Christians and Wisdom: Part 6 of 6 (series: Lessons on 1 Co.)
by John Lowe
Every born-again believer is not above criticism—far from it! It is altogether possible for a believer to become carnal, as we will see later on in our study: “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Cor 3:1; KJV). There are some believers who never grow. They yield no fruit and become spiritual dwarfs, when the desire of God for all believers is that they become spiritual giants, full grown and strong in the Lord—good soldiers in the Lord.
yet he himself is judged of no man.
John asked a question that is very relevant to our study: “Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:5; KJV). And, so we wouldn’t have to scratch our heads, he included the answer with the question; it is the person who has believed that Jesus is the Son of God. John is stating something very important for us to know. It is that we overcome by faith and when we exercise our faith in the saving grace of God, He does two things; he places the Holy Spirit within us, and He leads us in the paths of righteousness. And as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the children of God. Therefore, those that are spiritual judge all things; receiving those things that will benefit them, and rejecting those things which could tear them down. And only spiritually minded believers can judge all things, because the carnally minded believer (because of his carnal nature) will not see anything wrong with many things. But when the Holy Spirit controls the soul as well as the members of the body, then the judgment pronounced upon the things of the world will be all together different because it will be seen in the light of the revealed truth of God as the Holy Ghost makes the things of God known to us, as well as how we should live, and walk, and act before the church and the world.
None of those who are not spiritual (the “carnal man”) are able to sit in judgment upon a man who is a born-again believer. He is on a higher level than the “carnal man”, and the “carnal man” from his lower level cannot evaluate his life and works. The believer and the Church have the Spirit, and yet, they are not infallible or faultless. Both are infallible and faultless, only in proportion to the degree in which they are led by the Spirit. The Spirit leads into all truth and holiness; but His influence on believers and on the Church is at the present time partial. Jesus alone, who had the Spirit without measure—“For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him” (John 3:34; KJV)—is both infallible and faultless. Scripture, because it was written by men, who while writing were infallibly inspired, is pure truth—“Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things” (Prov 28:5; KJV). “But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ” (1 John 2:27; NLT).
16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
For who hath known the mind of the Lord,
The apostle either cites or alludes to Isaiah 40:13: “Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counselor hath taught him?” We find part of the same verse in Romans 11.34: “For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counselor? Who can pretend to penetrate the mind of God, or fathom the reasons for his conduct? His plans, his dictates, and his activities are like himself, infinite; and, consequently, unfathomable. “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33; KJV). The mind of the Lord contains the accumulated knowledge of mankind from Adam to the present, and much, much more. There are the deep counsels of his heart, the scheme of salvation by Jesus Christ, as conceived in his eternal mind, the sense of the Spirit of God in the writings of the Old Testament, the things of the Spirit of God, or the doctrines of grace more clearly revealed under the Gospel dispensation. It is impossible for any natural man, by the light of truth and strength of reason, to know any of these things. But, what about the spiritual man? The Lord has promised that we will know more when we leave this life and go to be with him; until then we see only part of the picture, we see as if we are looking through a piece of dark glass: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (1 Cor 13:12; KJV). The believer can know the mind of God only to the extent to which he is led by the Spirit. We may rest in the conviction, that God is merciful and good in all his ways, just as he is wise and just. But since we cannot entirely comprehend him or his operations, it is our place, which are the objects of his infinite mercy and kindness, to adore him in silence, and to obey with eagerness and delight.
that he may instruct him?
The reference here is not the Lord, who needs no instruction from anyone, and besides, what would a mere man know that God doesn’t, or who would be so bold and insolent that they would attempt to teach God anything. What's more, having knowledge of the mind of the Lord would not qualify anyone for such an impossible job; because, even though a person may know a lot about the mind of the lord, he cannot know more than the Lord himself. Likewise, the natural man, who is entirely ignorant of the mind of the Lord, cannot instruct the spiritual man; and this verse gives a very proper and sufficient reason for why the spiritual man is not discerned, judged, persuaded, and instructed by the natural man; and absolutely nobody instructs God (Paul quoted Romans 11.33, 34; see above). The next clause gives the best reason for why we don’t want to be instructed by an unbeliever—
But we have the mind of Christ;
The mind is “the seat of reflective consciousness, comprised of the faculties of perception, understanding, and judgment. The mind of the Lord Jesus Christ must be perceived if his ways are to be understood. It is utterly impossible for the natural man to understand the ways of God apart from the operation of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit imparts to the believer the mind of Christ. The believer possesses the mind of Christ because of the indwelling Christ. “… Christ in you the hope of Glory” (C0l. 1.27). To have the mind of Christ means we are to get over on Christ’s side, and see things the same way he does. We are to see things from the Savior’s point of view and have his values and desires. It means to think God’s thoughts and not think as the world does.
The unsaved person does not understand Christians because they live in two different worlds. But the Christian does understand the unsaved person. First Corinthians 2.15 does not say that unsaved people cannot point out the flaws in a saved person’s life (they often do), but the unsaved person cannot penetrate into the full understanding of what the Christian’s life is all about: “ But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.” That “no man” includes other Christians as well. We need to be very careful not to become spiritual dictators in the lives of other people. To have the mind of Christ doesn’t mean that we are infallible and can start playing God in the lives of other people.