v.4, why the world's crowd rejects any evidence the Gospel
of Christ is the answer to man's ills.
v. 7, Mystery defined (Good note for Bulletin. Used, 6/9/91) Pg. 15
v. 8, pg. 18. Supernatural bilinding. Also, Heb. 6:6, If they fall away..
V. 12, purpose of Study of Scriptures. Is to find what God requires and do that. MO
V. 14 (Good message on responsibilities of Deacons.) Note that Parker divides the problems of life into religious and non religious, with the word of God for the religious. pg29
V. 16 The unspiritual judging the spiritual=judging the Lord.
This is at the heading of each chapter, and is extremely important to keep in mind. These people who Paul is writing to were well versed in the OT. They had been saved through studying the OT Scriptures, they had grown in Christ through these Scriptures, Christ had been formed in them through the OT Scriptures. Therefore, everything that is presented here MUST be taken in the context of the OT. We cannot over emphasize this fact. We cannot read these NT books with the idea that the people had any NT book yet. Every thing must be taken in the context of the OT.
Paul has taken a hard stand against the attempt to conform to the world by using their kind of wisdom to reach others and to solve their own problems. Now he reminds them of how he came to them and what he depended on as he preached to them.
We see a tremendous amount of dependance upon natural wisdom and abilities today. Let me be quick to mention that there is nothing wrong with natural abilities and wisdom (even though I don't have any). The problem is the dependance upon these things rather than dependance upon the Spirit of Christ.
The godly use of these abilities would be their use to apply the wisdom of God. I know of people who would, in my opinion, boarder on genius. What they do is use this ability to develop the law-word of God and its implications into every area of society.
Paul, in the previous chapter, made it clear that God chose not to save the elect through human wisdom, but through the preaching of the message of the Cross. This message is total foolishness to the world. And I must say that God's means is through the preaching of His word, or I would not be qualified in any way.
Paul does not say that he had no excellency of speech, or of wisdom. No doubt Paul was one of the most educated men of his day (as was Moses). The amazing thing about the grace of God is that this grace enabled Paul to use submit this wisdom to the Spirit of God and use it under the moving of the Spirit of God, to develop the implications of the OT law to the NT gospel of the Cross. In doing this, he depended upon the applied word of God to draw people to Christ.
Therefore, this is not against these abilities. This is against using them apart from total dependance upon the Lord.
Paul, realizing that God's means of salvation was the preaching of His word, the Cross, came to them with this message and not what the world held important. And I'm sure that Paul could have 'tickled the angles wings.'
Paul came to these people who lived in the center of Greek
culture, not with persuasive words, wisdom and rhetoric which
they were accustom to, but he came announcing what God had revealed
V. 2 ..the testimony of God of v. 1, would be Jesus Christ and him crucified of v. 2.
Now, I believe that the context of this verse requires the inclusion of much more within this preaching than just the historical fact of the crucifixion of Christ.
Acts 18 gives us a record of Paul's visit to Corinth, and
what he preached while there.
V. 5 and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ (marg. the Christ). V. 6 records the opposition which this created.
V. 7, 8 the message included that Jesus was THE LORD, because the record states that Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord. Obviously, this man was a devout Jew who turned his back on Judaism and received the Lord Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah.
V. 11, teaching the word of God among them. Because there was no NT books in existence at that time which clearly presented the crucifixion as we have, this word of God which Paul taught among them had to be the OT Scriptures. It had to be the Law, Prophets and Psalms and how they viewed Christ.
V. 13 we find the charge against Paul. In this we see that Christ was being presented in all of His fullness as prophesied in the total of the OT.
It is obvious all through the book of Acts what Paul preached when he went into these places. From the very start of Paul's ministry, his message was the King and the Kingdom of God among us. Notice Acts 17:7 Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus. (Cf. 16:21.) This message of the King and His Kingdom, went to Jews and Gentiles alike. This created quit a stir among the Jews, Acts 18:6.
The Book of Acts closes with Paul preaching this message of the hope of Israel out of both the law of Moses, and out of the prophets to anyone who would listen to him (Jews and Gentiles, 28:20, 23, 28, 29). This was his message from start (Acts 9) to finnish (Acts 28). His visit to Corinth was in the middle of this account, Acts 18.
On down (V. 7) we will look extensively at ISBE, but let me skip to this one statement. "(c) What, then, is the content of the Christian "mystery"? In a wide sense it is the whole gospel, God's world-embracing purpose of redemption through Christ (Rom 16:25; Eph 6:19; Col 2:2; 1 Tim 3:9)..." In other words, Paul presented the mystery of God everywhere he went, including here at Corinth. This mystery not only included salvation in Christ Jesus, but all aspects of His kingdom. The details of His kingdom were well hidden in the OT, although some of the prophets saw into them more than did others. The important thing that we need to understand is that the message of Paul which he preached everywhere he went, is the total of the message of the Kingdom of God on earth and His dealings and provisions for man through the world of His Son.
Thus we see that his message at his first visit to Corinth was Jesus Christ and him crucified, and included all of the implications of that crucifixion. This would include the message of the Messiah, of the King and His kingdom, of His redeeming work. It would be every thing that made the Jews so mad and caused him to be taken before Caesar. The list could go on and on. The point is this: This message which Paul preached included all that Paul presented everywhere he went, including the Kingdom of God. In addition, there is not much of Paul's message that is not covered in this Book of 1 & 2 Corinthians.
To say that the message of Christ in 1 Cor. 2:2 was restricted to the historical Crucifixion, is to destroy the message of Christ which was presented by these Apostles. The persecution came when they developed the implications of the crucifixion and resurrection. He was the Messiah and is now the King seated upon the right hand of Power on high, above every name that is named. This means that all human authority must bow before Him, either now or in that day. And it is much better to bow now. In fact, Paul talks about this bowing in these letters to this church. Check 1 Cor. 15 and the message there.
What Paul is doing in this book is placing the message which he preached the first time he visited, the message from the law and the prophets, into the proper context of the crucifixion of Christ.
Is it any wonder that modern Christianity wants to restrict this verse to the historical message of the Cross. This takes 99% of the pressure off of them and avoids any persecution. The civil government will allow the preaching of this historical Cross, but preach the spiritual Cross and there will be conflict.
Then what does he mean when he made this statement in v. 2? He meant that he did not depend upon nice sounding words and worldly wisdom to win these people. He presented the word of God here from the law and the prophets, as he did every place else, and depended upon the Holy Spirit to change hearts. This message from Scripture is foolish in the eyes of the world, and is hated by them, but it worked. Chapter 3 makes this clear.
Another thing. I determined... He made a determination in his heart that he would not use any worldly means to influence these people. He determined that he would not get caught up in the Greek theories and arguments.
1. If we are going to accomplish anything for God and the cause of Christ, we will have to determine in our heart. It is this determination to serve God which will get us through the hard times.
2. If we are going to avoid the pitfalls of this world, we are going to have to determine in our hearts not to. This determination needs to be made before we get in the situation, because once we get there, we will have a beautiful picture presented to us. We must make our determination before we get involved, then by the grace of God, stick with it.
"It has been well remarked that Jesus Christ refers to the person of Christ, and him crucified, to his work; which constitute the sum of the gospel." Hodge
I find Barnes' comments on this verse sad:
"We may remark here, (1.) That this should be the resolution of every minister of the gospel. This is his business. It is not to be a politician; not to engage in the strifes and controversies of men; it is not to be a good farmer, or scholar merely; not to mingle with his people in festive circles and enjoyments; not to be a man of taste and philosophy, and distinguished mainly for refinement of manners... (3.) It matters not what are the amusements of society around him; what fields of science, of gain, or ambition, are open before him, the minister of Christ is to know Christ and him crucified alone. If he cultivates science, it is to be that he may the more successfully show to those who cultivate them, the superior beauty and excellency of the cross..."
With this he effective removes the word of God from all areas of society except the preaching of the Gospel behind the pulpit. Now, I am not saying that the preacher should be involved in any of these activities, but his responsibility is to make the word of God relevant into these areas.
The sad results of Barnes' thinking are all around us as the
pastors and Christians have been convinced that the only job of
the minister is to preach the historical fact of the Gospel from
behind the pulpit.
V. 3. This is one of my favorite verses. Although Paul does talk about his physical infirmities and weaknesses (2 Cor. 10:10; 12:9, 10; Gal. 4:14), this is not one of those places.
Hodge is worth mentioning here:
"The weakness of which he speaks was not bodily weakness;..yet here the whole context shows he refers to his state of mind. It was not in the consciousness of strength, self-confident and self-relying, that he appeared among them, but as oppressed with a sense of his weakness and insufficiency. He had a work to do which he felt to be entirely above his powers.
In fear and trembling, i.e, in anxiety, or solicitude of mind arising out of a sense of his insufficiency, and of the infinite importance of his work, 2 Cor.7, 15. Phil. 2, 12. Eph.6,5."
When Paul went to this place back in Acts 18, he was overwhelmed with the task and opposition which was laid before him. In fact, the Lord appeared to Paul in the night by a vision and told him not to be afraid, v. 9. It is important to see why he was told not to be afraid. 1. For I am with thee. 2. For I have much people in this city.
For us: 1. The promise to us is: Low, I am with the alway, even unto the end of the world. 2. Say not there are yet four months until the harvest. Lift up your eyes, the harvest is ready. Pray for labours to go into the harvest.
