When it comes to Divine matters, like a soaking cloth eventually wrung out to stiff dryness, we are comparatively barren in spiritual knowledge.
If someone tells us the message of the gospel – that message, if we get well into it, talks of things that are not easily understood. Not because the person doesn’t use plain English (or Greek?) when sharing the message, but because of the content of the message and it’s deeply spiritual nature.
Concerning Paul the Apostle we read:
16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.
One of the lessons from this is that, when we have questions we can’t answer, or see injustice in the world we don’t understand, – we must not blame the God of the Bible. The ‘untaught and unstable…’ can (to their own detriment) in their spiritual ignorance foolishly accuse the God of the Universe wrongly.
Our lack of true spiritual insight poses a dilemma. Not only to be faced by the, as yet, unbeliever, but also by the believer, who is also limited in his revelation of these deeply spiritual matters.
We talk of short attention spans in children. But it’s the same for adults. And especially in matters of a spiritual nature, spiritual attention span can be lost quickly.
The disciples of Jesus had been there and bought the T-shirt regarding the supernatural feeding of thousands, but failing again to understand The Lord, they illicit His response, and He said: Matthew 16/
9 Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?
10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?
They had experienced the supernatural, but quickly losed the reality of it.
Life is either too busy – or offering all kinds of things, to distract us, and we initially would prefer these things over spiritual truth and experience.
No man we are told in the Bible – straightaway desires the new wine of God, for he says that the old is better. Wine can be a metaphor for various things, keeping it simple – let’s say in this context – it is spiritual matters. (K.J.V – Luke 5/39: No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better).
We do not warm immediately to spiritual matters. There are hurdles we need to jump, hurdles of sin and unbelief, before we start to get to the finishing line and receive the prize of spiritual revelation. This cannot be done except with Christ’s help, help we must ask for.
It is true that we can mentally comprehend truth up to a point – even spiritual truth as in understanding the things of God. But this is a limited understanding.
We can liken this to reading the authors book without meeting the author, and therefore failing to get a developed insight into the story, by getting first hand knowledge straight as they say – from the horses mouth.
This conversation and the getting to know of the author adds greatly to the understanding we have of his work.
Comprehending The Lord Jesus Christ as The Son of The Living God – is a revelation.
Jesus told Peter and therefore us, that God the Father Himself, had enlightened Peter to the fact that regardless of who other men said Jesus was, Peter had received a revelation that this was indeed the Son of the Living God, the Christ, the Messiah.
K.J.V – Matthew 16/17: And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
John in the book of Revelation received the book ‘…in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.’ (Revelation 1/10)
The book is entitled Revelation and spiritual revelation is needed to understand it.
Men love to debate doctrinal issues, and intellects vie for pre-eminence.
However the things of The Spirit of God, knows no man, except for The Spirit of God who lives within him, (He either does or doesn’t live in us, depending on whether we choose God’s offered gift of salvation in Christ, or sadly reject it). (I Corinthians 2/10-12).
Only The Holy Spirit of The Living God can open our eyes to spiritual matters. Only He can enlighten us to the meaning and application of Holy Writ.
Every Christian especially those who teach the Word of God, must periodically examine themselves, to see if they are becoming more dependent on their concordances and commentaries, rather than the sought help of God.
The bible, when it comes to the recipients of spiritual teaching, refers to babes, young men, sons, fathers, wives and so on.
Just as there is growth from the womb to maturity in the natural, so it is in the spiritual life.
It is possible for a yielded vessel of what man might consider a lesser intellect, to actually walk in greater revelation than those of superior natural education and intellectual prowess.
Paul (a man of good/great intellect) refers to those who are the called of Christ:
For ye see in your calling, brethren, how not many wise men according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.
Notice the key expression here: wise men ‘…according to the flesh…’
In other words those who have strong natural abilities of intellect and perhaps educated understanding, are not automatically superior when it comes to spiritual understanding.
Often those intellectually capable beyond their fellows, can inform us beneficially regarding the ‘about’ of Christianity.
Helping us through Greek or Hebrew scholarship or historic research to grasp an expanded view of words, or the culture of a given time. But this is only beneficial when we have first received spiritual insight, as given by God Himself.
Scholarship helps re-enforce any revelation we have received, but revelation is not dependent upon it.
The opposite is true also, that those with good or great intellectual capacity are not excluded either, if their intellect goes through the dealings and/or purgings of God, as He strips them of self-dependence, self-reliance, when it comes to spiritual matters.
Some of the men used of God to see Revival were men who knew God. They had intellectual ability. But they recognised their dependance on The Lord God, they knew the reality of the scripture that says:
If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Paul counted everything he had gained with his natural ability, as rubbish, in exchange for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, that flesh and blood had not taught him. (King James version):
4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
He also tells us of how dependent he was on God’s revelation:
15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,
16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
Conversely the gospel message in essence is simple. It has to be – in order to be understood by all men, so called high or low.
But the key to all spiritual understanding, is the influence of God upon the mind of the person hearing the message.
When God ‘gets on your case’, though we do not straight away desire the ‘new wine’ He offers, His patience and long-suffering causes Him to continue to speak to us through His ordained means, namely the preaching of the gospel.
But the deep things of God, if they are to be revealed to us – must come as The Holy Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God. (I Corinthians 2/10)
The regenerated spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, and in the human spirit, God works to reveal Christ and His knowledge to us, but always in harmony and accord with The Holy Bible. (Proverbs 20/27)
So the human spirit receives light, of the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (II Corinthians 4/6).
If you have not yet grasped or received the spiritual revelation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and received Him as Lord and Saviour. Start by asking for His help.
If you are a babe in Christ, a ‘teenager’ in spiritual years, or a mature follower of Christ – be reminded, as I remind myself, that we really need God’s enablement, if we are to progress in our spiritual life.
Let’s unitedly ask for His help as the body of Christ, the church, on the earth.