Read 1 Corinthians 1
Focus on verse 18
When I first began the web development class that I have now just completed, there were plenty of moments where, as I was learning how to read and write code that I just didn’t understand. HTML and CSS were like foreign languages – it all just looked like mumbo jumbo to me! Now that I have completed the course and learned what the code means, it no longer confuses me…well…maybe still a little but it gets easier every day.
In today’s reading Paul is writing to the followers of Jesus who live in Corinth. In the opening chapter of this letter, he describes how the gospel does not make sense to unbelievers, yet to those who the Holy Spirit has given understanding the gospel gives access to salvation and the power of God.
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (v. 18)
This is a helpful principle to keep in mind when those of us who believe interact with people who have not yet come to understand the gospel. Part of our responsibility as witnesses is to learn how to explain the gospel in a way that will help a person who is unfamiliar with the language of the gospel to understand. For a person who has not grown up in a churched culture, words like “sanctification” are not helpful, and phrases like “have you been washed in the blood of the Lamb” understandably creep them out.
Most people have a genuine interest in the concept of God and matters of spirituality, and many are looking for some way to make sense of this adventure we call life. The ones who do not have typically had one or more painful experiences that have caused them to believe God failed to come through for them, and many are more than a little confused about the character of God, who He is, and how He relates to us. I have also found that some of the most unlikely people are eager to learn more about Him, they just have no idea how to go about it.
One of the things I found most helpful as I was learning to write code was when someone would show me how it worked as well as explaining it. I suspect that if more followers of Jesus would invest the effort required to emulate the way Jesus explained God to people, by showing them God’s love as well as talking about it, we might find that we can be even more successful at helping people to understand the love God has for them.