The Spiritual Basis of the Christian Life (continued)
Natural Versus Spiritual
The natural man is always trying to get things on to a natural basis. He must bring everything on to the basis of natural reason. He must be able to reason the thing through, to comprehend, to compass the thing with his reason. A very great deal of Christianity is just man taking hold of the Bible, of Christian truth, Christian doctrine, Christian things, and interpreting and applying by natural reason. And the Word of God is as distinct as anything can be; the door is closed to that, the door is closed. God has closed the door. You are not going to get anything through by the power of your reason, however big it is - not a bit!
Look at our friend, Nicodemus. He stands for all time as an example. "How can a man ..." How can these things be?" A good man, a clever man, an intellectual man, a religious man, but outside the door. The door is absolutely closed. Now, you can apply that everywhere. Man may be most devout, most devoted, most religious; he may be a red-hot fundamentalist, a champion of Christian doctrine; and yet it may all be in the realm of his own intellectual power and grip. There is a world that is closed to him, of which he knows little or nothing. He has 'heard a voice', but he 'knows not.' He has heard the sound, and taken the sound as the sum: but there is a mystery that is still outside of his kingdom; and the result of this is that there may be good, yes, devoted, earnest, sincere people, who, living in that realm in Christian things, cannot understand spiritual people, cannot understand the things of the Spirit at all. Spiritual things will always be a mystery, an enigma, to the natural mind.
"Remember Jesus Christ". The difference between Jesus and the Jewish leaders, in their radical and almost fanatical devotion to religion, was not a difference of religion at all. It was not that He was more religious than they. It was the difference between the spiritual and the natural in religion. To them He was an enigma, He was a mystery - and, of course, He was all wrong. He could not be right, for, you see, natural reasoning says this and that; but how off the mark they were. Now do you get the point? It is an exceedingly important one. A real walk with God in the Spirit, while, of course, never contradicting Scripture, but always being consistent with the Word of God, is very often a lonely thing among Christians. The tragedy is that it should not be so, but it is very often like that. What then is spirituality? It is first of all a fundamental change in the being, in the entity, in the person: that is spirituality. After that, it has many outworkings.
(continued with # 61 - (The Sovereignty of the Spirit)