The Great Divide - RR274C5a
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|This transcript is unedited. It was:|
|Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library|
|Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules|
|Posted by with permission.|
Let us worship God. Oh Lord open Thou my lips and my mouth shall show forth Thy praise. For Thou desireth not sacrifice else would I give it. Thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are broken and a contrite heart. Let us pray.
Our Father we come to Thee knowing how great Thou art and how great is our need of Thee. We pray our Father in these troubled times that Thy hand may be upon Thy people to protect us from the world. To protect us from ungodliness in high places and unbelief in Thy church. Teach us by thy spirit, thy word. That we may grow in grace and in understanding and be more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. Bless us this morning. Thou knowest our needs better than we do ourselves. Minister to our needs by Thy sovereign grace and mercy. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Our scripture lesson is First Corinthians 2:6-16. Our subject: The Great Divide. First Corinthians 2:6-16.
“Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.”
As we go through The book of Corinthians or the letter to the Corinthians section by section we see that Paul is building up his tremendous argument. There is a strict line of division between the people of Christ and the world, between the fallen humanity and the redeemed humanity in Christ. Paul in rejecting the humanistic intellectualism of a fallen world, in particular that of the Jews and the Greeks which were the prevailing groups intellectually then, by no means rejects wisdom nor philosophical thought. [00:05:26]
He rejects that which is not foundeth upon Jesus Christ...
He rejects that which is not foundeth upon Jesus Christ. The distinction he makes very emphatically is that each of the two humanities has its own basic presuppositions and ways of thinking. The humanity of the fallen Adam and the humanities born again in Jesus Christ. The world of the first Adam is the world of would be autonomous man who sees himself as his own God and law maker. That word autonomous is very important for us to know and to remember it comes from the Greek and it is made up of two words: ‘auto’ = self and ‘nomos’ = law. And the contrasting word is theonomous, God’s law. There are two positions that man can follow. Autonomy, I am my own god and law in terms of Genesis 3:6, the temptation to man to which he fell, or theonomous. Lo I come in the volume of the book it is written of me, to do Thy will oh God. That is a theonomous, a Christ centered man. The world of the last Adam, Jesus Christ, is the realm of men who think Gods thoughts after Him. Theirs is the true wisdom, not the arrogant assumptions of fallen men. In verse eight Paul insists that we, the faithful apostles, speak wisdom among them that are perfect. And the word perfect means mature, it’s changed its meaning in English. In the Constitution the preamble reads: “We the people of the United States in order to form a more perfect union.” Doesn’t mean flawless but more mature union. Well that’s the same sense that the word used to have and has in the King James. [00:08:34]
Perfect means mature...
Perfect means mature. And Paul in Ephesians 4:14 speaks of children in the faith who are easily led astray by men. The wise of this world and it’s leading men come to nothing with all their vaulted wisdom, Paul says. What we speak is a mystery to fallen men at best. It is to them a hidden wisdom which God ordains before the world to our glory. This mystery, this hidden revelation, is God’s wisdom which only His people, His redeemed people, can know. Because for the unregenerate the basic premise is in terms of Genesis 3:5, their autonomy. Being their own god and law. And this precludes the possibility of them knowing God’s truth unless the spirit of God works in them. There can be no true word, no true wisdom except that established by sovereign and autonomous man for the unregenerate. Any word from God is seen by fallen man as a false word. In Hebrews 4:13 we are told: “Neither is any creature which is not manifest in his sight but all things are naked and open unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” This autonomous man will not accept. For him all things in the universe must be potentially naked and open to his sight rather than he being naked and open to God. The wisdom of God none of the leaders of this fallen humanity have known. For as Paul says in verse eight: had they known it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. The Lord of glory was a title normally applied to God the Father but here to Christ. Our Lord said of them, the men who were crucifying Him, that is the soldiers, they know not what they do. Had they known they would have seen their sin and repented. [00:11:42]
Wisdom was a concern to the Corinthian church...
