(Article for publication week of 12-9-2009 AD)
"Howbeit, when He, the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth:" (John 16:13a).
We have shown in previous articles that the scriptures are clear concerning creation, the law and the gospel. And it is possible to come to the true meaning of scripture by taking them in their plain sense, in their context, and by interpreting hard texts in the light of clear texts. However, the scriptures cannot be understood by intellect alone. There must be enlightenment by the Holy Spirit.
I Corinthians 2:14 tells us, "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." The scriptures are the revelation of spiritual things, not natural things, and so only a person with a spiritual mind can understand them. Our Lord said in John 3: 3, "except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." The unregenerate mind has no spiritual perception. The way of salvation is so clear that a little child can be converted, when the Holy Spirit quickens him, but the proud wisdom of man will never perceive of spiritual realities.
Again, we read in I Corinthians 1:21, "for after that in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." Also in I Corinthians 1:18, "the preaching of the cross is foolishness to them that perish." The gospel message of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone is so much foolishness to the unregenerate intellect.
Again, our Lord said in Matthew 11:25, "I thank Thee O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes." Oh! How wonderful! God in His Wisdom and Sovereignty has hid the truth of salvation from the reprobate and has revealed it to His elect! This is the reason very few intellectual people are ever saved; they are too "smart" to be saved by free grace. But God in His sovereign grace has revealed His truth to those who are "babes". (That is those who see themselves as little children who need the teaching from a Wise heavenly Father and see themselves as helpless as babes to save themselves.)
In order for you to understand the Holy Scriptures you must be born again. You must have your mind renewed by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. And those who are born again continue to need the help of the Holy Spirit to understand the spiritual realities of the Bible. We must be taught of God (John 6:45).The Holy Spirit is the ultimate and true Teacher of the Lord's people. He uses the instrumentality of preaching, but it is Himself that actually does the work. When you open your Bible today, pray for the help of the Holy Spirit to lead you into the Truth. May the Lord bless you all.