The task appears beyond our abilities, and it is. This makes us fearful to attempt to undertake it, but we have the same promises that Paul had here in Acts.
Why did the Lord have to appear to Paul in a vision at night and He doesn't to us? Obviously, because there was no written word yet. We have the same promises which the Lord gave to Paul, only ours are now written down for us. We must claim them and go.
Notice here how many times the Lord stands against self-confidence and self-esteem. The 'spiritual leaders' and counselors today would tell Paul that there is something wrong with him or he would not be fearful.
Because he was overwhelmed at the task which was before him as he saw the ungodliness around him, he was fearful and he trembled at his inadequacies. But the Lord told him to stay there and preach. Therefore, he had to depend upon the word of God to do its work, because he was overwhelmed with the hopeless situation.
For us. Overwhelmed by the task? We should be! If we are not, then we are in sin, the sin of self-esteem, self-confidence. But if we enter into the assigned task (assigned by the Lord), realizing our own inabilities, and even frightened at those inabilities when compared to the task, then we must depend upon the Lord to honor His word and do the job we cannot do.
This explains the proper use of the natural abilities which we have been given, maybe even born with. If we enter into a task confident in those abilities, we are in sin. If we enter into a task fearful that we cannot do it, no matter what abilities we might have, but we do it anyway because the Lord wants us to, then we depend upon Him. The result is seen in v. 4.
This brings us to a passage of Scripture which we need to consider, I Cor. 2:2. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified. We hear this taught as only preaching Christ and Him crucified. This is used as a reason to either ignore or avoid any other Scripture or doctrine which might create conflict. As we have pointed out in "The Doctrine of the Gourd," Caesar will allow and even encourage this Christ and him crucified because it creates no conflict.
But, is this what Paul is saying here in 2:2? Is our message to be restricted to Jesus Christ and Him crucified? Especially if any thing else might create a conflict. No, the context will not bear this doctrine up. Just the fact that the Gospel of the Kingdom created great conflict should blow this false teaching out of the water, Acts 17:7; 20:25; 28:23- 31. But this is not our context which we are referring to here.
First, Paul had tremendous human attainment. If anyone was
qualified to preach and teach he was. He sat at the feet of the
best and most respected teachers of his day.
Second, he had the heritage which was the most important of his day. He was a Hebrew of the Hebrews, a Pharisee. He lived perfect according to the law, Ph. 3:4.
Third, we see that he had the power of persuasion. In Acts 22:1-5 he tells how he persuaded the counsel of elders to give him letters of authorization to bring the Christians in for punishment and even death.
Fourth, we see that Paul was also well learned in several tongues, at least Greek, the common language of his day, and Hebrew, Acts 22:1; 26:24.
Fifth, we see that he had commitment, dedication and much boldness in his cause, even though it was anti-christ, Acts 22:3,4. As we know, this kind of commitment, even on the part of a fool can turn the world upside down. We have seen this many times over in history. Marx is a good example as is Joseph Smith, Charles Taz Russell and many others.
Sixth, Paul had tremendous name recognition, Acts 9:13, 14 21. I can just see the advertising of our day. "Come see, meet and hear the great Evangelist Paul, formally Saul of Tarsus. Come hear his amazing testimony of how God appeared to him in a blinding flash. Hear how he was struck down with a bolt from heaven on the road to Damascus. Come see and hear this great man of God tell you how he turned from killing Christians to building Christians through the power of God." We all know what kind of promotion that we would use to attract people to hear him speak.
It is not hard to see: 1.) If anyone had the qualifications to preach and teach, Paul did. 2.) If anyone had the qualifications to be a missionary and a church planter, Paul did. 3.) If anyone had the qualifications to be a great evangelist, Paul did.
Paul had all of the excellency and wisdom which the religious system of his day could offer. It was only by the grace of God that he was able to put it all behind him and say, But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: For whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung. That I might win Christ, Ph. 3:7,8; I Cor. 15:10. What did Paul count loss? At least the six things above.
Now, let's put I Cor. 2:2 back into the context of who is speaking and in the context of what he has said elsewhere. Paul is telling them that he determined to lay all worldly attainment and wisdom aside. He determined to lay aside all of his natural abilities of speaking and boldness. He determined not to depend upon (the word he uses is KNOW) any of those things. As he came to them and preached the total law-word of God, he was determine not to use any of his worldly qualifications. Rather he was determined to depend totally upon the power of the crucified and risen Christ. He is not saying that all he is going to preach is the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. In fact, he is very upset and disappointed with the Hebrew Christians for not maturing beyond this milk of the gospel. He told them that once this is settled, move on, Heb. 5:11-6:3 (This laying aside can only be done by the power, grace of God).
Isn't this what he said in Ph. 3:8. He had to suffer the loss of all of these things (these worldly attainments) that the power of Christ might work through him. Notice what he says in v. 9, And be found in him... Then in v. 10, That I may know him and the power of his resurrection...
He is talking of two results of laying aside human attainment and wisdom. One is for salvation, the other the power for service. The one we are covering is for service and is included in v. 3. ..and have no confidence in the flesh. If anyone could have this confidence in the flesh, he could, v.4.
With this in mind, I Cor. 2:2 we see that he determined to lay all of this confidence behind him and only know One power in his preaching. That power being the power of the crucified and risen Lord alone working in him. There are an astounding number of passages which will confirm this, not only Ph. 3 but Rom. 6 is very clear on this.
As we started out saying, for Paul to reach this point of being able to say, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me required a tremendous work of grace. Grace to be able to lay aside all of his worldly attainment and wisdom. Grace to be able to depend upon the power of the crucified Christ in him.
Let me say here. It takes more grace for a person with a nice outgoing personality to be able to lay that aside and depend upon the power of Christ through them than it does for a person with a hard personality which pushes people away from them. Those natural abilities are so tempting to use. Yet, it is just as wrong to use the good and attractive things of the flesh "for God" as it is to use the ugly things "for God". It is much harder to lay aside the attractive things than it is the ugly things.
To use I Cor. 2:2 as an excuse not to preach anything other than the crucified Christ is to misuse the verse. That is not at all what Paul is saying here. What he is saying is that he laid aside all the worldly attainment and things of the flesh (no matter how good they might be) and depended totally upon the crucified Christ to work through him.
The result, I Cor. 2:3-5. This looks like much of the increase we see today is due to the wisdom of men and not the power of God.
Each of us have these things which need to be laid aside so we also can do all things through Christ. Only as we can lay aside all human abilities and attainments (confidence in the flesh) will we see men stand in the power of God. There is no doubt but that the wisdom of men will produce results. We can see this all around us, but are these the results which we want? Which God wants?
Paul goes even further in I Cor. 1:17. Here he points out that if we preach Christ with the wisdom of words, that preaching will be of none effect. We can safely take this further. Any work we might attempt to do for God, if it is done with men's wisdom or even in dependence upon the natural ability, it is of none effect for God. Anything done apart from complete, total death to the flesh will have God's curse against it and there will be no power of God for men to stand in, Jer. 17:5.
Only the work of the second Adam can counter the inherent sin from the first Adam as the first Adam fell into the first lie, You can be as god... You can serve God and please Him in your own human attainment, personality and wisdom, Gen. 3:5. Paul points out that through the work and power of the Second Adam he was able to be free from the hold of Gen. 3:5. Then the results of his efforts would be men standing in the power of God, I Cor. 2:1-5.
Satan will convenience God's people that they can succeed with their excellency of spirit or of speech, or really any of the six things above. In fact, he will encourage and even empower God's people to use these "good things" of the flesh because he knows the results will be in the wisdom of men and not in the power of God.
He will encourage us to memorize Ph. 4:13. Yet, completely avoid Ph. 3:1-14 and 4:1-13. Paul did not leave us stranded as he put in Ph. 3:15. He points out that if any person wants to know the truth of what they are operating in (wisdom of men and the fleshly abilities or the Spirit of Christ) they can know. If a person wants to face facts, God will show him. If we want to know if we are deceived in any area, we can.
How much of our work is done in the wisdom of men, and confidence in the flesh? The result will be people trying to stand in the wisdom of men.
Ph. 4:13. Paul wrote this from a view which we cannot really even identify with. He was totally qualified in the flesh to do all of these great things, yet by the grace of God he was able to lay it all aside and his message was in the power of God.
We desperately need a generation which knows its utter inability and total dependence upon the work of Christ. Where is the meekness, gentleness, humility? The attitude of the servant?
Ph. 3:15. Do we need God to reveal anything? Are we even willing to face up to the fact that we might be trying to carry on without Ph. 3:7, 8? If we are willing to admit this then we can claim Ph. 3:15.
Both will see results. One in the wisdom of man. The other in the power of God. Which do we want to see?
Without this attitude described here by Paul in v. 3, there are some negative results, vs. 4, 5.
1. We will depend on enticing words of man's wisdom to accomplish
what we have been given by the Lord to do.
2. Without this fear and trembling we will see no need to seek the power and wisdom of God. We will have no need to search His word for answers, to pray for His power. We see no need to follow the word of God in such things as faithfulness in the public assembly, preaching and fellowship with other believers.
3. The opposite of this fear and trembling is the idea that we can be our own gods, able to determine for our own selves what is right and wrong, able to accomplish good without the aid of the Lord. It is the idea that we do not really need the enabling Spirit of God to do His work.
4. Those responding will not be responding to the Spirit of God, but to the spirit of man.
5. We have a job to do, just as sure as did Paul. If we do not have this same feeling about this assigned task as did the Apostle as we face this task, we are entering in to it in pride. The result will be our own destruction.
