Offensive and Foolish

In 1Cor.1, Paul takes notice of how the gospel is offensive to the Jews and foolish to the Greeks. It was offensive, because the Jewish Messia was supposed to act like a good Phrasisee and also conquer the Romans, not be crucified by them. It was foolish to the Greeks, because they had Plato and all their sophisticated learning and did not need a God who asked for surrender. Of course Paul is not talking about what the gospel actually is; he is only describing how it is viewed by those whose minds have been blinded by something else.

Today we are living in a post-Christian culture that in many ways resembles the pre-Christian culture of Paul's day. The gospel is certainly offensive to many — it claims to be the truth, which is no longer acceptable due to our deeply entrenched relativistic worldview. And to the modern mind it is foolish on so many counts it would be hard to list them all. Not only do they believe that Christianity failed to deliver on its promises (especially during the twentieth century), our faith requires belief in something that cannot be verified mathematically or in a test tube (although for many, belief in shiny rocks seems to be OK for some strange reason). 

To those of us whose lives have been transformed by God's truth and love, nothing is more powerful or more real. When He speaks into our heart and moves mountains that have been in our way for several decades, there is nothing foolish to be said. Only a fool would believe nothing happened. And when I discover how much I need Him and how much He wants to be here for me, the only thing offensive is an affront to His goodness and character. 

Still, there is no satisfaction in knowing where foolishness and offensiveness truly lie. In fact, it grieves me to stop and see how lost people are who hate my God. But in our climate of increasingly vocal derision and contempt from the world around us, I sometimes need to remind myself that I have nothing to be ashamed of. My God's Grace is radical and even scandalous; but never foolish or offensive.

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