Wisdom was a concern to the Corinthian church. But it was the wisdom of man! Philosophical wisdom. The wisdom of Plato and Aristotle and Plotinus and others. And as a result they were rather disappointed in Paul. They wanted because they were indeed a superior people, profound philosophical truths expounded out of Greek philosophy and Roman wisdom, clearly Paul’s concern with wisdom as with everything else in this letter, is a response to a serious problem in the Corinthian church. Inverses nine and ten we have a citation from Isaiah 69:4 and 65:17. “The Christian by God’s grace knows the hidden things from God which fallen man cannot see”. In verse eleven Paul says: “That a man knows his own being as no other man can, similarly only the Spirit of God can know the things of God.” The Gnostics used this text to support their claim to a hidden knowledge. This was however a falsification of this text because their hidden wisdom was a notion of metaphysical truths whereas the line of division among men made by Paul is moral nor metaphysical. Moral, not metaphysical. Are you faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ and to His inscriptured law-word? Or are you following metaphysical speculation. [00:14:17]
The hidden things Paul says is not esoteric metaphysics but they’re the clarity which only a moral regeneration makes possible. God’s regeneration is not of strange eons and involved worlds but of the savior for fallen mankind. Because we have received the spirit of God by his sovereign grace that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Because of our regeneration we can understand things taught by the Holy Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. This fallen man cannot do because he rejects the noetic effect of sin, the noetic effect of sin. That’s an old, old term now forgotten. What does it mean? It means that what you know depends on your moral character. So that the unregenerate who are not redeemed in Jesus Christ who are not obedient to Him cannot know the hidden things of God. You can see why the word noetic has dropped out of use in our time. Because our learned men, our university scholars, do not want to say that my morality can affect my character, my knowledge. So they’ve dropped the word. They want nothing to do with it. The fallen man makes a separation between knowledge and morality because he rejects the idea that moral dereliction creates a radical distortion of knowledge. If you are an unregenerate sinner that will affect what you can know. You cannot know the deep things of God without the Spirit of God regenerating you and making you into a new creation. [00:17:13]
He rejects the things of the spirit of God for they...
He rejects the things of the spirit of God for they are foolishness unto him. Not only so, Paul insists, he cannot know them because they are spiritually discerned, he said in verse fourteen. This means that rationalism is not a Christian position because it gives to fallen man an autonomy, a self-law that is false. Paul says that he is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. As a child of God his ultimate judgement is in God’s hands. He has the essential premise of judgment in his own being. God’s spirit and word. We are told by John in First John 2:20 “But ye have an unction from the holy one and ye know all things.” This is what John says about all of us. He does not mean that we know everything in the encyclopedia but we know the heart of all things. Because we know Jesus Christ! We know what the truth about creation is, what the truth about life is, because we have an unction from the holy one we know all things. Our judgment comes not from men but from God, from God the son our judge and redeemer. The word judge in verse fifteen of our text means to discover, to discern, to know, to understand. It is closely related to the matter of wisdom. So what Paul is saying: because you are now a believer in Jesus Christ you have an unction from the holy one and you know the meaning of all things. You may not know everything in textbooks but you know the meaning, not the facts, but the meaning of all things. The Christian who relies on God’s word and spirit, as Paul summons the Corinthians to do, has in him the basic premise of discernment. Who knows the mind of God that he shall instruct him? Paul raises that question. Well the word ‘instruct’ can mean teach or instruct but also to compare, unite or put together. Who best knows the mind of God to make the right connection and to put together the right meanings? [00:20:49]
We have the mind of Christ...
We have the mind of Christ. Because we are members of His new humanity, His new human race with Himself as the last Adam. Ours is the premise of wisdom if we will use it. Paul thus begins by rejecting the wisdom of this world as false. He insists on Godly wisdom, on recognizing that a fundamental division exists among men. The Christian faith is not one possible religion among many but the only true one. To be a Christian means a division from the world, its way of life, it’s wisdom, its justice; it’s kind of marriage and everything else. It is a different way of life and thought. Faith in Jesus Christ does not enable man to fit in better to the world around him but places him in an irreconcilable division from this fallen world. He belongs to the new world, the new creation, to the new Adam, the last Adam Jesus Christ. The old wisdom is now foolishness. And the Christian’s total life must now be conformed to God. This is what Paul tells the Corinthians. Let us pray.