This would cause me to wonder. Is this a consistent truth?
Is it always true that the use of human wisdom of this world will
always result in the one responding to the wrong spirit? Are the
only ones who are saved the ones who responded under a speaker
who spoke under the power of the Spirit of God? I do not think
so, because most of the work for Christ is work done under the
spirit of wisdom of this world. I am inclined to think that the
Lord honors His word according to His good pleasure, as He uses
even the wrath of man to praise Him.
Now, 2 points from the positive side of v. 3.
1. This describes the attitude of humility which is required before God that is needed to have the hand of the Lord upon us, James 4:6-10; 1 Peter 5:5-8.
2. This describes the attitude of meekness that Paul described to Timothy, 2 Timothy 2:23-26. This is the attitude which will permit the Spirit of God to give repentance to the ones who are caught in the snare of the devil.
This would make one wonder; is this a reason we are seeing
so many professed Christians today, and so little power to change
society for godliness? As we have mentioned over and over, this
worldly wisdom has not only invaded the 'church,' it holds the
church captive. An indepth study of 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus
should be required of every man who seeks to be a pastor or christian
leader in any way.
Just a short point from 2 Timothy 2.
V. 21 would correspond to Paul's statement, I determined... He made the determination to do this assigned project God's way. The result? The mighty Spirit of God upon him.
V. 21 clearly lays the responsibility upon the individual to make such a determination to be a holy vessel, sanctified, and meet for the master's use.. Yet we also know that only the Spirit of God working in us can accomplish such a condition within us.
Fairbairn (Pastoral Epistles, pg 355) sums this up thusly: "In a word, the thing itself must be done by us: every individual should lay it upon his conscience as a condition he is morally bound to have made good; but when he comes in earnest to attempt it, he finds he can only succeed by throwing himself on the redeeming mercy and sanctifying grace of God."
This comes back to Paul's statement in 1 Cor. 2:3. Without this fear and trembling, we will not cast ourselves upon His grace and mercy.
All of his instruction, whether private or public, was void of man's wisdom. Rather it was the applied word of God. He presented the word of God as he was instructed to do by the Lord in Acts 18. The Lord then moved in the hearts of His people (18:10) in a mighty demonstration of the power of the Spirit.
Demonstration.. The people were moved but the moving was the Spirit's work, not the result of any wisdom of man or of this world. The proof was in the results.
World's crowd rejects any evidence of change from preaching.
Another important point here. Paul is emphasizing the power of God in the preaching of the word of God. This power is effective only on the called of God, the elect. To the world's crowd, there is nothing as foolish as this message. Any message makes more sense than the applied word of God, Buddha, witchcraft, AA, whatever we can name, and there are hundreds of these substitutes around us provided by the world's crowd.
The conclusion here is that because the message of the word of God is so foolish to them, no matter what kind of positive results they might see from the preaching of Christ, they will refuse to believe that the Gospel accomplished them. The Drunkard is freed from his drink, the harlot is made pure, the doper is freed, the thief is changed, the unconcerned are now concerned with their families, the welfare recipient is now off of welfare. The list goes on and on of the reform which the gospel of Christ does in the life of the individual, therefore society.
But the problem is that because the message which reformed these people from the heart out, is so foolish to the world's crowd, they absolutely refuse to believe that it was the gospel which changed them. They will attribute the change to anything except the gospel. This is why they will call Christianity 'mental illness' even though they can see the change it made in the most hardened sinner.
Their conviction that the message of Christ is foolish overrides any evidence contrary to that conviction. And sad to say, because of the worldly influence upon the Saint, the average Christian has bought their belief in the powerlessness of the Gospel to change.
Paul is writing to a literal church here, the Church at Corinth. This church, therefore the Saints in it; 1. had been infiltrated with teachers which stressed the importance of worldly wisdom, Greek thought, humanism, self-worth and self-confidence. The messages revolved around self. 2. These teachers had their influence and these people were now convinced of the importance of these things. The result was that they were now convinced that this wisdom was necessary to be a success for the Lord. They had turned their back upon the dependance upon the preaching of the word of God for the power to change lives.
Paul, at the opening of this first letter to them, rebukes them for this departure and for following the influence of these false teachers.
Now, it is obvious that this same thought has overtaken American Christianity again. Why can we say this? Because of the people which we are electing for our representatives. They see the passing of new laws as the means of changing people into good, law-abiding citizens. We are electing representatives who see the preaching of the word of God as foolishness. I know of no one in the state or national legislature who believes that the only answer to man's problems is the preaching of the word of God. (There may be some, but I know of none.) This means that the ones who elected them do not believe this either, or they would vote differently.
Until the church gets back to believing that the power of God which changes the individual and thus, society, lies in the preaching (application) of the word of God, we will continue to be overrun with anti-Christian ideas and laws.
Laws will reflect the belief of the society. It the society believes that the preaching of the word of God is the power to change men (therefore, society), this preaching will be protected. If it doesn't, this preaching will be persecuted and humanistic laws will be passed. And it is obvious which is being done today, with a large percentage of people claiming some kind of a Christian experience.
What has happened? I think we are seeing the results of the very thing that Paul is dealing with here, the overtaking of the Church with Greek humanism and wisdom. And this infiltration has been so subtle that the people don't even realize what has happened.
Only the Holy Spirit can open the eyes of the deceived, and this is done through the preaching of the word of God.
Hodge's statement on this verse is:
"It might have been easy for him to argue the Corinthians into a conviction of the truth of the Gospel. by appealing to its superiority to heathenism and to the evidence of its divine origin afforded by prophecy and miracles. He might have exhibited the folly of idolatry, and the absurdity of pagan rites and ceremonies, and convinced them of the historical truth of Christianity. The conviction thus produced would be rational and important; but it would not be saving faith. Faith founded on such evidence is merely speculative. The true foundation of faith, or rather, the foundation of true faith, is the power of God."
Hodge wrote long before Josh McDowell came on the scene, but he is sure describing what people like McDowell are doing. I would imagine that this is typical of most Christian Colleges also. I also think that there is a place for such arguments, but the problem is that these arguments are taking the place of the preaching of the Gospel.
Eph. 2:8, 9 tells us that the faith to come to Christ as our Saviour is a gift of God. Paul tells us here in 1 Corinthians that the Spirit gives this faith to the elect in response to the preaching of the Gospel. To those who are not the called according to His purpose, the Gospel message is foolish. This gives us a couple of points.
1. The natural man likes the argument from history, science, experience and philosophy. The natural man will hold the message of the Gospel as foolishness, but will accept the same message wrapped in the apparel of worldly wisdom and reason. They will respond to arguments which tare down the objections, but such arguments lack the power of God unto salvation.
Again, I think there is a place for such 'argument' which meets obstacles, like clearing the ground of "weeds and brambles in order to prepare it for the precious seed." But we must be careful that we are not depending on such arguments to do the work of the Holy Spirit in taring down the natural resistance.
2. Any 'faith' that is not founded upon this preaching is not saving faith.
"A faith which is founded on the authority of the church, or upon arguments addressed to the understanding, or even on the moral power of the truth as it affects the natural conscience, such as Felix had, is unstable and inoperative." Hodge.
3. The attitude of the one presenting the message must be a sense of weakness, anxiety and realization of his own inabilities compared to the responsibility at hand. This will cause him to depend completely on the Spirit.
4. The success of the Gospel does not depend upon the skill
of the speaker, but upon the faithfulness of God to His word.
How sad that this is the primary means today of spreading the Gospel. How easily the natural man is moved away from the preaching of the Gospel.
5. A conclusion: First, we must go into all the world and preach the gospel. Second, we must present the word of God and the work of Christ. To the elect, this is the power of God unto salvation. To the world, this is foolishness. Third, we must avoid the temptation to dress up the message of Christ in clothing which will make it acceptable to the world's desire for wisdom and reason. This message holds the promise of prospective results as the objections of the sinner are met with worldly wisdom and human understanding.
The dividing line would be narrow to say the least. Where does answering sincere questions stop and dependance upon worldly wisdom start? This is a difficult area, but wisdom is promised to us if we will pray and seek this wisdom from the word of God, James 1:5.
V. 5, the total message of the word of God must be addressed to the heart and not to the head. Anything less will cost us the power of God. And the attitude of the speaker is just as important as is the message, because Paul follows v. 4 with, That your faith..
Here we see that Paul continued to speak the wisdom of God to his hearers, even after they were saved. His message did not change upon their salvation, to one of the wisdom of this world. True wisdom is not what the world considers wisdom. True wisdom is foolishness to them. (See 1:17b, pg35 for a discussion of God's wisdom.) Let me mention again, Paul's message what the whole counsel of God, Acts 20:27. The wisdom of God covers every area of life, not just salvation.
We see this so much today. The simple gospel is used to get folks saved, then upon salvation, the message changes to one of worldly wisdom and philosophy.
The wisdom that the princes of this world holds of value will come to nought. The wisdom of this world will pass away, but the wisdom (word of God) will last forever. All eternity is built upon His wisdom.
The word, wisdom of God is a mystery to the unsaved. As we said before, it is foolishness to them. It is a mystery to them how anything so foolish could accomplish anything.
