The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
The state of the natural man is the circumstance into which all humanity is born. The innocence of babyhood and the dreams of childhood are tainted with sin. There is none good no not even one, for all have sinned and all fall short. The man born of earthly parentage has his roots in the earthly generations, and all roots reach back to the one man Adam, who was of the earth – earthly. For by one man sin entered the world, and by one man came death upon all.
We live in a world where God is despised and yet man seeks after spiritual wisdom! We inhabit a sphere where man has subsumed the role of God and all has become relative! A world where my wisdom is wise for me and your wisdom is wise for you – an epoch when humanity wears a necklace of pride – as they seek to right all wrongs! An era of insanity, as natural man plans humanities next move – on the chessboard of life: but God has made foolish the wisdom of this world. 1Cor.3:19 And a young child, brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord has greater wisdom, than the anti-theist minds of the world’s ministers, who so love to play “god“.
Why ? Why should this be so? – because God has ordained this to be so. God has confounded the wisdom of the wise – but he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded. 1Peter.2:6. The natural man has rejected Christ and remains dead in trespasses and sins. The unsaved man today, whether Jew or Greek lacks spiritual understanding. The things of God and the Spirit of God, are foolish folly to him, nor can he know them. The one dead in trespasses and sins has no capacity to know the things of God: for the wisdom of God is from God and can only come from spiritual discernment, and yet …out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, God has ordained praise. Psalm 8:2
Sin in its raw state has robbed the natural man of a vital sphere of knowledge – a sphere of knowledge that is the most important of all: the spiritual sphere. The natural, unsaved man is excluded by birth from spiritual understanding. Paul tells us: for the natural man, unsaved man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1Cor.2:14
You must be born again to have this field of wisdom unveiled to your eyes. You must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to have your eyes opened. You must be saved to be endowed with spiritual understanding and discernment. It is only the new creation in Christ who is able apprehend spiritual things, for true wisdom is spiritually discerned, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit – given at rebirth.. Who guides you into all truth, John 16:13. Spiritual discernment is only given to those that are born of the Spirit.. and we have the mind of Christ… 1Cor.2:16
‘Ahh’ you say, ‘I am saved, and yet there are many things I do not understand. There are scriptures I don’t understand ..things I cannot comprehend. There is a scripture that I do not figure out and teachings I cannot grasp. There are prophecies I cannot fathom and verses that utterly confound me. I get confused with all the different teachings that abound – I just cannot understand.’ Ahh – but Scripture supplies your answer: If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally.. and without reproach, and it will be given to him… James 1:5
‘Ahh.’ you say, ‘I did that last week, last month, last year, and I still don’t understand.’ Remember the Berean Christians.. they received the Word of God with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Acts 17:11 – and remember the context in which spiritual wisdom is given to the believer. Spiritual understanding comes in the wrappings of tested faith and many trials! James writes: My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.. but let patience have its perfect work in you, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4
Do you see that – 1) spiritual understanding is connected with patient endurance of trials, but if any of you lacks wisdom, (spiritual understanding), let him ask of God, Who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him, (but not necessarily immediately). Do you see that? – 2) spiritual understanding is connected with steadfast faith in the Word of God – but let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose he will receive anything from God. He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. Do you see that? – 3) spiritual understanding can only be given to believers, but not all believers gain spiritual discernment and Godly wisdom.
The Natural Man? – he is the unsaved man, who needs to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for Salvation.
The Carnal Christian? – he is a saved man who has trusted in Christ as Saviour, but he needs to get his eyes off the world and onto Jesus. He needs die to self (the flesh) and live in spirit and truth. He needs to resist the devil in the power of the Spirit and he needs to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus.
The Spiritual Christian? – well, he is the believer who is spiritual, and he judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.. for who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him? but we have the mind of Christ. 1Cor.2:15; 16
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