God who alone is wise 1 Tim 1:17

by  Steven Chan

The Bible declares that God alone is wise. This is important for us to appreciate. Many think that they are wise. But the Bible warns in Rom 12:16: “Do not be wise in your own opinion.” Why is this warning given? According to Rom 1:22, some “professing to be wise, they became fools” – in that instance, when they “changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man”.

In I Cor 1:25, the Bible declares that “the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” The plan of salvation devised by God required the death and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and this may appear to be foolishness to some, but the reality is that ‘Christ crucified’ is the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:20-27). According to Rom 3:25-26, God set forth Jesus “as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” God is a gracious God but He is also a Just God. His plan of salvation demonstrated both His graciousness as well as His justice – an incredible manifestation of His wisdom.

Many today try to be gracious in what they do but in their own wisdom, they forget the requirement to be righteous as well in all that they do. It is insufficient to be merely gracious if it violates the requirement to be just or righteous at the same time. While it is true that “mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13), it is nonetheless true that God’s judgment must be respected at all times. For example, in Matt 23:15, Jesus observed that the scribes and Pharisees were zealous in their proselytizing efforts and they “travel land and sea to win one proselyte” but unfortunately after having done so, Jesus said “when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves”. Why did Jesus condemn their proselytizing efforts? This is because the scribes and Pharisees taught the new converts, their own brand of doctrine – which is “zeal for God, but not according to knowledge” (Rom 10:2).

In James 3:13-18 the Bible says: “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.” Note that the good efforts are to be done “in the meekness of wisdom” – a wisdom that is guided by God and not by man’s own wisdom.

May we all seek the wisdom of God as revealed in His Word as testified by the Psalmist in Psa 119:97-98: “Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. 98 You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; For they are ever with me.” So we need to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Col 3:16)