‘For it is not a vain thing for you, because it is your life.’ Deuteronomy 32:47
Suggested Further Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:18–23
Where is the folly of true religion? Is it a folly to be providing for the world to come? ‘Oh, no.’ Is it a folly to make the Author of your being its first end? ‘No, no.’ Is it altogether a folly to believe that there is such a thing as justice? I think not. And that, if there be such a thing as justice, it involves punishment? There is no great folly there. Well, then, is it any folly to perceive that there is no way of escaping from the effects of our offences except justice be satisfied? Is that folly? And if it be the fact that Christ has satisfied justice for all who trust in him, is it folly to trust him? If it be a folly to escape from the flames of hell, then let us be fools. If it be folly to lay hold of him who gives us eternal life—oh, blessed folly! Let us be more foolish still. Let us take deep dives into the depths of this foolishness. God forbid that we should do anything else but glory in being such fools as this for Christ’s sake! What, sirs, is your wisdom? Your wisdom dwells in denying what your eyes can see—a God; in denying what your consciences tell you—that you are guilty; in denying what should be your best hope, what your spirit really craves after—redemption in Christ Jesus. Your folly lies in following a perverted nature, instead of obeying the dictates of one who points you to the right path. You are wise and you drink poison; we are fools and we take the antidote. You are wise and you hunt the shadow; we are fools and we grasp the substance. You are wise, and you labour and put your money into a bag which is full of holes, and spend it for that which is not bread, and which never gives you satisfaction; and we are fools enough to be satisfied, to be happy, to be perfectly content with heaven and God.
For meditation: Better to become a fool in the world’s eyes for Christ’s sake (1 Corinthians 3:18; 4:10) than to remain a fool in God’s eyes for the world’s sake (Luke 12:19–20; 1 Corinthians 3:19). Which kind of fool are you?
Sermon no. 457
22 June (1862)