First Corinthians 1




  1. You should read Acts 18 to obtain an inspired history of the formation of this church by the apostle Paul.
  2. This expository series is chosen to (a) let the Spirit introduce various subjects and (b) help guide your Bible reading.
  3. The excesses and weaknesses of the church at Corinth are reflected well in the state of the churches in this country.
  4. The pride, human wisdom, wealth, luxury, and sexual immorality in Corinth were very comparable to America in 2004.
  5. While some of these verses deserve an entire sermon themselves, we shall limit ourselves to viewing the forest clearly.

Outline of Chapter 1:

  1. Salutation (1-3)
  2. Commendation (4-9)
  3. Exhortation to unity (10-16)
  4. Explanation of gospel (17-25)
  5. Character of the elect (26-29)
  6. Sovereignty in salvation (30-31)

1:1 Paul and Sosthenes write a letter to correct errors and encourage faith of the Corinthians.

  1. Paul was an apostle of Jesus, the highest office in the church, by the will of God, not man.
  2. No man has the right to a church office as other vocations are chosen (I Tim 3:1; Heb 5:4).
  3. Sosthenes was the converted chief ruler of the synagogue, beaten by the Greeks (Acts 18:17).
  4. Together they formed an authoritative duo in correcting the church and teaching the truth.

1:2 The letter was directly for saints at Corinth, but could also serve others and their children.

  1. The church is commonly named by its Founder and Head, and by its location or membership.
  2. This is not one of the many varieties of the Church of God, a denomination founded by men.
  3. The word “church” does not mean a building here, but rather a local congregation of saints; and neither is it some universal church, for it is limited to the congregation at Corinth.
  4. Corinth was a proud, wealthy, educated, and lascivious city in Achaia, in southern Greece.
  5. It was one of the most lewd and wicked cities of the time, which makes it similar to America.
  6. Paul and Apollos spent much time at Corinth with this large church (Acts 18:1-28; 19:1).
  7. Paul reminds them, many with horrible lives before conversion (6:9-11), that they were sanctified, made holy, in and by Jesus Christ. God forgives sinners by Jesus Christ. Glory!
  8. Churches members are legally and vitally sanctified – made holy (Heb 10:10-14; I Pet 1:2).
  9. Church members are also practically called to be saints by choosing to live holy (I Pet 1:15).
  10. Their salutation included all sincere believers in every place, which includes us (Col 4:16).
  11. The identity of true religion and churches and saints is worshipping Jesus as Lord (12:3); which is far more than merely mouthing the words, as it includes the power also (II Tim 3:5).
  12. Jesus is the Lord of all God’s people, without distinction, their Lord and our Lord; which unites us from the ends of the earth with those who are already in heaven (Heb 12:22-24)!
  13. “Their’s” refers to all those in every other place, and “our’s” to Paul’s and the Corinthians’.
  14. Note the contrast with local or regional pagan deities, like Diana at Ephesus (Acts 19:34).

1:3 Paul salutes them by a variation of his common themes – God’s grace and peace in Christ.

  1. We depended on God’s grace for salvation, and we are still dependent on it for living.
  2. Demerited favor, the definition of grace, began our salvation, keeps it, and will finish it!
  3. The presence of the Holy Spirit speaking peace to our souls is precious (Rom 5:5; Gal 4:6).
  4. The turmoil of our two men living in a world of temptation and persecution calls for peace.

1:4 As was Paul’s manner, he opened his epistles with some thankworthy commendation.

  1. There may not have been too much to commend them for, but they were saved by grace!
  2. If we knew better this city’s depth of depravity and idolatry, we might appreciate the praise!
  3. And the merciful supply of grace had supplied them with abundant gifts of the Spirit.
  4. A commendation prepared them for the apostle’s numerous corrections that were coming!

1:5 God’s grace in Christ had supplied their spiritual needs by gifts of the Spirit for revelation.

  1. What does the grace of God do in a life? It enriches everything we do with power and joy!
  2. They had enriched utterance, in that they were blessed with many tongues and prophesies.
  3. They had enriched knowledge, in that they were blessed with many prophets and teachers.
  4. Prior to the completion of the New Testament, churches were dependent on supernatural revelatory gifts for the edification and instruction of the saints (I Cor 12:28; 13:8-12).

