Chapter Two—Redemption
Fred R. Coulter


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I want to finish up with this one section concerning redemption, 1-Corinthians 1:30: "But you are of Him in Christ Jesus, Who was made to us wisdom from God—even righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption."

As far as wisdom goes, let me refer you to the book of Proverbs, chapters 1-8. It talks an awful lot about wisdom and instruction and things like that. That's part of the Word of God.

What is the wisest thing we can do, which will be counted foolishness by people in the world? Follow God! Absolutely the wisest thing we can do, literally! In a literal day-to-day sense. How do we apply that? By following God! That's the wisest thing in the world we can do.

When I heard some of the arguments about unclean meats—just to give you an example—they sounded pretty good; the first time you hear them. They sound reasonable and logical. But when I really found out that that's what God wants us to do—fine!

I would come to work, cooking over at Sandy's Kitchen—right behind Stanford University. This was before I was baptized and just at the time I was trying to prove all of these things, I would make a bacon and tomato sandwich, everyday. I was a good boy and fried it crisp and done! But when I found out I shouldn't eat it, I didn't touch it. Do you know what I discovered, by accident, later on? I wasn't burping all night! When I would eat that bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich—you can't tell by the taste—I would burp all night through the eight hours I'd be working. One simple little thing!

Same thing with all of the commandments of God. That brings us more wisdom, more understanding than going to school and studying forever and ever—just following God's way!

I want to cover a little bit about redemption. Psa. 103 is a wonderful Psalm, especially if you find yourself a little bit discouraged, a little bit down and needing some encouragement. Psalm 103:1: "Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His Holy name." There's one thing about David—this is why he was a 'man after God's heart'—it was with his whole being, everything in him.

Verse 2: "Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits; Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction…" (vs 2-4). What is the ultimate destruction that we are redeemed from? Obviously, 'the wages of sin is death'—the Lake of Fire! I don't know how many times we have been saved from different things that have come along just because of God's intervention in our lives.

"…Who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies" (v 4). There it is, God is the One Who redeems us. You can't have any redemption in man. Man is not going to redeem you, save you or help you spiritually. Someone may come along and pull you out of a burning car or something like that—save your life temporarily. But only God can redeem you! Especially when you understand that redemption means to be bought back—to redeem; to buy again or to reclaim.

When Adam and Eve sinned, all humanity was sold to sin—all humanity from that time. Then God had a responsibility to redeem human beings from sin—to buy us back again. That's what redemption is all about.

Psalm 34 is another good Psalm. When you go back and restudy this, just read the whole Psalm. Psalm 34:22: "The LORD redeems the soul of His servants; and none of them who take refuge in Him shall be condemned."

Verse 4: "I sought the LORD, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears." That's something to really think on. If you have fears, doubts or things that come along to cause you problems or difficulties, God can deliver you from all your fears. It doesn't say

  • part of them
  • the worst ones
  • the major ones
  • the minor ones

It says all your fears!

Verse 5: "They looked to Him and were radiant; and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried, and the LORD heard, and saved him out of all his troubles" (vs 5-6). Talk about a redemption that is really terrific—all troubles!

Verse 7: "The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him and delivers them. O taste and see that the LORD is good…" (vs 7-8). This means that it is the way of obedience and living that becomes a very part of your being like eating. You have to tasted the Word of God. That doesn't mean start munching on it, but you have taste the Word of God! How do you taste the Word of God and God's way? By doing what God has said! That's how you taste it.

"…and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. O fear the LORD, all you saints, for there is nothing lacking to those who fear Him. The young lions do lack and suffer hunger, but those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing" (vs 8-10). There's another promise.

The media has been on a crash thing: 'Let's take care of the homeless and the poor,' and things like that. But no one has yet told them what the real problem is. They don't understand the cause of it, because they don't want to submit to God. They don't want to admit that you cannot run a society without moral character, as defined by the commandments of God. All of this homelessness and lack of place is because people have chosen to commit adultery, fornication, divorce and all of these things come along and causes an awful lot of it.

The Bible says that God will not let the righteous person go hungry or naked. If they do, then it's for a short period of time, or it's for a matter of a witness or correction for their own problems and difficulties that they have. It has to be one of those.

What needs to be with all these women with all these children and the men who promulgated them, there should not be divorce. Then there would be responsibility—right? Sooner or later it's going to all come back on them. Sure we need to take care of the needy; yes, we need to take care of the homeless; but how do you stop it? Every report you hear says that it's worse this year than the year before. Why? Because the people have no moral character!

