The Battleground Is Between Two Men: "the natural man" and "he that is Spiritual"
Now we bring in the Other Man, and what is the Other Man saying about this? God back to John 5 where He says: "The Son can do nothing out from Himself" - the Son of God can do nothing out from Himself. And this great servant Paul, who wrote the Corinthians letter, said: "Of mine own self, I can do nothing; when I am weak, then I am strong; I glory in my weakness that the power of God, Christ, may encamp upon me."
The strength of the power of this old creation, this old humanity, is utterly undercut in the New Humanity. And, whether you have reached it yet or not, if the Spirit of Go gets hold of you - and you want Him to, perhaps you pray that He will - but let me tell you, you are in for something; if He really gets hold of you, the day is coming when you will feel utterly helpless in yourself. You are at the end of all your ability for anything in yourself, and you will come to the place where you will say: "Lord, if you don't ..., this is the end." All this power idea for which the first Adam made his bid to be as God, powerful in himself - all that has been undercut in the New Man, "Christ crucified."
Power? dear friends, keep the positive in view that the power be of God. Unto these Corinthians, the apostle states: "I was amongst you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling." Why? He answers the why - "that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."
The Way The Old Humanity Does It: A Realm That is Not Allowed
Wisdom is another great word in this second chapter; it speaks of the wisdom of this world, the wisdom of men, (and that quest for wisdom, wisdom and their philosophers, that was almost lust with the Greeks and with the Corinthians). "Wisdom" is "the power to judge, to discriminate, to determine, and to decide"; but the wisdom in their procedure was of themselves in Corinth. Their wisdom was their own and the wisdom of this world.
There is something here that I confess I do not understand, something beyond me. To this Corinthian assembly, the apostle comes down on one of the other points of this carry-over. If any of you have a matter, do not ask a worldly man with worldly wisdom to decide your affair; that is the way the old humanity does it. Now you in Corinth ought as an assembly in the New Humanity in Christ to have an ability that this world has not got in the matter of wisdom and judgment. And here is the thing that I do not understand; it is this phrase: "Do you not know that we shall judge angels?" Have you thought about that? Oh, I thought they were superior beings to ourselves; obeying God in everything, but the time is coming, the apostle says, "when we shall sit in judgment upon angels." We shall judge angels, and he uses that here to show that there is Another Kind of Wisdom altogether from the wisdom of the best in the old humanity - Wisdom he says which is not "of this world", for in Christ He "is made unto us" the Wisdom of God.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Wisdom and understanding, and, therefore, the spiritual man ought to have the power of judgment, discrimination, discernment, and understanding that even a magistrate in this world has not got. Yes, this humanity in the NEW MAN is very different! However, the Corinthians brought in this old humanity, their worldly wisdom, for their driving force was of their own souls in Corinth. It was soul force, and that is the principle of this world. Soul force - that is something to dwell upon. Soul force - have we not in this last part of the age seen what that can do?! Yes, we have seen it extended to literally terrible, frightening proportions, soul force in the nations. That soul force is with us all, but I am not going to start on soul and spirit. I am beginning to feel that there is a little to much being said about that. There was a time when it had a real point, it has that today; but it has become a subject, a fascinating subject, and we want to be very careful not to be taken up with subjects. But here is the fact that at Corinth, the driving force was soul force; it was not the force of the Spirit. These people were clever people, they were intellectual people, they were efficient people; but it was in a realm that is not allowed.
Do not make too much of human intellectualism. I think one of the most deadening things today is theology as such; I think that is where Christendom has gone astray, intellectualism in the realm of Divine things. The power of the brain has made n awful mess in Christendom. Yes, they were intellectual with the philosophy of the Greeks. They were clever, they were efficient; but this letter is saying, that is out - that kind of wisdom is not allowed in here. There is Another kind of Knowledge here, and how utter the apostle is in this matter when he says: "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them, they are spiritually discerned" by the spiritual; that is the spiritual man - the man of the Spirit. And he says: "As it is written eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him."
(continued with # 6