Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. – 1 Corinthians 2:12-13 ESV
God is mysterious, transcendent, holy, perfectly righteous and completely invisible to the human eye. He is an non-created spirit being who has no beginning and end. He is all-powerful, all-knowing, unbound by space or time, and inaccessible by man unless He makes Himself known. But that is the amazing thing. He has made Himself known. He has revealed Himself through creation. “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made” (Romans 1:19-20 ESV). But over the centuries, God has made Himself known in many other ways. He spoke to Abram in Ur. He guided him, directed him, and promised to make of him a great nation. God had personal encounters with Isaac and Jacob. He personally cared and provided for Joseph. He appeared to Moses and used him to release the people of Israel from captivity. God spoke through prophets. He used judges. But His greatest revelation of Himself was through the incarnation of His Son. One of the titles of Jesus was Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” Paul tells us, “He is the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15 ESV). John writes, “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known” (John 1:18 ESV).
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became a man and took on human flesh. He lived among men. He ministered to men. He healed them. He taught them. But the greatest accomplishment of Jesus’ earthly life was His sacrificial death on the behalf of men. He died so that we might live. God sacrificed His own sinless sin so that men might be made right with Him. And those who have accepted the sacrifice of His Son’s death as payment for their sins received another manifestation of God’s presence: His Spirit. The Spirit of God has come to dwell within all those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ as their sin-substitute and Savior. And Paul would have us consider the staggering significance of that reality. “Now we have received … the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God” (1 Corinthians 2:12 ESV). This may sound a bit sacrilegious, but the Holy Spirit within us is like a radio receiver that allows us to pick up the spiritual wave lengths broadcast to us by God. Think of it like having a radio in your can that can receive Sirius radio signals. If you don’t have one, you can’t hear what is being broadcast. Without the Spirit, we would find it impossible to pick up and make out what God is saying to us. His Word would be impossible to understand. His presence, while all around us, would be oblivious to us. Paul explains why. The Spirit interprets spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. And we are only spiritual because we have the Spirit within us. Our spirituality is not something we have earned or attained. It has been given to us by God, just like our salvation was. We have received the gift of salvation and the gift of the Holy Spirit. And His presence within us makes it possible for us to hear from and understand God. The bottom line, according to Paul, is that “no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:11 ESV). But thankfully, we have His Spirit within us. And we CAN understand the thoughts of God. We CAN comprehend His Word. We CAN hear from Him and communicate with Him.
When we read the Scriptures, we are not on our own. We do not have to rely on our intellect alone. We have been given the Holy Spirit to help us hear from God as He speaks to us through His written Word. That is what makes the Scriptures so powerful and potentially life changing. The write of Hebrews describes the Scriptures as “alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires” (Hebrews 4:12 NLT). The Word of God is alive to us because the Holy Spirit lives within us. He is the one who makes us spiritual beings. Rather than being limited to our physical and mental capacities alone, we have the ability to receive spiritual truths directly from God Himself, all because we have the Spirit of God living within us. And Paul, quoting from Isaiah 64:4, provides us with the incredible nature of that reality. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” We can’t even begin to imagine what God has to show us, teach us, reveal to us, and do for us. But because we have the Spirit of God within us, we can experience and understand the unimaginable and unknowable – the things freely given us by God.