Now the natural man doesn’t receive the things of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to him, and he can’t know them, because they are spiritually discerned.1 Corinthians 2:14
The context of Paul’s discussion to the Corinthian believers establishes that the apostles had received information from God’s Spirit that was not available to the Jewish leaders. The Scribes and the political leaders were blinded in a sense from receiving the truth of the work of Messiah in establishing the Kingdom of God.
But we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the wisdom that has been hidden, which God foreordained before the worlds to our glory, which none of the rulers of this world has known. For had they known it, they wouldn’t have crucified the Lord of glory.1 Corinthians 2:7-8
The “rulers of the world” here refers to the Jewish scribes and political leaders. They were the “natural” men who had not received the understanding of the kingdom from God’s Spirit; if they had, Paul argues, they would not have crucified their Messiah.
This distinction illustrates the division that occurs due to the cleansing and enlightening work of the Spirit among believers. As we strive to remain distinct from the world around us and to maintain purity based on the instruction, or torah, of God, we begin a journey of increasing discernment to the things of God. The very goal of yielding more and more to God’s Spirit causes a natural and understandable division between the “natural man” and those who are being instructed in the ways of God.
This results in the believer being “set apart” from the rest of the world. This is why believers look at the world around them in ways that differ from those who are relying on their own knowledge and understanding. We have a spiritual resource and perspective that relies not only on conventional wisdom, but on the sure foundation of the heritage of our spiritual forebears.
As we continue to grow and to remain receptive to God’s Spirit, we can be led to fulfill God’s purpose in every generation. This is how God has designed his kingdom to continue to grow throughout eternity.
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