Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Encountering God's Truth: The Mind of Christ

The way we think is vitally important in all the things we do in this lifetime. It is significantly important as well during our faith journey with Christ on the narrow road. It is not just a matter of emotions and sentiments that we give our lives to Jesus Christ, but the Bible tells us that it is a matter of the mind as well.

The Word of God is essentially clear when it comes to the way we think things through. It has talked about the wisdom and the way of thinking that this world has in relation to the things of God. Now, our minds are pre-programmed in one way or another. Depending on the culture and the lifestyle of the people in which we were born into, our minds are pre-programmed according to the drive, character, nature and belief of that particular people. 

The mind is an important part of our relationship with God since it is one of the arenas mentioned by Jesus to include when we strive to follow the greatest commandment of all:
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this [is] the first commandment. (Mark 12:30)
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The word "mind" in this passage comes from the Greek word διανοίας (dianoias), meaning the mind, disposition, thought. Jesus didn't just include this for the sake of saying it, He made sure that ALL our thoughts are also aligned in worshiping God.

God's Word teaches us that we are all sinners (Romans 3:23). And because this is our case, the state of our minds is carnal (not spiritual), and it is of the nature of our flesh--the nature of sin. The problem with that is this:

The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law,  
nor can it do so. (Romans 8:7)

Before a person comes into the knowledge of the grace of Jesus Christ and believe in Him and His work on the cross, his or her thoughts remain carnal. And this state of mind leads to death, just as sin that is the nature of the flesh leads to death. (see Romans 8:6)

The Bible is clear that we cannot submit to God's law and His Truth while  in this carnal state of mind. We just don't have the capacity to do so no matter how intelligent, learned or wise we consider ourselves to be. The wisdom that we hold on to remains the wisdom of this world until the time we become born again. This is why Jesus clearly states that we MUST be born again. (see John 3) Jesus explains that unless we are born of the Spirit, we cannot enter the kingdom of God (John 3:5). And unless we are born of the Spirit, we can never understand the spiritual truths of God (see 1 Corinthians 2:12). 

The mind we have before we come to Christ is sinful. It is hostile to God and can never submit to His Truths. This mind can never fathom the spiritual truths and will consider them foolishness because of this:

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing ... For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart." Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? (1 Corinthians 1:18-20)

No matter how "wise" we consider ourselves to be in this world, no matter how far we've gone through attaining higher education and the like, the Bible is clear to say that this wisdom leaves us illiterate to the things of God.

How then can we understand the things of God? We only start that journey when we come to Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior. The gospel of Christ, the word of His cross becomes the power of God to us who are being saved! (1 Corinthians 1:18) When we become born again the moment we surrender everything to Jesus, we receive the Holy Spirit as promised (John 14:16). 

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. 
(1 Corinthians 2:14)

Unless we receive the Holy Spirit of God, we can never come to accept and understand the spiritual truths of God. That is why the Bible tells us we will always be HOSTILE to it.

Many of us believe that the Bible contains spiritual truths that are hard to understand. Some of us were even brought up with a mind-setting that made us believe we need higher officials of God who are divinely appointed in order to interpret these spiritual things to us. But this is so contrary to what the Word of God is telling us. 

Those who come to Christ for salvation and those who believe in His gospel become born again--born of the Spirit--in that we receive the Holy Spirit in our lives that allows us (individual believers in Christ Jesus and not just presumed divinely inspired and appointed leaders) to understand God's spiritual truths. 

Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. (1 Corinthians 2:12-13)

When we come to Christ Jesus to believe in HIM who IS Truth, we become redeemed by Jesus Christ, we live holy lives in and through HIM and we come to clearly understand His Truth, and we boast not of our own wisdom but of HIS WISDOM alone! 

And because of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:30-31)

When we come to the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ and surrender our lives to His lordship, we make a decision to follow HIM. 

And when we choose to believe in Jesus Christ alone, we become righteous in God's eyes THROUGH Him, we become sanctified or set apart into holy living THROUGH Him, and we understand the spiritual truths of God as we renew our minds THROUGH Christ Jesus who becomes wisdom for those who believe.

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