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Saturday, December 14, 2013

What It Means to be Filled with the Holy Spirit # 45

"The Natural Man Receiveth Not the Things of the Spirit of God"

Now we have been tracing the Philistines throughout the Word of God in order to find out how Goliath, who represents that which is antichrist, was able to challenge Saul and the armies of Israel. In describing Goliath, the Holy Spirit carefully marked him with the number 666 (1 Samuel 17:4-7); and the Holy Spirit did this so that we would realize that this uncircumcised giant speaks of that which is antichrist. How did Goliath become so strong? Saul and his army were supposed to protect God's people, they were supposed to represent the strength and authority of God both to the world and to the devil. So why did Saul and his army find themselves unable to meet the challenge of this uncircumcised giant?

Well we have seen that that which is antichrist gains its strength, becomes stronger and stronger, when God's people either individually or corporately give place to the devil by allowing their natural man to control their lives. This is not speaking of an occasional giving in to the natural man, but it is speaking of our allowing, consciously or unconsciously, that which is the normal behavior of our natural man to control our lives. It is essential that we come to realize the difference between that which is of our natural man, and that which is of the Spirit, because 1 Corinthians 2:14 states: "But the natural man (psuchikos) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God ..."

In the Greek, the word "natural" is "psuchikos"; and as it is used in the Scripture, it is speaking of "the human natural powers." You know, brethren, we are always making the statement that  the enemy knows the weaknesses of our natural man, we have made that statement in this article. But what we should realize is that the enemy knows the strength of our natural man, and he knows exactly how to seduce this strength for his own use. Our natural man is very strong and it can only be overcome through the work of the Cross in our lives. We all have that in our natural man which is very strong, and it is usually part of our normal behavior and disposition. This is why we so easily allow the natural man to control our lives, for the natural man jut does what is natural. The natural man is made up of that which is characteristic of our human nature; and these characteristics are usually a mixture of good and evil. Hence, these characteristics of the natural man are usually expressed in the way we habitually conduct our lives.

So 1 Corinthians 2:14 instructs us that "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God"; and if we read on, ignoring the chapter divisions which are not in the original text, we find that the Corinthians cannot be spoken to "as unto spiritual," because they are "yet carnal." They are "yet carnal," which means the Corinthian Christians should be able to receive the things of the Spirit of God, but they cannot because they are yet under the influence of the flesh - the natural man was ruling in their lives. Earthly wisdom, strife, division, misuse of the gifts, sexual perversion, are some of the things that prevailed among these Christians; and Paul likens them to the children of Israel who, through their murmuring and complaining about God's Way for their life, were overthrown in the wilderness; they could not face the giants of the land of promise. Remember, God's Way is always the way of the Cross, the way of self-denial.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 46)

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