First, the gospel of Salvation is a mystery to the unsaved,
which cannot be discovered by human reason. It is a mystery hidden
from before the foundations of the world, and made known by the
preaching of the gospel, Rom. 26:25, 26; Eph. 3:9. It is accessible
by the elect only by the faith which is given to them by the Spirit
of God, Rom. 5:2; 2 Corinthians 4:1-6.
Second, the wisdom of God is hidden from the saved natural man. It must be searched for, prayed for and worked for as a man would seek for a hid treasure, Pro. 2:1-5. How many people have thought that because they were now saved they had ready access to this wisdom of God?
This is a good place to cover this Mystery.. (Strong, 3466) (Thayer, 420) (ISBE, 2104)
"a hidden thing, secret, mystery:.. mysteries, religious secrets, confided only to the initiated and not to be communicated by them to ordinary mortals." ISBE goes along the same line: Modern usage does not convey the exact sense of the Greek.. "which (the Greek) means a secret imparted only to the initiated, what is unknown until it is revealed, whether it be easy or hard to understand."
Vines makes this interesting statement: "Those who were initiated into these 'mysteries' became possessors of certain knowledge, which was not imparted to the uninitiated. The initiated were called 'the perfected,'..
ISBE has an excellent treatment of this. Let's see if I can give it a good summation.
In ancient pagan religions, "this was a technical term for the secret rites and celebrations.. only known to, and practiced by, those who had been initiated." These rites and celebrations were only available and practiced by the ones who had been initiated, but anyone could be initiated. They were open to all. (This resembles perfectly what I know of the Masons.)
ISBE gives an excellent paragraph which describes some basic characteristics of the Mysteries. I will only pick out the parts which more obviously apply to our consideration, although all of the description does.
"(1) Their [the mystery religion] appeal was to the emotions rather than to the intellect... They were rather an attempt to find a more emotional and ecstatic expression to religious aspiration than the public ceremonies provided. Aristotle declared that the initiated did not receive definite instruction, but were put in a certain frame of mind.. This does not mean that there was no teaching, but that the teaching was vague, suggestive and symbolic, rather than didactic or dogmatic. (2) The chief purpose of the rites seems to have been to secure for the votaries a mystic union with some deity and a guaranty of a blissful immortality. The initiated was made to partake mystically in the passing of the deity through death to life, and this union with his saviour-god became the pledge of his own passage through death to a happy life beyond. This was not taught as an esoteric doctrine; it was well known to outsiders that the Mysteries taught the greater blessedness of the initiated in the under-world; but in the actual ceremony the truth was vividly presented and emotionally realized. (3) The celebrations were marked by profuse symbolism of word and action... The celebrations themselves were in the main a kind of religious drama.. combined with the recital of certain mystic formulae by the hierophant (the priest)..."
ISBE goes on to say: "The religion of the OT has no Mysteries of the above type. The ritual of Israel was one in which the whole people partook, through their representatives the priests."
"In the NT the word occurs .. 28 t.. It bears its ancient sense of a revealed secret, not its modern sense of that which cannot be fathomed or comprehended... By far the most common meaning in the NT is that which is so characteristic of Paul, viz. a Divine truth once hidden, but now revealed in the gospel. Rom. 16:35.."
Human wisdom cannot know or understand this mystery, only the preaching of the word and a moving of the Holy Spirit can make this known. Only Divine revelation will reveal this mystery, and that revelation only to whom He will. In addition, in the light of the Greek mysteries of Paul's day, it is important to note that this mystery of Salvation was not hidden, or done in secret as was being done in the secret societies of his day. All of the rites and celebrations of the religion which Paul was presenting were being done in the open and were open for whoever would come.
"(b) From this it follows that Christianity has no secret doctrines, for what was once hidden has now been revealed. But here arises a seeming contradiction. On the one hand, there are passages which seem to imply a doctrine of reserve. The mystery revealed to some would seem to be still concealed from others. The doctrines of Christ and of His Kingdom are hidden from the worldly wise and the prudent (Mt 11:25; 1 Cor.2:6 ff), and from all who are outside the kingdom (Mt. 13:11 ff), and there are truths withheld even from Christians while in an elementary stage of development (1 Cor 3:1 ff; He 5 11-14)... The explanation is that the communication is limited, not by any secrecy in the gospel message itself or any reserve on the part of the speaker, but by the receptive capacity of the hearer.."
Worldliness makes the carnally-minded blind to the light, 2 Cor. 4:2-4. Immaturity and many other things will hide the truth of the work of Christ from even the believer.
"(c) What, then, is the content of the Christian "mystery"? In a wide sense it is the whole gospel, God's world-embracing purpose of redemption through Christ (Rom 16:25; Eph 6:19; Col 2:2; 1 Tim 3:9)..."
ISBE points out that Paul assigned baptism as the rite of initiation and the Lord's supper as the mystical uniting with "a celestial being and a guaranty of a share in the blissful immortality of the risen Saviour."
As we look at this letter to Corinth, there can be no doubt that Paul was influenced by "the Gr-Rom environment of his day." The chief centers of Paul's activities were Corinth, Antioch and Ephesus, which were headquarters of mystic religion. "We are not surprised that he borrowed from the vocabulary of the Mysteries" their terms and meanings.
As Vine mentioned, the word perfect was "a term applied in the Mysteries to the fully instructed as opposed to the novices (1 Cor 2:6, 7; Col 1:28)." (We must keep in mind though, that Christianity "can be adequately explained only by reference, not to what it had in common with other religions, but to what was distinctive and original in it... The characteristics which his teaching has in common with the pagan religions are simply a witness to the common religious wants of mankind, and not to his indebtedness to them. What turned these religions into Mysteries was the secrecy of their rites; but in the NT there are no secret rites. The gospel "mystery" (as we have seen) is not a secret deliberately withheld from the multitude and revealed only to a privileged religious aristocracy, but something which was once a secret and is so no longer. The perfect openness of Christ and His apostles sets them in a world apart from the mystic schools."
Even though the Church became greatly influenced by the Mysticism around them, here in Paul's letters we are clearly told that the worship of our God through the Lord Jesus Christ is not an Mystic experience.
Remember, this church at Corinth was located in Greece, and the Greeks would have loved the idea of mysteries which were only open to a few. Paul uses the terms which they would all be familiar with, yet he uses them to show them that Christianity was not at all like the Mystic religion which they all knew so well.
Gentiles brought into same body, through the same means, faith in the finished word of Christ, Eph. 5:30; Eph.5:32. Therefore, Mystery = the unity of the body of Christ in the Kingdom of God. This is covered well in Eph. ch. 3, the Jews and Gentiles are on equal footing in Christ. The church would not be the mystery because the church (congregation of the Lord) was revealed in the OT. The addition of the Gentiles through Christ would be a mystery. (Equal access and freedom to approach the Father through Christ, Ep.3:7-12) This was hidden so well that the Jews put Christ to death over it.
BEST EXPLANATION, Thayers --A hidden purpose or counsel: secret will-- the secret counsels which govern God in dealing with the righteous, which are hidden from ungodly, wicked men, but plane to the godly.
*In the NT, God's plan of providing salvation for man through
Christ, which was once hidden but now is revealed.
*Of God's purpose to bless the Gentiles also with salvation through Christ, Eph.3:2-5. See Thayer.
Caution, Vine (Vine's dictionary) is a Darbyite, and his definition reflects Darby's doctrine. He includes the Rapture as well as the church within his definition (although he gives no detail of this event. There is a Scriptural Rapture when we will all rise to meet Him in the air, and so ever be with the Lord). Darby defined this Mystery as being the Church, which it is, but only in the sense that it is now open to both Jews and Gentiles through Christ.
Now for some important points.
1. The appeal of these Gr-Rom Mysteries was to the emotions rather than to the intellect. They sought emotional and ecstatic experiences in these meetings. They attended not for "definite instruction," but to be "put in a certain frame of mind. This does not mean that there was no teaching, but that the teaching was vague, suggestive and symbolic, rather than didactic or dogmatic." (Mercy! if this does not sound like Christianity today..)
2. "The chief purpose of the rites seems to have been to secure for the votaries a mystic union with some deity and a guaranty of a blissful immortality." (Notice what is emphasized today in the vast majority of Churches, salvation and ask Jesus into your heart.)
3. These rites were only open to the member of the sect, but anyone could be a member. These were called, perfects. The 'benefits' of these rites were reserved for the ones united with them. (We notice today that many who promote this type of emotional, ecstatic experience, do not even stress the need to be united by with Christ through His atoning sacrifice.)
This is obviously referred to by Paul in v. 6. Those who have been called into the body of Christ, the saved are referred to as 'perfect.' Now they can receive (understand) the deep hidden things of God. These things are not secret in the sense that the record of them is kept from public view. They are secret in the sense that they cannot be known by the unsaved man, because they are spiritually discerned.
4. The Mystery religion would have emphasized hidden wisdom which would have been available only to the members.
Thus, we define Mysticism as: 1) seeking an emotional and ecstatic experience, rather than dogmatic instruction, 2) seeking to secure a mystic union with some deity and a guaranty of a blissful immortality. With this definition, the degeneration of Christianity into this pit of Mysticism is obvious.
Darby was very firm in his teaching that the church was a mystical union with Christ, with no practical implications or application of this union whatsoever.
Paul is taking an extremely strong stand against this type of evil, but, as he told the men of Ephesus (Acts 20:28-30), as soon as he departed, the wolves of Mysticism moved in.
5. The Christian mystery: The general heading of the mystery which Paul presents would be the whole gospel of the Kingdom of God, and all of its details (see the treatment of this above). It would be God's world-embracing purpose of redemption through Christ and all that entails.
