand by the power of the Holy Spirit. We do not need wisdom or special knowledge to understand it—in fact, our human knowledge is rather useless when it comes to God’s work of grace in our lives

I am frequently tempted to put knowledge on a pedestal. Since I work in higher education, I believe that knowledge will help to improve our lives. Human knowledge is not bad because God gave it to us, in order that we might consciously proclaim His grace. Animals do not have the knowledge that we have and so they can only proclaim God’s grace through their role in this vast and complex ecosystem that God created. We humans have a knowledge of God that can actually allow us to fellowship with Him, and share His testimony. Grace truly is a mystery and a testimony of God.