Having The Mind Of Christ
1 Corinthians 2:12-16

I want to begin this message on “having the mind of Christ” with a review of the scriptures leading up to Paul’s statement, in verse 16, that the Christian has "the mind of Christ."

In 1 Corinthians 2:12-13, Paul is speaking strictly to believers in Christ. “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13: These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

After His ascension, true to His word, Christ sent the Holy Spirit to indwell all believers. You can read all about Jesus in the Bible, but the living Lord does not stand out by merely reading about Him. The Spirit can illuminate those pages and make them vivid and real to the believer and you’ll come to know the living, breathing Christ himself. That is the work of the Holy Spirit.

Paul wrote, “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God." The “spirit of the world” is that strange, intelligent creature behind the whole thinking of the world. Behind all the knowledge and wisdom and confusion of the world is this spiritual being the Bible calls the Devil. The world does not realize that, and, Paul says, referring back to the day when the Holy Spirit of God came in a new way, that is not the spirit we {believers} have received.

The Holy Spirit had been present in the world before, but when He entered into the apostles they were enabled to give us the Scriptures. The Spirit of God enlightened their minds and taught them about the whole realm of knowledge and truth that God has for the believer.

When we read the Gospels, it’s apparent that the apostles often didn’t understand Jesus when He taught. He puzzled them and angered and upset them at times. Sometimes He said things that embarrassed them. On one occasion they said to Him, "Lord, don't you realize you offended those Pharisees?" Matthew 15:12. But when the Holy Spirit descended on them on the day of Pentecost, suddenly all that Jesus had said made sense and they began to see it in a totally different light.

The things Paul taught were not gained from man’s wisdom. They are the facts about life, our personalities and our makeup, and about God Himself that are revealed in this secret and hidden wisdom of God.

The Holy Spirit has taken them and fitted them to the circumstances and the personalities of each individual. In other words, He makes the Word alive to us and in us. If we are believers, the Spirit of God is working in us 24/7.

The rest of this chapter deals with one of the most astounding statements found in the Bible. In verse 16, Paul writes, "But we have the mind of Christ." As believers in Jesus Christ, indwelt and taught by the Holy Spirit of God, we are to have the very same way of thinking about life as Jesus does. We are able to understand the wisdom and knowledge that is hidden to the natural man.

It’s greater than the wisdom of this world and operates in a far different way than the world around us does. We have the "mind of Christ" when we recognize what we are and see ourselves as God sees us.

1 Corinthians 2:14-16. “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16. For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ.

When Jesus was on earth He taught only from the Old Testament, yet people were amazed at what He taught because it was so new and exciting. He explained some of the secret and hidden things of God that weren’t previously revealed to man.

Today it’s the Holy Spirit who reveals truths from God that previously were hidden to men's minds. If the role of the Holy Spirit is to teach the wisdom of God, then the role of the believer surely is to be a student of the Word.

Paul explains why not everyone can understand these things. Paul divides the human race into two categories: the "natural" person who can’t perceive the depths or thoughts of God - as opposed to the "spiritual" person, who has been given understanding of God's wisdom by the Holy Spirit.

The word "natural" refers to the physical life. It defines one who lives life purely on the physical level (even though we were created as spiritual beings), and lives as if there were nothing beyond the physical world. Their natural values are physical and material so that person doesn’t understand spiritual things. They’re controlled by their desires, feelings, natural reasoning, and logical choices made on the basis of things centering on this life like success, wealth, power, and pleasure. That's how the man or woman of the world thinks, and the world reinforces it. But it’s also instinctive; we are all born that way.

Verse 14 tells us the limitations that the "natural" person lives with. They are excluded from the wisdom of God, literally shut out from the things of God because our nature dictates it that way. They are unable to understand the wisdom of God, and they don't care to anyway. The things of God don't make sense to them because they lack the necessary power to discern the wisdom of God, which only the Holy Spirit can provide.