There are many points under this heading, such as redemption through the work of the cross, the Incarnation of Christ, the indwelling Christ, the transformation of the saints who will live to see the Second Advent, the coming of lawless one and his judgment, the joint heirship of the Gentiles with the Jews in Christ (speaking of the first century church), then the breaking off of the OT nation of Israel and the founding of the New nation of Israel, the Church. There are many more mysteries which were hidden, but now made known through the preaching of the gospel. They can be summed up under Christ and His Kingdom.
1 Cor. 2:7 In the context of these Mysteries, Paul shows the fallacy of them, and how Christianity is so much better. Christianity has mysteries, but these mysteries are not done in secret, they are made clear to the perfect - the elect. They are not known through the wisdom of this world, and the message contained in these mysteries is: a) the wisdom of God which was hidden from before the foundation of the world, b) the power of God to the salvation of the ordained, c) hidden from the wise and mighty men of this world.
Undoubtly, as we see in the secret societies of our day (Masons, etc.), these mystery religions catering to the wise and to the exalted men of this world. Paul makes it clear that the mysteries of God are hidden from these type of people, and made known only to those who the Father chooses to reveal this mystery of Godliness to.
Before we leave this verse and this subject of the mysteries of God, I would like of cover some points.
1. It is a mystery to me how He can work all things for His good, even the wrath of man, Ps. 76:10 Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain. This clearly tells us that the wrath of others against God, Christ and His kingdom work, clearly is used for His praise.
This is probably the biggest Mystery of all to me! It is indeed a mystery how God works all of these things together for His good and glory, and for our good and Christ formed in us. The OT tells us that His ways are as high above our ways as are the heavens above the earth. Then in the NT we are told that it is through faith we understand, Heb. 11:3. He has revealed as much about many of His "high ways" to us in His word as we can understand. We read about these mysteries which are revealed to us, and accept them for what He says. Through faith we understand all of these things.
I understand how He works all things for His glory. How do I understand this? Because He says so, and that settles it, regardless of what I believe or feel. We must lay aside our personal feelings that the flesh would heap upon us, feelings of doubt and fear. The world's wisdom just cannot comprehend this. Then claim the faith to believe that He is working out His purpose and good pleasure.
"But," the worldly would say, "that is to simplistic. Only a fool would accept that without understanding more (therefore, let me teach you more)."
And this is exactly what Paul is dealing with here. The foolish things (of God's word and people), confound the wise. We understand the mysteries by faith, and that faith given as a gift from God.
2. As we mentioned above, it is a mystery how the word is what does the work. It sure would seem that ability with words and ability to attract people is what would build a church or ....
3. It is a mystery to me how He can use the weak, foolish things in the world's eyes for His glory. How can this be? I realize what is said here, but this doesn't change what we can understand.
4. It is a mystery to me why He gives the desire to be faithful, serve, sacrifice, love, pray, study, etc, to so few of His people. It sure would seem that He would do this for all of His people, but apparently He doesn't. It is a mystery to me why He does not work in all hearts. It would seem that all of His people would at least have a desire to read His word and pray. But from what we see, only a small percentage do.
5. The withholding of finances for the kingdom work is a mystery to me. If the finances were available, this nation could be won (according to human understanding, it could). If people knew what was going on, they would do a lot different, or would they. We must be careful not to fall into the world's trap of thinking that education about evil is the answer.
And there are more mysteries included here in His wisdom and counsel, in His Kingdom, than we can list.
V. 7 Paul spoke the wisdom of god in a mystery.. The reason it was a mystery? Because God hid this wisdom from the beginning of the world, to be revealed only to those ordained to eternal life.
As we live in this period of history, and as we read and study the last 10 chapters of Isaiah where we are told of the great influx of the nations into the Kingdom, I wonder how much longer God is going to hide this mystery.
It would indeed be wonderful if He would see fit to open the eyes of just my people to see these hidden things of God, the wonderful mysteries of Holiness and faithfulness.
V. 8 would be built upon this assumption. Which would give us two points.
1. An application of this verse, 2:8. Paul says that if the wise and important men of this world, which the Mystery religions held in such exalted positions, had known this mystery of God, they would not have killed Christ. Therefore, the ones who took such pride in knowing all about the mysteries of their religion, knew nothing about what really mattered in this life and in eternity. All of their wisdom and understanding was worth less than nothing, even with the great emotion which was attached with it.
2. Primarily, Paul is talking of the Jewish leaders who plotted, planned and called for the Lord's death. The divine message of the wisdom of God as found in the OT, the cross and the Kingdom, had to be supernaturally hidden from them because it was so obvious. Even the Lord told His disciples that He spoke the mysteries of the Kingdom in parables so others could not understand. Romans 11:8, tells us the God blinded them to the truth of Christ. He came is such clear fulfillment of OT prophecy that if He hadn't, they would not have killed Christ, Acts 3:18-26. This supernatural blinding took a supernatural opening, Lk. 24:44-48.
I think it is interesting that one of the means He used to blind them was that they looked for and expected a mighty temporal prince, and in this expectation, they missed Christ. I would wonder, is today's blindness upon the major groups of Christians sent by God for a purpose? If so, I wonder what is the purpose. If we really knew who the Lord of Glory was/is, what would we do or not do?
Hebrews 6:1-6 tells us that once a person has been actively involved in serving the King, and they fall away, it is impossible to renew them. But, Ez. 3 and 33 tells us that the sinner can repent and return. Lk.18:27, tells us that what is impossible with men is possible with God. I like what Parker says here: "This has been a great battle-ground; innumerable Calvinists have slain innumerable Arminians within the four corners of this most solemn declaration. There was no need for the fray. All the energy was misspent."
There are a couple of ways this passage could go.
A. M.H. sees this describing the state of those who have professed
religion, and have fallen into apostasy. In doing so, "It
is crucifying the Son of God afresh, and putting him to open shame.
They declare that they approve of what the Jews did in crucifying
Christ, and that they would be glad to do the same thing again
if it were in their power. They pour the greatest contempt upon
the Son of God, and therefore upon God himself, who expects all
should reverence his Son, and honour him as they honour the Father.
They do what in them lies to represent Christ and Christianity
as a shameful thing, and would have him to be a public shame and
reproach... God can renew them to repentance, but he seldom does
it; and with men themselves it is impossible."
B. Barnes sees this passage in Hebrews as referring to eternal security. If a person could loose his salvation through apostasy, he could never regain it, because to do so would crucify the Lord again. This is standing against any teaching that a person can loose his salvation, then be saved again (and again).
C. Parker sees this as referring to the impossibility of a person who is willfully remaining in sin, finding any forgiveness. "The Apostle's reasoning then is simply this: that if we continue to sin we cannot repent; whilst we are in the very act of crucifying the Son of God afresh, and putting him to an open shame, it is impossible for us to repent, to pray, to return." This would be against the Roman theory that one can continue in sin as long as they go to confession.
This would appear to be the best within the context. I would fit this with the verse in 1 Cor. 2:8. If we really understood who Christ is, how much different would we act? How much sin would we remain in? To try to repent without returning to the Lord in holy living, is to openly crucify the Lord, and it cannot be done, 1 John 1:9; Pro. 28:13, 14.
One more thing here. the Lord of glory. Ps. 24:10. The King of glory, born of a virgin, lived among us, was put to death, rose on the third day and now sits at the right hand of the Father to make intercession for His people.
His position as the Lord of glory was proven over and over, yet the religious leaders were blinded to this. It was all in God's foreordained plan.
It is our job as preachers of the mysteries of God to make them as clear and plane as possible, then pray that the Holy Spirit will open the eyes of the hearers. As we have mentioned, Paul covers this very thing in 2 Cor. 4:1-6.
The reference seems to be to Isa. 64:4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.
The context of Isaiah is speaking of the judgment of God against the Lord's adversaries. The verse seems to be speaking of waiting for the Lord to take action against evil, and the blessedness of His faithful people in the midst of this action.
Every author I checked with said that this statement by Paul is not referring to any particular verse, but to the general theme of the OT. Because when Paul used this, he used it apart from the context of Isaiah statement in chapter 64. "We may be biblical when we have no text to quote." Parker.
Even though this is probably true, Isaiah 64 is interesting and worth a look. Here Isaiah is crying out to the Lord, How long O Lord, are You going to wait to move against the wicked? This is also the cry of Habakkuk, ch. 1, 2. The Lord told Habakkuk that He had given His word and its promises to strengthen His people. The Lord promises judgment upon the wicked in His appointed time, and it won't be late. He promises His blessings upon His faithful people.
Then the Lord gives this tremendous verse to Habakkuk, 2:4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith. Here is a two-fold statement.
Negative: Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: The one who doubts the wisdom of God in His workings in history, is lifted up with pride. God knows what is going on and the best way to work His plan.
Positive: but the just shall live by his faith. The just person, the person who is right in the eyes of God, is the one who remains faithful and true to the Lord in the midst of the turmoil and prosperity of the wicked.
The cry of Isaiah is that the Lord would rend the heavens, come down in judgement against evil and in that judgment, exalt the righteous.
Based upon these assumptions, Isaiah is encouraging faithfulness in the face of apparently hopeless evil, and promising wonderful blessings from God for the faithful. These blessings are for the here and now, as our Lord described in Mat. 5.
