The Great Transition From One Humanity To Another # 13
The Way The Old Humanity Does It: A Ream Not Allowed, continued -
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 an 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 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."
I suppose you at once would think that that must be after this life - what He has prepared for us afterwards. Oh, I do not believe that; I believe that begins now. It is for us now. The things that the eye, the natural eye, the old human eye, have never seen and never can see, the things of the Spirit that have never entered into the natural heart, the old humanity heart, "God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit": hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit." You are standing in the good of that - the open heaven, the Anointing Spirit, and God revealing His Son in us; and in so doing He is devastating us, but He is also opening anew vista entirely of possibilities, of wonder. It is like that all the time in our going on. Can you say that is going on in you? Yes, I am seeing in my heart more and more of His Son; and seeing His Son is undoing a lot of my own conceptions and my ideas and my valuations. It is just making them shrivel up; I see Him to be an entirely New Conception, and in Him I have a new conception of the Church -
The Church Is A Person Expressed In Mankind
I must reiterate that the Church is not a thing; it is not an institution; it is not a denomination, nor is it all denominations put together. It is not anything like that. The Church is a Person expressed in mankind, expressed in human life. The apostles never went anywhere with the preconceived idea: "We will have a church here; we will set up a church here; we will form a church here." No, they went and preached Jesus Christ, and when people saw God they began to see Jesus Christ, He became the Cohesive Power drawing together, and if they were really on that ground, what did they meet? They met Jesus Christ. They met Jesus Christ - that is the Church, and there is no other Church in the New Testament.
Well, it comes back to this - the natural man cannot see and is debarred from the things of the Spirit, "but he that is spiritual judgeth all things." He that is spiritual has this New spiritual capacity; and it is, as this letter teaches, the increase of that spiritual capacity, of spiritual measure, which is the thing that is the ground of appeal to these people in Corinth. Paul says: "While you talk 'as men,' while you behave 'as men,' are you not babes?" And as in Corinth, so today, we are to recognize that though that natural man should be the greatest brain that has ever been produced - compassing all the bodies celestial and terrestrial, this 'nuclear age' man developed to the dimensions of humanity today - though he be a man like that, he cannot know, he cannot see, the things of the Spirit of God. There is a limit on the natural man. That is how it is, but there is a world, a realm, open to the spiritual man of the New Humanity which is beyond anything else of which the old humanity is capable.
Corinthian Questions: The Enunciation of A Principle
Now from that point, we begin on these things about which the Corinthians wrote to Paul. At sometime they sent a letter to him with a whole list of questions, and I am not going to try to answer them all; but I want you to note one thing - how did Paul really answer all of those questions? He did answer them, and while he said some things about some of these matters, giving advice and discussing the thing with them, he did not answer them in the form of something that you could put into a book as a book of regulations, as a book of laws. He did not just write a blue print to answer,for example: "Should a woman who has become a Christian and has a non-Christian husband, leave him?" Or the other way: "Should a man who has become a Christian and his wife has not accepted the Lord, should he leave her?" "Should a slave who has become a Christian, give up his position as a slave and try to be free?" "Should we refuse to eat meat that has been sold in a market, but previously offered to an idol?"
There are a lot of questions like that in the letter, and evidently there had been one question about what is today called "charismatic," "spiritual gifts." Paul has some things to say about this, but do you feel that he is conclusive in the things that he says? I do not think so. Paul never intended that here, and he never intended to be another Moses writing ten commandments over against ten questions. He had a far better way of answering them than that, if only they would recognize it. In all these things, what was his real way of approach and answer? - the enunciation of a principle. If only you can get hold of the principle, you have got the answers. Please get this, whatever you forget, please get a hold of this: the answer to it all is a principle.
Now I am coming down to that question of gifts, tongues, and so on. It was a problem, a question, at Corinth. Paul had been asked something about it, and so he uses a part of his letter and says: "Now concerning the spirituals ..." He says some things about tongues, apparently quite a bit about tongues; but as far as I can see he does not finally answer the question on tongues. However, he does enunciate a principle about it and all the gifts, and he answers it in this way, this is the effect of it, this is really the answer: on the one hand, none of these things - none of the gifts of God, are ends in themselves. If you draw a circle around either one of them or all of them and say - this is the "know-all and the end-all," you are going to come to an impasse, sooner or later. You are going to find that you are held up, and your spiritual maturity is arrested.
Brethren, however supernatural and precious it might be, beware of an experience becoming the beginning and the end. None of these things are ends in themselves, and the apostle says about this particular thing, and about gifts as a whole as he deals with them, that this is the principle concerning them - ARE THEY LEADING TO A GREATER MEASURE OF CHRIST?
(continued with # 14)