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Friday, September 17, 2021

Doing the Impossible

Most Christians I know tend to gloss over this verse.
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. (1 Cor 2:14)
Notice there are two negatives in there. One is "does not accept" and the other is "not able to understand." That is, "does not" and "cannot." Or "unwilling and unable." The human being in his natural state -- unsaved -- does not have the required faculties to accept or understand the things of the Spirit. It doesn't get any clearer than that. And it is bad news for the believer intent on winning converts.

Paul makes it abundantly clear in his letter to the church at Corinth that it's much harder to believe than not to. "The word of the cross," he writes, "is folly to those who are perishing." (1 Cor 1:18). But that's the story we're bringing, right? "We preach Christ crucified," he says, "a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles." (1 Cor 1:23). That's the gospel, and it is either a problem or idiocy ... or both. In fact, Paul said, "I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." (1 Cor 2:2). No fancy words, no clever speech, ( 1 Cor 2:4), nothing that we would ordinarily expect from a person bringing the gospel to the unsaved. He didn't bring it. Why? "So that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God." (1 Cor 2:5)

That's where we turn the corner. That's where things change. Yes, it is humanly impossible for the unsaved to figure it out. Yes, it is an offense to the unsaved to hear the good news. Yes, we lack the abilities to counter these problems. So what is the solution? The power of God (1 Cor 2:5). The Spirit of God (1 Cor 2:12). The mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16). Of course, we don't get to impart any of that. That's not our job or our ability. We can plant and we can water, but it's God who produces results (1 Cor 3:6). So God asks of us the impossible -- take His good news to people who cannot receive it -- and He takes care of the results. Which means we cannot fail if what we aim to do is what He asks and we leave the outcome in His hands. We get to do the impossible and then get rewarded for it (1 Cor 3:14). Win-win!

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