The Review and Herald



January 1, 1884

God's Estimate of Worldly Wisdom


“Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours.” Such is the admonition of Paul to the Corinthian church. He would not have them dazzled or misled by those who were “wise in this world.” He declared that instead of seeking such distinctions, they must become fools in the opinion of worldly wise men, if they would become wise in the estimation of God. The reasoning policy, and imaginations so highly exalted by men of the world, were vain and worthless in the sight of Heaven. Extraordinary talent was not to be considered as high honor; for unless consecrated to God and sanctified by his Spirit, it would prove a curse rather than a blessing. RH January 1, 1884, par. 1

The apostle continues: “Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.” Here are presented the privileges of true believers. The abilities, gifts, and services of apostles and ministers are intended for their benefit. All the treasuries of God are opened to them. In possessing Christ, they possess all things. As his chosen, redeemed people, they are joint-heirs with him. The world, with everything in it, is theirs so far as it can do them good. Even the enmity of the wicked will prove a blessing by disciplining them for Heaven. RH January 1, 1884, par. 2

“All things are yours.” How precious this assurance! Stewards of the grace of God, the treasures of Heaven are opened before you. Here is bounty without limit. We must have faith in order to appreciate this promise, and receive the blessings which it offers. Though it cannot be comprehended in its fullness, yet it is no less a precious treasure to the believer. It is so broad and deep as to amaze the skeptic; but the child of faith beholds the signature of God, and with rejoicing trusts to his unfailing word. RH January 1, 1884, par. 3

“The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.” The wisdom of the world is too highly valued, the wisdom from above too little sought, by the professed people of the Lord. Men may have a knowledge of Christian doctrine, and yet understand little of Christian experience. Many are keen, apt, prompt, in worldly affairs, while they manifest little interest, tact, or energy in the service of God. They do not exercise their sharpness and shrewdness in watching to discern the devices of Satan, and studying how they may outgeneral the enemy. They do not summon all their powers to form wise plans and put forth earnest, systematic effort to advance the cause of God. The wisdom exercised in worldly temporal things is seldom devoted to spiritual and eternal things. In this manner do men of ability give evidence that they are more carnal than spiritual. RH January 1, 1884, par. 4

Every man, of whatever trade or profession, should make the cause of God his first interest; he should not only exercise his talents to advance the Lord's work, but should cultivate his ability to this end. Many a man devotes months and years to the acquirement of a trade or profession that he may become a successful worker in the world; and yet he makes no special effort to cultivate those talents which would render him a successful laborer in the vineyard of the Lord. He has perverted his powers, misused his talents. He has shown disrespect to his heavenly Master. This is the great sin of the professed people of God. They serve themselves, and serve the world. They may have the name of being shrewd, successful financiers; but they neglect to increase by use the talents which God has given them for his service. The worldly tact is becoming stronger by exercise; the spiritual is becoming weaker through inactivity. RH January 1, 1884, par. 5

The present is a time when these talents, used in the cause of God, would tell with great effect in the upbuilding of his kingdom. But Satan has outgeneraled us in this matter. We have now to meet a class of men who have been cultivating their powers for his service. They have been encouraging doubts concerning the truth and the word of God; they have studied to find errors and to pick flaws. Some ministers make it their sole business to unsettle faith, to set souls adrift without an anchor. A vainglorious emulation renders them eager for controversy. Some who are desirous of exaltation seek to bring themselves into notice by conjecturing and reporting evil concerning the servants of Christ. Having no evidence to support a direct accusation, they throw out a covert hint, an insinuation, and thus sow the seeds of doubt to germinate in hearts that furnish a genial soil. RH January 1, 1884, par. 6

There are men professing godliness who are persecutors, false teachers, tempters, seducers. They have cultivated their talents for this work; and they employ all their ingenuity in disseminating unbelief, impiety, infidelity, licentiousness. They are fellow-workers with Satan, laboring with like zeal, diligence, and success, to draw away souls after them. Had the followers of Christ been cultivating their ability, they might be wise unto salvation, able to discern the devices of Satan; were they workers together with God, we would now have an army of faithful men prepared to stand in defense of the truth, and to meet and successfully expose the deceptions of the ungodly. RH January 1, 1884, par. 7