1:6 God had graciously confirmed the testimony of Jesus Christ with gifts of the Holy Ghost.

  1. When apostles, including Paul, preached, God granted signs and wonders to confirm them.
  2. These miraculous signs and revelations confirmed the gospel (Heb 2:3-4; Acts 2:1-13; 8:6-8).
  3. The testimony that a man had risen from the dead was confirmed by many obvious miracles.

1:7 The Corinthians had the most spiritual gifts of any church in the New Testament.

  1. There was no other church ahead of them in any spiritual gift; they had them all abundantly.
  2. We shall see these gifts listed and explained as we come to that section of the epistle (12-14).
  3. This verse by itself condemns the arrogance of the Charismatics, who revel in spiritual gifts.
  4. For the church at Corinth, superior in spiritual gifts, was filled with many heresies and sins.
  5. A gift of ability or office does not prove a man’s soul, as King Saul and Judas show plainly.
  6. The goal of a true church is waiting for Christ’s coming (I Thes 1:10; II Tim 4:8; Tit 2:13).
  7. The event toward which all true saints look with desire and expectation is Christ’s coming.

1:8 The grace of God would continue to enrich and confirm them until Christ’s coming.

  1. Obedience on the part of these saints is implied, for only the obedient will be blameless.
  2. Practical obedience is essential and necessary for God to confirm souls unto His coming.
  3. Consider those already dead at Corinth (11:30). They were certainly not blameless at all!
  4. Lot was a just and righteous man, but his carnal lifestyle left him full of blame before God.
  5. It is the positive purpose of the apostle to speak of those things he desired for the church.
  6. Paul would later tell these same people not to receive the grace of God in vain (II Cor 6:1-2).
  7. And he also told them his earnest efforts to labor to be accepted by God (II Cor 5:8-11).
  8. It is the duty of expositors to rightly divide Bible texts like this, for the matter at hand is active pursuit of holiness by saints, not a fatalistic performing of it by God (I Thess 3:11-13).

1:9 It is the faithfulness of God that preserves us and perfects us in preparation of that day.

  1. God is faithful – we are not, in comparison! The Corinthians were not faithful, but God was!
  2. Paul clearly saw saints’ obedience and God’s faithfulness to preserve them (I Thess 5:23-24).
  3. See the sermon outline dealing with the above verses from the study of First Thessalonians.
  4. God will do His part in perfecting us, but we must be doing our part as well (Philippians 1:6).
  5. God’s faithfulness, power, and Spirit are available for those walking faithfully in the Spirit.

1:10 Paul now thoroughly exhorts them to unity, before correcting them for divisions and strife.

  1. As Christ’s servants, ministers are not lords over God’s heritage, so Paul beseeches them.
  2. However, ministers are Christ’s ambassadors, so Paul invokes His fearful and glorious name.
  3. In all spiritual matters, a church must be perfectly joined together in one mind and judgment.
  4. Of course, this unity does not apply to all minor and personal matters of one’s private life.
  5. However, church unity does include charitable respect for all members’ liberties (8:9; 10:29)!
  6. Church unity is a goal for members to fervently pursue (Ep 4:1-3,15-16,31-32; Col 3:12-15).
  7. A house divided cannot stand (Matt 12:25), and ministers waste precious time (I Thess 5:13).
  8. Paul even named two individuals at Philippi that needed to settle their differences (Phil 4:2).
  9. A man without charity toward all others, regardless of attainments, is nothing at all (13:1-3).
  10. A glorious church is where all personal differences have been eliminated (Psalm 133:1-3)!
  11. It is ridiculous and reprehensible when blood-bought church members quarrel and fight.
  12. Therefore, in all matters of church judgment, we will be unanimous. Variance is excludable!
  13. And we will be unanimous in all minor matters, by the minority submitting to the majority.

1:11 Members of Chloe’s family had reported to Paul about the contentions at Corinth.

