by Mike Ratliff
Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD, or what man shows him his counsel? (Isaiah 40:13 ESV)
When we observe Christian leaders operate according to the world’s standards and methods with pastors taking on roles other than shepherd of the sheep then responding to righteous criticism with further deception like this fellow, what we are actually witnessing are professing Christians not walking within the wisdom that is available to all true believers via the Mind of Christ. This same situation is seen in all who have been sucked into the “Innovation Cult” as well. That would include those proponents of easy-believism in all its forms. We see it in “church organizations” that are built around a personality rather than following a shepherd of the sheep who is obediently following the Lord as he should. When a Christian leader becomes the focus rather than Christ in a ministry then we see this idolatry begin to take shape. How often do we see one of these personalities build up a large church then when he moves on to the next church the one he built just falls apart? This should not be and this is indicative of a form of Christianity that is built around this personality cultic focus rather than around following Christ.
When a church doesn’t seem to be growing fast enough then the leadership changes to a seeker-sensitive or “missional” focus then we know that that church may indeed grow, but that growth will be the fruit of the “Innovation Cult” and not of the Holy Spirit growing a Church. It is manmade growth and produces professing Christians who are biblically and doctrinally ignorant. They are the simply religious. When we point out these things to the apologists for this sort of thing, the push back is usually hateful and sarcastic with an emphasis on us being legalistic, old-fashioned, and stuck in the past. What should our response be to that? However we respond, it must be within the wisdom from the Holy Spirit that is manifest in the Mind of Christ.
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:14-16 ESV)
14ψυχικος δε ανθρωπος ου δεχεται τα του πνευματος του θεου μωρια γαρ αυτω εστιν και ου δυναται γνωναι οτι πνευματικως ανακρινεται 15ο δε πνευματικος ανακρινει μεν παντα αυτος δε υπ ουδενος ανακρινεται 16τις γαρ εγνω νουν κυριου ος συμβιβασει αυτον ημεις δε νουν χριστου εχομεν (1 Corinthians 2:14-16 WHNU)
Soul-like (ψυχικος) but (δε) man (ανθρωπος) not (ου) welcomes (δεχεται) the (τα) of the (του) spirit of (πνευματος) the (του) God (θεου); foolishness (μωρια) for (γαρ) to him (αυτω) it is (εστιν) also (και) not (ου) he is able (δυναται) to know (γνωναι), that (οτι) spiritually (πνευματικως) it is examined (ανακρινεται). The (ο) but (δε) spiritual (πνευματικος) examines (ανακρινει) the (μεν) all (παντα), himself (αυτος) but (δε) by (υπ) no one (ουδενος) is examined (ανακρινεται). Who (τις) for (γαρ) knew (εγνω) mind (νουν) of Lord (κυριου), who (ος) instructs (συμβιβασει) him (αυτον)? We (ημεις) but (δε) mind (νουν) of Christ (χριστου) have (εχομεν). (1 Corinthians 2:14-16 word-for-word translation from Koine Greek to English)
What is the “natural person?” The word ψυχικος, translated as “natural” in the ESV refers to the part of the immaterial life held in common with animals. This is referring to those not born of the spirit, i.e. the unregenerate. These are unbelievers. They do not receive or welcome, δεχεται, the things of the spirit, πνευματος. Why? To them πνευματος are μωρια γαρ αυτω, foolishness for to him. Μωρια refers to that which is perceived to be absurd. The unregenerate view the truth of God, those things given to God’s people by the Spirit of God, as absurdities. Why? They are not able to understand them because they are πνευματικως ανακρινεται, spiritually discerned or examined. This means exactly that, what is spiritually discerned is not discerned any other way. The unregenerate cannot discern spiritual truth. That does not mean that these people are not very religious and even in positions of leadership and authority.
When I was a much younger Christian, v15 confused me. Here it is in the ESV, “The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.” What does that mean? The regenerate are able to discern and examine all things in the wisdom and knowledge of God because that is part of “spiritually discerning” everything. It is the second part of the sentence that confused me. Obviously, unbelievers are able to discern or see or recognize Christian’s faults and shortcomings. However, they are not able to evaluate their true nature as spiritual people because they are not given that as the regenerate have been. In this interim state, we see things as through a glass darkly. Who are we to judge the ways of God in dealing with His people?
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2 ESV)
Now we come to v16, “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” The statement about believers having the mind of Christ is a quote from Isaiah 40:13, which I placed at the top of this post. The word translated in v16 as “mind”, νουν, is translated as “understanding” in many other places in the New Testament. Νουν is the Greek word that refers to the intellect, that part of the person that understands through reason. Paul is telling us that true Christians, the regenerate, have been given the νουν χριστου, the mind of Christ. This is an incredible gift. We are allowed, by and through the Word of God and the work of the Holy Spirit, to know the thoughts of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, (Luke 24:44-45 ESV)
If you are in Christ then you are a new creation. You have been washed by regeneration. You have the mind of Christ, the νουν χριστου. So, what are we to “understand or know” when we see the absolute rebellion going on the visible church in our time? Are these men just in leadership positions not very mature in Christ or are they not in Christ at all? Let us pray to our Lord to make this clear to all those with the νουν χριστου.
Soli Deo Gloria!