Isaiah 64:4 describes the wonderful blessings of God upon the individuals who waiteth for him, Isa. 40:31. Then v. 5, is kind of half and half. First, the positive, the Lord's blessings upon those who remember Him in the ways, in their daily walk. Next, negative. The Lord's anger against us, the sinner.
V. 6, Isaiah continues on to say that all of our right works, in ourselves, are nothing but filthy rags. V. 7, then, there are none that have the desire in their selves, to seek after and walk after the Lord. V. 8 points out that the Lord is now our Father, not by any of our doings, but all of Him. He is the potter, we are the clay: and we all are the work of thy hands.
A conclusion here for both Isaiah and Habakkuk. We are sinners, gone astray from birth. As such, we do not have, nor have we ever had any desire to follow after Him. There is no faith or faithfulness in us, it is the gift of God, lest any man should boast. The Lord calls upon us to be faithful in the face of all adversity, and then gives us the faith to do so.
This would fit within the context of 1 Cor. 2. The wisdom of the world seems to gain converts and evil men of the world seem to prosper. God has tremendous reward for those who remain faithful to Him and His word. And the totally amazing thing to me is that He is the One who keeps us faithful. This is completely beyond human wisdom and understanding. As we mentioned above, why does He see fit to keep some faithful and others He sees fit to 'turn loose,' so to speak? And the ones He keeps faithful are very small in number in comparison to the ones He turns loose!
The wisdom of men will never figure this out, but by faith we understand.
Or, as we like to teach this verse 9, and this would be an application. It is beyond human understanding what God has prepared for those who faithfully wait on Him. They do their best for the cause of Christ, and leave the results in His hands. This reward a future reward, heaven. This is a good application, but is not the context.
Or, the apostle could be only appealing to the authority of the general theme of the OT that the purposes and preparations of God can not understood with human wisdom; that they can only be known by supernatural revelation. This would lead into the next verse.
Regardless of how we view this verse, this truth is clear. Human understanding cannot comprehend the workings of God and how God can work even the most difficult situations for His glory and for the blessings of His people.
Human wisdom and reasoning applied to the gospel will not produce Christians who will stand in the power of the Spirit.
This verse opens with an important statement. But God hath revealed unto us by his Spirit: The word is hath. Not will or can, but hath. This alone shows us that v. 9 is not referring to heaven, but to the current blessings available to His faithful people.
In the context: The wisdom of God is His word, including the preaching of the cross. That word is the power of God which changes men and society. This wisdom was hidden from the foundation of the world, and is still hidden from the worldly crowd. The wicked men who crucified the Lord of glory did not know this, or they would not have crucified Him.
(A point here that I missed above. Maybe Paul, in v. 8, means
this: If the evil men who crucified Christ on the cross had known
that the result of that crucifixion would be a new message of
the cross of Christ, containing the very power of God to overcome
all of the world, flesh and the devil, they would not have crucified
Him. The power of God is in the preaching of the cross, therefore
if no cross, no power!
We could compare this to dynamite, as many do. In other words, if the ones who set the dynamite knew that they were going to destroy themselves in the process, they would not have set the dynamite.)
The contrast has been the world's wisdom (mysteries), contrasted with the wisdom (mysteries) of God. The pagans go through a ritual to gain access to their mysteries, the child of God also goes through a 'ritual,' for lack of a better word, to gain access to the mysteries of God. When he is born again, he has access to the wisdom of the ages, the wisdom of God. This wisdom is not obtained by any human means, but the Holy Spirit teaches these deep things of God.
Unto us.. Through faith we understand.. It is all built on this simple statement that throws the natural man into a tizzy. Through the faith that is provided to us by the Spirit of God, the same Spirit teaches us what we need to know (and what He wants us to know) of the wisdom and mysteries of God.
This word us would refer to three persons: 1. to the Apostles, 2. to the people he is writing to at Corinth, and 3. to all the saints.
Following the context of this passage and of Isaiah 64:4, 5. This also tells us the natural man, apart from the ministry of the Holy Spirit (John 14, etc.), a person will not understand the things of God.
1. For salvation. All of the talking in the world to the unsaved
us useless unless the Holy Spirit teaches.
2. For instruction in righteousness. Again, all the talking in the world to the child of God is useless unless the Holy Spirit teaches. He uses many means to teach, experiences, circumstances, His word, preaching-teaching.
Our prayer must be that the Holy Spirit would work and shine
His light into the heart, 2 Cor. 4. Again, the question: Why doesn't
He work in the heart of those He does, and not in the hearts of
those He doesn't? And why not in more than what He does? Only
the wisdom of God can explain this.
All of the deep things of God are known by the Spirit of God. "He has a thorough knowledge of the hidden counsels or purposes of God; of all his plans and purposes. He sees all his designs. He sees all his councils; all his purposes in regard to the government of the universe, and the scheme of salvation. He knows all whom God designs to save; he sees all that they need; and he sees how the plan of God is fitted to their salvation." (Barnes) See the Book of Romans (especially ch. 11) for some of these deep things.
Election, predestination, Divine providence, redemption, motives, grace, mercy, sovereignty... the list could go on and on. These doctrines are beyond human wisdom.
But, these deep things are revealed to us through Divine revelation in His Son and through His word, only as God sees fit to reveal them by His Spirit. These things (and many more) are only known to the Tri-Une God, and are completely out of reach of human wisdom. A ministry of the Spirit is to teach us what we need to know, when we need to know it and in the manner it takes for us to learn it.
And we should be reminded of this; He uses prayer and His word. Salvation does not give access to this wisdom of the ages without study.
I have found in my own life, that I cannot learn or comprehend or understand, or apply the truth of God until the time is right. I can be confronted over and over again with the same thing, but until the time is right, the Holy Spirit will not apply or allow me to see the lesson to be learned, and action taken. His timetable is indeed strange at times.
The plans and purposes of God are unknown to us, other than what is revealed by His Spirit through His metheod of instruction, His word, etc. Man can not search into them, and only what the Lord wants to reveal is shown to man.
V. 11 refers back to v. 10. The deep things of God are only known by the Spirit of God. Those deep things are only revealed to whom He will, in the manner He will and only what He will. And even then, these secret counsels of God are so much above our thinking that we can only read about them and accept them by faith. His thoughts and ways are as high above our's as the heavens are above the earth.
Only the Spirit of God knows the things of God (deep things), in the same manner that only the spirit of a man knows what is in the man. Only his spirit knows his thoughts, purposes and counsels, and many times even this knowledge is very limited. The heart deceives him in many ways so that the Spirit of God must search the deceived heart of the man and show him the truth about even his own heart, Phil. 3:15.
Only the Spirit of God knows the deep things of God, as only the spirit of a man knows the thoughts of the man. The only way another man can know those thoughts is if the individual tells him. The only way some one can know the thoughts of God is if the Spirit tells them.
I think there are a couple of important points here.
1. No supernatural being (holy or unholy) can know the things of God apart from the Spirit of God telling him. Any revelation about the things of God must come from the Spirit of God.
2. The same holds true for man. No supernatural being (holy or unholy) can know the things of a man except the man tell those things.
I think that we are inclined to give far too much power to supernatural beings.
Keeping the context of Paul's comparison between the two wisdom, he reminds these people that their wisdom is not from this world, but from the Spirit of God. There is a hint of a question here. "Why are you going back to the world's wisdom, why are you allowing the Greek idea of wisdom to control you, when you have the wisdom of God?"
Freely given.. The mysteries of God! We should not worry about them, they will be shown to us in due time. As we mature in Christ, the Spirit will teach us what He wants us to know, when He wants us to know it.
V. 12. The Spirit of God is given to His people for a purpose-that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. These things are the deep things of God, v. 10. The context clearly tells us that these things are freely given. In other words, these deep things are no longer deep things to the one receiving instruction. Obviously, this would include a wide area of topics, the deep things of God.
This is a very interesting statement. Let's cover some basic points here. Elsewhere Paul identifies the purpose of these things that are freely given to us of God, 2 Timothy 3:16. We are to search the Scriptures for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. These benefits are for the one searching, and in this case (Timothy), for preaching. In other words, the Scriptures are to be searched for their practical application.
As Joseph Parker says: "What is the sermon it me not the text magnified, amplified, and in a sense illuminated." Preaching is the law-word of God applied to the situations of life; it is the victory provided by our Saviour made practical.
As we read and study the Scriptures, the Spirit of God will show us what He wants us to know. This knowledge will not be all inclusive. Even the great Apostle Peter said that he didn't understand all that Paul wrote, 2 Peter 3:15.
Notice Peter's warning. It is against those who would seek
to pull difficult passages from their context and teach them.
They do this to their own destruction. His warning continues,
v. 17. Beware of such action. When we see others doing this, avoid
them and the temptation to do the same. Then, v. 18 contains the
urging to grow in grace and knowledge.
Now, what has Peter said? As we read and study the Scriptures, there will be portions which we will not understand. (After all, they are the wisdom of God.) The Lord will reveal to us what He wants us to know. It is by reason of use that we receive more knowledge, Hebrews 5:14. When we no longer act upon what we know, the source of knowledge will be cut off and what we do have will be taken from us, Mark 4:21-25. (As my former pastor used to tell me, "Use it or loose it.") In fact, notice what Paul goes on to say in Hebrews 6. If the person who has tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away it is impossible to renew them. They had the knowledge and power of God to live a victorious life. They no longer act on that knowledge by the power (grace) of God, instead choose to remain in their sin and indifference. They lost what they had and now they are useless. (My! how many times have we seen this come to pass?)
