“God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. You don’t find it lying around on the surface. . . . The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along. Who ever knows what you’re thinking and planning except you yourself? The same with God—except that he not only knows what he’s thinking, but he lets us in on it. God offers a full report on the gifts of life and salvation that he is giving us. We don’t have to rely on the world’s guesses and opinions. We didn’t learn this by reading books or going to school; we learned it from God, who taught us person-to-person through Jesus, and we’re passing it on to you in the same firsthand, personal way.
The unspiritual self, just as it is by nature, can’t receive the gifts of God’s Spirit. There’s no capacity for them. They seem like so much silliness. Spirit can be known only by spirit—God’s Spirit and our spirits in open communion. Spiritually alive, we have access to everything God’s Spirit is doing, and can’t be judged by unspiritual critics. Isaiah’s question, “Is there anyone around who knows God’s Spirit, anyone who knows what he is doing?” has been answered: Christ knows, and we have Christ’s Spirit” (1 Cor 2:6-16).
So far in our reflections on Paul’s ministry in Corinth we have discovered that the message corresponds to God-logic, not human wisdom, and the two are often in opposition to one another. In other words, if you’re drinking in deeply of the latest, greatest in human pop-wisdom — often the latest theories of the university curriculum — you may be moving further than away from the “foolishness of God” which is far superior. Second, the people of God, believers who respond to Paul’s gospeling, are God-chosen and God-empowered to active faith in the gospel and a life of following Jesus.
Today’s passage goes a step further in showing that believers are largely at the mercy of God’s Spirit awakening to understand the deeper spiritual realities of faith. The classic term for the Spirit’s work of making spiritual things understandable to largely “unspiritual” people — those Paul might elsewhere call “infants” in the faith — is ILLUMINATION. I will just call it the reality of becoming “God-taught” believers.
Paul says that spiritual wisdom is something “mysterious” and “you don’t find it lying around on the surface.” It comes through the “asking, seeking and knocking” rhythms Jesus endorses in our spiritual life. The treasures and rewards of such spiritual cave exploration, plumbing the “depths of God” and climbing the mountain to reach new spiritual vistas is well worth the effort. Though, it’s a waiting on God kind of effort, asking God to reveal what He longs to and promises to make known to us: “He lets us in on it. God offers a full report on the gifts of life and salvation that he is giving.”
Many have lost this marvelous truth today in the postmodern climate of spiritual guesswork. We have a God who has revealed himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ: “We didn’t learn this by reading books or going to school; we learned it from God, who taught us person-to-person through Jesus.” Of course, again, we’re utterly dependent upon God to awaken our spirit and illuminate these glorious truths. Without God’s work of illumination we cannot understand such things; we have “no capacity for them. They seem like so much silliness.” Today, as we go about our attempts to make the gospel real and relevant to a lost and broken world looking for spiritual answers, we stand on the simple fact that we must first be God-taught. That is, “Spiritually alive, we have access to everything God’s Spirit is doing.”
Many today are like the Pharisees of old who Jesus said these sobering words: “You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me!And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want” (John 5:38-40). They knew the answers, heard all the sermons, went to camp two-dozen times, walked the aisle and said the prayer, and yet, after all of that religious activity, they were not yet “God-taught.”
But to those of us who have not only gone through the external rituals and religious rites, but who have also received the Spirit of illumination from the Father through Jesus, we relish the way Isaiah’s question is now answered:
“Is there anyone around who knows God’s Spirit, anyone who knows what he is doing?” has been answered: Christ knows, and we have Christ’s Spirit” (1 Cor 2:6-16).
We are God-taught sons and daughter of God.