Revelation From The Spirit
In this section Paul talks about how God has revealed his secret wisdom (v.7) to believers. In this section he speaks to us about Divine revelation, the inspiration of Scripture, and the illumination of the Scriptures to the understanding of individual believers.
Premise: "We know nothing about God but that which he has revealed to us." We have no other way of knowing the truths of creation, the worlds beyond this one, the nature and character of God, and his plan of salvation, but through his taking the initiative and speaking to us.
All other religions are the same; they consist of men and women who put forth their best thinking and come up with ideas and notions about what they guess God is like and the way spiritual things work. They are often able to impress people with their ideas and confident explanations, so that essentially gullible people buy into their beliefs and follow their teachings.
Not so is Christianity! We do not speculate on spiritual matters, we receive them from God as Divine revelation.
REVELATION OF THE SECRETS OF GOD v.10-11
"God has revealed it ("God's secret wisdom" v.7) to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God 10. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God." v.10-11
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." Ps 19:1
"For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." Rom 1:20
"Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin." Ex 34:5-7
Special Revelation: His Son
"No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known." John 1:18
Why Paul could say, "He is the image of the invisible God." Col 1:15 and "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form," Col 2:9
"In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being." Heb 1:1-3
Specific Revelation: The Scriptures
"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness," 2 Ti 3:16
"God has revealed it to us by his Spirit." v.10
"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." Jn 14:26
"The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God"
Not in order to know them, for he knows all things.
Instead he comprehends the depth of God's nature, his plans, purposes and wisdom; so he is fully competent to make the revelation referred to here.
"For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God."
A man knows his own mind, but no one else can know it without that man revealing it.
INSPIRATION OF THE WRITERS OF SCRIPTURE V.12-13
"We have not received the spirit of the world (the source of human wisdom & ideas) but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us ("what God has prepared for those who love him" v.9)" 12. "This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words." v.12-13
"in words taught by the Spirit" v.13
The Spirit taught them how to verbalize God's truths.
"For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it." Jn 12:49
He gave the words as well as the thoughts.
Verbal inspiration means inspiration of the words. If the Bible is inspired at all, it is in the words.
"For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." 2 Pe 1:21
Contrast with "because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God." Ro 8:14
"expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words" v.13
"using the Spirit's words to explain spiritual truths" LB
The successful Christian learns the vocabulary of the Spirit and makes use of it.
He knows the meaning of justification, sanctification, adoption, propitiation, election, inspiration, and so forth.
In understanding God’s vocabulary, we come to understand God’s Word and God’s will for our lives.
ILLUMINATION OF THE INDIVIDUAL BELEIVER v.14-16
The Holy Spirit 1) reveals truth about God and his plans, 2) inspires the writers of the Bible so we can have an infallible document to read and study, and 3) illumines the individual believer so they can understand what the Bible says.
"The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned." v.14
"The man without the Spirit"
Described in the Bible
"These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit." Jude 19
He is unaided by the Spirit to understand God's word and God's will.
He is unresponsive to the Bible teachings.
He responds only to his selfish interests, desires and emotions.
He may be an ethical man with culture and intelligence, but he is wholly incapable of understanding spiritual truths in the right way.
The deaf man cannot enjoy the symphony, the blind man cannot enjoy the beauty of the sunset.
Three things describe the man without the Spirit
1) "Does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God"
2) "for they are foolishness to him"
3) "he cannot understand them"
Jesus taught this very same truth
"Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say." Jn 8:43
"He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God." Jn 8:47
The absolute necessity for regeneration, or the work of the Spirit.
"You may educate a nature up to its highest point, but you cannot educate an old nature into a new one. You may educate a horse, but you cannot educate it into a man. You may by your own efforts make yourselves the best of natural men, but still at your very best there is a division wide as eternity between you and the regenerate man. And no man can help us out of such a nature into a state of grace. "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Spurgeon
"they are spiritually discerned."
"Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law." Ps 119:18
The two on the road to Emmaus, "Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures." Lk 24:45
"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints," Eph 1:18
The work of the Holy Spirit consists in teaching us to understand, to appreciate, to appropriate God's Word; and he causes it not to remain as mere ideas and shallow beliefs, but seeks to implant them in the deepest place of the heart.
"The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment:" v.15
- 1) The spiritual man "makes judgments about all things"
The Holy Spirit teaches the believer God's word and he or she is then equipped to evaluate the rightness or wrongness of all things.
"But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil." Heb 5:14
- 2) The spiritual man "is not subject to any man’s judgment"
The natural man does not have the ability to evaluate the lives of believers. He does not understand our love for God, our interest in the Bible, our desire to worship with other believers, our moral stand.
- 3) The spiritual man has the mind of Christ
"For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ." v.16
If a group of department managers were discussing a change in their plans they could propose that they find out what the president of the company thinks about idea? What mind-set does he have on the proposal? If the mangers knew the president of the company for many years and had engaged in discussions of a thousand topics, they would all ready have a good understanding of his mind on various subjects.
Phil 2:5 helps to understand what Paul means here, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. . . he humbled himself." KJV
When we live a humble life like Jesus did, we will have the same mind-set or attitude of mind that Christ does.
The whole Bible is an expression of the mind of Christ; his point of view, his values and desires on every conceivable subject.
When we know the Bible and believe it, we will therefore have the mind of Christ.