Ministers of the gospel are building up the temple of the Lord,—building upon the foundation-stone, which is Christ himself. Says Paul, “Every man's work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it.” We are building for eternity. It is doubly important now that we take heed how we build. If we indulge doubt and unbelief, we are bringing worthless material to the foundation stone. Only as we labor in faith can we bring to the building that which is precious and enduring. RH January 1, 1884, par. 8

Many that are drifting into darkness and infidelity are picking flaws with the Bible, and bringing in superstitious inventions, unscriptural doctrines, and philosophical speculations; others excite trifling inquiries and disputations, which call off the servants of God from their work of building, causing them to waste their time and lose their labor. Those who permit themselves to be thus hindered are giving place to Satan, and surrounding their own souls with an atmosphere of doubt and unbelief. While doing this, they might have been bringing gold, silver, and precious stones to lay upon the Foundation. RH January 1, 1884, par. 9

It is our work to direct souls to the living oracles. We must present to them sound doctrine, even the faith once delivered to the saints. We must show them the truth in its beauty that they may be led to renounce error. We must instruct them in faith, love, obedience, and hope, that through much prayer they may grow up “an holy temple in the Lord.” The day of Judgment will test every man's work. Let us so build that our work may endure the fiery trial. RH January 1, 1884, par. 10

Says Paul: “Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful.” To be faithful stewards of the mysteries of God, we must not shrink from giving needed warning and reproof. Though the hearts of men may be uplifted in pride, and they may refuse to be warned, we still have done our duty. Those who reject reproof may be men who are honored by the world; but their wisdom is foolishness with God. In his own time, he will expose the vanity of their speculations, and bring to naught their counsels. RH January 1, 1884, par. 11

A man of strict fidelity is a valuable steward, though he may not possess as great accomplishments as do some others. One who seeks to advance the truth for the glory of God and the good of souls, without respect of persons and regardless of his own ease, interest, or honor,—such a man should be highly esteemed, though he may not possess learning or eloquence. He is God's nobleman. In the sight of Heaven, he presents the highest type of manhood. RH January 1, 1884, par. 12

When the judgment shall sit, and the books shall be opened, there will be many astonishing disclosures. Men will not then appear as they appear to the human eyes and finite judgments. Secret sins will then be laid open to the view of all. Motives and intentions which have been hidden in the dark chambers of the heart will be revealed. Designing ambitions, selfish purposes, will be seen where the outward appearance told only of a desire to honor God and to do good to men. What revelations will then be made. Men of pure motives and true and noble purpose may now be slighted, neglected, slandered, and despised; but they will then appear as they are, and will be honored with the commendation of God. Hypocritical, ambitious teachers may now be admired and exalted by men; but God, who knows the secrets of the heart will strip off the deceptive covering, and reveal them as they are. Every hypocrite will be unmasked, every slandered believer will be justified, and every faithful steward of God will be approved and rewarded. RH January 1, 1884, par. 13

Not all are Christ's who adopt his name and wear his badge. Jesus says, “Follow me.” Are those who indulge sinful habits and enjoy the frivolities of the world, Christ's children? Can we see the footprints of the Saviour in the path they tread? Are those who are neglectful of religious duties following Christ? Do they have sweet communion with him? Do they let their light shine before men? RH January 1, 1884, par. 14

Brethren and sisters, are we following in the steps of Him who sought not his own will but the will of his Father? If we have not the Spirit of Christ, we are none of his. We cannot serve two masters. We cannot belong to Christ and to Belial. If we are the world's in our habits and practices, we do not belong to Christ. We may be his, in the sense in which the earth and the beasts of the forest are his, but we are not his chosen ones. We shall be prepared to stand as stewards of God, only as we are in Christ. By his grace alone can our life be such as to advance the cause of truth. We must learn in the school of Christ if we would have wisdom to work the works of Christ. RH January 1, 1884, par. 15

To be Christ's is to be consecrated to his work, to employ every power of the mind and every member of the body to do his will and to advance his glory. It is to open the heart to his word, to reveal the testimonials of his love. It is to have Christ formed within, the hope of glory; to contemplate his matchless charms until the overflowing tribute of the soul shall be, “Hear what the Lord has done for me.” RH January 1, 1884, par. 16

Through the words of the apostle, the voice of Divine Wisdom speaks to us as it spoke to the church at Rome eighteen hundred years ago: “To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” RH January 1, 1884, par. 17