1Cor 15:3                               The Reality of Our Faith                            9/19/2010        ßą   

 

 

 

 

#1.       Through Which Also Ye Are Saved (1Cor 15:2, Rom 1:7, 16-17, John 6:44, 3:16, Jer 17:9)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2.       The Whole Counsel of God (Eph 1:3-5, 1Cor 15:4, Rom 6:3-11, Luke 12:50)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3.       Are We Saved Because We Believe These Facts? (1Cor 15:5-9, Gal 3:21, Rom 10:9, Eph 1:3-9)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the First Epistle to the Corinthians, 1Cor 15:1 (2X). These last two chapters in this letter to the Corinthians seem to be an entirely different Epistle. The main theme of 1Cor 15 is the resurrection of the body. The resurrection of the soul is not in question. That has been discussed at length in other chapters of the Bible. This church of ours is not a church that disputes the resurrection of either soul or body. But we have to be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks us for the hope that is within us, and answer with meekness and fear, for it is God who worketh within us to will and to do of His good pleasure. Therefore, let us begin to study and absorb what God is teaching us in these first eleven verses of this chapter. We read in 1Cor 15:1-11,

1Co 15:1-11  Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.

What do we see here? We see that God wants us to know the Gospel, the good news of God sending His own Son for an atoning sacrifice for the sins of men. It is the good news for all of mankind, like God told Abraham, in Gen 12:3, “and in thee shall all families (or all tribes) of the earth be blessed.” What did God mean by that? Surely it cannot mean that Christ atoned for the sins of all the people in the world, for we can clearly see in the Bible that not all people are saved. We can derive this principle from the Bible: God’s blessings can come by association. We can see that, for example, in the world of Noah: Only after Noah and his family were safely locked up in the ark did the judgment of God come on the rest of mankind for all their wickedness. It was only after Lot and his two daughters safely arrived at Zoar that the judgment of God came on Sodom and Gomorrah and Admah and Zeboam. God stated specifically in Gen 19:22. “Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do anything till thou be come thither.” Those four cities were protected by the presence of Lot. As long as Lot was not safe in Zoar God would not bring His judgment on those four cities. Moreover, the city of Zoar was spared because Lot came to lodge there. God said in Gen 19:21, “See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken.” In other words, the presence of only one righteous man saved the city from destruction. Likewise we can firmly conclude that the blessings from God will accompany those nations where there are many righteous people, and God will withdraw His blessings from those nations that turn away from Him. All these conclusions flow out of Gen 12:3 where God told Abraham, “and in thee shall all families (or all tribes) of the earth be blessed.” God’s statements are always true, and cannot be negated by some clever human reasoning. Let us now come back to 1Cor 15:1, where God said, through the hand of the apostle Paul, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;” What is that Gospel that God has brought to the church at Corinth, and that God has brought to every church in the world, and that so few of the churches are willing to accept? It is because the true Gospel is offensive to most people. In fact it has been offensive in OT as well as in NT time. Let me illustrate this with some examples

Isa 8:14  And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

Ro 9:33  As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

1Co 1:23  But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

1Pe 2:8  And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

But to the church at Corinth God says, “I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein (also) ye stand.” They have received and believed this Gospel, and this is where they have taken their stand against those who are bringing another gospel. Not everyone believes this Gospel, for it is obnoxious to most people. But God has lavished His grace upon these people by drawing them to Christ. No one comes to Christ out of his own interest; only the irresistible grace of God causes this action. We read in John 6:44, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” In other words, no one will feel an attraction to come to the Lord Jesus, unless they are drawn by God the Father with an irresistible grace, because the Father has elected them unto salvation. Then God says in 1Cor 15:2,

#1.       Through Which Also Ye Are Saved (1Cor 15:2, Rom 1:7, 16-17, John 6:44, 3:16, Jer 17:9)

1Cor 15:2, By which also ye are saved, (literally: Through which also you are being kept safe) if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

Here is the word “also” for the third time. Notice that verse 2 is not duplicating what we read in verse 1. In verse 1 God says, “I preached unto you, and also you have received”, which means they received and believed the Gospel that was preached. Secondly, in verse 1 God says, “You have believed and also you have taken a solid stand”. Do we realize that this is speaking of a lifetime commitment? Thirdly, in verse 2 God says, “You have taken a solid stand for the things you believe, and also you are being kept safe by God the Holy Spirit”. And the sign that you will persevere in the faith and that you are being kept in the faith by God until the end of your life is if you keep in memory what I preached unto you. If you do not keep in memory what I preached unto you; if you will drift away from the Gospel I preached unto you and you are drifting into another gospel, then you shall know that you presently have believed in vain. You have not been saved ever. But to all those who persevere in the faith we ask that you read the beginning of 1Cor 15:2 again. The words, “By which also ye are saved” seem to indicate that by your faith wherein you stand you are also saved. And that gives all the credit of salvation to the one who believes, as if the action of believing causes the reward of salvation. However, that is not what the Greek text conveys. We should read verse 2 as, “Through which also you are being kept safe”, by God the Holy Spirit who shall keep your thoughts in line with the sovereignty of God. This is the God whom we worship. Any thought of giving part of the glory to man is an abomination to God. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Please put a sticker here in 1Cor 15, and please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 1:16 (2X). This Epistle to the Romans was probably written when Paul was at Corinth. To whom was this letter written? We read in Rom 1:7, “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called (to be) saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” The words (to be) are in italics; they were a suggestion by the translators. The teaching of the Bible, both in the OT and in the NT, is that people who are saved are called saints. Before we are saved we are called sinners. After we have been saved, which means after we have been born from above, we are no more called sinners, but we are called saints. And when we have become saints our declaration of the Gospel is like the declaration of the apostle Paul in Rom 1:16-17,

Rom 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

The Gospel of Christ, the good news of Christ crucified, is the power of God unto salvation. But this process of salvation is totally in the hands of our sovereign God, who gives faith to everyone whom He saves. And that is why verse 16 states, “It is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth”. We are obligated to harmonize everything we find in the Bible for God cannot lie. Therefore we must harmonize John 6:44, which says Joh 6:44 “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day”, and we must harmonize it with John 3:16, which says,  Joh 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If John 6:44 says that God is in control, whereas John 3:16 seems to say that man is in control, we have misinterpreted one of the two verses, or else God will be a liar in one of those two places. And so, what is the solution? The solution is that God gives faith to everyone He saves. Now the Greek text of Rom 1:17 sheds some light in this direction, for the literal meaning of the Greek text says in Rom 1:17, “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed out of  faith into faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” In other words, “the righteousness of God is revealed out of the faith of Christ into the faith of the one He saves.” We are saved by the faith of Christ, for that is the faith that His Father would not leave His soul in Hell. And that conviction is given to the one who receives faith from God as a result of his salvation. And thus, our faith is not the cause of salvation, but the result of salvation. We, of our own self, could never bring up the faith to believe the whole Bible from cover to cover, for that would be obnoxious to our whole being. You do not give a lion straw for food, for that would be obnoxious to him. We must realize that our heart is deceitful and desperately wicked by nature (Jer 17:9). Christ died for the ungodly.

Please put a sticker here in Romans, and please turn again to the Epistle to the Corinthians, 1Cor 15:3 (2X).

1Cor 15:3, For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

Here is the beginning of the declaration of the Gospel in 1Cor 15. First of all, Christ died for “our sins”. He did not atone for the sins of the whole world, but for our sins specifically. His atonement was a particular atonement; it was a limited atonement, limited to the number of people whom the Father chose to save. And who does the pronoun “our” refer to? It refers to all those people who are included in John 6:44, where God says, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him”. The ones whose sins are laid on the account of the Lord Jesus Christ are all the elect whom the Father had chosen to become the Bride of Christ. But we must realize that before our salvation we were wicked, for our heart is deceitful and desperately wicked by nature. When Christ saw us before time began, He saw only wicked sinners. Christ died for the ungodly, for we were all ungodly. Please turn again to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 5:6 (2X). There we read in Rom 5:6-11,

Ro 5:6-11 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

The atonement that we received was entirely undeserved, for salvation is a gift entirely by grace; it is not earned or deserved, and it is a gift so great that it cannot be increased or decreased by anything that we do here on earth. It is a gift that God gives freely to everyone whom He intends to save. And a free gift means that we cannot do anything to increase or decrease that gift. Totally in line with the fact that the gift is free, God says in Rom 5:8, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly”. It means that at the time Christ died on behalf of our sins in AD 33 we must be considered “without strength”. But let us wake up now. In AD 33 our bodies and our souls did not exist yet. Only our names existed in the mind of God the Son, and He laid our sins on the account of the man Christ Jesus. All our sins were still future sins, and Christ in His humanity was going to pay the penalty for the guilt of all those sins. I am stressing the fact that Christ in His humanity died for the ungodly. He did not pay for those sins in His Divine nature, the nature of God the Son, for God cannot die. Man sinned, and man must pay the penalty for those sins. We must make that distinction, even though the Lord Jesus Christ is the unbreakable union of God the Son and the man-child in the womb of the Virgin Mary. But in AD 33 only our names existed; was that sufficient for Christ to atone for all our sins? We do not have to ask, for he Lord Jesus gave us the answer in the Gospel of Luke, Luke 10:20, and there the Lord Jesus said, Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” Where were our names written? They were written in the mind of God the Son in heaven, and therefore they were also written in the mind of the Lord Jesus Christ. These were the names of all those who were appointed to be the Bride of Christ. These were the ungodly for which the Lord Jesus had to atone for their sins. And notice that the second word “for” in Rom 5:6 is the Greek word “huper” which does not mean “in the place of”, but it means “on behalf of”. Christ died on behalf of the ungodly. It means Christ did not substitute His whole being in our place, but God imputed the guilt of our sins to His account. Christ remained the spotless Lamb of God. The word impute is an accounting term; it means “to lay something to another’s account”. Adam’s sin was imputed to our account. The guilt of our sins was imputed to Christ’s account. Christ’s righteousness was imputed to our account. If all this seems a little mixed up to us, then we realize that we need a bit more education in this matter of the atonement of Christ. That is why God said through the apostle Paul in 1Cor 2:2, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified”. Let us then learn from the whole counsel of God, for we must preach the whole counsel of God, and we must learn to know the whole counsel of God.

#2.       The Whole Counsel of God (Eph 1:3-5, 1Cor 15:4, Rom 6:3-11, Luke 12:50)

What is the whole counsel of God? It is the decree of God, or the plan of God, concerning this entire creation, and what the goals are that God has set before Him before He created the first speck of dust. Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Ephesians, Eph 1:3 (2X), and put a sticker also here in Ephesians. Here is a chapter that has been hidden from most church members. Most people are not even aware that the church has been hiding certain truths from the Bible. But here is a chapter where God revealed some of His plans and some of His goals from before the foundation of the world. It means that this was going on long before anything existed, God revealed His eternal being from eternity past, which means before time began. We read in Eph 1:3-5,

Eph 1:3-5  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

Before time began there was only God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, God in three persons, yet only one God. And when the Bible speaks of Christ from eternity past, we understand that it refers to God the Son, but not the man Christ Jesus, for He had a beginning about 2000 years ago. We read here in Eph 1:3-5 that God the Father blessed us before the foundation of the world by choosing a number of elect people from all the nations of the world and placing their names in Christ, which means by placing their names in the mind of God the Son. What was the Father’s purpose in this? In simple terms, the Father chose a bride for His Son, and the bride consisted of all the elect whom the Father chose from all the nations of the world. However, all the elect were born as wicked sinners and enemies of God, and therefore their sins had to be taken care of by the atonement of Christ, so that we should be holy and without blame before Him. Therefore the Father predestinated us, He determined our destiny beforehand, so that we become His adopted daughter in law through the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ And all this He did according to the good pleasure of His will, not according to what we deserve by our works or by anything else of our character or our nature. Let us now return to the Epistle to the Corinthians, 1Cor 15:4 (2X). Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, which means “Christ died on behalf of the guilt of our sins”.

1Cor 15:4, And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

This verse speaks of Christ being buried. But on the cross the Lord Jesus said, “Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit” and then His human soul left His body and went to be with the Father in heaven. His dead body went into the grave. Was this an empty shell? No; because we were buried with Christ. Our names were in that body, and therefore God the Son who had our names in His mind was present in that body. He rose again the third day, which means that the human soul of Christ returned to His body, and He remained on this earth for another 40 days. Since Eph 1:3 says that our names were in Christ, it means that He is our progenitor in the spirit. Adam is our representative in the flesh, and Christ is our representative in the spirit. Since we were and are in Christ, the Bible teaches us that we were crucified with Christ, we died with Christ, we were buried with Christ, we were raised with Christ, we ascended with Christ into the heavenlies, and we are seated with Christ on the right hand of the Father. Please return now to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 6:3 (2X). We read in Rom 6:3-11,

Ro 6:3-11  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

What does it mean that we were baptized into Jesus Christ, and that we were baptized into His death? The Lord Jesus spoke of this baptism as a washing from our sins. On the cross He had to be washed from the guilt of our sins. We read in the Gospel of Luke chapter 12, Luke 12:50, “But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!” This is how we were baptized into His death. When we read these verses in Rom 6:3-11 we should not think of water baptism, for water baptism does not take away our sins; it is only a symbol of it. We must remember that what takes place outside our body does not synchronize with what takes place inside our soul. The two events do not synchronize, for if they did, then we would have a salvation plan by works, and that cannot be. And thus the baptism that Rom 6 speaks of is not water baptism, but it is the washing by God the Holy Spirit at the time of the regeneration of our soul. Let us now return to the Epistle to the Corinthians

The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is an undeniable fact. We read in 1Cor 15:5-9,

1Cor 15:5-9, And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

Christ was seen by Peter, and then by the twelve. God does not count like we count. As you know, the first time the Lord Jesus showed Himself to the disciples Judas was dead, and Thomas was absent. Thus there were only ten apostles. But one week later Thomas was present, and then we read in John 20:26-29,

Joh 20:26-29  And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

The Lord was referring here to us, who have not seen His bodily resurrection, but yet we believe because the Father has drawn us to Jesus. Now there were eleven apostles who have seen the resurrected Christ. But think again; where was Matthias all this time? We read in Acts 1:21-22,

Ac 1:21-22  Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.

In other words, Matthias was present every time that the Lord Jesus showed Himself to the disciples. Then we read in 1Cor 15:9, “I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” Here is an example of the principle that the gift of God does not depend on our good works, or our bad works, done in this life. God had His reasons for appointing Saul of Tarsus as the 13th apostle, and this gift of God was given freely, not based on works. Please turn again to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 6:23 (2X). We will read here just one verse. We read in Rom 6:23,

Ro 6:23  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The wages of sin is death. But which death did God have in view here in this verse? Is physical death the penalty for sins? The answer is definitely NO! On the last day there will be many saints who will exchange their human body for a glorified body in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. It means that physical death is only a stepping stone into eternity. No, it is the second death that will be the penalty for sins, for we read in Rev 21:8,

Re 21:8  But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

On the other hand, the free gift of God is eternal life through the suffering and work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. And this gift is free and it is freely given to all who were called to be the bride of Christ.

#3.       Are We Saved Because We Believe These Facts? (1Cor 15:5-9, Gal 3:21, Rom 10:9, Eph 1:3-9)

Please turn again to the Epistle to the Corinthians, 1Cor 15:5 (2X). We read in 1Cor 15:5-9,

1Cor 15:5-9, And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

Can we say that we are saved because we believe all these facts? Can we say that there are some facts that we must believe, and that we are saved because we believe these historical facts? No! We are not saved by obeying a command to believe some facts. We cannot be saved by obeying any command. God says in Gal 3:21, “for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.” If there would exist a law and obedience to that law could have given eternal life, then God would have designed salvation according to that law, and Christ would not have to come to die on a cross. Therefore salvation cannot come by obeying the command, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Salvation can only come through the atoning work of Christ on the cross. And since I was not there when Christ atoned for my sins, since there was nothing I could do to change the circumstances, His payment for my sins was a free gift on His part. Please turn again to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 10:9 (2X). When I read in Rom 10:9, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” this again reads like a law which could have given eternal life without the intervention of God. This again is a false interpretation. We cannot be saved by obeying a law or a command. The only way we can be saved is if the Father draws us to Jesus; and the only way the Father draws us to Jesus is if the Father has chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world. Please turn again to the Epistle to the Ephesians, Eph 1:3-9

Eph 1:3-9 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

This is the God whom we worship. This is the God who draws our respect for the majesty and might of His rule on this earth. And so, we proclaim with the apostle Paul our declaration of dependence:

1Cor 15:10, But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

It was not I, but it was the grace of God which allowed me to labor in His Kingdom. It is God who worketh in me, both to will and to do of His good pleasure. And since we are here in Ephesians, let us continue this exultation of the Lord Jesus Christ in chapter 2. We read in Eph 2:4-10 (2X),

Eph 2:4-10 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

And so, the overriding principle of this passage is: Not of works. If only we could remember to apply this principle whenever we are in need of some wisdom, we would do well in giving God al the honor and the glory.

AMEN.                 Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.