1 Corinthians 2:14-16 (ESV)
14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
What difference does having the Spirit of God in our lives make? To some, the presence of the Spirit should be a source for powerful and spectacular gifts. To others, the presence of the Spirit of God is a truth, but not one that makes a real difference in their day-to-day lives. As chapter 2 of this letter comes to a close, Paul shows us that God’s Spirit is very important to our lives, and he does so without focusing on the manifestation of some sort of spiritual power or supernatural giftedness.
Earlier in the chapter, Paul helped us to understand the Spirit of God by asking, “For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him;” and, Paul went on to say, “So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Cor 2:11). Thus, as Paul talks about the Spirit of God, he points us to the fact that God’s Spirit is how we can really know our Lord’s mind, as the Spirit of a person is the only one who truly knows the inner thoughts of that person.
Take that thought into the final verses above, and you will see something spectacular. Christians have the Spirit of God. We are connected to the person of God in a very direct, very real way. We, unlike the lost world, actually have access to the mind of our God. We are too finite to ever grasp all of who God is; but we certainly must not assume that knowing God is an impossibility for God’s children. With God’s word and God’s Spirit, we have the ability to understand what God is like, what God demands, and what will please him. We can know Gods standards for life and godliness and ethics in all areas of life.
One caveat here is to remember that God’s primary way of revealing himself to his people is the holy Scripture. God is not going to reveal to us his mind in a way that ever contradicts the word of God. However, only those who have access to the Spirit of God will be able to read God’s word and see the sweet truth it communicates. This is not because the Bible is impossible to interpret, but because the natural mind of man will reject the perfect standards of God. We see an example of natural man every time we see somebody look at the Bible and say that they don’t think God would do things that way.
What does this mean for us today? Christians, recognize that the gift of God’s Holy Spirit is an even bigger gift than you have ever considered. God has allowed you and me to know his mind. Without the Spirit, we cannot know God. With the Spirit ,we can understand our Lord’s ways, at least to the extent that our finitude will allow.
Also realize that those who have not received God’s grace, and thus who have not received his Spirit, do not have access to the mind of Christ. They will distort and reject God’s word, because their access to wisdom is merely their own and not that of God. Let this lead you to share a simple and clear gospel for the glory of God, and do not let the criticism of those who reject that gospel get you down. Press on in simple evangelism, knowing that when God enlightens the minds of the lost, they will understand the truths of Scripture and respond rightly.