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The Source of Wisdom

by Stephen Davey Scripture Reference: 1 Corinthians 2:6–16

It is the distinct privilege of all Christians to have the Holy Spirit indwelling us, giving us greater understanding of God’s Word and spiritual discernment in all matters. This is the source of true wisdom, not the mindset of the unsaved world.

Transcript

When Thomas Edison announced in 1878 that he was working on his lightbulb, a committee of the British Parliament investigated the matter and then said that his invention was “unworthy of the attention of practical or scientific men.”[1] Well, every time you flip on a light switch, you are reminded how wrong Parliament was.

A rhetoric teacher in England wrote on a sixteen‑year‑old’s report card, “a conspicuous lack of success.” The sixteen‑year‑old was Winston Churchill. The University of Bern turned down a Ph.D. dissertation as being “irrelevant and fanciful.” The young doctoral student was Albert Einstein.[2] Imagine missing out on the value of something that unique and that special!

Well, beloved, the unbelieving world considers the gospel irrelevant and fanciful. They have no interest in God’s dissertation on anything.

As we set sail back into the second chapter of 1 Corinthians, we find that too much of the world’s wisdom has infiltrated the church in Corinth. They are beginning to make some wrong evaluations in life. They need a good dose of the wisdom of God.

So, Paul goes on now to further describe this wisdom from God. He begins in verse 6:

Among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away.

This wisdom is not confined to any age in history or to any one ruler. This wisdom is a gift to the “mature.”

But, you might wonder, who are the mature? Does this refer to Christians who have reached a higher level of spiritually, or to older Christians, or to every Christian? Well, there are a number of opinions out there, but I only have time to give you the right one. I believe Paul is referring to every believer. Every Christian is maturing at any age in life; in fact, those who have come to faith in Christ have more insight into spiritual truths than any unbeliever out there.[3]

Paul describes this wisdom in verse 7 as “a secret and hidden wisdom of God … decreed before the ages for our glory.” In other words, this wisdom originated in eternity past, and it is known only because God reveals it. It immediately relates to the gospel plan of redemption, which will one day bring us into our final glory as Christians.

And the world misses this wisdom entirely. It is some strange invention to them, as Paul states in verse 8:

None of the rulers of this age understood this [wisdom], for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

Look at whom the world rejected back then. And do not miss the fact that the world is still rejecting Him to this day.

But Paul writes in verse 10 that, for those of us who believe, God’s wisdom, God’s salvation, God’s redemption, and God’s forgiveness through Jesus have all been “revealed to us through the Spirit [of God].” And it is not just older believers but all believers who have received the Holy Spirit, whom Paul emphasizes in verse 12 is from God Himself.

Paul goes on to write that the Holy Spirit has been given to us so “that we might understand the things freely given to us by God” (verse 12). What has been freely given to us by God? Forgiveness of sin, a clean conscience, purpose in life, peace with God, eternal life in heaven—and more.

How, exactly, does the Spirit reveal these truths to us? I don’t hear any voices out there. And beloved, I am rather disturbed by some who are teaching that you ought to get in a quiet room and get out a piece of paper and listen for God to speak and then write down what He says.

What we Christians need is not for God to tell us something new but for us to get into the Bible and study what God has already said. Paul writes that the inspired Scriptures sufficiently equip us for life by teaching us what to believe, correcting us when we are wrong, showing us how to stand for Christ, and then for training us in how to live for Christ (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

One of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to illuminate our minds to understand the Scriptures. As we diligently study the Bible, the Spirit gives us greater insight into what God has said in His Word.

Have you ever wondered why a verse of Scripture can take on new application even though you have read it before? You can thank the Holy Spirit for that as you open this living Book, which is alive and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12).

In these next few verses, Paul contrasts the “natural person” with the “spiritual person.” The natural person is unsaved—one who does not have the Holy Spirit indwelling him. The natural person’s perspectives and desires are earthbound. Paul describes this in verse 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.

Beloved, keep this in mind when you are talking to unbelievers. Keep it simple. Do not become impatient with their questions. Do not argue with them over something they want to debate. Nobody has ever been argued into the kingdom of God. Just lovingly present the truth to them, and the Holy Spirit will be the one to convict them and convince them.

In contrast to the “natural person,” Paul now speaks of the “spiritual person”—the believer. Here in verse 15, Paul says, “The spiritual person judges all things.” This word “judges” does not give you the right to run around inspecting everybody and passing judgment. The Greek word for “judges” used here is translated “discerning” in verse 14.

In other words, the spiritually minded person is making good judgment calls. You are making judgment calls every day about things that might be legal but ungodly or things that might be good but not best for you as you walk with God.

Paul continues in verse 15, saying that the believer cannot be judged by anyone. This does not mean he cannot be rebuked for sin. Paul means that unbelievers cannot judge believers because they frankly do not understand why we live the way we do.

Now we can learn truth from unbelievers but not spiritual truth. You can be taught geometry and history by brilliant unbelievers, but they cannot teach you how to live wisely. That is why some of the most brilliant people on earth are dismal failures in life. Spiritual truths, godly perspectives are discerned by means of the Spirit working within us, through the wisdom of God’s Word.

Many people tonight can look at a glorious sunset and appreciate its beauty. But the believer can appreciate it on an entirely deeper level—a level that leads him to appreciate the Creator. 

Paul concludes this chapter by quoting Isaiah 40:13: “Who has understood the mind of the Lord?” You might think Paul would respond, “Nobody does!” But instead, he writes in verse 16, “But we have the mind of Christ.” We do!

This does not mean we know everything Jesus knows. Paul is emphasizing that we can understand spiritual truths and spiritual wisdom like our Lord does.[4] Once you became a Christian, you started seeing things from Christ’s viewpoint and from His perspective.[5]

So, let us see the world around us that way—from the Lord’s perspective. Let us be discerning in making judgment calls. Let us submit to the Holy Spirit as we walk with Christ today!


[1] Nick Whigham, “The Life Changing Inventions the Experts Said Were Impossible,” news.com.au, August 1, 2016.

[2] “Don’t Personalise Rejection,” United Christians Broadcasters, ucb.co.uk, August 23, 2019.

[3] W. Harold Mare, “1 Corinthians,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol. 10, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein (Zondervan, 1976), 201.

[4] Ibid., 203.

[5] Leon Morris, The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Eerdmans, 1958), 62.

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Roberta Sauceda says:
I did not receive my weekly printable transcripts today. Are you not doing that anymore?


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