1 Corinthians 2:9-12
“ 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’. But God has, through the Spirit, let us share his secret. For nothing is hidden from the Spirit, not even the deep wisdom of God. For who could really understand a man’s inmost thoughts except the spirit of the man himself? How much less could anyone understand the thoughts of God except the very Spirit of God? And the marvelous thing is this, that we now receive not the spirit of the world but the Spirit of God himself, so that we can actually understand something of God’s generosity towards us” ( Phillips Translation).
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Do you ever wonder what we believers really mean when we speak of being “spirit filled”?
Of course, there will be a wide spectrum of answers coming from the various branches of our Lord’s Church. Our Methodist brethren will have one answer, as will the Pentecostals. And we Reformed also have our particular view on this as well (we’d like to think it’s the correct one!).
To summarize our understanding of this concept, we maintain that when a sinner is regenerated and brought to faith in Christ, at that very moment they become recipients of the indwelling Spirit of God. We hold that this is synonymous with being “born again.” To have Christ as Lord in one’s heart is the same as possessing the Holy Spirit (see Rom 8:9, 11). To be “Spirit-filled,” then, is to experience more and more of the transforming effects of the Spirit’s permanent presence in our lives.
We would also maintain that being “born again” is equivalent to and simultaneous with “baptism” in/with/by the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8). Thus, there is no such thing as a Christian who does not possess God’s Spirit, or who has not been baptized with the Spirit.
All of this brings us to our source of encouragement for this new Monday.
As you can see, the Apostle Paul is discussing the work of the Holy Spirit in this section of his inspired correspondence with his Corinthian brethren. And more precisely, Paul is concerned to point out that one unique ministry of the Third Person of the Trinity is to teach us God’s ‘secrets,’ or the very “ depths of God” (v. 10, NASB).
These magnificent ‘secrets’ are referenced in verse 9, which is a direct quotation from the prophet Isaiah. Through the prophet, God promises that the blessings which we find in our Lord and Savior are beyond all comprehension!
But in verse 12, there is another wonderful and encouraging truth to ponder. As rendered by the ESV, it is this:
“ 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.”
This verse demonstrates to us that one of the amazing results of having Christ as our Lord is that the Holy Spirit is always helping us to “ understand” all of the blessings that continually flow down to us from our Father. In other words, the Spirit’s work in us is made evident as we come to a deeper understanding of the blessings mentioned in verse 9.
And you can see that this is set in direct contrast to the “ spirit of the world.”
Whereas a worldly spirit (or mindset) is one of constant dissatisfaction, grievance, discontentment, and ingratitude, the Holy Spirit who indwells each of us is always revealing to us the immense privileges and benefits we have because our Father loves us so very much.
Not only has He redeemed us by giving us His Son and filling us with His Spirit, He is always most “ freely” granting to us all we need, and even more! And added to the fact that our Father has promised us heaven–what He “ has prepared for those who love Him” (v. 9)–He has committed Himself to flooding us with His gracious favor, such that we experience contentment and joy right now, and every day that follows!
This means that the evidence that we belong to Christ and are filled with the Spirit of God is the ever-developing knowledge of all those wonderful things that our Father loves to “ freely” give us!
We are not of the world. We do not possess the “ spirit of the world.” We are not held captive to the anti-Christian spirit of bitterness, criticism, self-absorption, ridicule, annoyance, or displeasure. Rather, we are always “ overflowing in many thanksgivings to God” (2 Corinthians 9:12).
This very day, this new Monday, there are blessings coming our way that we cannot number nor comprehend!
Let us ask our Father to empower and enlighten us by His Spirit so that we might see and experience what cannot be realized or apprehended by those without Christ. Let us ask for open and receptive hearts that we might truly “ know” these gracious favors! And let us live today, and the rest of this week, in praise and unceasing gratitude! Then we will understand what it is to be truly “Spirit-filled”!
Before I sign off for the day, I just want to tell you how thrilled and thankful I am to see so many of you returning to worship. When I look out across the congregation and into the faces of those who are now able to join us, I am filled with joy! It’s like a family reunion each Sunday!!
How merciful our Father has been to us during these very trying months! And as more and more are able to join us in person we will find even greater reasons to be thankful to our awesome God and Lord!
I love you all so much! How wonderful it is to be your pastor and brother in the Lord!