Wednesday, 16 April 2014
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 2:12
Paul just spoke of the Spirit of God being the only One who can truly know the things of God. Now he builds upon this, stating that “we have received.” In the original sense, he is surely writing about himself and the other apostles as they received instruction concerning the work of God in Christ (the very subject he has been speaking about). In other words, the reception of the things of God was limited to the apostles who have then given us what they received. Through them, this was revealed to those who accepted the message and believed. When faith is exercised in the true gospel, the believer is then sealed with “the Spirit who is from God;” the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13, 14).
Therefore, Paul’s “we” is ultimately referring to all true believers. What we receive “is not the spirit of the world.” In this, he is probably thinking on two separate lines. The first is the Jew who was looking at the Scriptures from a worldly, kingly sense. Their idea of a Messiah was one who would deliver them from their enemies and set up a kingdom over the world in which they would be the head of the nations. They couldn’t understand that “all are bound under sin” and therefore sin is the greatest enemy. Before the Messiah could reign as King, He had to suffer as the Servant.
The second line Paul is probably speaking of is the wisdom and philosophy of the Greek which looked for a rational, natural explanation for all things. Their knowledge excluded the thought of sin needing to be dealt with by God personally. Such knowledge could never understand the deep things of God which necessitated His divine intervention to reconcile us to Him. Along with the wisdom of the Greek was certainly the inclusion of all of the gentile systems which always look to self and to works for reconciliation with God. In all, the “spirit of the world” is at enmity with God.
But in His grace, God provides His Spirit to those who believe “that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” Again, as noted in previous verses, this is not speaking of divine inspiration of new things and prophetic utterances which people claim all the time in churches today. It is speaking about those things that were revealed through the apostles and given to us in Scripture. It is the word of God which tells of Jesus. Though lacking the sensation of charismatic churches, it is the Bible and only the Bible by which we are given insights into what God has done, is doing, and will do in the world. The apostles received the word directly from God; we receive the word directly from the Bible.
Life application: Ever since the completion of the Bible, people have continued to proclaim prophecies and claim that they have had dreams and visions concerning divine revelation from God. And yet, in those 2000 years, none of them have added anything of value to the truth of the Bible. Instead, they have been diversions away from biblical truth. Don’t get swept up in the vain imaginings of others, but hold fast to what God has revealed. What more does He need to say?
Lord, I trust in Your word alone to be my source of knowledge concerning You in all spiritual matters. Thank You for the Holy Bible. Amen.