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Saturday, June 28, 2014

What It Means to be Filled with the Holy Spirit # 51

The Natural Man Receiveth Not the Things of the Spirit (continued)

So 1 Corinthians 2:14 instructs us that "the natural (psuchikos) man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God"; and if we read on, ignoring the chapter divisions which are not in the original text, we find that Corinthians cannot be spoken to "as unto spiritual," because they are "yet carnal." They are "yet carnal," which means the Corinthian Christians should be able to receive the things of the Spirit of God, but they cannot because they are yet under the influence of the flesh - the natural man was ruling in their lives. Earthly wisdom, strife, division, misuse of the gifts, sexual perversion, are some of the things that prevailed among these Christians; and Paul likens them to the children of Israel who, through their murmuring and complaining about God's Way for their life, were overthrown in the wilderness; they could not face the giants of the land of promise. Remember, God's Way is always the way of the Cross, the way of self-denial.

Most of us do not see ourselves among these Corinthian Christians, we see ourselves as the more mature Ephesians who can receive the deepest things of the Spirit of God; and it is probably true that much of the time we can, by God's grace, receive the deep things of the Spirit of God. But let us never think that we do not allow our natural man to govern our lives in the way the Corinthians did: all of us at times allow our natural man to govern our lives, all of us at times are "yet carnal." If we find that hard to believe, let us apply the following test to our lives. Let us read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, which is quoted below; and beside the Word "love," let us put our own name. For most of us the very first line will reveal that we are "yet carnal."

LOVE (my name) is very patient, very kind.
LOVE (my name) knows no jealousy;
LOVE (my name) makes no parade, gives itself no airs, is never rude, never selfish, never irritated, never resentful;
LOVE (my name) is never glad when others go wrong,
LOVE (my name) is gladdened by goodness, always slow to expose, always eager to believe the best, always hopeful, always patient.
LOVE (my name) never fails.

When we read this wonderful passage of Scripture in this way, it leaves no doubt that all of us at times are "yet carnal"; we all at times allow the natural man to govern our lives. Paul knew how strong the natural man was; consequently, when he came to the Corinthians, he was determined not to know anything among them "save Jesus Christ, and Him Crucified." The Way of the Cross of Christ was the answer for Paul, and for the Corinthians, and it is the answer for us!

Some of us who have walked in the Lord for many years find it hard to admit that our natural man still governs us in certain areas. But if we are to be among those who overcome that which is antichrist, we must not allow the natural man to govern our lives. We must heed the same words God spoke to Abraham: "Do not let" the natural man, in any form it may take, govern your life; otherwise we may find ourselves like Saul and his army, we may be unable to meet the challenge of this uncircumcised Philistine.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 52 - "Occupy the Land")

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