Thus we see that difficult passages are opened to us by the Spirit, as we a.) study, b.) pray for wisdom, c.) apply what we are shown from the passages which we do understand. The Spirit of God is given to us that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God, not that we might know the things that are hidden from us. The hidden, deep things of God turn into freely given things of God as we apply what we already have.
These freely given things are given that we might do them. As we do them, we will be given more by the Spirit. Therefore, we search the Scriptures to find what TO DO, what to apply to our lives and how to apply what we find. The searching of the Scriptures must be so we can KNOW AND DO what He commands.
There are more verses on this than we care to look up. A few of them: Nu. 15:39, 40; De. 4:6; 5:1; 30:8, 12, 13; Ne. 10:29; Is. 56:1; Je. 11:4, 6; 23:32; Ez. 11:20; 36:27; 37:24; 43:11; Lu. 6:46-49; 8:21.
Thus, the primary purpose of searching and studying the word of God is to find out what He desires of us, then prayer to claim the power to do that requirement. If we have the opportunity to help someone in spiritual need, our purpose is to find something to help them, something that will apply to their situation.
If this is not the purpose of our searching and study, we are open to real danger of deception, James 1:22. If we search the Scriptures to find anything except what God wants us to do and how He desires us to act in any given situation and how to advance His kingdom, we are open to deception. If we search to:
1. Prove someone wrong.
2. See the future.
3. Establish a pet doctrine.
4. Permit doing something we want to do.
5. Prove we don't have to do something we do not want to do.
6. Find out what God owes to us.
we are headed for false doctrine. We are open to anything the deceiver wants to place in our mind.
The purpose of the Spirit of God under the New Covenant is:
1. To convict of not doing, Ez. 43:11.
2. To show what God's word requires and how to apply it, thus how to be holy and known as His people, Jer. 11:4; Ez. 11:20; 36:27.
3. How to glorify God in all that we do, John 16:14.
Peter's subject in chapter 3 is the return of Christ. He uses this promise to urge the people of God to holiness. His statement about Paul's difficult passages is at the end of his instruction concerning the return of Christ.
Thus, the study of these difficult passages concerning the return of Christ must be an outgrowth of our study to understanding how to apply the law-word of God to the many situations around us. This is reminiscent of the frosting on a cake. The emphasis is on making the cake. After that is all done, then the frosting.
The emphasis must be on the practical application of the word of God. As this is searched out, prayed over, and applied, the fringe benefit will be insight into the many difficult passages (including the ones concerning the return of Christ). When these difficult passages become a topic of study in themselves, the result can be disastrous. In fact, the results were destructive to the Darbyite crowd who emphasized these difficult passages of Eschatology, while they overlooked the practical application of the word of God into society.
I have noticed this to be true for me. As I have studied out the other passages of Scripture to see how they applied, my view of Eschatology has fallen in place. In the past, when I tried to make Eschatology a topic of study, I ended up with the typical Darbyite view. When I didn't emphasize this type of study, my view underwent a drastic change.
1. We hear of many conferences which study out the deep things of God, what God has done for fallen man, etc. Where is the emphasize of what the redeemed fallen man owes to God; how to apply His law-word into society?
2. We know of many people who spend their life time searching for principles from the word of God which will allow them to follow a path which they desire to take. And they find things which no one has found before as they bend the context to fit what they want or do not want to do.
3. Many ministries are built on the hidden things of prophetic speculation. People love this topic because it involves no sacrifice and commitment on their part.
We would think that with all of these conferences going on, there would be a change in society. But the only change that appears so far, is down.
As these people search out the hidden things of God, they do it to their own destruction, and to the destruction of the society in which they live. Why were they destroyed? Because a study (such as Eschatology) which emphasize anything except how to apply the law-word of God into the individual life and into the world around us, will lead to deception. The purpose of studying Scripture must be how to be doers of the word of God, and not hears only. Any other purpose of study will permit them to be taken out of their context, making them say something which they do not say.
Paul's indication here in 1 Cor. 2:12 is that it is the spirit of this world which drives us to study and be concerned about the things that are not freely given to us of God. It is the spirit of this world that gets us sidetracked on things which are hidden, so we will not seek the freely given things and apply them.
Paul determined not to know anything except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. This would be the application of the victory, power and the implications of the Cross to everything. This would be knowledge of how to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness in every situation.
When Paul did this, the result was persecution and God showing him the deep things of the Spirit.
Which things also we speak,.. What things? The deep things of God, which were made known to Paul by the Spirit of God. These things were freely given to him as the Spirit of God, knew of God and gave to Paul to pass on to others, all who would read his letters.
Paul explained these deep things of God which the Spirit showed to him, with the words which the Spirit gave to him to explain these things with. He did not depend upon the words of Greek wisdom which these people were being influenced by. In a word: Paul used the Spirit's words to explain the deep, spiritual things of God.
I think it is interesting that the men who the Spirit used to write His word did not use big words as we do today. They did not use words such as, Theoponies, Eschatology, Soteriology, etc. It makes one wonder how much worldly wisdom has influenced the teaching of the things of God. (This includes the word "Hermeneutics" which Plato first used. Strange! I wonder how Paul would have treated that?)
There are some other understandings of Paul's statement here.
1. Comparing the OT with the New.
2. Comparing one passage with another.
But the context here favors Paul's usage of word's given to him by the Spirit (not words of worldly wisdom) to explain things given to him to explain the deep things of God which had been shown to him by the Spirit. (As we mentioned, things such as grace, predestination, adoption, etc.)
V. 14 (Good message on responsibilities of Deacons.)
Parker's opening statement for this verse is good. "Interpretation--the power of seeing things as they are--is not a question of culture so much as of sympathy and insight. Sympathy and insight cannot be taught in the schools. The highest gifts cannot be given to men through the medium of books; so, unless a man have the hearing ear and seeing eye as the direct gifts of God, he never can be taught to be a profound and sure interpreter. Right answers to hard questions have never been suggested by flesh and blood; they have always been given to the Peters of the world by the Father which is in heaven. God gives us the spirit of discernment, the power of seeing spiritual realities and relations. It is not a natural endowment common to the whole human species: it is a distinct and special gift of God." (Pg. 210. Emphasis added.)
Clearly, the gifts of God are not given through books or school, regardless of what the world's wisdom teaches. My! how we have been overtaken with the Greek thought of Paul's day.
Parker goes on: "Inspiration is not a fixed quantity,
it is a variable quantity, -we may increase the volume of our
inspiration by diligently, lovingly and patiently waiting upon
God.. [Through His word, we might add.]
Do not let us therefore lose our present insight, our present power of interpretation, our present power of discernment and appreciation. Let us grow. We can only grow by prolonged intercourse with God. He who gives his days to study and his nights to prayer shall see heaven opened, and his whole life shall be a Jacob's dream.." (Pg. 217)
For us: Notice some points here.
1. Right answers to hard questions have never been suggested by flesh and blood. They come from the Father in heaven. The deep things of God are freely given only to those who have this prolonged intercourse with God.
2. On the positive side: These right answers only come by prolonged study and prayer. God alone gives the spirit of discernment, the power of seeing spiritual realities and relations. And He has ordained the way in which these answers are to be found.
3. On the negative side: Answers without this prolonged intercourse with God are answers which come from the natural man. Thus, to seek answers apart from this prolonged intercourse is to reject God's way and wisdom, for the world's wisdom. This rejection is on both the pastor's and the people's part, who "hire a pastor" to do the work of the deacons. Then many times the deacons expect to do the work of the pastor as the "Deacon Board" provides the answers to the hard questions.
4. The natural man will fight this to the death, because he receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him.. "the more spiritual any duty is the more my carnal heart is apt to start from it." (Richard Newton) This is why it is so easy and appealing to search "secular sources" for answers.
5. This point would be a conclusion. The harder the questions, the more prolonged study and prayer is needed on the part of the pastor (and the individual). We are living in a day of extremely hard questions. Are pastors and lay-persons trying to provide answers without this prolonged intercourse with God? Are the lay-people expecting Godly answers to hard questions of our day from their pastor, while expecting the pastor to do the work of the deacons?
The purpose of Deacons was so the Apostles could give themselves to prayer and the word, Acts 6. This would be why they were able to provide God's answers to the very difficult questions that arose among this first Church.
This is worth a thought. These Apostles were the 12. We would think that these men would not need to "give themselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word." After all, they had been with Christ during His earthly ministry, they had been taught by the Master and would go on to write the NT. We would think that they should have it all together by now. But, NO! They still had to spend their time with the word of God (OT) and in prayer.
Thus, the purpose of the Deacon was to relieve the Pastors of anything which would hinder this study and prayer. No wonder the first Church has such power.
Many times the people of God forget that the pastor's primary job and responsibility is in this area of prolonged intercourse with God in study and prayer. The result is pastors and people with natural answers for difficult spiritual questions (and all questions are spiritual). The result is a Christianity that is depending a great deal upon the natural man to understand the deep things of God. Paul tells us that this is impossible.
The deep things of God are only searched out and revealed by the Spirit of God, v. 10, "And yet it has strangely come to pass in the study of religious problems, that some men have asserted the sufficiency of unaided reason. Strange because the very men have in less important inquiries gladly availed themselves of all the instruments, mediums, and helps which inventive genius has supplied." (Parker) [Once again we are warned about Parker. He divides up the problems of life into religious and nonreligious problems. He is good, but he bears watching.]
