Chapter 2 of the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth needs to be studied verse by verse at this point in our discussion of the Holy Spirit’s work in God’s revelationary work in the end-time church. Therefore we will complete this study by doing exactly that.
In verse one Paul reminds the people that he had taught them with simplicity of speech and not with his considerable intellect. He taught them what he called “the testimony of God.” In Matthew 24:14 Jesus calls God’s testimony both His Gospel and His “witness”–the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. In other places it is called God’s Law. Though Paul was an intellectual giant, he was humble, which made him the ideal person to write most of the New Testament.
In verse two Paul equates the message of Christ to Christ Himself (the “Word”–Jn. 1:1-4) and explains that it is through His crucifixion that man can receive the Holy Spirit that empowers him (man) to receive revelation. Through revelation one can understand the meaning of Christ’s death and receive the power to believe and obey it unto salvation. Read The Message of the Cross. Key word–Message. Paul’s writings are often complicated and convoluted. Admittedly, I once became so angry trying to make sense of His writings that I ripped up a Bible and threw it in the waste can. God forgave me and, over time opened my spiritual eyes to the mental workings of His premier Apostle. Paul’s mind did not work like that of other men, certainly not of this man. But we are not alone in having to struggle at times with his writings. Let us not forget that Paul was an intellectual of the highest sort. That fact, Peter said, made some of his writings “hard to be understood.” For this reason, “unlearned and unstable men twist what he said to their own destruction” (2 Pet. 3:15,16). For this reason it is necessary to study all that he wrote. And still some of his writings are indeed hard to understand. It is only with the power of the Holy Spirit that man can understand that most prolific of the apostles. I can’t wait to meet him.
In verses three through five Paul confesses to being a mere mortal who spoke and wrote in the fear of God and under the power of His Spirit. He was the antithesis of so many preachers today who “know not of what they speak” but nevertheless expound at length about things they do not understand.
In verses six through nine Paul uses “we” to describe God’s singular message. The apostles met periodically to assure that they were all preaching the same Gospel which Paul professed to have received directly from Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit’s revelation. The world cannot receive what God’s Very Elect received in the past and whose spiritual descendants continue to receive today. Unregenerate man cannot receive such Spirit-spoken Truths, regardless of the degree of their religiosity. The Lord’s revelations are reserved for “those that love Him.” Jesus said in John chapter 14 that if we love Him we will keep His commandments/Law (vs 15) which He equated with His Words/Scriptures (vs 23), by which we will all be judged (Jn. 12:44-50). He said in Matthew 19:17 that only those who obey His commandments (until the end of life–10:22) would receive salvation upon His return. Read Hope and Salvation. Key word–Hope. That (the Gospel, witness, testimony) which man must obey until death is the same Law that religious man has “nailed to the cross.” This is the same Law Jesus came to “magnify and make honorable” (Isa. 42:21) and which Paul characterized as “holy, just and good” (Rom. 7:12). So why was it nailed to the cross? It wasn’t.
In verse 10 Paul notes that God’s true saints have received “them,” meaning the “things of God” noted in verse 9, which he calls “the deep things of God.” Note it: WE CAN KNOW THE DEEP THINGS OF GOD.
In verses 11 through 16 (and other places in his epistles) Paul stresses the fact that the Holy Spirit is the Agent through which God speaks to His true disciples, and that this is possible only through the “spirit of man” that is in man. It is man’s spirit that enables him (man) to “hear” God’s “voice” and to respond to Him. It is by way of the Holy Spirit working with man’s spirit that God’s saints know “the deep (normally unknowable) things of God” (vs 10). Carnal, though religious, men cannot know the deep things of God because they do not have the Spirit of God living within him. Such men have “the spirit of the world” (vs 12) and cannot know “the things that are freely given to us by God” (vs 12). The natural man views those things as “foolishness” (vs. 14). Only those who walk in the Spirit understand spiritual things. This walk is available to all who “… hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled” (Mat. 5:6) with the Spirit of righteousness. It is though that Spirit that righteous people can hear the voice of God and know His “deep things.”
In verse 16 Paul makes a statement that carnal church people, along with those outside the church system, reject outright. Here Paul, under the power of the Holy Spirit, states: “For who has known THE MIND OF THE LORD so that he might instruct Him (God)? as carnal men try to do by denying the works He performs through His true saints. Then Paul delivers the coup de gras: “WE (GOD’S TRUE SAINTS) HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST.” This is where unconverted churchites become convinced that God’s people are insane. Who can have the mind of Christ? they ask, then answer–“nobody.” If this is true, then God is the liar they accused Him of being. Jesus was a man exactly like all other men. All other men can have the same mind He had and do everything He did, and even greater things (Jn. 14:12). The cost, however, is death–death to self and to everything that the world has to offer. The mind of Christ is offered to anyone who is willing to die. In Philippians 2:5-8 we are COMMANDED to “LET (our choice) this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” Who, thought He was a God, stripped Himself of all His Godly traits and became a man like all other men. God is no respecter of persons. If He gave Jesus of Nazareth a mind like His (God’s own), then He will do the same for anyone willing to pay the price Jesus paid for 31 years–death to self. Jesus was a walking dead man, but oh how He walked. Let us “walk as He walked” (1 Jn. 2:6) and thereby prove that we are truly His spiritual brethren who will do what He did and sit with Him on His throne in the Kingdom of God (Rev. 3:21).
The day is coming, and soon, when the world, through the internet, television and whatever else man can invent, will witness in real time the acts Christ performed and those He promised would be performed by His true believers. The sick will be healed, devils will be cast out, the dead will be raised, water will be walked upon, food will be multiplied, mountains will be moved, the weather will be controlled and God’s anointed messengers will travel around the earth through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Word of God will go forth throughout all the world as a witness. A surge of spiritual energy is going through my body as I receive and write this message from God through the power of His Holy Spirit. Yea (yes), and amen (it is done). L.J.