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1 Corinthians 2:9–11

“These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God” (v. 10).

Before we move on to our study of today’s passage, we should reflect just a little bit more on the phrase “crucified the Lord of glory” in 1 Corinthians 2:8. This text contributes to our understanding of the communicatio idiomatum (communication of properties), or the relationship between the divine and human natures of Christ. The orthodox, biblical, historical doctrine of Christ says that a true human nature and the true divine nature are united in the one divine person of Jesus Christ. These natures are not changed by the union, and each nature retains its own unique properties. However, since the natures are perfectly united in the one person of Christ, the properties of each nature belong to the one person. So, when Paul says the “Lord of glory” was crucified, He is not saying that Christ endured any change according to His divine nature, such as from life to death, for deity cannot change (Mal. 3:6). The change that happened—passing from life to death in the crucifixion—was according to the human nature of Christ. Yet, because this nature belongs to the person of the Son of God, Paul can say that the Lord of glory was crucified. The One who is the Lord of glory according to His divine nature suffered death according to His human nature.

This suffering and death manifests the wisdom of God, which is not available to the worldly, to those who have not been enabled to believe the gospel (1 Cor. 1:10–2:8). Paul continues this train of thought in 1 Corinthians 2:9, stating that “it is written” that “the heart of man” could not imagine that God would save His people through the atoning death of His Son. The Apostle’s quotation is not from any one Old Testament text but appears to be a paraphrased amalgamation of several texts about the glories of the Lord and the unexpected ways that He intervenes for His people (see, for instance, Ps. 118:23; Isa. 43:19; 64:4). Paul’s point is that the Old Testament foresees salvation through a crucified Messiah and that it takes a special revelation by God to believe it.

First Corinthians 2:10–11 tells us that God the Holy Spirit is the agent who reveals this truth to us. Just as only the soul or spirit of a human being knows his thoughts, only the Spirit of God knows God’s thoughts. Only the Spirit can discern the deep things of the Lord, so only the Holy Spirit can reveal them to us and cause us to believe. People come to faith only through a supernatural act, the divine granting of faith to the elect of God.

Coram Deo Living before the face of God

We do not need a testimony of how God saved us from grievous, public sin to demonstrate the power of the cross. Every act of salvation manifests the work of the Spirit. Even people who live apparently upright lives before their conversions are saved through the sovereign transformation of the Holy Spirit. If we are Christians, let us thank the Lord for changing our hearts and giving us faith.


For Further Study
  • Jeremiah 31:31–34
  • Romans 8:26–27

The Hidden Wisdom of God

More Significant than Ourselves

Keep Reading The State of Theology

From the January 2021 Issue
Jan 2021 Issue