The Need for Illumination

But 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. —1 Corinthians 2:14

The doctrine of the inability of the human mind and the need for divine illumination is so fully developed in the New Testament that it is nothing short of astonishing that we should have gone so far astray about the whole thing…. Everywhere among conservatives we find persons who are Bible-taught but not Spirit-taught. They conceive truth to be something which they can grasp with the mind. If a man holds to the fundamentals of the Christian faith he is thought to possess divine truth. But it does not follow. There is no truth apart from the Spirit. The most brilliant intellect may be imbecilic when confronted with the mysteries of God. For a man to understand revealed truth requires an act of God equal to the original act which inspired the text….

Conservative Christians in this day are stumbling over this truth. We need to reexamine the whole thing. We need to learn that truth consists not in correct doctrine, but in correct doctrine plus the inward enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. We must declare again the mystery of wisdom from above. A repreachment of this vital truth could result in a fresh breath from God upon a stale and suffocating orthodoxy.

Lord, help me to heed this reminder that even Your inspired text is not alive until the Holy Spirit takes it and enlightens the recipients. May the Holy Spirit indeed take what I teach and imbed it in the hearts and minds of my hearers. Amen.

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