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1 CORINTHIANS-SERIES : NR 6
Theme : Wisdom versus wisdom
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 2 : 6 – 16

READ VERSE 6
Up to this point of his argument here in the first part of the letter, the Apostle Paul has very clearly shown how the Gospel message is in no way whatsoever dependent upon human/worldly wisdom/ knowledge/insight. Both the message of the Gospel, as well as the messengers of the Gospel, are scorned and disdained by the lost world and its so-called wisdom.

But it does NOT mean that the Christian Faith as such is inferior. Never. The Christian Faith is simply unfathomable and deep because it embodies the wisdom of GOD. In the powerful light that goes out from the Gospel message, the so-called insight of man fades into nothingness. But not everyone sees and recognises this light.

O yes, the Gospel message is NO wisdom. It is wisdom. Only not according to HUMAN wisdom. Meaning man in his fallen state, according to the Fall and the original sin.

That is the reason the Apostle says in verse 6: WE DO speak a message of wisdom. But it comes from a completely different source. It is unblemished, untouched by sin and the fallen human nature. It is radically different to THAT of the world and the depraved heart of man.

BUT: Only some can see it. MAN as such does not see it. Only some people see it. Not even all Christians (confessing Christians) sees it. Actually, all true Christians do, although some, particularly beginners, cannot understand the depth of the Gospel message. That is exactly why sanctification, the crucible, and spiritual growth are so fundamental.

Everyone who is truly born-again is therefore included in the wisdom of God, but only by a life-long process of sanctification and spiritual growth, is God’s wisdom understood better and better.

The Apostle, therefore, does NOT teach that there are degrees and categories of Christians OR that the truth of the Gospel is meant only for certain elite Christians, never – nothing in the Word is hidden or secret from some who are in Christ. It is for ALL truly saved people – although everyone is in a learning process – the same as babies who do not eat the food grownups eat. But every baby certainly does GET there! It just takes time. No baby remains a baby year in and year out. A baby who at 15 years old still drinks a bottle and does not go to school, is unnatural and creepy. And yet, when we look like that spiritually, it is quite in order. That is what we think – according to human wisdom.

However, the more a Christian grows, the more he knows and realises that the Word of God does not have any points of contact with worldly human wisdom. Besides, human wisdom is momentary. It is temporal. Think about the world leaders as an example. They and their insights are temporary and it passes. It is foolish to build your assurance and hope upon THAT. They are fleeting and fallible. And their wisdom also.

Well, that is the case with the entire humankind. It fades away like a wildflower.

But NOT so with the Word of the Lord. God’s wisdom is eternal and lasting. And the person who is included with it is also eternal and lasting.

READ VERSES 7-9 AGAIN

God’s wisdom remains totally hidden and unrecognisable UNLESS God himself makes it known. This wisdom is of course in the message of the cross – actually the entire revelation of God – the Word. This fact BREAKS man’s pride and delusion and boast. WHAT?! I can’t know it unless HE decides to reveal it to me, the lost person asks in his inborn rebellion against God.

Yes, exactly right! God’s wisdom – the glorious Good News of the cross – remains a mystery – THAT is how it was before the Lord Jesus came. In Christ, it DID become known as God -ordained and destined before creation already.

BUT NOW TAKE CAREFUL NOTE: He ordained the knowledge only for the elect. In other words, everyone, throughout the centuries, who were to come to faith in Christ. Like the Corinthians for example. And Paul himself. Take note of the word WE. The revelation is NOT meant for all people. The Apostle says it clearly. God has ordained it before time, for OUR glory.

Now look, THAT crushes the boastful person’s pride finally. And hurts his dignity. To think that the ball is completely – 100% – OUT of the hands of King Man! King Man does not have ANY say or control over what and how God decided to reveal the mystery of His saving wisdom!

Example: To the influential, important world leaders it remained hidden. They have never received it. Otherwise, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory. Referring to the Roman authorities of that time.

Yes, Jesus is also truly God. The term “Lord of glory” was in the OT a name of God – which is now used here for Christ Jesus.

He was the Lord of glory already when He was crucified, and not for example only after His resurrection.

The reason why all people can simply not acquire or receive true wisdom is that it is outside of sensory perception. The eye, ear, heart – cannot perceive it. The OT confirms it in a combination of Is 52:15 and 64:4 and Jer 3:16.

Grasping the Gospel message is the result of the work God has done in the lives of those on whom HE decided. That places man at checkmate and God receives all the glory and honour.

READ VERSES 10-11 AGAIN

No, the wisdom of God in the Gospel message can NOT be acknowledged through human wisdom. ONLY when God decides to reveal it to someone, it can be understood. Everything, everything is from A-Z about Him and HIS initiative and work.

Now the burning question is THIS:

HOW did it happen that the true believers – the WE – receive knowledge of the wisdom of God?

Answer: God revealed it to them through His Spirit. That which no person can perceive through eye/ear/mind, God revealed by the powerful work of the Holy Spirit. That is an absolute gift of grace because if He did NOT reveal it to you, you would live and die in the darkness of ignorance and error fettered by human worldly wisdom. That is exactly what all people deserve as a result of sin, but believers are people who are particularly pardoned – only based upon God’s own free choice and goodwill.

In John 16:13 Jesus already promised that the Holy Spirit would guide God’s people into all truth.

There are THREE spirits of which the unsaved person have only the third.
1 > The Holy Spirit – the third person of the Trinity
2 > The human spirit of man which is sanctified in the case of those who are Christ-believers
3 > The human spirit who is not in Christ

The human spirit is the highest spiritual organ that a person – all people – have. But by nature all people are lost in sin and their spirit is excluded from Christ, and excluded from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

It is the Holy Spirit who comes to dwell in the human spirit, that brings that person to the knowledge of the wisdom of God.

