Christians and Wisdom: Part 4 of 6 (series: Lessons on 1 Co.)
by John Lowe
This proves how secret, hidden, and unknown, the mysteries of grace are, until revealed by the Spirit; which is proof of the deity of the Holy Ghost, and clearly shows he must be God, and he must be in God; He knows the thoughts of his heart, the revelations of his mind, his purposes and pronouncements, and what is contained in them. So God's Spirit knows the Divine secrets, and imparts these to the hearts of believers, where he dwells. Now, it cannot be said that people know nothing about God, because that would deny Divine revelation and the testimony of nature—“Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20; KJV) God can be known by His works: Nature speaks of nature's God. No one can ever say to God, “I didn’t know there is a God, because we are without excuse.” However," our knowledge of God must always be relative, not absolute, because it is not possible to measure the arm of God with the finger of man."
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
Now we have received not the spirit of the world,
Meaning either Satan, the god of the world, the spirit that is in it, and rules over it; or the dominating spirit that operates in unregenerate men who are alienated from God. This is a spirit of covetousness, uncleanness, pride, hatred, and confusion; or it can be the carnal wisdom of the world, which is common to worldly men, lies in the knowledge of worldly things, and is pursued and employed for worldly advantages. We, who are the genuine apostles of Christ, have received the Spirit of God, by which we know the deep things of God; and, through the teaching of that Spirit, we preach Christ crucified. We have not, therefore, received the spirit of the world—of the Jewish teachers, who are all looking for a worldly kingdom and a worldly Messiah, and interpret all the scriptures of the Old Testament which relate to Him in a carnal and worldly sense.
We have received is literally “we received,” signifying that we received the Spirit when we became Christians. Salvation does not come to us at one time, and then at a later time, the Spirit takes up his abode in us. When an unbeliever accepts Jesus, the Holy Spirit immediately comes into the heart of that unbeliever.
but the Spirit which is of God;
Meaning the Holy Spirit bestowed upon us as a gift, and who makes his abode in us the moment we believe. “…if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Romans 8:9; KJV). “…Except a man be born…of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5; KJV). “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6; KJV). The Holy Ghost, which proceeds from the Father and the Son to the newly saved, is the gift of God to his people. He is received into their hearts through faith in Jesus Christ, and there He is a spirit of illumination, faith, comfort, adoption, truth, and a guarantee of future glory. The apostle has set forth two sources of knowledge in this verse: the human and the divine. One is the informing principle that is in man; the other is the informing principle that is in God.
that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
The things that are freely given refers to the same time referred to in verse 12 when “we received” the Holy Spirit. The word could have been translated “graciously given,” signifying that we have received redemption, righteousness, and the Holy Spirit, because of the grace of God, by the undeserved favor of God.
The things that are freely given to us of God is of course enjoyed in this life; but they are also eternal things and we will be able to fully understand what they mean when we come face to face with the Savior. However, we are going to miss out on spiritual blessings in this life if we don’t try to understand all we possibly can about these things that are freely given to us of God while we are here on this earth, in flesh and blood bodies, even though we will not entirely understand until we see him and are like him.
The Spirit of God draws us to God, convicts us of our sin, “borns” us into the family of heaven, indwells us, leads us—and when we allow him he fills us: “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Eph 5:18; KJV). Thank God for the third person of the Trinity!
13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
Which things also we speak,
Meaning the things which have not been seen by the eye, heard by the ear, or understood by the heart of man; the things God has prepared for his people from before the creation of all things; the deep things of God; the things of God which are only known to the Spirit; the things that are freely given to them by God, and made known to them by the Spirit of God: these things are spoken out, preached, and declared to the sons of men. Paul is speaking here to the believers in Corinth. God has given to them and also to believers today the ministry of witnessing to those who have lost the truth about the things which are not taught by man’s wisdom and cannot be found by searching. They are ours only because the Holy Spirit searches the deep things of God and makes them known to us as we yield to Him!
We don’t dare use the language of the Jews and the Gentiles when speaking of those deep things of God, even though they can pander to man’s spirit. The Greek orators adopted a high and flowery language, full of analogies and details, which dazzled more than it enlightened. The rabbis preferred obscurity; they studied the scriptures in the hopes of finding something new, but they didn’t find anything to make the people wise unto salvation. The apostles could not follow any of these; instead, they chose a better way; they spoke the things of God in the words of God; everything was plain and intelligible. Anyone who has a spiritual mind will easily comprehend an apostle's preaching.
Paul says, “…we speak,” pointing to all preachers who are called and anointed by God to preach the Gospel—and there is only one Gospel: everything else is just wrong.
not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth,
Paul was no ordinary man, even before he was converted on the road to Damascus. He learned human wisdom in the schools of the philosophers, where he studied under Gamaliel: “Then Paul said, “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, and I was brought up and educated here in Jerusalem under Gamaliel. As his student, I was carefully trained in our Jewish laws and customs. I became very zealous to honor God in everything I did, just like all of you today” (Acts 22:3; NLT), and he called himself a Pharisee of the Pharisees—but he wanted it clearly understood that in spite of his natural ability and extensive training, he was teaching—not by man’s wisdom, not in the garb of philosophy, but in words taught by the Holy Spirit of God. In 1st Corinthians, Chapter 13 of our study Paul clearly declares the divine fact that all of man’s ability is futile and vain apart from God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
but which the Holy Ghost teacheth;
Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would teach us: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26; KJV); and guide us into understanding the truth, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard…” (John 16:13; NLT). But we must notice the sequence here: the Spirit taught Paul from the Word, and then Paul taught the believers. The truth of God is found in the Word of God. And it is very important to note that these spiritual truths are spoken in specific words. In the Bible we have much more than inspired thoughts; we have inspired words. “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them…” (John 17:8; KJV).
The successful Christian learns the vocabulary of the Holy 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.