“Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.”
Paul now draws together his argument that began at 1:18. If the Corinthians insist on dividing the church by lauding certain leaders (Paul, Apollos, Peter), God will limit blessing on their church. Thus, verses 18 through 23 are a call to change their carnal thinking from man’s viewpoint to God’s viewpoint.
Let no one deceive himself.
A Christian can deceive himself by human wisdom. The word “deceive” means to deceive thoroughly. If a Christian is not knowledgeable about the Word of God, he is subject to thorough deception. This is a solemn rebuke of the Corinthian church. All spirituality requires realism.
If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age,
The word “seems” carries the idea of thinks. It is not how we appear to others but how we appear to ourselves that is in question.
let him become a fool that he may become wise.
If the Corinthian church continued to follow the natural wisdom of men rather than the divine wisdom of revelation, then they needed to reorient their thinking to become a “fool” so that they might find divine wisdom. Humility toward God’s Word is always the starting point of spirituality.
Spirituality requires realism in the Word of God.
God requires the realism of honestly searching ourselves with the Word of God. One of the most difficult ideas to shake is the delusion that we are wise in the Word when we are truly unwise. If we delude ourselves at the start, we will delude ourselves all along the way. The reason the church is off base in so many areas is that she has long left basing church on the revelation of Scripture. God requires that we search ourselves with the realism of the Word of God. We dare not kid ourselves about things of eternal consequence.