The Holy Spirit never rests but is continuously at work searching for all things. He gradually brings the believer a better and better insight into the never-failing deep things of God. That is what we call spiritual growth. Nothing is outside the knowledge and insight of the Holy Spirit. And to think: HE – this most wonderful Person – truly dwells inside the human spirit of the saved person. Just think WHO is dwelling in you. And what riches you have in Him. Inexpressible.

Just as any person knows what is going on in his/her heart and no one outside of you can know it, just like that does the Holy Spirit know what is going on in the Father-heart. And He reveals something of that to His child.

REFLECT just for a moment what kind of riches is spoken of here. Simply unfathomable!

READ VERSES 12-13 AGAIN

The Apostle’s argument is perfectly logical: Only those in whom the Holy Spirit came to dwell, know the thoughts of God, and understand the wisdom of God in the Gospel of the cross. The Christ-believer HAVE received the Holy Spirit and therefore KNOWS the wisdom of God with regards to the salvation in Christ.

Now, in these verses – Paul contrasts the spirit of the world against the Holy Spirit.

In principle, the Christ-believer do not have the spirit of the world any longer.

The unsaved person has the spirit of the world and therefore has only human, worldly wisdom. Inevitable. The unsaved person is worldly-wise. The spirit of the world entices a person AWAY from Christ and the Truth and soothes a person to sleep. Peace, peace – while there is no peace – as the prophet said.

Completely contrary to this is the Holy Spirit. The third Person of the Trinity dwells in the human spirit of the born-again person. He is the Spirit of Truth and He gives inner assurance. Romans 8:16 is very clear that it is the ministry of the Holy Spirit that gives the believer assurance in his/her human spirit that they are children of God.

The human spirit must not be confused with the worldly spirit. The worldly spirit is not synonymous with the spirit of man. The spirit of the world is the atmosphere and influence wherever the unsaved man’s human spirit is at work. And that is everywhere. The spirit of the world is the presence and work of the wisdom of the fallen unsaved man. And it is exactly that which is standing OPPOSITE to the testimony of the Holy Spirit.

But those saved in Christ are in principle delivered from the spirit of the world and speak/argue/act therefore with/through the wisdom of God.

Those who are saved – in whose human spirit the Holy Spirit dwells – cannot keep quiet and cannot keep the wisdom of God (Gospel) to themselves. The normal life expression of the person in whom the Holy Spirit dwells is to share the Gospel with others – in season and out of season. To proclaim it. To the Christ-believer it is the new normal. Only by empowerment and wisdom of the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit of Christ who propels the Christian person to SPEAK and communicate the Gospel and to weep over lost souls – clothed in the wisdom of Scripture. The Truth cannot be communicated by human worldly wisdom. It is proclaimed with the wisdom of God – the Scriptures. The Scriptures are the sword of the Holy Spirit (Eph 6:17).

READ VERSES 14-16 AGAIN

Compared with the spiritual person (that is the born-again person in Christ in whom the Holy Spirit dwells) stands the natural (or non-spiritual) person (a person such as all people born in consequence of the sin of Adam). There are only those two kinds of people on earth.

The natural (non-spiritual) person can be very skilled in the pursuit of the wisdom of the world and reach great heights and even be very religious – but still, be totally lost without Christ. And because the Holy Spirit is not indwelling, such a person does not have a taste for the wisdom of God – the Gospel message (the Word). That is/was how all people were by nature.

The natural man is unwilling to accept the things of the Holy Spirit because to him it is foolishness and he struggles to truly understand it. He does not have an eye or an ear for what comes from the Holy Spirit. On a psychic level, he just can’t conceive the wisdom of God and does not find it attractive. It does not fit into his thought processes. Because it has to be judged SPIRITUALLY. In other words: By the Holy Spirit who works through the Word.

It is therefore very clear that the wonder of regeneration from Above must FIRST take place before any person’s eyes can open to the wisdom of God. Rebirth must be given to the natural man as a sovereign act from God before such a person can become a spiritual being.

In Ephesians 2:1-3 this same Apostle Paul describes the natural person as DEAD. Dead in sin. A spiritual corpse.

Regeneration is therefore essential to discern the light of the truth of God.

And whoever IS born-again – by a sovereign powerful act of God – SUCH A PERSON now have the Lord Jesus’s way of thinking. And it is God’s wisdom – the truth – which the lost person (natural/non-spiritual) just simply cannot fathom.

But the person in whom the Holy Spirit came to dwell, can discern and judge things correctly – through the Spirit and Word of course. Whoever lives in God’s Truth, can discern all things in life correctly. While the natural person cannot understand a spiritual person, because the one has human/worldly wisdom as the point of departure and the other has God’s wisdom and His Word as the point of departure. That is the reason why saved people and unsaved people at best cannot understand each other. There is simply no point of contact. It is like trying to mix oil and water. One lives in this kingdom and the other in that kingdom under the dominion of two completely different sovereigns.

The Holy Spirit who dwells within the saved person, reveals Christ to such a person so that the world’s way of thinking completely fades away.

But the unsaved person takes the world’s way of thinking as the point of departure in everything.

That is why the saved and unsaved live in two completely different kingdoms.

It is, in closing, once more significant how the Apostle Paul upholds the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ by quoting Isaiah 40:13 – where he talks about God. Yes, Jesus is true God and true man – united in one Person – the person of Christ.

Do you want to surrender to the complete say of Christ over your life?

If you truly belong to Him, then you will.

Why then not now immediately? It is the will of God for you. A divided life, a divided heart, is a miserable life. Do not continue to live that way any longer.

Translated by Marthie Wilson

Category 1 Corinthians

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