Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
How did Jesus become wisdom from God to us? One way to explain this would be to appeal to the truth of the incarnation. Jesus was, we could reason (and properly) wisdom become flesh and dwelling among us.
But I don’t think the incarnation is what Paul has in mind. If we take the terms as related to one another–wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption–then we need to understand that more than the incarnation must be in view.
Do understand this, consider Solomon. He needed wisdom because God had made him king. He asked for it and God granted it to him. His wisdom wasn’t for himself alone. It was so that he could not only rule Israel, but represent Israel to others. Because Solomon was wise, Israel was considered wise. As he taught this wisdom to others it became more and more actually experience in the growth of faithful Israelites, but it was also reckoned as theirs by virtue of Solomon’s office as their covenant head.
And so Jesus, having learned obedience through the things that he suffered and accepting the Lord’s discipline so that he could grow wise, was granted kingship over all creation. With that office, he was granted the Spirit’s wisdom. He represents all humanity, especially those who believe (the rest end up opposing humanity, including their own), as their wisdom. With this representation as the elevated and enthroned king of the universe equipped with wisdom comes the actual gift of wisdom in the experience of his people. Thus Paul:
When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you.
To lack the wisdom to regulate our own affairs in the Church is an insult to Christ who is the wisdom of God to us, and to our own destiny.