Natural Foolishness

Neil Girrard

Paul wrote, “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

Many have tried to wriggle away from the plain meaning of this text by concocting a theology that says, in effect, “Everyone who has accepted Christ has His Spirit.” But those who subscribe to this theology do not exhibit the characteristics that confirm the presence of the Holy Spirit (the fruit of the Spirit) and these demonstrate no evidence that they submit to the personal Lordship and Headship of Christ (either personally or corporately).

What we discover, when we do submit to the Holy Spirit, is that the things men value are most often the very thing that conflicts most with the will of God in a person’s life.

One example is the lengths to which men go to understand the Scriptures through scholarly study of the original language. Such study indeed has merit but if one does not submit one’s studies to the Person and agenda of the Holy Spirit (note well that this requires more than a perfunctory prayer before, after or during one’s studies or “devotions” – and note equally well that the Holy Spirit is under no obligation to honor the course schedule and agenda of any seminary or Bible school class!), one can acquire a lot of Bible knowledge and have absolutely nothing of the Spirit of God (who is also called the Spirit of truth).

Perhaps the greatest hindrance to true spiritual knowledge is naturally attained Bible knowledge. The opinionated Bible student, supremely confident that his own opinions are right and true, will readily and uniformly dismiss genuine spiritual truth because it conflicts with his own preconceived opinions and beliefs. This persistent misplaced faith on a tenet (that did not come from the Spirit of truth but from some other source – either from men or demons) is an open invitation to further deception and control by the demonic forces who seek to kill the true believer.

There is no possibility of our accurately and rightly dividing the truth of any issue without following and obeying the Spirit of truth. Men have erred because, in their natural resources, they define and limit the things of God to definitions and decrees they can grasp and readily wield control of. This is sure evidence that this is not Christ’s kingdom! If the natural man can know some group’s “truth,” that “truth” did not come from God.

The Spirit of truth (also known as the Spirit of holiness and the Spirit of liberty) cannot be codified. Truth, holiness and liberty cannot be condensed and contained in any document or books of law or philosophy. He is a Spirit – the very Spirit of God.

Those who use their own natural abilities to wrangle and wrest the Scriptures into something they can understand and follow in their own abilities can only hope to distort the Scriptures, adding something to or taking something away from the whole counsel of God. Those who fail to see that in reality they rely on their own natural abilities (and not the Spirit of God) to perceive and perpetuate their theology are deceived and do not yet know which kingdom to which they truly belong.

Let he who has ears hear.

1 Corinthians 2:14
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