Yesterday I talked about what the differences are between knowing things intellectually, as in science, and knowing things through faith, as in God. Today I am interested by what Paul goes on to say about how we can know God. In the space of the seven verses of today’s passage, Paul uses, either the word spirit or spiritual, no less than fourteen times. He says that it is the spirit of God who shows us God’s deep secrets. This focus on the importance of spirituality culminates with the most astonishing claim. Paul says that those who are not spiritual cannot receive God’s truth through his spirit, but those who are—those who believe— understand these deep secrets because we have the mind of Christ. Now that is some claim! But it is not a claim made by Paul on his own authority. As we can read in John’s Gospel, Jesus himself promised the Holy Spirit who leads into all truth (John 14:17), and a little later Jesus said: When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my father, and you are in me, and I am in you (John 14:20)
1 Corinthians 2:10-16 NLT
But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. For, “Who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.
Anyone who wants to live in a new way, as a disciple of Jesus, is faced with the awesome challenge of trying, from that moment onwards, to imitate the life Jesus lived. Now I can tell you, it is much easier to write that, than it is to actually do it. But had I fully grasped the idea that Paul has outlined in today’s passage before now, I may well have been spared an awful lot of fear, doubt and worry. In this letter to the Corinthians, the whole church is shown that, through our faith in Jesus, we are promised the Holy Spirit. And through the gift of the Holy Spirit we have been given access to God’s deepest secrets or put another way we have a window into the thoughts and plans of our God. We can, therefore, actually claim to have the mind of Christ within our grasp. And so my goal today, is to open up as much as I can to the Holy Spirit, in the hope that God’s deepest and most secret plans for my life in his service, may be revealed and I might worry about all this a little less in future.
Ezra 3:1-4:23, 1 Corinthians 2:6-3:4, Psalms 28:1-9, Proverbs 20:24-25