In this post I want to further explore the role of revelation in understanding the kingdom of God. An interesting factor in spiritual dynamics is that often we cannot see what seems to be obvious. How many of you have one day read a scripture that you read many times before but suddenly you see a new aspect or something suddenly makes sense? This is revelation in operation. In my last post I quoted the following two passages.
17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power Ephesians 1:17-19 (NKJV)
9 But as it is written: “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. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 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. 1 Corinthians 2:9-12 (NKJV)
Clearly, one thing Paul is seeking to communicate to believers is the need for ongoing revelation from the Holy Spirit to be able to understand the things of the kingdom of God. Some say that we receive everything at salvation, I don’t know if we do or not, but if we do it either comes in the form of seeds that need to be germinated, or based on what is laid out in the New Testament, most of us who claim to be Christians must not be as we are not walking in what we are called to walk in. My goal is not to be judgemental, rather it is to get us to reflect on what we believe and align our lives with scripture rather than our culture. When the Corinthians, who moved in spiritual gifts but were not bearing the fruit of godly character challenged Paul he challenged them in return with this exhortation.
5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you are disqualified. 2 Corinthians 13:5 (NKJV)
For most of us it is easy to ‘see’ how unbelievers are unable to ‘see.’ As Paul wrote to the Corinthians about why unbelievers do not believe.
14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 2 Corinthians 3:14-16 (NKJV)
3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:3-6 (NKJV)
Paul was clear that spiritual blindness needs to be removed for the lost to see, be found, and be born again. However, both of the passages below he also wrote to the church. The context of his writing to Timothy was how to deal with fellow believers who wrongly opposed him and his writing to the Ephesian believers was a warning of how far we could fall from living out the life of Christ within us. In his writing to Timothy Paul says these believers have been taken captive by the devil to carry out his will instead of Jesus will. Some may argue that this could not be true of Christians yet that is what the context points to and most importantly Paul says these believers have been taken ‘captive’ by the devil. Those already in his kingdom do not need to be taken captive. That is the point of what I quoted above from Paul. Unless they encounter Jesus they are born and remain captive.
24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:24-26 (NKJV)
17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. Ephesians 4:17-19 (NKJV)
My point in all of this is that if we are to see fruit from the seed Jesus sows in our lives from His word and through fellow believers we need to seek the Holy Spirit for spiritual understanding. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:12 that we have been given the Holy Spirit ‘that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.’ They don’t just drop out of the sky but if we learn to lean into His heart they do come alive in our hearts as wisdom from above!