"THE NATURAL MAN, THE SPIRITUAL MAN"
I. WHAT IS THE NATURAL MAN?
A. That is the way you were born, the nature you inherited from Adam.
1. The theologians have a term, "The Adamic nature".
a. It refers to what they term the unregenerate man.
b. This is every man who has not be born again.
c. Jesus said to Nicodemus, "You must be born again, that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit."
2. Paul in another place refers to the natural man as the old man.
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him]...
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
3. Paul described the characteristics of the natural man.
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
In times past our life style was to live after the lusts of our flesh, as we sought to fulfill the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as the heathens walk, in the emptiness of their mind,
Having the understanding darkened, they are alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to live sexually immoral lives as they are controlled by their greed.
4. To the Colossians Paul wrote:
Therefore put to death your fleshly, earthly nature that is marked by fornication, sexual impurity, lust, evil desires, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
It is because of these things that the wrath of God is coming on the children of disobedience:
This is the way you used to walk, when ye lived in them.
But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
5. Peter adds,
For in our old life we lived like the heathen when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, drunkenness, partying, and abominable idolatries:
B. What does Paul have to say about the natural man?
1 "He receives not the things of the Spirit of God. They are foolishness unto him."
a. You try to talk to him about spiritual things and you may as well be talking to a Barbie Doll.
b. There is absolutely no comprehension.
c. Sometimes they will listen patiently if they are cultured, and others will just get angry and scream at you.
d. In chapter one Paul said, "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness."
2. "Neither can he know them."
3. Why can he not know them?
a. They are spiritually discerned.
b. So he lacks the faculties by which they are known and understood, (i.e. the spiritual nature).
c. You might say with equal logic, the blind man cannot appreciate the beauty of a sunset.
d. The deaf man cannot know the glories of the symphony.
e. They lack the faculties by which these things are known.
II. HE THAT IS SPIRITUAL.
A. He understands all things.
1. It is quite interesting how that some people will try to read the Bible and find that it just doesn't make sense to them.
2. They can read a chapter and find that they don't know what they read.
The secret of the LORD [is] with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.
Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all [things].
B. Yet he himself is not understood by the natural man.
1. Worldly people cannot understand why you love to go to church and study the Bible.
2. The natural man cannot understand why you don't want to go to parties and get drunk.
3. They cannot understand why you do not want to chase girls.
C. Earlier in the chapter Paul asserts that the eye has not seen, nor has the ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared for them that love Him. He is referring to the natural man.
1. He then adds, "But God has revealed them to us by His Spirit."
2. The natural man has no understanding of the joy of walking in fellowship with God.
a. The peace of mind that comes through knowing that my sins are fully forgiven for Jesus Christ paid the full debt for my sin upon the cross. It is referred to as peace that passes human understanding. If it is beyond our understanding, it is beyond language to describe it.
b. Of the mysteries of the cross of Jesus Christ, of how that God ordained that He should die for the sins of the world and that through His death He has brought life. Had they known this they would not have crucified Jesus.
c. Of the glories and wonders of heaven.
3. God has revealed these things to us by the Holy Spirit.
a. Jesus told His disciples that He had many other things to say to them but they were unable to understand them.
b. He promised that when the Holy Spirit came He would guide them into all truth, and show them things to come.
III. PAUL ASKS, "FOR WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD THAT HE MAY INSTRUCT HIM?"
A. How many times do we hear questions that begin with, "Why would God?" For instance, "Why would God send a man to the eternal punishment of hell who has never heard of Jesus Christ?"
1. Quite often it is not a true question that is begging for an answer.
2. It is often a challenge to their understanding of what the scripture has revealed about God.
3. In essence it is often saying, I am more just than God, I can instruct Him in a few things about justice.
B. More in context, "Why did God have to send His Son to the earth to die for the sins of mankind? How can His death on the cross bring me pardon for my sins? Why cannot I be saved by just being good?"
1. These are questions and issues that trouble the natural man, they are a mystery to him.
2. He does not understand the things of the Spirit, neither can he know them.
C. "But we have the mind of Christ."
1. We have an understanding of the cross and thus a deep appreciation.
2. I heard a man who used to speak against wearing a cross, he would say, "You wouldn't wear a replica of an electric chair."
3. But to us the cross is not a symbol of death, but of love.
a. "Greater love has no man than this."
b. "But God has commended His love toward us, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly."