Hand someone a photograph of 100 people and what do they immediately do? Look for their own mug in the crowd, right? Sure they do. We all do that. It is our nature. I am the center of the universe. Even my religion can become “all about me” if I’m not very, very careful.

There is obviously a place in the gospel story for the proper human response; however, before we immediately jump to the part about us, which is our wont, we must first fully understand what God has done.

In 1 Corinthians 1:18 – 2:5 Paul lays out the foundational heart of his entire preaching career. It is from this core teaching that Paul (1) responds to the reports from Chloe’s relatives about divisions in the church, (2) answers some questions that they had asked him through letters, (3) firmly corrects their misbehavior, and (4) clearly directs their discipleship.

But, before Paul does any of that he reminds them of what is primary—first things first (priorities). What is primary is not what we must do, or can do, or will do but, rather, what God has done, is doing, and will do to redeem sinful human beings from the mess we have gotten ourselves into.

Take a look at the verbs throughout this passage. Notice how much action is going on here: there is

  • Destroying
  • Frustrating
  • Making foolish
  • Saving
  • Calling
  • Choosing
  • Shaming
  • Nullifying
  • Redeeming, and
  • Sanctifying

All of this action is going on throughout this entire passage. And who is the subject of all of this action? You? Me? Any human being? No! God is the author of all of this action–God gets all the verbs! It is not until we get to the very last verse in the paragraph that we finally get to our part—faith. And even then Paul says, I don’t want “your faith [to] rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.”

Sure we must obey God. Given the reality of what He has done to save us what other logical conclusion could we possibly reach? But brethren, let’s not get so excited about the fact that we have been immersed in water that we forget the real power of our message—Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

First things first! Priorities!