  1. Helping rulers is no more backbiting, talebearing, or whispering than calling the police.
  2. It is a duty of ministers to search out such hearsay before judging (Deut 13:12-18; Pr 25:2).
  3. Paul does everything openly and honestly, even mentioning their names, for full disclosure.
  4. As when a child informs a parent about a sibling, the parent must make inquisition and judge.

1:12 Paul himself identifies their problem of contentions as dividing over favorite preachers.

  1. Rather than deal with a vague charge of “contentions,” Paul specifically states them clearly.
  2. The church had divisions within it based on preacher preferences of Paul, Apollos, and Peter.
  3. Of course, the spiritually proud claimed to be of Christ, though all three men taught Christ!
  4. For Peter to be one of the preacher favorites shows the first devilish urges in his direction!

1:13 Paul corrected their foolish notion of dividing the church and putting importance on men.

  1. He first appeals to their understanding of Jesus Christ’s body, the general church of all elect.
  2. He then compares himself very unfavorably with Jesus Christ, for there is no comparison.
  3. And he appealed to their baptisms in the name of Jesus Christ, rather than his pitiful name.
  4. There is no room for division or preacher preferences in the religious unity of Jesus Christ.

1:14 He expressed thanksgiving that he had only baptized a few, lest he have a greater following.

  1. These words are an oath in God’s name, but Paul was justified due to the serious matter.
  2. He baptized Crispus and Gaius during his 18 months at Corinth. He quickly remembers them.
  3. Crispus was the chief ruler of the synagogue at Paul’s arrival. He and his family were converted (Acts 18:8). Sosthenes was the chief ruler later, who also believed (Acts 18:17).
  4. Paul lived with Gaius later (Ro 16:23). Is this Gaius an opponent of Diotrophes (III Jn 1:1,9)?

1:15 He plainly stated the reason for his happiness at not having baptized any more of them.

  1. Contrary to superficial use of these verses, Paul was not sarcastically condemning Corinth.
  2. He was glad only a few Corinthian saints could look to a baptism administered by himself.
  3. He stated in very clear terms that he feared their excessive association with their teachers.
  4. It is a minister’s prudence to avoid any activities that promote his name even near Christ’s.

1:16 He also remembered he had baptized the family of Stephanas, and he believed that was all.

  1. There is comfort in inspired language like this, for it recognizes the frailty of human recall.
  2. Stephanas and his family were the first converts in Achaia; they were gospel addicts (16:15).
  3. Stephanas himself had visited Paul and brought assistance overlooked by the church (16:17).
  4. When Paul says he does not know something, we recognize God’s inspiration of such words.

1:17 Paul stated his ministry as the gospel of Christ, without promoting or depending on man.

