v 10 – “these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.”
- These things – referring to vs 7 – the ‘secret and hidden things’
- Those which pertain to life and godliness, to the glory of God through his work on our behalf, and the Gospel itself.
- “Secret and hidden” from the world and those in the worldly system, who sought them out in the consideration of their own minds, looking inward, rather than upward, to receive this information.
- This is how men seek to honor God through their own sacrifice, in their own estimation, but not looking for the sacrifice which is honored by God – Ps 51
- This is how men seek to honor God through useless traditionalism – doing that which has been done before, but without the intent through which it was created.
- This is how men seek to honor God through their own interpretation of what they believe God would like, and incur the wrath of God, as did Nadab, Abihu, and Uzzah.
- God has revealed – God has now taken these hidden things, things which even angels longed to look, and has revealed them to his elect – to those whom he has chosen to reveal them.
- Through his Spirit –
- The Spirit of God is the third member of the Trinity
- The Spirit of God is the member who has the role of imparting the knowledge of the depth and breadth of their sin, upon those whom God has chosen to save, and enlightening their heart to the truth of the Gospel of God. Enabling them to understand what is said through God’s servants (elders, preachers, evangelists, regular Christians in normal daily discourse, and through reading of Scripture itself), creating the faith that they will rely upon to trust in God for their salvation, and creating in their lives the supports by which they will bear all of their weight upon this faith in God and his work on their behalf.
- ..Searches – We see that it is God’s spirit, who knows all things about God (v 11), who searches everything – the hearts and minds of men, as well as those of the united Godhead in the divine trinity.
v 11 – “For who knows a person’s thought except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the spirit of God.”
- There are no chips that we can plug into our heads that can record the inner workings of our thoughts. Sometimes, I would like to have something like that so that I could just reveal to someone what I want to teach them so that they could really, truly see it. But the truth of this matter is that it would not just reveal that which I long to share, but also all of my thoughts. All of my desires. My Romans 7 moments where I long to do that which is right and honorable to God, but instead do that which my heart of hearts – the sinful core of my being – desires to do. God has saved me from the consequence of my sins, and from the guilt thereof, but while I am still in this body I am, as Martin Luther put it, Simul Justus et Peccator – simultaneously a justified before God, but still a sinner. Living in that “already, and not yet” of the Christian experience. No one wants those thoughts – those desires shared. But God the Spirit knows all of them. Every word left unspoken – every thought pondered, yet not acted upon, and every wicked and reprehensible desire of our hearts. Mt 5:21-29 shows that God considers them all when he judges mankind – even as if we had committed them. This is the measure of that which the Spirit understands of the heart of man.
- The Spirit also, in the same way, searches the heart and mind of God.
v 12 – “Now we have received not the spirit fo the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.”
- Now we, who were of the world, have died to that worldly system and now are live in God, have received this same Spirit – the Spirit of God, who knows the mind of God. As our spirit and this Spirit of God are now able to speak to one another, we are now able to understand these very “secret and hidden” things – and more! We, through prayer and trusting in the Spirit of God, can now understand that which we read in scripture. We can now understand the deeper things of God as we meditate on God’s word and his attributes. Our limit is only our inability to lean wholly on the promises of God – that he will reveal those things to those who ask with a right intent – with an intent that aligns with the desire, character, and nature of God (in His NAME).
v 13 – “And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom, but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual”
- When we understand these things, they become, as did the messages of God to his prophets in time of old, like a fire in our hearts – it has to be released.
- We, therefore, impart this to the world:
- In our own estimation
- In our own understanding
- In light of the worldly mindset which evaluates all things in light of its own standards
- In God’s method
- To God’s people
- Through the illumination by God’s Spirit
- This is an interface from those who are “spiritual” (partakers and embracers of the Spirit of God) to those who are spiritual.
- An in-family discussion about the things which only those in the family can understand.
Natural vs Spiritual
v 14 – “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit fo God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”
- Natural person – By contrast to the “spiritual” person, a “natural” person is that who is not enlightened by the Spirit of God, but is merely left to their own devices. They are bound by their own spirit, which is tied to their selfish desires, and selfish worldview, and which can never understand those same “secret and hidden” things of God.
- … Does not accept – The natural person, therefore, cannot accept the things of God, because it will not compute for him. He can only see and accept things that make sense to him.
- It is as if we are speaking in a language that they simply do not understand. We see the same thing with the Mormon church. Their concept of the “Father” is very different from ours, as is their understanding of who the “Son of God” or “Jesus” are. While we can have a conversation and think that we are both talking about the same thing, their interpretation of that conversation will lead them to come to a very different conclusion from ours because we are literally speaking two different, but similar, languages to one another.
- Likewise, if we go to someone who speaks only Japanese, and attempt to speak to them in English, they may understand some of our words, since they learn some English in school, they will, on the whole, not be able to understand what we say.