Oh Lord our God how great and marvelous Thou art. How glorious the majesty of Thy word. We give thanks unto Thee that Thou has spoken, that Thou hast made us a new creation in Christ. That Thou hast made us citizens of Thy eternal kingdom and that for us death is only the gateway to eternal life. How great and marvelous Thou art Oh Lord. How rich Thy promises and mercies unto us. Give us ever joyful and grateful hearts. We give thanks unto Thee for Thy faithful servants of our fellowship who here and abroad are ever instant in Thy service. Protect them, bless them, watch over them, preserve them from the threats of the enemy and give them victory in Thy service. In Christ’s name, Amen. [00:24:44]
Are there any questions now about our lesson? Yes?...
Are there any questions now about our lesson? Yes?
[Woman speaking] I think I’m still a little confused about this: fallen man cannot understand God’s word and the cross, is that the will of God or does he just refuse to, which allows him to be autonomous again? So he’s in charge?
[Rushdoony] Because he is in sin his mind we are told is clouded and darkened. So he is like a person who because of sin can no longer see.
[Woman interrupts] Is that secondary will then?
[Rushdoony] Yes, we are all familiar with people who have for one reason or another lost their vision. Of course I’m very familiar with it because my Dorothy has that condition and is legally blind. Well what the Bible tells us is that there is also a spiritual blindness. That the man who is fallen cannot see so that the most simple things of God are totally incomprehensible to him. To illustrate: because this has been something I’ve experienced: nothing is more evident than that this world was created by God. To believe otherwise as even a great scientist, [unintelligible], who died not too many years ago said, is to believe in a vast and incredulous miracle; that everything came out of nothing. In fact it’s to believe in trillions of miracles. Well, try to tell that to an unbeliever and he shakes his head, I can’t see that. To him God cannot be. He does not want God to exist. I’m reminded of one very prominent writer early in the century, an American writer, he died when I was quite young and I read an account of his last years. He knew he was dying, he had an incurable condition (I’ve forgotten what it was), he had a very considerable library and in that library there was one book he avoided. The Bible. And the person who wrote the biography said he would go over the shelves and pull down this book and that and thumb through it and stick it back on the shelf but the one book he would not ever pull down although he would go near it, look at it, never take it off the shelf, was the Bible. He did not want to see. So what we have to say is that the sinner is morally blinded and he wants his blindness. Lest he see and turn again and be converted and believe as the Bible tells us. [00:29:43]
[Man speaking] That story reminds me of a Greek [unintelligible] one of the ones that Van Til [unintelligible] that if there were a button that an unbeliever could push that could obliterate from his mind the thought of God his finger would always be on that button.
[Rushdoony] Yes, very good. Michael?
[Man speaking] In relationship to the discussion of Romans chapter one there is an exposition of the blindness and it’s telling us that God has revealed himself in creation and man and man suppresses the truth with-he’s suppressing it all the time and so it’s not an issue of he doesn’t know, it’s an issue of he’s actively suppressing it. And when we’ve witnessed to somebody we need to show them that they’re suppressing it. They already know it, it’s not a secret, God is not-you know, that’s just our sin nature. We do it because we still have remaining sin in us. We suppress the truth.
[Rushdoony] Yes, what that text means in Romans one because the word ‘hold’ has faded in some of its meaning, what it meant when the King James Version was translated was ‘hold back’. In other words the meaning is there, the truth is there in all his being but he holds it back, he suppresses it, he will not admit it in his unrighteousness Paul says. That’s in Romans 1- is it seventeen or twenty one I forget now. [00:31:45]
Let me see…it’s in verse eighteen. Romans 1:18: “So the wrath of God is revealed in heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold or hold back the truth in unrighteousness.” Any other questions? If not, let us bow our heads in prayer.
Our Father we give thanks unto Thee, that Thou hast opened the door into Thy house for us. That Thou hast made us Thy children and hast given us the glorious promise that for all time and eternity we are thine. Teach us therefore so to walk that in confidence in Thy word and Thy promises. We always serve us with all our hearts, minds and being. And now go in peace, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, bless you and keep you, guide and protect you, this day and always, Amen.