Saturday, February 04, 2017

The "spiritual" Christian

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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Corinthians 2:1-16

TO CHEW ON: “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” 1 Corinthians 1:12.

My Bible’s study notes suggest three categories when it comes to how people understand and respond to the gospel (1 Corinthians 2:14-3:4):
1. The Natural Man (1 Corinthians 2:14) is unregenerate and devoid of the Spirit, has no appreciation for the gospel.
2. The Spiritual Man (1 Corinthians 2:15,16)  is regenerate and possessing spiritual maturity as seen in freedom from sectarian strife (1 Corinthians 3:3,4).
3. The Carnal Man
(1 Corinthians 3:1)  is regenerate but living much like an unregenerate, is a believer with childish ways as seen in a jealous and sectarian spirit” - Donald Pickerill, study notes on 1 Corinthians,  New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1582.

I want to be the "spiritual man" (woman) don’t you? Paul names some characteristics of this spiritual person in our reading.

  • The spiritual man/woman does not live by the wisdom of this age (1 Corinthians 1:6).
In our day, as in Paul’s, we can imagine a list of values inherent in such wisdom would include worldly beauty, wealth, and power. Those are not our highest values.
  • The spiritual person is privy to a “mystery” (1 Corinthians 2:7).
“'Mystery' in the NT does not mean mysterious or difficult to understand but denotes a truth hidden in God’s mind until He chooses to disclose it … Believers live by a secret, the essence of which is Christ and His glorious purposes for the world” - Pickerill, Op. Cit. (emphasis added). 
  • Spiritual people get spiritual wisdom, discover and understand this “mystery” through the Holy Spirit - 1 Corinthians 2:10-13.
  • Spiritual people “judge” or evaluate “all things” through this spiritual lens - 1 Corinthians 2:15.

When I put myself into the mindset of the spiritual man/woman, so much of what I see in Jesus’ life makes sense. It’s His stance when He withstands Satan’s temptation (Matthew 4:1-11). His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5,6,7) illustrates the values, motivations, and actions of the spiritual person. Later writers like Paul catch its essence in passages like 1 Corinthians 13.

And the beauty of it is that living in this spiritual man / woman way does not have to be a stressful, effortful thing. For if we believe the gospel and have invited Jesus into our lives, we are connected to Him and this spiritual wisdom flows in an organic way; His life flows into us as sap flows from the vine to the branch - John 15:1-8,26.

Dear Father, help me to be a "spiritual" woman by Paul's definition here, living by Your values, sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s life in me, able to discern and live with good judgment. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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