Chapter 2:6-10 (ESV) - Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.
Question to consider: What does Paul mean by “this age?”
By “the mature,” Paul was talking about the Jewish rulers. The wisdom the Corinthian Christians were imparting was the mystery of the gospel. Paul’s reference to “this age” was the Old Covenant, the age of the earthly temple which was doomed to pass away about fifteen years after he wrote this letter. The mystery of the gospel was not fully revealed until after Jesus rose from the dead. It is precisely because Jesus rose from the dead and is reigning at the right hand of God that the old order of things could pass away. For now Christ serves as our great high priest in the temple not built by human hands and daily intercedes for us and forgives our sins.
As Peter wrote in his first epistle, “even angels long to look into these things.” (from 1 Peter 1:12 in the NIV). Had the rulers of the temple age recognized their Messiah, they never would have crucified Him, but His sacrifice was necessary to usher in the New Testament, the everlasting covenant of grace. This can be a difficult truth when we think through the implications of this, but God chose the perfect time and place to usher in the New Testament according to His perfect and holy wisdom. If there is anyone in all of the universe in whom we can trust to perfectly balance the scales of justice, it is God.
Paul’s quotation is a paraphrase of Isaiah 64:4 which from the Septuagint says, “From of old we have not heard, neither have our eyes seen a God beside thee, and thy works which thou wilt perform to them that wait for mercy.” Usually when I hear people quote this passage, they attribute it to some wonderful plan that God has for our life now or the unimaginable glory of heaven. However, Paul was saying the mercy for which God’s people had been waiting arrived in Christ. The grace of God and the perfect sacrifice of Christ are more glorious than we could have ever imagined.
Of course, these things were only revealed through the Spirit. From the moment the Spirit descended on the disciples at Pentecost, He has been opening the eyes of everyone who is called by Christ. May the Spirit who knows the depths of God reveal the need for Christ in all who read this message.
Dear heavenly father, thank You for sending Christ into the world to reconcile Your creation to Yourself. What a wonderful day it will be when all sin and death are a thing of the past, and we can worship You in Your kingdom. As long as we are ambassadors in this world, help us to be about Your business. Amen.