by Mike Ratliff
13 Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord,
Or as His counselor has informed Him? (Isaiah 40:13 NASB)
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, 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 deceived by and drawn 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 grounded in the fleshly ways of the world 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.
14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. 16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:14-16 NASB)
14 ψυχικὸς δὲ ἄνθρωπος οὐ δέχεται τὰ τοῦ πνεύματος τοῦ θεοῦ· μωρία γὰρ αὐτῷ ἐστιν καὶ οὐ δύναται γνῶναι, ὅτι πνευματικῶς ἀνακρίνεται. 15 ὁ δὲ πνευματικὸς ἀνακρίνει [τὰ] πάντα, αὐτὸς δὲ ὑπʼ οὐδενὸς ἀνακρίνεται. 16 τίς γὰρ ἔγνω νοῦν κυρίου, ὃς συμβιβάσει αὐτόν; ἡμεῖς δὲ νοῦν Χριστοῦ ἔχομεν. (1 Corinthians 2:14-16 NA28)
14 But a natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to know them, because they are discerned spiritually. 15 Now the spiritual man discerns all things, but he is discerned by no one. 16 For who has known the mind of the Lord , who will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:14-16 translated from the NA28 Greek text)
What is the “natural person?” The word ψυχικὸς, translated as “natural” in the NASB 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, δέχεται, the things of the spirit, πνεύματος. Why? To them πνεύματος are μωρία γὰρ αὐτῷ, foolishness for to him. Μωρία 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 πνευματικῶς ἀνακρίνεται, 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 NASB, “Now the spiritual man discerns all things, but he is discerned 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?
2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. (1 John 3:2 NASB)
Now we come to v16, “For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will 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”, νοῦν, is translated as “understanding” in many other places in the New Testament. Νοῦν 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 νοῦν Χριστοῦ, 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.
44 Now He said to them, “ These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, (Luke 24:44-45 NASB)
If you are in Christ then you are a new creation. You have been washed by regeneration. You have the mind of Christ, the νοῦν Χριστοῦ. So, what are we to “understand or know” when we see the absolute rebellion going on in 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 who have the νοῦν Χριστοῦ.
Soli Deo Gloria!