By pastor and doctor of theology Vernon McGee (1904-1988) “But man left to himself does not receive that which comes from the Spirit of God; in his eyes it is “pure madness” and he is incapable of understanding it, for only the Spirit of God can judge of it” (1Corinthians 2:14).

Only spiritually mature people are able to grasp by faith the deep truths about the creator God. For example, the author of Hebrews writes: By faith we understand that the universe has been harmoniously organized by the word of God, and that thus the visible world has its origin from the invisible (Hebrews 11.3).

The human being is a creature composed of three parts: the body, the soul, and the spirit. The spirit is what differentiates it from the animal. Man left to himself is in a raw state, without God and without his intelligence having been enlightened by the Holy Spirit. He is a direct descendant of Adam, a psychic, natural man, who is under the domination of his soul and the evil that inhabits him. Until he is born again, he depends entirely on his innate abilities and his own wisdom. He then has as much spiritual discernment as a goat grazing on the grass on the hill. Whatever his intellectual faculties, he does not have the ability to understand and accept spiritual truths.

Man’s plan of redemption in particular, with the cross as its center, makes no sense to him because it is irrational; it goes against reason; This is pure madness. He who hears the truths of God can only understand them if the Spirit enables him to do so through his illumination. His human spirit must be awakened from its torpor, born again in order to be able to grasp the realities of the Spirit.

He who has this Spirit can judge all things, and no one can judge him” (1 Corinthians 2:15).

The word for “judge” means “to judge minutely, to sift” (compare Acts 11:17). He who has the Spirit of God in him can rightly examine and evaluate all things and understand the ways of God. Those who do not have new life within them or who are immature in their faith operate on the psychic level; they cannot explain the ways of the spiritual man because they escape their understanding and he is an enigma to them. This was the case with the immature Corinthians who misunderstood Paul Peter and Apollos and their teaching.

For it is written, Who then knows the mind of the Lord, and can instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:15-16).

In this passage, Paul declares that the natural, psychic man is ignorant of the mind of God; he cannot know it. But through the Holy Spirit, all the apostles received the thought of Jesus Christ to which they submitted and which they transmitted to us in their writings. In the first chapter of this Epistle, the apostle Paul said: The “foolishness” of God is wiser than men, and the “weakness” of God is stronger than men (1 Corinthians 1:25).

And indeed, who could have imagined that the Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth and of the entire universe, would provide for the salvation of the human race by sending his Son as a Lamb, to agonize and then die a humiliating death and atrocious? There, nailed to the wood, Jesus experienced total helplessness while he carried the sins of the world upon himself. It is no wonder that for Jews and pagans, this message is absurd, a scandal or pure madness. However, this instrument of torture, the cross, was a demonstration of God’s wisdom in providing eternal life for all who trust in the Son of God. But animal man.

By the animal man he does not mean (as is generally thought) the man who is given over to gross lusts, or, as they say, to his own sensuality, but every man who is endowed only with the faculties of nature. This is evident from the corresponding term, for it makes a comparison between the animal man and the spiritual. As the latter designates man whose understanding is regulated by the illumination of the Spirit of God, there is no doubt that the ancient designates the man who is left in a purely natural state, as we speak.

For the soul belongs to nature, but the Spirit is of supernatural communication. He returns to what he had previously discussed, for his purpose is to remove an obstacle that might stand in the way of the weak – that there were so many who despised the gospel. It shows that we are not to account for contempt of such a nature as to proceed from ignorance, and that it should, therefore, be no obstacle to our progress in the race of faith, to Unless perhaps we choose to do so, close our eyes to the brightness of the sun, because it is not seen by the blind. However, it would be a great ingratitude in any individual, when God grants him a special favor, to reject it, on the grounds that it is not common to all, when on the contrary, its very rarity must increase its value. .

For these are madness to him, neither can he know them. “The doctrine of the Gospel,” he said, “is tasteless from the point of view of all who are wise only from the point of view of man. But where does this come from? It is their own blindness. In what respect, then, does this detract from the majesty of the Gospel? In short, if the ignorant depreciate the gospel, because they measure its value by the estimation in which it is held by men, Paul draws from this an argument to extol its dignity more highly. For he teaches that the reason it is despised is because it is unknown, and the reason it is unknown is because it is too deep and sublime to be apprehended by the understanding of man. What superior wisdom, which so far transcends all human understanding, that man cannot have so much as a foretaste of it!

