Covenant Reformed News
September 2018 • Volume XVII, Issue 5
God’s Wisdom (4)
The wisdom of God was personally manifested in our Lord Jesus. According to His human nature, Christ grew in wisdom as He developed as a boy: “the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him” (Luke 2:40). As a teenager, “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (52).
He is the fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaiah 11:2: “the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” He was wiser than Solomon (Matt. 12:42; Luke 11:31), for in Him “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3). Yea, He is the very “wisdom of God” (I Cor. 1:24)!
The wisdom of God in Christ is declared in the gospel. The last verse in the most systematic presentation of the good news of salvation closes with this fitting doxology: “To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen” (Rom. 16:27). This is entirely appropriate, since Romans sets forth man’s terrible sin and God’s justifying righteousness (ch. 1-5); the marvel of sanctification and assurance (ch. 6-8); double predestination, and the salvation of believing Jews and Gentiles (ch. 9-11); and rich ethical teaching on godly living, including in church and state (ch. 12-16).
I Corinthians 1:17-31 explains that the gospel proclaims salvation through the crucified Messiah, which is foolishness and weakness to the world, but the wisdom and power of God. Jehovah has chosen the foolishness of preaching to save His people and to confound those who think themselves to be wise. The Triune God hides these things from “the wise and prudent,” but reveals them to “babes” (Matt. 11:25; Luke 10:21).
Saul of Tarsus is a prime biblical example of God’s wisdom in conversion. Remember what he used to be: he “was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious” (I Tim. 1:13), yet the Most High transformed him into the apostle Paul (1, 11-12)! No wonder he exclaimed, “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen” (17)! In Jehovah’s wisdom, He made Paul a model to display His longsuffering: “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting” (16).
Consider the wonder of God’s wisdom in preserving all whom He saves—billions of us, in all ages and all around the world; each with his or her own particular sins and weaknesses; and all under attack from the world, the flesh and the devil! Thus the penultimate book of the Bible concludes with this paean of praise: “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen” (Jude 24-25).
What about God’s wisdom in sacred Scripture? No other book can compare to it! We have the inspired, inerrant and infallible Bible, which has been preserved faithfully to all generations. It is complete, all-sufficient and supremely authoritative. These “holy scriptures,” Paul states, “are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (II Tim. 3:15).
Whether they like it or not, all the world will be utterly convinced of God’s wisdom at the final judgment. The last day will be the great theodicy, when Jehovah’s wisdom will be displayed publicly to all men and angels, elect or reprobate, holy or wicked. In all His works and ways, the Triune God will be seen as just and wise and good—undeniably! On that glorious day, “at the name of Jesus every knee [shall] bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And ... every tongue [shall] confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10-11). Be wise and bow now in repentance and faith in Christ crucified and risen!
Rev. Angus Stewart, pastor of Covenant PRC in Ballymena, N. Ireland