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Monday, February 18, 2013
Spiritual Christians, the Holy Spirit & the Bible
1 Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God,
As the title of today's blog suggests, we are going to look at the Person of the Holy Spirit, the Bible and how He and the Bible are received by Spirit-led Christians or what 1 Corinthians 2:15 & 3:1 terms "spiritual". As you consider 1 Corinthians 2:12 above, you will notice that Paul is concerned about reception of the truths of God, from the Spirit of God by those whom he wrote to at Corinth. In the wider context of 1 Corinthians 2:1-3:4, Paul is concerned with helping the Corinthians understand why it is they are dealing with so many divisions. In his discussion, Paul lays out three types of spiritual conditions: two of which characterize Christians (spiritual Christians - i.e Spirit-led Christians and compromising or carnally minded Christians) and one of which describes the unbelieving man (termed "natural man"). With that brief summary, we will now briefly outline the Holy Spirit's ministry of illuminating (making clear) the scriptures and how such ministry is received by those Christians who are submitting regularly to the Spirit's leading through the Word. Due to the importance of these two chapters in 1 Corinthians and the sake of brevity, we will today cover the Holy Spirit's work of illuminating the scriptures to what is termed "the spiritual Christian" or what is elsewhere called "The Spirit-led Christian". (Romans 8:1-5; 16-17)
The Spirit-led Christian receives the Spirit's teaching
1 Corinthians 2:1-6 has Paul describing what it is he is communicating to us and the church at Corinth, namely "the testimony of God" (2:1); "Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (2:2); "message and preaching in the Spirit and power" (2:3); "the power of God" (2:4) and God's wisdom (2:5-6). All of these various descriptive terms define the nature and content of the scriptures. The Holy Spirit of course is the One who makes their beauty and power known and understood to the Christian who is in fellowship with Him. We must hasten to add that the term "spiritual Christian" is not referring to a higher class of Christians. Rather the term "spiritual" is speaking of the main source of the spiritual Christian's attitudes and behavior - namely the Holy Spirit in his human spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:10-13 outlines for us how the Spirit-led Christian receives the things of God from the scriptures.
The Holy Spirit makes clear the things of God. 1 Cor 2:10,12
The Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity, indwells the Christian's human spirit at salvation, making a permanent home. For the unsaved natural man the Spirit's work is required to lead him to salvation and spiritual understanding, since human reason and will power alone cannot produce a saving response. (1 Corinthians 2:9) In the remaining two men of our passage: the Spirit-led Christian and Compromising Christian of 1 Corinthians 3:1-4, the Spirit's working is necessary. The Spirit alone knows the depths of God's mind, since He is One with the Father in nature and life. Jesus told His disciples in John 16:13 that the Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth, disclosing everything He hears from the Father and the Son. Furthermore this ministry of the Holy Spirit to Christians, called "illumination", can be likened unto a little light bulb that lights up when you finally "get it" in terms of scripture's meaning and application for your life. Passages such as Romans 8:16-17; Ephesians 1:16-18 and 1 John 2:20,27 explain how the Holy Spirit brings understanding to the Christian about the scriptures and the things of God.
The Spiritual Christian's human spirit interracts with the soul and body to produce obedience. 1 Corinthians 2:1-7; 10-13; 15-16
1 Corinthians 2:10-13 could be summarized as describing the Spirit-led Christian as an illuminated soul, with the Holy Spirit actively communicating in their human spirit, clothed in a body surrendered to His leading. When we speak of the soul of a man - that refers to the man himself - thinking (mind), feeling (emotions), choosing (will) and making moral decisions (conscience). Thus we see the remarkable order of how the Holy Spirit and the scriptures are received by the Spirit led Christian. The scriptures in our text define such a Christian as "spiritual" since his life and efforts derive from the Holy Spirit's work in his human spirit (i.e spiritual). (1 Corinthians 2:15) Thankfully Paul explains in three parts how the spiritual Christian digests spiritual truth.
First we see the human spirit, the center of God awareness in the Christian and the home of the Holy Spirit. (Proverbs 20:27). The Holy Spirit speaks in my human spirit, equipping me to discern and to know with certainty what I cannot see nor hear with physical eyes and ears. (1 Corinthians 2:11; Hebrews 11:1) Jesus for example in his humanity perceived the impending level of betrayal by Judas in his human spirit, even though the plot had not been told to him or the others. How did he know? As much as Jesus Christ was God in human flesh, the text's emphasis is that as man, his spirit was in tune with God's plan and purposes.
Next we see the soul of the Spirit-led Christian. (1 Corinthians 2:11-12) The soul is the true me who thinks, feels, chooses and makes moral decisions. The soul, being the area of my self awareness, interracts with the Holy Spirit in my human spirit. As a Christian, I must hear and memorize scripture if I ever expect to know the will and leading of the Spirit. The thinker of my soul, the mind, takes in the scriptures, positioning me to communicate with the Holy Spirit in my human spirit. Being that He speaks through scripture, He sends guidance, warning or whatever the case may be. As a Spirit-led Christian, you can sense the Spirit's call and movement as He engages you through the level you give yourself to His word. 1 Corinthians 14:15 reminds us of the crucial link between the thinker of the soul - the mind - and the Holy Spirit speaking forth in my human spirit.
Then thirdly, as I engage the rest of my soul: (emotions, will and conscience) - I soon am comparing "spiritual things with spiritual". (1 Corinthians 2:11-12) As the Spirit-led Christian uses his mind to take in the scriptures, his ability to bring his body to act and obey leads to a more effective Christian walk. (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 119:130)
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