A crucial conclusion of Paul’s teaching from the 2nd half of 1st Corinthians 1 is this: Because the gospel is foolishness to the natural person, when someone does get saved that is evidence of God’s power because there’s no other possible explanation that one would come to Christ (v.30)—by his doing you are in Christ Jesus so let him who boasts, boast in the Lord. 

In fact, as Paul begins ch.2 of 1st Corinthians, he declares his ministry mindset, in that he purposely didn’t bring clever tactics nor communication techniques in an attempt to make the gospel more palatable to the unbeliever.  In fact, he came with no confidence in himself (v.3).  Otherwise their faith might rest on him instead of in the power of God in the gospel and that is something the great apostle wishes to never occur.  Lastly, in v.14, Paul gives the exclamation point, so to speak—The natural person, who has not been enlightened by the Holy Spirit, cannot accept the gospel.  It takes a work of the Spirit through the faithful message and method of delivering the gospel for anyone to get saved.

Just to be clear—this is meant to inform our ministry and not hinder our ministry to unbelievers.  Accordingly, this doesn’t mean we should abstain from appealing to or seeking to persuade unbelievers, but rather it means we do not trust in our ability to appeal to or persuade.  The gospel doesn’t need our help to have power.  It is inherently powerful and when we give it in love from a set apart life, we can have great hope that God will make it effectual in the person’s heart.

This is in contrast to taking great efforts to strategize in order to try to make the eternal gospel relevant to the ever-changing demands and desires of one’s culture.  So, for the sake of the gospel, may we trust in the power of the word instead of in our cultural relevancy tactics.  This will keep our boast in the Lord.