1 Corinthians 1:18 "Power of God" (Helmet of Salvation - Week 3)

1 Corinthians 1:18 "Power of God" (Helmet of Salvation - Week 3)

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. (ESV)

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (NIV)

The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. (NLT)

Dive Deeper:

Blanket of Uninterest

“What do you do for a living?” is a question I often get asked by strangers. Being in ministry, it is always interesting to see their reactions as I explain that I serve college students at our church. Generally, from a non-churchgoer, I am met with three reactions: (1) Completely brushing it off and moving on as if I said nothing of importance to them. (2) Instant discomfort and awkwardness, not knowing where to go from there. (3) Lastly, they describe some sort of past connection to the church that they no longer have: “My wife and I used to go to church, but we haven’t in the last 3 years.” It seems that there is a blanket of uninterest in Jesus, the Gospel, and the church in our broad culture. People are either completely turned off to the idea, or there is an initial curiosity that isn’t sustained by lifelong discipleship. Eugene Peterson comments on our cultural state, saying, “We know that the spiritual atmosphere in which we live erodes faith, dissipates hope, and corrupts love, but it is hard to put our finger on what is wrong.” Why do we find ourselves here? Why does the church seemingly have no sustained commitment or power? 

Paul speaks here in our memory verse that the preaching of the Gospel will produce two groups. Those who see it as foolishness and those who see the power of God. Jesus spoke of the same concept in more detail when He taught the Parable of the Sower. In that teaching, Jesus describes four groups where the seed (or the gospel) is sown into hearts. In three groups, no lasting fruit is produced; the end result is the same as in 1 Corinthians: death. Whether the gospel is snatched instantly, by struggle/persecution, or by the worries of life, the refrain is the same: that the cross is foolish and not worth trusting. 

The Fourth Group

There is actually a fourth reaction that I get when discussing my vocation: joy; this is the last group that Jesus talks about in His parable and in 1 Corinthians 1:18: those who receive salvation and live in it. Jesus describes this group as those who “hear the word and understand it.” (Matthew 13:23b). And Paul states it is those who see salvation as the power of God. So what separates those who have “tried out Jesus” and those who plant their whole life in Jesus? Seeing properly and knowing deeply. In 1 Corinthians 2, Paul picks up, “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5). Many are disoriented with the church today because faith rests on the wisdom of a leader who inspires us. This may spark our interest, but it won’t sustain it. 

Rather, when the Spirit touches us in power, we see the cross properly and know the love of God for us. This power is what plants and roots us in Christ, and it is this power that produces fruit in our lives. When we properly see the cross and open our hearts to the power of the Spirit, we will be transformed. “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18). This is the helmet of salvation we put on when we put our trust in Jesus. It is this helmet that we cannot take off for anything else. That is when we stop contemplating the Lord's glory; that is when we lose sight of the power of God, the cross.


Written by Ben Hesch 



Go on a walk and openly ask God, “Does my trust rest in your power, the cross?” Wait and listen as the Spirit reveals ways the helmet hasn’t been properly used. Humbly embrace ways we have maybe drifted our eyes off of Jesus and onto ourselves or the world.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published