“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.” 1 Corinthians 2:12 NASB
As we turn our attention to the Book of 1st Corinthians, I am reminded of how important it is for the church, although in the world, to not be of the world.
The word wisdom is used frequently in this epistle. We grow as believers not by human wisdom but by the wisdom taught by the Holy Spirit.
The church at Corinth was evidently struggling with this concept.
You might remember from Acts 18, that Paul spent some time in Corinth preaching the gospel during his second missionary journey.
When opposition grew, the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision, telling him to not be afraid and to keep up the work of the gospel. Paul would stay in Corinth for 18 months, “teaching them the word of God.”
Paul would go on to help plant and cultivate the church in Corinth.
Corinth was an important trade city, and was well known for its temple to Aphrodite – in addition to being a thriving port city, Corinth was infamous for its vice and immorality.
John MacArthur’s Commentary on Corinthians summarizes it this way:
“The most serious problem of the Corinthian church was worldliness, an unwillingness to divorce the culture around them.
Most of the believers could not consistently separate themselves from their old, selfish, immoral, and pagan ways.
It became necessary for Paul to write to correct this, as well as to command the faithful Christians not only to break fellowship with the disobedient and unrepentant members, but to put those members out of the church” – see 1 Corinthians 5:9–13.
As you read through the letter, notice how Paul addresses each issue in the church by drawing them back to Jesus.
Paul is reminding the church that we are not to succumb to the spirit of the world, but are to be taught and renewed through the Holy Spirit.
When we lose sight of Jesus, we begin to slip into our former selves, accepting the human wisdom of the culture that is around us by suppressing the truth that comes from the Holy Spirit.
In John 17 Jesus prayed for His followers with this thought in mind.
“I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” John 17: 14-17 NASB
Jesus knew we would have to interact with the world, there is no other way to share the gospel – but we are to be separate from the world and its teachings, sanctified in truth.
We are to live and love in the Spirit of truth.
Indeed, we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit of God.
Until next time…keep reading!