1 Corinthians 1:28-31. God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
Paul is describing this great reversal that God initiated whereby the “nobodies” of the world become the “somebodies”, and the “somebodies” of the world become the “nobodies.” This awesome work of God prevents all boasting in front of God. The “nobodies” turned into “somebodies” can’t boast because they didn’t acquire their new status on their own, God gave it to them. The “somebodies” turned into “nobodies” can’t boast, well because now they realize they are “nobodies.”
Which are you?
“To live is Christ” makes each of us who are in Christ into one or the other, but mostly into both at the same time. You are a “nobody” that God has graciously loved and exalted in Christ into a “somebody.” And you are a “somebody” that God has graciously humbled in Christ into a “nobody.”
Because of him you are in Christ Jesus. It is because of God alone that we have experienced this amazing grace. Grace that levels us all out socially. Grace that removes all barriers to the Father. Grace that even gives us something to boast in for all of eternity- the Lord Jesus.
We have found many things to boast in haven’t we? Our families. Our careers. Our good deeds. Our good looks. Our politics. Especially our politics. We boast in that thing that makes us feel like we deserve to be alive today. That thing that makes us feel like we are better than others. That thing that keeps us from getting voted off of the island.
As Christians we boast in ministry and “church work.” We use it to gain power and influence. We would never boast about it out loud, but the boast is in our hearts. We even boast in our humility.
We boast in our social status, race, wealth, education, and gender. We cry for unity, but promote division by expecting everyone to look and sound like us. We find our identity in these same things. We look down on those who dress different, think different, and worship different (style not Spirit) than we do.
All of these things keep our boast from being in the Lord. But for those who are in Christ, those who understand that “to live is Christ,” the only boast we have left is in Christ and his cross. As both a “nobody” and a “somebody” we know that all other boasts crumble in the light of his glory and grace.
What is your boast in these days? Can you relate to any of the examples above? Have you seen God turn you into a “nobody” for his glory? Have you seen him then turn you into a “somebody” for his glory? Why can we only boast in Christ?