Let's get into the New Testament and let's see what it was that we are purchased with or redeemed with. This helps us also appreciate and understand about Jesus Christ even more—Acts 20. Here the Apostle Paul is saying goodbye to these people knowing that he won't see them again. He called for all the elders and came down from Miletus from Ephesus. He rehearsed what he had been doing and then gives them a warning.

Acts 20:28: "Take heed, therefore, to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to feed the Church of God…" In part 3 we talked a little bit about what it is that keeps everything at the proper level:

  • we're called of God
  • all the people that God has called belong to God

Here again the Apostle Paul is saying much the same thing: "…feed the Church of God, which He purchased with His own blood…. [there's the price that was paid] …For I know this: that after my departure grievous wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will rise up speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after themselves. Watch, therefore, remembering that for three years I ceased not to admonish each one night and day with tears. And now I commit you, brethren, to God and to the Word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified" (vs 28-32). Very interesting! Sit down and think that verse through, and take it word for word—that is a very revealing verse.

"…I commit you, brethren, to God… [instead of just men] …and to the Word of His grace… [that's why grace is very important] …which is able to build you up… [grace and the Word of God builds a person up] …and to give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified" (v 32)—that's all the saints. If we have the Spirit of God, we are called Holy. This verse tells an awful lot. This how they are able to do v 28—to take heed to themselves to feed the Church and take care of the people and not take it all to themselves.

Colossians 1:14: "In Whom we have redemption through His own blood, even the remission of sins." That's how our sins are forgiven. Note:

  • Eph. 1:7—talks about how we are redeemed with the blood of Christ
  • 1-Pet. 1:18-19

Those talk about being redeemed with the precious blood of the Lamb of God—Jesus Christ—not with silver and gold.

Isn't it amazing how things got turned around? I remember hearing sermons in the past where that in order to have a right heart you had to give. The more you gave the better your heart was. That is redemption by silver and gold. Again, measuring things by physical things. You don't accomplish spiritual goals by physical things! I even remember the time when the ministers were instructed to tell the people: you give even if you have to go on welfare. I said that to one person once, and then I realized how wrong that was! I never said it to anyone again.

But they actually said, 'You give first, second, third [tithe] and a building fund and all these sort of thing, even if you have to go on welfare and food stamps, you give to the Church, that's more important.' That means that salvation is purchased! Redemption is purchased with the blood of Christ! There is nothing else that's going to redeem you!

  • What if you were totally poor?
  • What if you lived in a society where you didn't deal in money?
  • Then what do you do?
  • 'We won't preach to them because they can't give any money.' NO!

Now let's go to 1-Corinthians and we'll go all the way through chapter two. 1-Corinthians 2:1: "And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with superiority of speech or wisdom, in proclaiming the testimony of God to you. For I decided not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (vs 1-2). I want us to just catch the theme all the way through the Apostle Paul's writings and all the way through the book of 1-Corinthians, how he always comes back to Jesus Christ and Him crucified, and comes back to redemption and to trust in God!

Verse 3: "And I was in weakness and in fear and in much trembling when I was with you; and my message and my preaching was not in persuasive words of humanwisdom; rather, it was in demonstration of the Spirit and of power" (vs 3-4). What happens when you hear someone who is speaking with God's Spirit inspiring them? It has a certain penetration and entrance into your mind in a very powerful way, that no other kind of speaking does.

Just to look at Hitler speak is very repulsive, but he was able, through that power, to just delude all the Germans into what they were doing.

Just imagine, here's the Apostle Paul—apparently he was not too tall; he had this eye disease where he didn't look very becoming—and he comes into this sophisticated society of Corinth and he doesn't speak the wisdom of men; he doesn't speak eloquently, but he preaches in a demonstration of the Spirit and power Jesus Christ crucified!

Verse 5: "So that your faith might not be in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." Notice who he keeps pointing the people to follow: Christ and Godalways!

Verse 6: "Now we… [when it refers to we it is to himself and Timothy and Titus, and to those ministers in the Church there in Corinth] …speak wisdom among the spiritually mature…"—'teleiois'; the only perfection we have is—we can have perfection in this life—

  • by following God
  • by letting the Holy Spirit lead us
  • by letting Christ be perfect through us

Christ in us is perfection! That's what he's referring to.
"…however, it is not the wisdom of this world…" (v 6). I've heard ministers mix in psychology into the Word of God and it—I have heard it so many times—it doesn't work! Who said there is 'no such thing as a Christian psychologist,' because you can't mix the two? Jimmy Swaggart said that! Every once in a while he says something that's correct.

"…nor of the rulers of this world, who are coming to nothing. Rather, we… [the ministers of God, in particularly the Apostle Paul] …speak the wisdom of God in a mystery…" (vs 6-7). Like any mystery, there is a simple solution; same way with the mystery of God. That's based upon repentance, faith, and love. That's how you understand, and that unlocks the mystery. People can search the earth—North Pole to the South Pole—looking for the 'fountain of youth' and never find it. It's in the mystery!

"…even the hidden wisdom that God foreordained before the ages unto our glory" (v 7). That's quite a statement—isn't it? We'll cover a little bit about the glory that is going to be revealed in us.

Verse 8: "Which not one of the rulers of this world has known… [they didn't understand it] …(for if they had known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory)." That statement is one of these impossible contradictions. Jesus had to died because of sin, but Paul is also saying that it is impossible for human beings to know, to understand anything about God's way by their own rule, by their own wisdom, by their own education.

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Verse 9—here is the key verse, beginning the key section: "But according as it is written, 'The eye has not seen, nor the ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things that God has prepared for those who love Him.'" That is a profound and fantastic statement. Can we think of another verse that ties right in with that, which God has for those that love Him?

Romans 8:28: "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Here again, it's all based on love.

Notice how the Apostle Paul is setting the stage for 1-Cor. 3, because chapters 3-5—especially chapter 5—are not what you would call pleasant, but necessary. Notice what he's doing: he's pointing

  • to Christ
  • to the redemption
  • to the salvation
  • to the righteousness
  • to the perfection
  • to the crucifixion
  • to the love of God

—all of those! Those are things that give us the strength to be able to really go forward in Christ. It is hard to take!

It's kind of like when Job was sitting there—and I still haven't got it pictured in my mind what it was like for him to be covered in boils from head to toe. So bad that he had to break a pot and take a potsherd and scrape those things. The flies were buzzing around, and throwing dust in the air, and his three friends were sitting around and telling him, 'Job, you know, God doesn't do this to someone who doesn't sin.'

Job says, 'You blockheads, I haven't sinned!' They had all these long diatribes. When you're in a situation like that—I know, I've gone through my troubles and someone always reminds me—which is true—and sometimes it's almost as hard as what I just described with Job and his three friends sitting there. They always say, 'All things work together for good for those who are called and loved by God.' That is absolutely true! It never fails! Everything works together for good—always, always does—IF you love God!"

God has prepared something for us, that you can't see except in your mind's eye, as God's Spirit reveals them to you; that you have not heard about unless you hear the Words of God. 1-Corinthians 2:9 "…neither have entered into the heart of man, the things that God has prepared for those who love Him." That is a whole key pivotal verse, right there.

Verse 10: "But God has revealed them to us by His Spirit…" Who are the 'us'? The 'us' refers back to the 'we.' He's talking in a ministerial sense. Granted, that has to be tempered with something that is very important to understand. That is if there is a minister who is not sent of God, he is not going to teach this right here, because it hasn't been revealed—he can't think of it—to him.

That's another way you can tell the difference between a wolf and sheep. Another way of putting it is this: The Bible says that it is sufficient for the disciple to be as the teacher. But what happens when the disciples—the learners—know more than the teacher? I know of cases where that has happened. I know of cases where church members knew more, understood more than the one who is supposed to be the minister to teach them. See what a contradiction this brings in.

Then I've seen those who know less, turn around and use these Scriptures in a way that bears down upon people in oppression.

When you go through this whole thing, the Apostle Paul—even though he says we and us—is not bearing down in oppression at all. But he's making it clear that "…God has revealed them to us…" for teaching to you!

"…by His Spirit, for the Spirit searches all things—eventhe deep things of God" (v 10). Let's tie this in with the Holy Spirit. I want you to see the parallel of how this fits in. We're going to talk about the things that God is going to do for us, 'which the eye has not seen, the ear has not heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for those who love Him.

John 14:23: "Jesus answered and said to him, 'If anyone loves Me… [Here we have love, then we'll tie it in with the Spirit and learning. All of those things go hand-in-hand.] …he will keep My Word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. The one who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the Word that you hear is not Mine, but the Father's, Who sent Me. I have spoken these things to you while I am yet present with you. But when the Comforter comes, even the Holy Spirit…." (vs 23-26).

Notice that we talked about, first, loving God, then the Holy Spirit. See how it follows; one follows the other. Isn't that pattern amazing?

"…which the Father will send in My name… [What will it do?] …that one shall teach you all things, and shall bring to your remembrance everything that I have told you" (v 26).

1-Corinthians 2:10: "But God has revealed them to us… [What has God revealed? The things that He is preparing for those that love Him!] (And it is): …by His Spirit, for the Spirit searches all things—eventhe deep things of God." In order for this to be understood, you've got to love God, and then you have to yield to His Holy Spirit, then these things will be revealed! There's nothing you can do!

I have a couple of commentaries that I check on once in a while to see what different ones have studied on. I very seldom use very much of it for any basis for sermons, because most of them have studied the Bible all their lives and a good number of them are atheists.

Can you imagine trying to understand God's Word but you don't believe in God and you're an atheist and you think His Word is no good? 'Why should I study the Bible? It's stupid!' Therefore, they don't learn a thing! God's Spirit is activated by if you love God, then the Holy Spirit will reveal these things. Yes, 'the deep things of God!'

I think, since we've been together as a group, God has helped us understand more and more. All the glory goes to God! We can't take it! I can't take anything and say, 'Oh, yes…' The only thing I can say is, 'What took you so long?—as far as my part goes. It's keyed in with

  • love first
  • then the Holy Spirit teaching and searching

Verse 11: "For who among men understands the things of man except by the spirit of man which is in him? In the same way also, the things of God no one understands except by the Spirit of God." It has to come from God!

I've seen people that have left the Church—ministers—and when they turn their back on God they lose all understanding of everything that they have. It's gone! Not all at once, but it goes step-by-step. I've seen the same thing happen when they've tried to retain a semblance of being ministers, but bring in their own kooky unbiblical theories and things and try to fit those into what people should do and believe. I've seen that! That's the key to remember, brethren.

Is that the unpardonable sin? If they continue in that attitude unto death it could very well be! I don't know how some of these people are going to react when all of these things start happening. If there's any hope for them to repent, we'll see when we get to 1-Cor. 3, there may be some hope for them. Christ doesn't lose them. How do you explain the Scripture that 'He loses not one'? Christ does not lose them. If you lose your salvation, you've lost it yourself, because Christ is there to do everything to ensure that you will. Christ hasn't lost, it's the individual who has lost; he gives it up.

It has to do with the attitude. If a person rejects God completely, in a malicious way, God is going warn them! He's going to bring it to their attention! No one is going to mock God. At each turn they have a chance to repent. It depends on their attitude and their repentance.

Verse 12: "Now, we have not received the spirit of the world…" This is the exact same word 'pneuma' for Holy Spirit. This word 'pneuma' is spirit. There is a spirit of this world. And, of course, that does not come from God.

"…but the Spirit that is of God, so that we might know the things graciously given to us by God" (v 12). Again, how do we know? By revelation through the Spirit, which then is based upon loving God! That's the only way it's going to come. No other way. It's not a matter of brains, because he said, Hey, look, God didn't call many wise.' It's not a matter of title, who you are, because it says that God 'hasn't called many noble.'
God has called the foolish! That's us! But we can know the things of God. Just think about that for a minute! Think what an absolute contradiction that this is going to be for the world! Those people like us—wherever God's people are—are the ones who are going to know! It just reminds me of these astronomers, the more they look out in the universe, the more they're baffled. They don't understand anything except numbers and mathematics and things like this. I don't know when one of them is going to stand up and proclaim that God had to create all of this.

Even through all their work, and some of them have the most fantastic minds in the world, they still haven't found God! That's amazing—isn't it! I mean, that's amazing! What's going to happen, in their own vanity—when it's really fully known—it's going to be kind of like looking to us with the attitude: How did you know? Well, it doesn't come from human wisdom, it comes God!

Verse 12: "Now, we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is of God, so that we might know the things graciously given to us by God; which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Holy Spirit…" (vs 12-13). That whole section ties right back in there exactly what we read in John 14.

"…in order to communicate spiritual things by spiritual means. But the natural man…" (v 13-14). The Greek word for soul is 'psuche' from which we have the word psychologist, psyche. This word natural is 'phusikos'—which comes from the word 'psuche.' This helps us understand there's a difference between the body and the soul and the spirit. But it also tells us that the natural man with just the spirit of man in him, he cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God. He cannot! It's impossible! How many people are just natural carnal people out there, what do they rely on? Psyches and all this sort of thing!

"…the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned" (v 14). There's no other way to understand it! "…they are spiritually discerned."

The best way I can explain that to you—and I'm sure you've experienced this: You're wanting to follow God; you're wanting to do what is right; you're studying His Word, and something happens in your mind. All of a sudden it makes sense! That's God's Spirit working with your mind to reveal to you what that means through spiritual means. It's not something that can be done just in a classroom where it is rote—a, b, c, d! It can't be done. It is spiritually discerned!
Verse 15: "However, the one who is spiritual discerns all things, but he himself is discerned by no one…. [That obviously has to do with no man in the world.] …For who has known the mind of the Lord? Who shall instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ" (vs 15-16). The 'we' refers back to the ministry. In this case the Church was new.

Remember some of the things that the Apostle Paul told them to do? Philippians 2:5: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." That's what they are to grow into when Paul says that we have the mind of Christ.

Now let me just show you where we get the 'we.' 1-Corinthians 3:1: "And, I, brethren, was not able to speak to you as to those who are spiritual… [they hadn't grown up into Christ, yet] …but as to those who are carnal—even as to babes in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, and not meat; for you were not yet able to receive spiritual meat; and neither are you able now, for you are still carnal" (vs 1-3).

There are a lot of people who try to build good organizations with good things of human nature. I was talking with some men and one man says, 'I'm not particularly religious. Those Mormons, though, those are good people. They don't allow any of their people to go on welfare.' I said, 'I beg to differ with you. I used to pastor a church in Salt Lake City, and they had all their second wives on AIDC—and there are a lot of them. They're listed as widows.' But the way they get away with it, and they don't have to report it, is that Mormons all work in the government. This is straight scoop from the inside.

They have more women in Utah who are not at the poverty level, that you would find in the ghettos, who have children drawing Aid for Dependent Children and getting food stamps. That guy I was talking to said, 'You're talking falsely.' No I'm not! It was even on TV about the polygamists down in northern Arizona. 'No, that's not right.'

Good example of carnal goodness. 'I believe this is right, I believe this is good…' I just backed off and said, 'Whatever.' The Mormons probably take better care of their own than many churches. I just could not resist. It really taught me a lesson: You cannot come with the Truth up against 'carnal goodness.' Witness Christmas.

If you stood in front of the stores and said, 'Christmas is evil and wretched and rotten and no good, and against God, and Christ was never born then. All you people out here buying this are covetous, lustful, sinners and wretched.' Whoa! They'd call the National Guard out! 'And furthermore, I can prove it in the Bible.' Then when you get them calmed down and talk in a rational way, they say, 'Well, look at all the good it does. The children have a nice time. The families get together. Everybody has a lot of fun. It's nice.'

And they have all kinds of 'good' things that they do: feed the poor, get the people off the street. They have all their charities that they have. Christmas caroling. Even the Seventh Day Adventists bought the argument: We don't do Christmas like the pagans. We only do it as a family thing.' Well, what about bringing the tree in the house? 'Well, what's wrong with bringing a tree in the house.' You see how human carnal goodness and reasoning comes into it.

This is why the Church at Corinth was suffering so much. Instead of looking to Christ and loving Christ and loving God, they were looking to men and their own carnal goodness. After all, one said, 'If I can speak in a tongue, I must be righteous.' Another said, 'I have had visions and revelations.' Another says, 'I can sing a song.' (you can read that in 1-Cor. 12, 14). That's why the love chapter is there (1-Cor. 13). Paul said, 'I will show you a more excellent way.' Not with all this 'human goodness' and rah-rah and everything.

That's how you build organizations. That's how you build carnal things. When you start building a church that way, what happens? Then you end up with all of the carnal problems that they had in this church! I think this is why God preserved the letters to the Corinthians, so that we could understand that. I think we can be able to understand this a little bit more now that we understand what we do about human nature.

All Scriptures from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version by Fred R. Coulter

Scriptural References:

  • 1 Corinthians 1:30
  • Psalm 103:1-4
  • Psalm 34:22, 4-10
  • Acts 20:28-32
  • Colossians 1:14
  • 1 Corinthians 2:1-9
  • Romans 8:28
  • 1 Corinthians 2:9-10
  • John 14:23-26
  • 1 Corinthians 2:10-16
  • Philippians 2:5
  • 1 Corinthians 3:1-3

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Proverbs 1-8
  • Ephesians 1:7
  • 1 Peter 1:18-19
  • 1 Corinthians 12-14

Transcribed: 2-3-13