The Natural Man Receiveth Not the Things of the Spirit" (continued)
Most of us do not see ourselves among these Corinthian Christians, we see ourselves as the more mature Ephesians who can receive the deepest things of the Spirit of God; and it is probably true that much of the time we can, by God's grace, receive the deep things of the Spirit of God. But let us never think that we do not allow our natural man to govern our lives in the way the Corinthians did: all of us at times allow our natural man to govern our lives, all of us at times are "yet carnal." If we find that hard to believe, let us apply the following test to our lives. Let us read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, which is quoted below; and beside the word "love," let us put our own name. For most of us the very first line will reveal that we are "yet carnal."
LOVE (my name) is very patient, very kind.
LOVE (my name) knows no jealousy;
LOVE (my name) makes no parade, gives itself no airs, is never rude, never selfish, never irritated, never resentful;
LOVE (my name) is gladdened by goodness, always slow to expose, always eager to believe the best, always hopeful, always patient.
LOVE (my name) never fails.
When we read this wonderful passage of Scripture in this way, it leaves no doubt that all of us at times are "yet carnal"; we all at times allow the natural man to govern our lives. Paul knew how strong the natural man was; consequently, when he came to the Corinthians, he was determined not to know anything among them "save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." The Way of the Cross of Christ was the answer for Paul, and for the Corinthians, and it is the answer for us!
Some of us who have walked in the Lord for many years find it hard to admit that our natural man still governs us in certain areas. But if we are to be among those who overcome that which is antichrist, we must not allow the natural man to govern our lives. We must heed the same words God spoke to Abraham: "Do not let" the natural man, in any form it may take, govern your life; otherwise we may find ourselves like Saul and his army, we may be unable to meet the challenge of this uncircumcised Philistine.
Occupy the Land
When Saul and his army faced Goliath, the Philistines had reached their greatest strength; and this is because Israel had not heeded God's command to possess the land. They had not fully possessed the land of their inheritance. Over 450 years had passed since Joshua and the children of Israel had entered the land of promise, and God's people still had not possessed their rightful inheritance. Generation after generation had come and gone, and the war with the Philistines continued; and most of this time, the children of God were in bondage to the Philistines and the Canaanites. Joshua 1:11 tells us that God gave "the land" to them in order that they might possess it. This land speaks of the inheritance of God's people, and it is figurative of that which we have in Christ. It is not just speaking of that which we are promised after we die, but it is speaking of that which we have been given in Christ from the instant we are saved by grace.
This is why Israel is told to possess the land, which means they are to occupy the land by driving out the enemy who has built his strongholds upon the inheritance of God's people. Then, as they possess the land, they must occupy each part of the ground taken; this means that they must live in the reality of the inheritance God has given them. So not only was Israel told to possess the land of their inheritance, but they, and the generations to come, must continue to possess, to occupy, the land of their inheritance. They must guard it! They must keep it! They must live in the good of that which has been given them!
(continued with # 47)