The Mind of Christ

The Bible tells us much about the difference between our human intellect and the mind of Christ as delivered into us by the Holy Spirit Who indwells us. Paul wrote about this to the Corinthian believers in 1 Corinthians 2:

And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.  For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.  I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling.  My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,  so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.”

Paul came to the Corinthians speaking not by any human skill or wisdom in proclaiming the testimony about our God. He knew only Christ and Him crucified; he worked only in the power of the crucified and resurrected life of Christ at work in him. Paul did not rely on his learning (which was substantial both in his Hebrew learning and his desert learning under the Spirit), his wisdom, or his speaking abilities. All he brought to bear was the Spirit of Christ at work in him.

Compare this to the modern preaching of today, which is based almost completely on book learning, seminary training, polished speaking, and fleshly endeavor meant for religious purposes. Little wonder the religious institution popularly known as “church” is losing ground against the world and failing to secure more than a passing commitment from most of its adherents.  

We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.  No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.  None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.  

The wisdom of our God is not gained or disseminated by human endeavor or human cognitive learning. That can only produce religiosity at best, but cannot instill or install into us the mind and the thoughts of Christ. We do not gain the mind of Christ by adding His thoughts, His motives, His ideals, His wisdom to our own thinking.

It is the mind of Christ in us by the Spirit of Christ indwelling us that Paul is speaking of here. In order to gain that mind we must relinquish dependence upon our own minds. As our God has warned us, His ways are not our ways and His thoughts not our thoughts. As high as the heavens are above the earth so much higher are His thoughts and ways than ours. There is no room for His thinking in the human mind.

“What no eye has seen,  what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him— these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.” This passage is most often used as a description of life in eternity with our God, but the context is the revelation of our God and His thoughts to us by His Spirit in us, here and now. The mind of Christ is something no eye has seen and no ear can hear. No human mind can conceive what our God intends to reveal to us by His Spirit within us.

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.  For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.  This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.

Paul could not be more clear on this: it is not by words taught to us by human wisdom and accumen but by words taught by the Spirit of Christ in us that leads us to understanding spiritual realities. We can teach at people in sermon after sermon and class after class using our cognitive methods and polished polemics, but that will only lead to human understanding. The spiritual, the supernatural enlightenment promised in the Word of God can only come by revelation from the Spirit.  

The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.  The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?”

But we have the mind of Christ.”

If we would have the mind of Christ, we must first commit ourselves to the surrender of all our own thoughts and motives, all our own ideals and wisdom. We must lay aside our own human efforts to understand, make sense of, and apply the truths in the Bible. We must come to depend upon the Spirit of Christ to teach us directly through our abiding relationship with Him. That is the proper understanding of the abiding life, the constant flow of nourishment from Christ into us and the reverse flow of response from us to Christ. There is no fleshly equivalent for the abiding life, for spiritual wisdom and revelation from Christ by His Spirit in us.

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” Paul’s prayer for the saints, Ephesians 1:17.

Image via author, Pyramid Lake, Selkirk Range, Idaho.

One thought on “The Mind of Christ

  1. Amen, Tim! Beautiful words and truth! We can try and try…pastors can train and train. We can “learn” or what I call, “sit and get” at a pew. But it’s all futile if we haven’t surrendered fully to Christ. To dwell in HIM and allow the Spirit to work through us! Ironically, it wasn’t in a church building where I finally knew I had fully surrendered! You summed it so perfect…”Paul could not be more clear on this: it is not by words taught to us by human wisdom but by words taught by the Spirit of Christ in us that leads us to understanding spiritual realities.” Keep sharing and living in Christ, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

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