Men will do an in-depth search everywhere about issues which
they hold important, but they will not be as diligent in their
search of the Scriptures, where alone their answer lies.
Is it any wonder why God's people are perishing for a lack of knowledge? The lack of knowledge is a lack of knowledge of the wisdom of God as revealed in His word. All of Christianity has suffered the consequences.
Only prolonged intercourse with God will result in seeing spiritual realities and relations. There are no shortcuts. What has happened to the long days in study and long nights in prayer on the part of both pastor and the people of God? It is God's way, Proverbs 2:1-9.
This verse ties in with the above. He that is spiritual.. True spirituality comes from the prolonged intercourse with God. Enlightenment into the deep things of God comes from this relationship with God. Judgeth.. He has discernment concerning those things which he has been shown by the Spirit. Himself is judged.. He alone understands himself, and that only by a work of the Spirit of God. How can we understand even about ourselves that the world cannot understand? The Spirit reveals these things to us.
1. It is important to note that true spirituality comes form a close personal relationship with the Lord-in prayer and His word.
2. This close relationship gives us the responsibility to judge others. This fact is found in 5:9-12; Gal. 1:8, etc.
3. This judgment is based only in the word of God, not in the church or personal experience. All things are compared to it.
4. ..of no man.. "If any man profess to be spiritual, and yet does what the Spirit in his word forbids, or denies what the Spirit teaches, we know that he deceives himself, and that the truth is not in him," (Hodge).
This is an interesting statement for me. This is obvious and I do not know why I have missed it. This opens up the Book of First John. Of course, this is what 2:3 & 4 says. As we follow on, notice 2:22, 23 (which is enough to establish what we are looking for here). Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
This denial could easily be a denial of the authority of the word of God over us. Now, I would think that there is quite a difference between this denial in some isolated areas and this denial in a general way. But I would not know where the line is drawn. I would suppose that this denial would be the refusal to accept the Word of God over tradition, over experience, over our own personal desires. I do not know where the 'edge' would be. Maybe basically a denial that the word of God is inspired and of God! Anyway, we can replace the references to the Son in this book of 1, 2 & 3 John with the Word of God and do no harm to the context, or to the Scriptures.
1 Cor. 2:15. "This is true, and is perfectly consistent with what the apostle here says, which only means that the spiritual man cannot be discerned or estimated aright by those who are not spiritual," (Hodge).
Application: This is another important point. I do not know how many, men especially, that I have met who feel they are spiritual enough to correct the preacher, and they do not spend a total of an hour a week with the Lord. Now, maybe the preacher doesn't either, but this is not the point. The point is that people feel they are spiritual because they go to church or because they tithe. (And I am sure there are preachers who feel they are spiritual because they are in the 'ministry.') Then they think they have the mind of Christ, and are qualified to sit in judgment on others concerning the deep things of God, especially on the preacher.
Psalms 119:165 is clear, and the attitude of offence shows up quickly in any kind of public meeting in these folks. It is not difficult to see who loves the word of God, and who doesn't, even though they might have the right answers.
They have good arguments according to the wisdom of the world, and the worldly folks of the church will listen to them. He that is spiritual.. the problem is that our definition of spiritual has been totally corrupted. I come from a crowd that considers obedience to a set of outward rules as the sign of spirituality, don't drink, don't cuss, dress right, 'soul-winning,' etc. Yet the heart is black as a dungeon. May God see fit to deliver us from such workers of iniquity by giving them a desire to come to Him and His word.
Spirituality comes from a consistent walk with the Lord, in His word, in prayer. It is in this quiet time before Him and with Him that the Spirit will make a Spiritual person from the sinner (if saved, will sanctify him, if not, will speak to him). There are many marks of the spiritual person, chief of which is humility, 1 Peter 5:5, 6; James 4:6-10.
Ps. 119:165, unoffended
James 5:7, patient
James 4:4, separation from worldliness (holiness, 1 Pet. 1:15)
1 Peter 2:13, proper submission
Galatians 5:22 & 23 sums up a list that would be quite long.
These qualities will be obvious for all to see. Now, of course, the person will not be perfect in these things, but they will be the consistent quality of his life.
I think that it is interesting (and of course, intentional) that Galatians 6:1 follows the list of obvious characteristics of the spiritual person. 6:1 tells us that if one attempts to restore one who is overtaken in a fault, and they are not consistent in the characteristics of a spiritual person, the result will be their own self in the snare of the devil.
But even though 6:1 follows 5:22, 23, I have seen many people go ahead with what is contained in 6:1 because they think they are spiritual. This refers back to man's definition of spirituality. They feel that they have arrived, therefore, they not only have the right to do v.1, but the responsibility.
The spiritual person cannot be estimated right by those who are not spiritual. The spiritual person's actions cannot be understood, because these are spiritually discerned.
The context leading up to this verse makes this verse interesting. The spiritual person is the one who is having prolonged intercourse consistently with the Lord. He is the one who is allowing the Lord to change him by the word of God into what the Lord desires for him to be.
The spiritual person will be doing the will of God as a result of his walk with the Lord in prayer and the word. The actions of this person will be strange to the one who is not walking with the Lord.
In the context here, we have this. For who hath known the mind of the Lord.. This is from Isa. 40:13, 14 Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?
This passage in Isaiah (several chapters) tells us that there is no way that we can understand God's working in time and space (history). The spiritual man understands this and accepts the divine providence of God. The 'unspiritual' man does not, nor can he.
This means also, that the spiritual person can rejoice in all things, he can even rejoice in trials and difficulties, because he knows that the Divine hand of the Lord of history is guiding him as he seeks to walk after His mind. This is what Romans 8:28 is built upon. This requires quite submission under the mighty hand of God, which the 'unspiritual' person just cannot understand.
In this is also the idea that the thing formed cannot say to the One who formed it, "Why did you make me thus?" The spiritual person will not call God into question about anything, rather he will meekly and joyfully submit to the mighty hand of the loving Father.
This presents a problem. The one who is seeking the mind of the Lord in order that they might follow it, will not be understood by the ones who are not seeking His mind. And this seeking, as we mentioned above, requires extremely diligent and prayerful searching of the Scriptures, Pro. 2:1-6. Seemingly, few are willing to discipline themselves to do this.
Paul here tells us that there will be a continual conflict between those who are seeking the mind of the Lord that they might do it, and those who are not. The actions of those who are seeking His mind will be beyond the understanding of those who are not, because they will be spiritual actions, discerned only by the spiritual. The one who does not have this communication with the Lord will then attempt to instruct the one who is trying to walk after this mind of the Lord.
This is why the obedient child of God will face opposition and even persecution from other Christians. One is walking after the Spirit of God, the other who isn't, has a conflict with them because they do not understand what is going on.
Within the context then of 1 Cor. 2, when someone judges another, and that other person is in the close personal communion with the Lord, they are seeking his face and mind and trying to walk according to that Mind of Christ and they exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, then the person doing the judging, is judging the Lord. They are trying to direct the Spirit of the Lord and to be His counseller.
Now, it the fruits of the Spirit are not evident, that is a completely deferent story. This person can be judged, and, at times, must be judged publicly. In this case, not to judge this person, is to be the Lord's counseller, because He told us to judge and we feel that we know better.
To peruse this thought for a moment. Any time we intentionally fail to follow what the Lord has directed us to do in His word, we have become His counseller, we have decided to direct the Spirit of the Lord. How? Because we have willfully said that we know best over the word of God.
Hodge says it like this (although I put together the above before reading Hodge). "No one can instruct the Lord. We have the mind of the Lord. Therefore no one can instruct or judge us... The natural man cannot discern the things of the Spirit, and is incompetent to judge those whom the Spirit has taught. As what we teach is the mind of the Lord, to condemn our doctrine, or to judge us as the teachers of those doctrines, is to condemn the Lord."
A comment or two:
Our mind is not inspired and I do not think anyone will claim inspiration. There will be errors and mistakes, but those can and must be confessed and turned from. The ones who are seeking the mind of the Lord will do so.
As preachers, we must seek His mind (but really, no more than is the layman. It is just that our 'sins' are more open). Therefore, for one to sit in judgment upon the preacher's message is to sit in judgment upon the Lord Himself. This is an extremely dangerous position.
But this protection of the Lord upon His man is only for the ones who are seeking His mind. There are vast amounts of people today who are speaking in the name of the Lord who are not seeking His mind, they are seeking all kinds of other things. These people need to be judged according to the word of God. Some of these people are quite obvious in their actions and attitudes, others not so obvious. Any time the principles of the word of God are departed from, the side they are on is clear. These are to be judged and fled from if found unfaithful to the word of God. The word of God is clear. They are to be treated as a heathen and publican.
Sad to say, the modern day Christian judges the one who is speaking after the mind of God against sin as the one who is the heathen and publican that is to be separated from, and the compromiser as the Godly man. Strange indeed the effects of sin.
V. 16 The mind of the Lord can only be known by this prolonged intercourse with God.
We would be amiss if we did not cover Philippians 3:15, where the one who desires to be perfect must seek this mind of the Lord. This is a major goal in his prolonged intercourse with God, to seek where his mind is contrary to the mind of Christ, and to correct it. As we mentioned above, the purpose of studying the word of God is to find this mind of Christ, and then the grace to do it.
May God see fit to enable me to find this mind of Christ, then place it in action in the face of the difficulties which those who are not seeking His mind might place against me.