  1. This verse begins a parenthesis, a rabbit trail, concerning the preaching of the gospel, which does not end until 3:1, where he takes up again Corinth’s foolish contentions over preachers.
  2. Paul intends to humble the Corinthians, for they were similar to Athens in intellectual pride.
  3. Paul intends to humble the Corinthians, for they were glorying in their teachers foolishly.
  4. By denying use of wisdom of words, he is rejecting Corinth’s learning and esteem of men.
  5. Christ did send Paul to baptize in the name of Jesus, but not in Paul’s own name or fame.
  6. He had the same commission common to the other apostles, which included baptism.
  7. He baptized the persons just listed and likely others as well in the many cities he visited.
  8. But his principle work was to preach the gospel, and other inferior ministers could baptize.
  9. Consider the many converts in Corinth, yet the very few that he baptized (Acts 18:8,10).
  10. There was divine wisdom here, for foolish men value the administrator rather than Christ.
  11. The Lord Jesus Christ had ordained and taught Paul to be a preacher more than a baptizer.
  12. The gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ, which precludes any emphasis on Paul at all.
  13. The gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ, including all the doctrine of the New Testament, but it emphasizes the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (I Cor 15:1-9; I Tim 1:5-11; 6:3).
  14. Preaching is persuading men publicly by manifestation of truth (Acts 17:2-3; II Cor 4:1-2).
  15. Paul did not use his personality, training, or eloquence to preach Christ, lest he attract men by carnal means and have their faith resting on human oratory and reasoning, and not on Christ.
  16. Both he and Apollos were learned men, Apollos eloquent; and all ministers are to be apt to teach (I Tim 3:2); but they are not to embellish the truth for the natural man by any methods.
  17. Paul will elaborate more on this approach to preaching in the very next chapter (2:1-5).
  18. If the preaching of Jesus Christ crucified is modified with other things, men will believe and profess faith in the tainted combination, bringing unregenerate reprobates into the church.
  19. The more Christ-centered a church becomes, the fewer unregenerate reprobates it will have in the pews, for the person and doctrine of Jesus Christ is repulsive to the unregenerate.
  20. All modern efforts at casual worship and contemporary worship are by design to make the gospel more appealing to the unregenerate, wrecking havoc in the churches of Christ.
  21. The preaching of the gospel is a two-edged sword – it cuts the wicked and drives them away, and it pricks the regenerate and attracts them (Acts 2:37 cp Acts 7:54).
  22. If the message is modified, the gospel loses both blade edges – it does not drive away unregenerate hearers, and it discourages the hearts of God’s elect, who are looking for more.
  23. This verse condemns most churches today, which have as their aim, purpose, and practice to modify the message and downgrade the worship to attract the carnal and unregenerate.
  24. The aim of most churches is to attract the ungodly and lost into their services by carnality.
  25. Most preaching today attracts the unregenerate and discourages the regenerate. God forbid!
  26. Ezekiel dealt with this same problem of compromise during his ministry (Ezekiel 13:22).
  27. Proper gospel preaching reveals both unregenerate and regenerate hearts (II Cor 2:14-17), and the lost rejecting the gospel and the saved receiving it are both a sweet aroma to God!
  28. The cross of Jesus Christ is perfect – it will drive away the perishing and attract the saved.
  29. Preaching salvation in Christ without circumcision was offensive to Jews (Galatians 5:11).
  30. Jesus was made a stone of stumbling and rock of offence, not a candy cane (I Peter 2:7-8).
  31. Anyone meeting the terms of the gospel and believing true gospel preaching is regenerate!
  32. See the extensive sermon outline entitled Contemporary Christianity dated July 30, 2000.

1:18 The response to preaching the gospel depends entirely on the soul condition of the hearers.

  1. The salvation affecting the hearing of the gospel is the vital phase of salvation – regeneration.
  2. Unless a man is born again, he cannot see Christ’s kingdom or hear the gospel (Jn 3:3; 8:47).
  3. A natural man in the flesh cannot receive the gospel (Romans 8:7-8; I Cor 2:14; Gal 5:17).
  4. No matter what methods are used, the unregenerate will not respond (Is 26:10; Luke 16:31).
  5. The gospel of Christ as a way of life is totally hilarious and ridiculous to the unregenerate.
  6. Read how Festus mocked the apostle Paul with too much learning and madness (Acts 26:24).
  7. The gospel cannot save a perishing man, for that man cannot see, hear, believe, or receive it.
  8. The gospel is not literally or actually foolishness (18a): reprobates perceive it as foolishness.
  9. The gospel cannot save a saved man, for that man was saved by God’s power before hearing.
  10. The gospel is not literally or actually God’s power (18b): the saved perceive His power in it.
  11. The gospel declares and reveals the power of God in Christ to a regenerated heart and mind.
  12. The gospel was never designed to bring eternal life; it only brings it to light (II Tim 1:9-10).
  13. The gospel was never designed to make elect; for it was only for the elect (II Timothy 2:10).
  14. Consider Paul’s great ambition to preach the gospel to the believers in Rome (Rom 1:15-16), why is there a total lack of interest in preaching in the brothels and prisons and coliseum?
  15. The words “are saved” are a passive voice, perfect tense verb construction meaning a past action still true in the present. Only men already saved perceive good things in the gospel. All other men, those not already saved, will consider the gospel ridiculous foolishness.
  16. The verse does not say either “which will be saved” or the preaching “was” the power of God, for it is plainly declaring that a great change must occur before hearing the gospel.
  17. As Paul explained in context, God’s calling – appointment or ordination – to eternal life must occur first for the gospel to be perceived by hearers as the power and wisdom of God (1:24).
  18. What is the power of God perceived in the gospel of Christ? Virgin birth, incarnation, His miracles, destruction of Satan, resurrection from the dead, etc., etc. Any more questions?
  19. The proper preaching of the gospel is sweet incense in the lost and saved (II Cor 2:14-17), for the lost rejecting it justify their own damnation and the saved receiving it prove their life.
  20. Peter’s preaching of Christ crucified and Jewish guilt pricked one crowd to obedience; Stephen’s almost identical message cut another crowd to murderous action (Acts 2:37; 7:54).
  21. It is not the difference in presentation that causes belief and joy, but the difference in hearers!
  22. If a man is born again by the Holy Spirit, he rejoices at hearing the preaching of Jesus Christ!

