Summary: Paul continues with his answers to solve the problem of a divided church.
When you think about the word “division” you find that is a damaging and devastating problem. Divisiveness leads to anger, fights, divorce, murder, and war. One of the answers to solving this division problem is to see ourselves as God sees us. When God looks at a person, He sees that person on one of three classifications:
The natural man, the spiritual man, or the carnal, worldly man.
Paul talks about each of these in tonight’s passage. Let’s see what he says.
READ 2:14. This is an important verse when it comes to us witnessing to someone to try to win them to the Lord. You might read Scripture to them to try to convince them but we need to remember that if they are not spiritual, then Scripture is foolishness to them. They don’t understand a word you are saying.
Paul begins this 5th answer by talking about the natural person. The person without the Spirit is the natural man. That means that person has natural life. The natural man is a living soul. He’s a living creature but that is all that he is. He is living in the flesh only. He has never progressed to the level of the spiritual. The natural man is the ADAMIC man. That is, the natural man the fallen, depraved, sinful corrupt, aging deteriorating, dying and doomed man. His spirit is dead to God.
So with that being said, Paul says that the natural man doesn’t accept the thing of the Spirit of God. Spiritual things are of little concern to the natural man. Their heart is closed to God. It’s not that you’re not explaining the Scripture correctly. It’s that they simply cannot comprehend the things of God. So the natural man considers the things of God foolishness.
Another thing that needs to be said is that the natural man CANNOT know spiritual things. It’s more than he will not or does not know spiritual things. He CANNOT know them. Why can’t he? Paul says that it’s because the things of God are only spiritually discerned.
READ vv. 15-16. Now Paul talks about the spiritual person. The spiritual person is one in whom the Holy Spirit dwells. A Person becomes spiritual because they have received the Spirit of God and is living under the influence of the Spirit of God. When a person receives Christ as his Savior, Scripture says:
- That he is born again by the Spirit of God.
- That he sets his mind on the things of God, not of the flesh.
- That he is in the Spirit and that the Spirit lives in him.
- That the Spirit imparts life to him.
- That the Spirit quickens, gives life to, his mortal body.
- That he can kill the sinful deeds of his body only by the Spirit.
- That the presence of the Spirit’s leadership in the man’s life proves that he is a child of God.
Three things are said about the spiritual man.
1. The spiritual man judges or discerns all things. The person who believes in Jesus Christ has the Spirit of God within his body converting his body into a holy temple for God’s presence. That person takes on the divine nature of God and becomes a new creature, a new person.
The point is this: the person who is truly spiritual lives under the control of God’s Spirit. So it is the Holy Spirit of God who actually reveals the spiritual things to man. So we need to know if you have been blessed with the spiritual gift of discernment, the ability to discern is not that person’s ability but instead it is the Spirit of God within that person doing the discerning. So there’s no room for super-spirituality in God’s church because all that we have is of God; it is not of us.
2. The natural man doesn’t understand the spiritual man. “Any man” in v. 15 is speaking of the natural man. The natural man has no concern or knowledge of Christ and God so there’s no human way he can understand the spiritual person. Natural man only knows what he experiences and studies and he sees the study of the things that are not of this world as foolishness.
The natural man might argue that a little thought about spiritual things is acceptable, but not the focusing of a person’s whole life.
3. The third thing said about the spiritual man is that the spiritual man has the mind of the Lord. That’s why the believer can discern spiritual things. He has the mind of the Lord. It doesn’t mean that the spiritual man knows all there is to know about Christ, but it means that his mind is focused upon God and the things of God just as the mind of Christ was. The Spirit of God stirs the minds of the genuine believer to spiritual things.