While, however, Paul here tacitly imputes this to the pride of the flesh, that humanity dares to condemn as foolish that which it does not understand, he at the same time shows how great is the weakness or rather the brutality of human understanding, when he declares it incapable of spiritual apprehension. For he teaches that it is not simply because of the obstinacy of the human will, but also because of the impotence of the intellect, that man does not attain the things of the Spirit. If he had said that men were not disposed to be wise, that would indeed have been true, but he further states that they are not capable.

Therefore, we infer that faith is not in one’s own power, but is divinely bestowed. Because they are spiritually discerned. In other words, the Spirit of God, from which the doctrine of the Gospel comes, is its only true interpreter, to open it to us. Therefore, to judge of this, the minds of men must necessarily be blinded until they are enlightened by the Spirit of God. Therefore, infer that all humanity is by nature devoid of the Spirit of God: otherwise the argument would not be conclusive.

It is from the Spirit of God, it is true, that we have this faint spark of reason which we all enjoy; but now we speak of that special discovery of heavenly wisdom which God guarantees to his sons alone. Hence the more unbearable ignorance of those who imagine that the Gospel is offered to humanity in common in such a way that all are free, without discrimination, to embrace salvation by faith. Among those who are perfect he spoke of wisdom. The perfect are those who have believed the Gospel, experienced its power and are in Christ, accepted in the perfect; they know the truth as it is in Christ.

But the wisdom of which Paul spoke was not the wisdom of the world (literally: age), but the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom ordained by God before the world for our glory. And what is this hidden wisdom, the wisdom of God in a mystery that Paul preached to those who had accepted Christ? It is more than Christ crucified. It is Christ glorified, seated at the right hand of God, given as head over all things to the church which is his body. This wisdom of God in a mystery is fully revealed in the epistle to the Ephesians. This was not revealed in the Old Testament. The rulers of that age did not know it, for if they had known the wonderful wisdom of God, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

But the very act which they committed (out of ignorance as Peter declared, Acts 3:17) fulfilled the Scriptures, and the Lord of glory whom they crucified is now the glorified Man filling the throne of God, and believers are one with Him. It is the manifold wisdom of God which makes itself known through the Church (Christ as the glorified head and the Church his body) to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places (Ephesians 3:10). The quote from Isaiah 64:4 is interesting. The prophet speaks of man’s inability to know what God has prepared in His infinite grace and love for those who love Him. It was hidden from the Prophet.

None of them considered the great truths of the Church such as the body of Christ and the glory attached to it. But now that has changed. God revealed it by His Spirit. The Spirit came and made known the hidden wisdom of God. Through him and his blessed testimony in the Word we know “the things which God has prepared for them that love him.” And these things are in Christ. The church will share with him the glory he received. And the Spirit in the believer searches all things, yea, the deep things of God. So the Spirit of God Himself leads the child of God deeper and deeper into this wisdom of God.

The more we learn, the more we enter into deep things in blessed communion with the Father and the Son, the more we desire to know. This should be the greatest thing for the child of God; the Spirit by seeking the deep things of God. The excuse that some Christians make for their inability to grasp certain truths, when they say “this is too deep for me,” dishonors the Spirit who indwells them. For our poor little minds, everything is “too deep”; but not for the Spirit of God. The things of God can only be known by the Spirit of God. This blessed gift is given to the believer, that he may know the things which are freely given to him by God. And these deep and spiritual revelations have been transmitted by chosen instruments.

Of which things also we speak, not in words which the wisdom of man teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, comparing (or communicating) spiritual things with spiritual things” ((1 Corinthians 2:13 ).

Here is a definition of verbal inspiration. God’s thoughts and revelations have been given to us by human instruments, in the words which the Spirit teaches. So we have an inerrant Bible. A contrast between the natural (psychic) man and the spiritual man concludes this chapter. The natural man, whatever his mental abilities, cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God. He must be born again and receive the Spirit before he can discern spiritual things. Why do men criticize the Bible, rejecting its great truths, ignorant of spiritual things, although learned in the wisdom of the world? They are natural men, not having the Spirit (Jude 1:19).

But the natural man, … not a daughter in Christ, a new one that is born again, for but so little knowledge of spiritual things, but they taste and do knowledge and desire and receive the sincere milk of the word and growth; But an unregenerate man, who has no knowledge of such things; not an unregenerate man only, who is openly and notoriously profane, given over to sensual lusts and pleasures; Although such a man is sensual, and not witty…

This text is an extract from the book “The Enemies of Man” written by Jérémie TCHINDEBE.

We invite you to read the following article “The Gospel and the Intellect“.

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