1:19 Paul defended his explanation of the sovereignty of God in the gospel by quoting Isaiah.

  1. The quotation here is taken from Isaiah 29:14, where God ridicules the wisdom of Jerusalem.
  2. Similar divine disrespect for man’s wisdom is found in Eliphaz’s words in Job 5:12-14.
  3. It is God’s sovereign right to overthrow the wisdom of man in revealing the truth to others.
  4. The gospel confounds and contradicts the learning and wisdom of man, which is consistent with God’s disrespect for man’s intellectual and other abilities throughout human history.
  5. The wisdom of the wisest natural man, squared and the cubed, is still far less than nothing!
  6. God has chosen to save His elect by Himself, and the gospel is exclusively for them only.
  7. Human learning is a detriment to discovering and understanding divine truth. Grasp this!
  8. It is offensive to God and brings His judgment when men think themselves wise. Grasp this!
  9. God has revealed His wisdom unto babes, for it seemed good in His sight (Matt 11:25-27).

1:20 Paul further mocked human learning and wisdom by rhetorical and sarcastic questions.

  1. These words are Paul’s words more than a quotation, though loosely based on Isaiah 33:18.
  2. Rhetorically, where is the wise? What have they learned and understood with their wisdom?
  3. Rhetorically, where is the scribe? What have books or the Law of Moses done for man?
  4. Rhetorically, where are the disputers? What has philosophical speculation accomplished?
  5. Rhetorically, has not the God of heaven turned man’s learning and wisdom into utter folly?
  6. Find a wise man in the world’s opinion: he knows nothing at all about anything important; in fact, he is entirely insane by his presuppositions and the vain babblings of his conclusions.
  7. Find a scribe in the world’s literature, a man well read and educated: he also knows nothing.
  8. Disputers are the critics of the world. Consider higher and lower textual criticism, for God has absolutely confounded these blasphemous men who sit in judgment on the word of God.
  9. Their “superior translations” are full of idiotic errors, as II Sa 21:19; Mark 1:2; Gal 3:16; etc.
  10. Educated men think the universe originated with a big bang of chaotic gas, humanity came from monkeys, abortion is humane but seal hunting is not, capital punishment is wrong, rap is music, Picasso was an artist, athletes and actors should pontificate on politics, etc., etc.!
  11. What has man accomplished in learning over the 6000 years of his existence? Nothing! The world today is more intellectually bankrupt than at any time in human history in all matters of morality and true wisdom. Everywhere you look today, man displays his gross ignorance.
  12. Automobiles and motherboards only impress fools. True knowledge has disappeared.
  13. The blessed God has no respect for human learning (I Tim 1:6; 4:7; 6:20-21; Rom 1:22).
  14. If you want to be wise, then you need to humble yourself as a fool (3:18-20; Isaiah 66:1-2).
  15. All Christian children should be trained to ridicule the world, “But the emperor is naked!”
  16. God reveals His deep things to babes, who will come trembling (Ps 119:18; Matt 11:25-27).
  17. Much more of this contrast in wisdom between the saints and sinners is in chapter two.

1:21 God omnisciently knew men would never find Him, so He revealed Himself by the gospel.

  1. God looked down on men and saw they would never find Him (Ps 14:2-5; Rom 1:19-23).
  2. So God purposed to reveal Himself to His elect by the preaching of the gospel, which men perceive as foolishness, but which is the divine ordained way of communicating knowledge.
  3. The salvation here is the knowledge of God by man, not regeneration or eternal life.
  4. The salvation here is the practical phase of salvation, which is the education of the elect.
  5. Salvation in 1:18 is primarily vital salvation – regeneration; here it is practical – conversion.

1:22 Though God knew what Jews and Greeks wanted, He sent an offensive gospel to both.

  1. The Jews were obsessed with signs, and the Greeks were obsessed with worldly wisdom.
  2. Many churches today take market surveys to so structure their programs, worship, and facilities to appeal to their market niche, because they are appealing to carnal preferences.
  3. But God looked at His market survey and did just the opposite, offending all but the elect!

1:23 The preaching of Jesus Christ crucified was highly offensive to both Jews and Greeks.

  1. The gospel emphasizes the crucifixion death of Jesus of Nazareth at the hands of Rome.
  2. The Jews found this repulsive, as they were looking for a Prince to deliver them from Rome.
  3. God ordained Jesus to be a stone of stumbling and rock of offence to the Jews (I Pet 2:7-8).
  4. The Greeks found it repulsive, as they were looking for an intellectual and refined message.
  5. They wanted something compatible with their philosophical explanation of life and eternity.
  6. Observe! Though knowing what they wanted, God sent the very opposite to offend both!
  7. It is a serious error to modify the message to appeal to known preferences of man (1:17).

1:24 But the same gospel is received with joy by those who have already been saved by God.

  1. Though the gospel offended by Jews and Greeks, it was received by those called of God.
  2. The same people – both Jews and Greeks, who were born again, loved the gospel dearly.
  3. The calling here is shown by context to be the choice of God to eternal life (1:26 cp 1:27).
  4. It is no different than Paul’s call to be an apostle (1:1): God’s appointment of him to it.
  5. This means the same with “as many as were ordained to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48).
  6. And it is the same with “God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain” (I Thess 5:9).
  7. Of course, we are called to eternal life by the voice of the Son of God, just as in the resurrection at the last day; but that is not the subject or focal point here (John 5:25-29).
  8. The same gospel found foolish by most is found delightful by those chosen to eternal life.
  9. Elect and regenerate souls find the gospel a message of God’s power and wisdom in Christ.
  10. As before, the power of God is seen in the virgin birth, incarnation, resurrection, etc., etc.
  11. The wisdom of God is seen in the glorious plan of five phases of salvation to save the elect.
  12. The words “are called” are a passive voice, perfect tense verb construction, indicating a past action with the effect still true in the present. The call of God occurred before their hearing!

1:25 God is able to easily use what the world perceives as foolish to communicate to His elect.

  1. They consider the gospel of Christ as foolishness, but the elect count it precious indeed!
  2. The weak means of using fishermen to preach about a carpenter’s son overpowers men!
  3. Though Jews and Greeks despised the gospel, it told the most powerful man in the universe.
  4. Though Jews and Greeks despised the gospel, it told of the wisest man in the universe!

1:26 Paul tells the church to measure God’s election by considering the saints at Corinth.

  1. Paul here continues his humiliation of Corinth and proving of God’s sovereignty over men, for the purpose of ending their glorying in man and directing them to glory only in the Lord.
  2. By looking around, after Paul had been in Corinth for more than eighteen months, they could plainly see that God had chosen the more base and foolish elements of Corinth for His elect.
  3. The calling under consideration is not regeneration or some esoteric effectual call, but it is rather the appointment, ordination, choice, and predestination of men to eternal life.
  4. God saves some wise, mighty, and noble men; but He does not save very many of them.
  5. There may be a few Abrahams and Jobs, but most are the harlots and publicans of the world.
  6. A church of pretty people, and every city has many of them, is clearly not a church of Christ.
  7. There should never be any shame in the social status of the church, for Christ ordained it so.

1:27 God’s choice in election is designed to confound and crush the arrogance of natural man.