- This is why they refer to Paul as a “babbler” in Acts 17:18, because they do not understand his language. This is not a perfect analogy, because he is able to speak Greek, but they did not understand the context of what he was saying because he was speaking of a God of all things (not just specific things and situations) who raises people from the dead.
- These things cannot be accepted by the World because they literally make no sense to them. They see it as “stupidity” (folly) because they cannot accept it.
- Spiritually discerned – They cannot accept it because it is only discerned through the insertion of the mind of God through the interaction of the Holy Spirit upon the minds of his elect – like reprogramming the mind to understand the things of God.
v 15 – “The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.”
- ..judges all things – The “spiritual person” (referenced above) – quoting John Calvin:
Having stript of all authority man’s carnal judgment, he now teaches, that the spiritual alone are fit judges as to this matter, inasmuch as God is known only by his Spirit, and it is his peculiar province to distinguish between his own things and those of others, to approve of what is his own, and to make void all things else. The meaning, then, is this: “Away with all the discernment of the flesh as to this matter! It is the spiritual man alone that has such a firm and solid acquaintance with the mysteries of God, as to distinguish without fail between truth and falsehood—between the doctrine of God and the contrivances of man, so as not to fall into mistakeCalvin, J., & Pringle, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians (Vol. 1, p. 117). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
- ..Judged by no one – As we are then separated from this “carnal judgement” – the judgement of the world and the same worldly system we have referred to throughout this passage, and now are judged by God alone. We, the spiritual, have the mind of Christ, the intent of Christ, and are in alignment with the heart of Christ. What do we care if someone who cares not for Christ or his kingdom judges us according to their own standard? Does a steak house manager reach out to the vegan community to ask them how to run their restaurants? NO! And they shouldn’t. The same way that churches should not reach out to the “unchurched” to ask them how to best appeal to their delicate sensibilities so that they would be palatable to a people who hate God.
- Mt 10:34-39 / Lk 12:51-53 – Jesus told us that he came not to bring unity, but division. The message of Christ – that the work has already been completed and is not up to us to add, enhance, or contribute to in any way other than just to trust that God has completed it on our behalf is offensive to the World. They want to contribute. They want to feel involved. They want to OWN their salvation by feeling responsible for some of it to ameliorate their damaged pride. This is the heart of Arminianism, but that is a discussion for another day.
- We are judged by no one, because we are servants of no one but God. Therefore our actions are accountable to God alone.
- Romans 14:4 – we are servants of God and not one another, much less servants of the worldly system – therefore we are judged by God alone for our actions.
- This is both a blessing and a curse, as it keeps us accountable to him in all that we think, say, and do. A blessing because it is the Spirit of God who works in us to keep us accountable, but also a curse (Romans 7:21-25) as we are still in that “already and not yet” of our sanctification which means that our struggle against our sinful desires is not yet over until we pass through that veil of death and into eternity.
v 16 – “‘For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.”
- As our hearts are aligned with that of Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, and able to speak directly to God through prayer (allowing his work in us to transform our hearts to his glory and our ultimate good), we are in a particularly advantageous position. Previously it was impossible to know the mind of God or his intent in anything but we, who are becoming more in line with his thoughts and his intent, are able to see God’s workings in the world in a way that never was possible before for the lay people of God (those who are not prophets).
- This is not a complete work in us until we are carried into glory, and we do not have the authority to tell God what to do (sorry health-and-wealthers) but we can see God working in our own lives and in lives the of others to convert their hearts and minds to his purposes.
- When we see a disaster, we know that God is working for his glory and our good, even if many “innocent” people die:
- We know that no one stands innocent before God
- God can do with his creation as he pleases because he owns it all – even the atoms of the air that we breathe
- When we see a friend who is an atheist attacking our faith, we know that they are doing so because:
- They cannot understand the things of God.
- They are not attacking us, but the God who saves.
- They cannot love God unless God does the work in their hearts.
- Therefore, we can look at them not in anger, but in compassion – knowing that we, too, were once haters of God until God enlightened our hearts, and we can reach out to them understanding their inability to love the God who created them is actually God loving them enough to allow them that which they most seek – a sense of autonomy from the God who saves. It breaks his heart (and ours) that they hate him so much, but as they are not of the elect, God allows them to have their “best life” literally NOW because this is the only “good” from their perspective that they will ever experience.
- This also helps us in our evangelism as we know that it is not our responsibility to craft the exactly perfect delivery to “save” anyone, because God knows that he is using broken instruments (you and me) to complete this work and that we can never get any of it exactly right. He is the one one who plants the seed of his Spirit in the elect, and he is the one who causes it to grow into true fruit of repentance and faith.
- When we see a disaster, we know that God is working for his glory and our good, even if many “innocent” people die: