God Revealed to Us
1 Corinthians 2:9-13 ESV
“’What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him’—
“these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.”
The Bible is the written word of God, and it is God-breathed. It is not a dead history book, though. It is alive and active, and it discerns the thoughts and intentions of our human hearts (Heb. 4:12). But, not everyone who reads the Bible can discern its meaning and how it is to be applied to our daily lives. For, these things are revealed to us through the Holy Spirit.
Yet, this does not mean we have perfect understanding. For, we now see as through a glass (mirror) dimly, and we only know in part. But, when Jesus returns, and we see him face to face, then we will know fully (1 Co. 13).
But, just because we only know in part does not mean we have to “fly by the seat of our pants,” i.e. rely on our own instinct (nature, impulse) rather than on the Spirit of God who gives us knowledge and understanding of God’s Word. We just need to pray for understanding, especially with regard to sections of scripture we don’t understand. But, also with regard to how our Lord wants to apply it to our lives and world and church today.
For, the Bible is not just a bunch of instructions to us, or just historical records of things past, or just poetry for us to enjoy (or not). It is the living, breathing word of God to us. And, the Holy Spirit of God makes it practical to our lives today, and to our world and church today, just like he did for the people who lived at the time the scriptures were first written.
So, when we read the word of God, this should not be an intellectual exercise of trying to decipher its meaning in our own flesh. This should not just be about interpreting it in its context, but that is critical. But, we should read the word of God prayerfully, asking for wisdom, counsel, and discernment to know the will of God for our lives, but not just his general will for all of us, but his specific will for you, and for you, and for me.
And, then for those of us who teach (share, impart) his word, we need to pray for spiritual discernment to know what practical message the Lord would want to give through it to our readers or our listeners in our world and in our church and in our families today. For, although the overall message of God’s word is to be applied more broadly, his specific messages for us today are to be applied more precisely to our given situations we face now.
For, our Lord has things he wants to say to his people today that will be somewhat different from what he said to his people hundreds of years ago. For, we live in a different world than they did back then. And, so our experiences will be somewhat different. But, his overall message throughout the scriptures does not change with time and space. It remains the same.
What changes is only how it might be applied to our specific circumstances today. But, this is not adding to revelation, but it is giving practical application of revelation already given.
1 Corinthians 2:14-16 ESV
“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. ‘For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.”
A lot of confusion comes into play, I believe, when we try to interpret scripture via our own intellectual reasoning, or when we try to make scripture fit our theology or lifestyles rather than reading the pure word of God with open minds and hearts to hear what the Spirit wants to teach us.
A lot of people have what is termed “sacred cows” that they hold on to, no matter what, and they won’t even examine the scriptures to see if maybe what they have always believed or have always been taught is truth. It is kind of like that saying which says, “If it was good enough for (fill in the blank), then it is good enough for me,” right or wrong.
And, that is because they are thinking with natural minds, not with the mind of God. They are following forms of religion rather than following the God of our faith. They are Baptist or Presbyterian more than they are Christian, for example. They are followers of the teachings of men over and above the teachings of scripture. And, they are just regurgitating what they have been taught without actually examining the scriptures themselves, by the Spirit of God, to see what God would want to say to them today.
And, thus, many of them, when they hear teaching that is of the Spirit of God, and which reflects the mind of Christ, and which reveals our Lord’s concerns for this generation, they oppose it because it doesn’t fit with their theology or with their traditions or religious practices.
But, we can’t judge what is or is not of the Spirit of God with natural minds and with human thinking and reasoning. For human thinking and reasoning is not always going to make sense of what is of the Spirit of God. Jesus faced this, as did Paul, where they were being judged by human standards and reasoning, and so they were misunderstood and criticized falsely, even though they were walking in obedience to God the Father.
The Mind of Christ
If we are truly in Christ, by God-given faith in him, which submits to his Lordship, forsakes former lives of living for sin, and walks in obedience to our Lord, then we have the mind, the thinking, and the reasoning of God. And, we can know his heart, and we can feel what he feels, and we can know what concerns him, and what he wants shared with others that he knows is of utmost importance.
And, what he is most concerned about are all the lost sheep out there, but not just those who have never made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, but all those who have professed faith in him but who are still living in sin and for self, convinced God’s grace covers all their sins, and that heaven is guaranteed them as their eternal destiny, no matter how badly they sin.
And, so he is sending his willing messengers out into the world to go after these lost sheep with the truth of the gospel of our salvation in order to bring them back to God. And, too, he is sending out his messengers to the church and to the world to expose the fruitless deeds of darkness and false teachings which have captivated people’s hearts and minds, so that he can set them free from believing the lies, and so they will believe the truth which will set them free from their slavery to sin.
And, the truth is that if we want to be saved from our sins and to have eternal life with God, then we must die to sin and we must follow our Lord in obedience to his commands. That is the essence of the gospel of our salvation. No other gospel will do (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Pet. 2:24).
No other gospel will deliver you from your slavery to sin and will empower you to live for God and for his righteousness. For, the cheap grace substitutes, while promising you freedom, and while promising you heaven when you die, do not put sin to death or follow the Lord in obedience to his will and to his ways (Lu. 9:23-26; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Tit. 2:11-14).
The Ninety and Nine
Lyrics by Elizabeth C. Clephane, 1868
Music by Ira D. Sankey, 1874
There were ninety and nine that safely lay
In the shelter of the fold;
But one was out on the hills away,
Far off from the gates of gold.
Away on the mountains wild and bare;
Away from the tender Shepherd’s care.
“Lord, Thou hast here Thy ninety and nine;
Are they not enough for Thee?”
But the Shepherd made answer: “This of Mine
Has wandered away from Me.
And although the road be rough and steep,
I go to the desert to find My sheep.”
But none of the ransomed ever knew
How deep were the waters crossed;
Nor how dark was the night the Lord passed through
Ere He found His sheep that was lost.
Out in the desert He heard its cry;
’Twas sick and helpless and ready to die.
“Lord, whence are those blood-drops all the way,
That mark out the mountain’s track?”
“They were shed for one who had gone astray
Ere the Shepherd could bring him back.”
“Lord, whence are Thy hands so rent and torn?”
“They’re pierced tonight by many a thorn.”
And all through the mountains, thunder-riv’n,
And up from the rocky steep,
There arose a glad cry to the gate of heav’n,
“Rejoice! I have found My sheep!”
And the angels echoed around the throne,
“Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!”
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