Since there appears to be no logic in Christianity to the "natural" person, he has no basis for accepting the claims of Jesus Christ on his life, and the only reason we, as believers in Christ aren’t still living as "natural" men and women is that the Holy Spirit has entered our lives. The believer has nothing to be proud of on his own, we're not superior to natural men and women, we’re just saved sinners. That's the only difference. Everyone is born a "natural" man or a "natural" woman. When we enter this world according to nature, we will operate on the basis of that nature.

In the beginning, God created man to be a three-fold being: body, soul, and spirit, with the spirit as the main center of life, open directly to the revelations of God Himself. In the Garden of Eden, both Adam and Eve’s spirits were in contact with God who walked with them and talked with them. When sin came in, their spirit fell from it’s rightful place before God, and man has been operating at that level ever since.

In the text at hand, Paul is writing about things that concern the whole realm of the secret and hidden wisdom of God. The "natural" man does not even know they exist. He believes that all the things that pertain to his choices are present in terms of his reasoning power, his emotions, and his ability to evaluate life as he sees it. There is a realm of information about God and the purpose of life, and about the end toward which all things are heading, that he knows nothing about. When he is faced with them, he rejects them because they don’t make sense to him. Some may accept the standards of Christian living but never fully be open to the Spirit of God because they do not have faith in Jesus Christ. The message the world needs to hear and accept is that of the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Verse 15: "He who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one." In the narrow sense, the true Christian is led by the Spirit and obeys the Spirit and has the ability to morally judge all things. Everything has an ethical or moral dimension about it and can be used for right or wrong. It’s our Christian duty to point out to ourselves and the world around us what is right and wrong in these things.

In the broadest sense, Paul is talking about all Christians, anyone who possesses the Spirit of God. However, it is possible to have the Spirit of God but not always obey Him. The one who has the Spirit yet doesn’t live by the Spirit is a “carnal Christian."

Many Christians are unable to judge their own ethics or morals or those of others because they don’t obey the Holy Spirit or even know what the Holy Spirit has to say. They don’t study and understand their Bibles and they don’t realize that it is the source of the secret and hidden wisdom of God.

Verse 15 does not mean that unsaved people can’t see flaws in the believer's life and point them out (they often do). It means an unsaved person really can’t enter into the full understanding of the Christian's life and be able to accurately judge that life.

In the New American Standard, verse 15 reads: "But he who is Spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no man." Our responsibility is to God. “No man" includes other Christians as well as non Christians.

The spiritual things in a believer’s life are beyond natural human judgment. If we judge ourselves by the teaching of the Holy Spirit, we can’t be judged by the world’s value system. God won’t accept the unjust evaluation of Christians by worldly standards.

The Holy Spirit teaches the Christian that many things such as homosexuality are wrong, no matter how many laws are passed. You can pass laws that make them legal, but you can never pass laws that will make them moral. A Christian has the right to speak out, no matter how many impressive worldly authorities are in favor of the opposite view. Matters like this are not to be judged by the wisdom and thinking of the world, they are to be judged by the secret and hidden wisdom of God.

When Paul makes a very bold statement at the end of this chapter, one of the boldest found in the Bible, he is not being presumptuous. He writes, "But we have the mind of Christ."

The believer in Christ that is indwelt and taught by the Holy Spirit of God, can have the very same mind that Jesus Himself has. That is an awesome statement. When the believer in Christ is open to the teaching of the Holy Spirit, we possess "the mind of Christ."

A most radical proposal that promises to change the world is for the believer in Christ to act according to "the mind of Christ." This is the true way to affect the world of our day. That is what God sends us out to do. I would be the first to admit that there are very few who can, in any degree, manifest this consistently. We are all in the process of learning, and nobody can point to himself and say “follow me” as your example. We are only able to operate to the degree that we ourselves have learned to conduct our lives according to the secret and hidden wisdom of God.

