Our newspaper features a column on the card game of Bridge. I read it this morning out of curiosity (I don’t play Bridge) and soon realized it was a foreign language. The terms made no sense at all and my inability to figure it out made me feel ignorant.
More than one person refuses to read the Bible because they think it is filled with errors, or man-made. Whatever reasons they give, the main one is the same problem I have with that Bridge column; lack of understanding. The difference is that over time, someone might be able to explain Bridge and its language to me, but no one can do that with the Bible.
“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. ‘For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:14–16)
Human intellect is amazing. The power of reasoning is just that; powerful, but spiritual thoughts and ideas can only be understood by and through the spirit, and if a person’s spirit is ‘dead in sin’ it is also dead to the spiritual meaning of God’s Word. These verses tell me this is true as does my experience. I read Scripture every day for seventeen years without understanding any of it. Then the Holy Spirit gave me new life in Christ and with Him, this incredible book started to make sense. Almost every day, God gives me new insights or a fresh look at ones already learned. I know that without Him, the Bible is closed to my mind.
Tozer explains that the inability of human reasoning to decipher divine knowledge is not because human reasoning is weak, but because it is not designed for that task. In other words, God did not give us the ability to reason as the means by which we can know Him.
This is a reality with ramifications. Not only do I need the Holy Spirit to understand God, but because this is true, I also cannot be saved by any other means than grace. Nothing in me is able to reach across the gap between my mind or any human abilities and the mind of Almighty God. Not only is sin there to mess up my attempts at communication, that gap is just too far.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
This puts a picture in my mind of someone fleeing across rooftops making jump after jump to cross the gap between buildings. My fear of heights and the reality of modern motion pictures puts my heart in my throat with each jump and gives me joy when he makes it. I can imagine God watching us trying to leap the chasm between ourselves and Him, knowing we cannot do it and offering another way . . .
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8–9)
The way is not through greater jumping ability or trying to find another way across the gap. It is taking hold of His promises as the Holy Spirit grants new life through the gift of Jesus Christ. I know that does not make sense. Human reasoning says those who cannot do it should not be given a free ride, but if that were God’s way, no one would be saved. We all fall short.
Jesus, after being a Christian for many years, each day Your Spirit still surprises me with truth that fits my situation. You remind me of old lessons and promises, unlock and fresh insight into His will. For all this, I’m grateful. Reasoning has its place, but spiritual understanding is not about reason but about Your marvelous grace.