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1 Corinthians 3:16–23 KJV 1900
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.
THE WISDOM OF THE WORLD
CONTEXT:
At the outset, we must bear in mind that Paul is writing to a church of believers and that the bible itself was written to and for believers.
Corinth was an affluent and a celebrated Greek city in the region known as Achaia. It had the Aegean Sea on one side and the Ionian Sea on the other, rendering it a haven for the import/export trades and a major thoroughfare because of these waterways.
Corinth had all of the usual vices that seem to characterize most affluent and celebrated cities: greed, pride, luxury, vanity, extravagant and often lewd entertainments, inordinate ambition and massive covetousness. In fact, one of those entertainment forms was listening to and following great orators, particularly of the philosophical type. All in all, you will find that if anyone were to describe Corinth to you today without mentioning its name, it would sound a lot like any major American city.
Paul came to Corinth and taught there for a year and a half where he taught with simplicity, the simplicity of the gospel and the simplicity that there is in Christ. When Paul departed Corinth heading for Syria he left a vacuum of sorts in Corinth and many people were prepared to seize the opportunity to fill it.
The Corinthians, in general, were taken in by what they perceived as great oratory and the orators themselves who were nothing more than the blow hards of the day who spoke with great swelling words of vanity whose only interest was the accumulation of followers for themselves which resulted in party-ism, sectarianism and factions amongst the people.
These orators, by their craft, since they could never crush the gospel from the minds of men sought to dilute it
1 Corinthians 3:16–17 (KJV 1900)
16Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 
17If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
Self-deception is an act of temple desecration. YOU and WE ARE the temple. The church is God’s temple!
1 Corinthians 3:18 (KJV 1900)
18Let no man deceive himself.
0r,
“Do not deceive yourselves”
Deceit, Deception. †Delusion or false dealing with another.
A vast array of Hebrew and Greek terms represent various shades of fraudulent behavior.

Heb. rāmâ (cf. Akk. ramûgrow loose”) means to forsake (Lam. 1:19; JB “failed”; NIV “betrayed”), trick (Gen. 29:25; so JB), and betray (1 Chr. 12:17). The RSV renders Heb. šāqar (piel) “deal falsely” (e.g., Isa. 63:8; KJV “lie”) or “lie” (1 Sam. 15:29). The basic sense of Gk. planáomai is to wander from the straight path (e.g., Jas. 1:16; KJV “err”; JB “make a mistake”). Gk. apátē represents seduction (Rom. 7:11), delight (Matt. 13:22 par. Mark 4:19; JB “lure”), or misleading speech (Rom. 16:18; Col. 2:8).

Notice, that Paul says not to deceive YOURSELVES and he intimates by this that the deceived are deceived by their own device. He begins this section by appealing to the WILL of his hearers and gives them a stern directive which clearly assumes the free agency of his hearers to be able to act, positively or negatively. The deceived Christian has made himself a victim of himself. Mark it well, that Paul does not merit Satan with personal deception but rather credits the individual soul with the WILLFUL act. The apostle adopts the principle of personal responsibility. The deceived soul cannot assert, that “the devil made me do it.” He cannot assert that his culture, background or tradition is responsible for his deceived state. He cannot blame his family. He cannot even blame his church and he certainly cannot blame God. In Ex 20:16, we have this commandment listed in Law of God, that “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” Just as self-murder violates, “Thou shall NOT kill,” so likewise, to bear false witness or to lie to oneself violates the law of bearing false witness. In this current context those who are deceived are expected to KNOW BETTER, to be able to discern its coming, and be equipped to thwart its onslaught. Remember, Paul is talking to believers! Adam and Eve did not know the Savior. No one knows how long they lived before they knew sin. But one thing is for certain, they were never afforded or had access to the blessings that we have mined from the treasury of faith. Next,
Deception, has no degrees. One is either deceived or not deceived, THAT is the real question! Deception is like death in that it is always complete and absolute. Who ever heard of someone being partially dead? In like manner, deception cannot be partial. Nor, does it overtake the deceived in stages. You can be deceived but like a diamond deception is multi-faceted. This very same apostle told us that a little leaven, leavens the WHOLE lump. The key to successful self-deception is coming to the conclusion that its not a big deal or its mildly relevant. “Duty” can also be your lie. Paul thought that he was operating in service to God acting like a “coat rack” to those who murdered the righteous Stephen.
Gal 1:6  I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men.
Psalm 94:11 (KJV 1900)
The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, That they are vanity.
Job 5:13 (KJV 1900)
He taketh the wise in their own craftiness:
And the counsel of the froward is carried headlong.
He goes on to say that if you think you are wise by the standards of this age, and this applies to any age, that you should become “fools” in order to become wise. And, then he follows up with an indictment upon the world in that he says “the WISDOM of this world is FOOLISHNESS in God’s sight.” This is a BOLD statement of Paul who is relaying to us the mind of God in this regard and without any ambiguity whatsoever. He is teaching us NOT to rely on the WISDOM of the world at all because it is foolishness. He says that if you take the best of what man, individually or corporately, has to offer in terms of wisdom, or that which he considers wise, that the family of God ought to regard it as foolishness and it doesn’t matter if it is civil, political, religious, or otherwise. The subject doesn’t matter! Why? Because anything thought to exude wisdom that derives from a man that does not involve the glorification of God in Christ IS FOOLISHNESS and should never be believed.
The Lord says that the “wise” of this world are “crafty” and he assures us that they will be caught and their craftiness revealed. He also says that He knows the thoughts (all of them) of the “wise” (all of them) and that they are futile, meaning that they will never be able to carry out the intent of their evil designs characterized under the auspices of wisdom.
So, to sum up his argument, he commands us to STOP boasting and being cheerleaders for human leaders and glorifying THEM. In verse 21, he states plainly, “let NO man glory in men!” This message could not be more relevant than today in this age of men seeking “followers” after themselves rather than leading others and themselves to FOLLOW CHRIST.
For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.
1 Corinthians 3 (KJV 1900)
1And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 
2I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 
3For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 
4For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? 
5Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? 
6I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 
7So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. 
The Corinthians, in general, were taken in by what they perceived as great oratory by those whom they perceived to be great orators. These folks were nothing more than the blow hards of the day speaking great swelling words of vanity whose only interest was the accumulation of followers for themselves which resulted in party-ism.
Matthew 23:8 (KJV 1900)
8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
Matthew 17:5 (KJV 1900)
5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
We are NOT to exalt ourselves above Christ.
We are NOT to exalt anyone else above Christ.
We are, especially, NOT to blend/dilute/share the Wisdom of Christ w/the wisdom of the world.
Follow up questions:
Can Satan deceive Sprit-filled believers?
Does Satan deceive unbelievers?
Can believers know that they ARE currently deceived?
How can a Christian remedy their self-deception?
Can a Christian adhere to an admixture of secular wisdom and ecclesiastical wisdom and remain accepted in Christ?
How does the Holy Spirit operate within a self-deceived believer?
What is the difference between a deceived believer and a deceived unbeliever?
Can a self-deceived believer remain so throughout their life?
Some might rationalize the words of Christ, when He says, “render to Caesar...,” to allow for the wisdom of man in some quarters but then how does that square with, “ No man can serve two masters...?”
What the difference between self-deception and satanic deception?
Can you be deceived and still be Christian?
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