To "have the mind of Christ" doesn’t mean we are infallible and can play God in the lives of other people. Nobody instructs God! It means to see life from Christ’s viewpoint, to have His values and goals as ours, to think like Christ thinks as opposed to how the world thinks.

The unsaved man can’t receive the things of the Holy Spirit because he does not understand them so he doesn’t believe in them. As an example of this, several years ago, my wife and I attended the funeral of one of her aunts. The lady was a born again Christian in her nineties and had been in failing health. This lady’s son, a married man in his 60’s who was not a believer, couldn’t understand how or why God would allow his mother to die. My wife attempted to console him with the fact that his mother was now in heaven and at perfect peace. His response was, “If there is a heaven!” This was not a hardened worldly man. It was a good honest moral man without Christ.

The spiritually blind can’t see the world as God sees it so they want things to remain in their present state and consequently they make no preparation for the future.

The Christian understands the un-saved person because we were in that state before we accepted Christ as our Savior; the unsaved person doesn’t understand the Christian, we live in two different worlds. Our lifestyle appears strange to the world. We may hold convictions that other people don't, based on a different set of absolutes. We may be intolerant when other people are tolerant because we have insight into the mind of God.

The Holy Spirit enables us to evaluate the standards of natural humanity, to examine an issue and know what is right and what is wrong because we were once followers of this world’s ways and see the error in them. The reason we can stand and not be appraised by the natural mind is because "we have the mind of Christ."

I admit there are very few who consistently manifest "the mind of Christ." Every human being is born "natural," knowing only the things of our nature. When we trust the Savior, the Holy Spirit comes in and we move into the plane of "spiritual." Then we are able to grow! As the Christian receives the things of the Holy Spirit day by day, he grows, or matures.

When we study the Scriptures, whether we fully understand what we read or not, it opens our mind to the teaching of the Holy Spirit.

The Word of God, with all its power, touches our lives and enters our hearts whether we are conscious of what is happening or not.

1 Corinthians 2:9-10: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. 10: But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit..."

The world, without Christ, can never solve its problems. It’s locked into the same pattern of failure, generation after generation, and the only recourse for the individual is to open his mind and heart to the word of the Spirit, and to be taught by the Spirit, and begin to live on the basis of a new and transformed life.

Jesus Christ is the center of our faith. He imparts new life to us by faith in His Name. His life, His death, and His resurrection are central to this truth. All truth, whether of a religious, a scientific, a moral or political nature, whatever it may be, all truth must center around Christ who is the central truth of Christianity.

From God's point of view, the fundamental question of life is, "What is your relationship with Jesus? What do you think about Jesus?" Our Lord Himself put it in those terms when He said to the people of His day, "What think ye of Christ? Whose son is He?" Matthew 22:42a. He expects each one of us to answer His all important question.

All humanity is divided into two separate groups by that point. Are you related to Christ? Or do you not yet know Him? Is He your Lord and Savior through faith in Him or are you still depending on your good character or good works to find favor with God? Faith in Christ is the only way you can stand before a holy God and “have the mind of Christ.”

Almost every time I read an old, familiar passage in my Bible, I see something new. This happens because the written Word of God is a living Word. Remember the Psalmist's prayer, "Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Thy law.” Psalm 119:18.

My prayer today is this; If you are a born again Christian reading or hearing this today, I pray that the Lord will help each one of us to be ready to believe Him and that He will turn us from believing the lies of the world around us. He wants us to be led in these things by the Holy Spirit so that we may be men and women who, in this place, in this time in history, can make known the awesome power of the mind of Christ to those around us.

If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please consider this: you are outside of Christ, you are not a child of God, you are a condemned sinner and your eternal destination is the Lake of Fire.

God has always demanded a blood sacrifice for sin. God’s sinless Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross as a blood sacrifice for your sins and my sins. Eternal salvation can be ours just for admitting to God that we are sinners and asking for His forgiveness. Simply trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior this moment and you will be saved from the wrath of God to come and will spend eternity with Him in heaven.