  1. In order to humiliate man’s arrogance and pride, God has chosen to save the lower class.
  2. Paul is driving toward his conclusion that all glory must be in the Lord, not in men (1:29,31).
  3. The Corinthian saints endured the ridicule of Jews and Greeks, but the proper understanding of their salvation showed that God had saved them to ridicule both the Jews and Greeks!
  4. God has discriminated in His choice to salvation – against the pretty people (James 2:5).
  5. So there should be no emphasis or respect given these people (Ps 62:9; Luke 1:52; Jas 1:9).

1:28 God’s choice in election is designed to confound and crush the arrogance of natural man.

  1. The blessed God is under obligation to save no one, and He has chosen to save the pitiful.
  2. His choices in election give Him greater glory by rejecting the “more worthy” of the race.
  3. The Corinthian saints endured the ridicule of Jews and Greeks, but the proper understanding of their salvation showed that God had saved them to ridicule both the Jews and Greeks!
  4. So extensive is this divine choice to humiliate any and all pride in the universe, God chose to save His elect from the lower classes of humanity and entirely bypass the fallen angels!

1:29 God has so ordered salvation in all respects that no man can give any glory to man.

  1. The eternal phase of salvation – election – is entirely by the grace of God for helpless men.
  2. The practical phases of salvation – conversion – is also by the grace of God for helpless men.
  3. When men approach God, there is absolutely nothing they can do but give Him all the glory.
  4. Since God has chosen the weaker persons of the human race, there is no room for boasting.
  5. The difference of heaven or hell will always and only be the free grace of a sovereign God.
  6. Any plan or scheme putting the difference in man’s ability or act is manifestly of the devil.

1:30 The perfect plan of salvation for the elect in Jesus Christ is by God and for His glory alone.

  1. The elect are in Christ Jesus by His choice, “of him,” (Rom 8:29-30; Eph 1:3-6; II Tim 1:9).
  2. Jesus Christ is the perfect Saviour by God’s wisdom and power in Him (I Pet 1:20; Ps 89:19).
  3. Though God had destroyed any trust in man’s wisdom, Jesus Christ is our infinite wisdom.
  4. God has made Him our perfect wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.
  5. In Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, for our benefit (Col 2:1-3).
  6. In Him is the perfect righteousness we need to stand accepted before God (II Cor 5:21).
  7. In Him is the perfect sanctification we need to stand holy before God (Heb 10:10-14).
  8. In Him is the perfect redemption we need to stand purchased before God (Heb 9:12,15).
  9. Jesus Christ is perfect for us intellectually, forensically, religiously, and economically!
  10. We are completely excluded intellectually, forensically, religiously, and economically!
  11. What the Jews and Greeks could not do in these four areas, God did for the elect in Christ!
  12. God put us in Christ, and God made Christ perfect for us. Salvation is of the Lord!
  13. And the gospel reveals all this to the understanding of only those chosen to eternal life.
  14. Here is the most precious information in the universe, but only the elect ever understand it.

1:31 The end result of God’s gracious salvation and Paul’s argument is the glory of God.

  1. Paul quotes loosely from Jeremiah 9:23-24, where we are to glory in the Lord Himself.
  2. Rather than glorying in Paul, Apollos, or Cephas, all the glorying must be in the Lord.
  3. Rather than glorying in any ability or learning or position of man, glory only in the Lord.
  4. There is absolutely no room for man to glory in any aspect of His salvation. It is of God!
  5. Any plan of salvation that allows any glory to man is absolutely and clearly a heresy!
  6. Salvation with human means of any sort for eternal life is patently a heretical doctrine.
  7. The seventh proof of unconditional salvation is that it alone gives all the glory to God.


  1. If you believe the gospel of Jesus Christ and want to follow and obey Him, it is powerful proof you are saved.
  2. Let us commit together to never modify the gospel or its presentation from the apostolic methods of Paul.

Additional study:

  1. See the sermon, Why Preach the Gospel?
  2. See Unconditional Salvation
  3. See the study, When Were You Saved?
  4. See the sermon, Why No Invitation?