1Co 2:14-16 “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
It was important to Paul that we understand the natural man’s inability to grasp spiritual things. The natural man does not consider the things of the Spirit of God and then reject them: he does not receive the things of the Spirit to begin with. The word translated as “not” here is defined as the “absolutely negative adverb (see Strong’s).” Not even one little particle of spiritual understanding belongs to the natural man.
Most of us have had the experience of someone asking why we did not reply to an email or invitation and realize that we did not reply because we did not receive it. It is entirely possible that, had we received it, it might have appeared as foolishness unto us. Since we did not receive it to begin with, it is impossible for us to know what was said or how we would have reacted. The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit, neither (taken from the same “absolutely negative” root as the word not) can he know them.
Until it pleases God through the Holy Spirit to make us spiritual, we have no capacity to understand spiritual things: spiritual things are understood by the spirit. Once God has been pleased to make us spiritual, then we can judge both natural and spiritual things. We are now receiving the things of the Spirit of God, being taught by Him to know and understand the mighty power of God.
After we begin to receive the things of the Spirit, we learn that being judged foolish by others is a small matter. Until and unless God causes them to be spiritual they neither receive the things that we do; they do not know the things that we do; seeing the things that we do seems foolish to them. By God’s grace we come to the understanding that we cannot even judge ourselves by natural standards.
The most amazing part of this is the reason he that is spiritual can judge all things, yet be judged of no man including himself. It is not because we have become wise in our conceits. Certainly, God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts. We cannot begin to comprehend His will and purpose in the carnal mind that might teach Him anything. Our ability to receive, understand, and determine what the Lord would have us do is the direct result of being given the mind of Christ.
It is with the mind of Christ that we receive the things of the Spirit of God. It is with the mind of Christ that we know them and do them. Our ability to make determination (judgment) concerning the things around us is not our judgment, but His. If we had the ability to truly judge ourselves, we would have to confess that we are not worthy of the least of God’s blessings. By the mind of Christ, we realize that we are recipients of an everlasting love; heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus!
May we always remember what we are by nature so that we may be properly thankful for who we are by His grace!