It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.
In the above verse I believe that there are two important revelations, one is that “all” shall be taught of God and two, that the main theme in this teaching by God is so constructed that it will lead us to Jesus Christ which is Gods primary goal of this same teaching.
That said, I believe there is a spiritual vacuum that exists in the Church today and if we are to mature spiritually it is not according to our natural life that we do so, but it is according to our pursuing a spiritual life where we make progress, and it is this same spiritual teaching/understanding we are to receive, and be taught is received spiritually, therefore, how important is it that the Church, and individual Christian, come out from under this spiritual vacuum. Subsequently, it is not by means of the natural life, human capabilities, nor is it our self efforts that enable us to hear and learn spiritually, but it is through the Holy Spirits voice and activities in our inner most life that assist us in our understanding of those things given from above, that is, things given in Christ, in heavenly places. Additionally, we must differentiate between in whom we are primarily dependent, either in God, in man, or in self as our means to learn and understand things given to us in Christ according to the scripture….to you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God. Therefore, we must learn a unique dependence upon our God if we are going to be taught by Him, consequently, entering into His thoughts and ways, regarding His means to our personal spiritual maturity given in Christ, by God, which are certainly higher than our own means, methods, and ways which are dependent upon our coming to an end to our self reliance.
A great quote from Abraham Lincoln goes like this…Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right. One important thing we have to initially learn and understand as a Christian who is seeking a level of spiritual maturity is that God is not on my side or your side, or any side for that matter, but we must come to recognize that we need to be on Gods side. One aspect of knowing what it means to be on Gods side is to enter into His thoughts and ways regarding His provisions for us in His Son by possessing an insightful knowledge of what it means to deny yourself which is the initiation into our understanding those things from above, i.e. denying those thoughts and reasoning’s that intrude upon things given from the kingdom. It is God the Holy Spirit who instructs us and specifically reveals to us in what manner God the Father thoughts are applicable to our personal daily lives, e.g. we have to have Gods thoughts regarding His thinking of how abhorrent sin is in His sight, possessing His wisdom in terms of how we are to live in this world, and know in what manner we are to deal with the devil, and to have our eyes continually opened to what is Gods means to our personal redemption and progress in His Son, by faith. It is never what we might reason, judge, or presume upon regarding what we believe is Gods interpretation, but it is according to what is revealed to us, by His Spirit and certainly it is always according to what is written, therefore, we must strive to be on Gods side in all matters of Christianity. If we continue to be dependent upon our own innate human abilities in understanding and interpreting the scriptures then we are much subject to error and deception. Our self-reliance will take us in many different directions, but the wisdom we receive from the Spirit, who teaches us from the Word, will always lead us down the right path. On our part we must remain teachable, possess insight into our own inabilities when it comes to properly interpreting scriptures, and maintaining an inner posture toward our God who is personally involved in ever step of our salvation and redemption. In this manner we will come to know those things that have been hidden in Christ.
Jesus explains that His teaching were not His own, and He explains how we can know, as He knew, i.e. that His source for learning were from God the Father and not His own.
Not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach. The Jews there were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having been taught?”
Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.
We will remain in a state of spiritual ignorance, weakness, and lack of confidence in terms of what Gods will is without Gods voice in our life. It is the Fathers voice through the Spirit teaching us the things of Christ that enable us to walk as we ought to. That is, we know inner spiritual strength only as we hear and do what is taught to us. When we only hear and do not do as we hear this becomes a constant torment to us. Jesus explains,
Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.
In addition, Jesus provides us with another illustration regarding those that only hear the word and yet do not do it.
Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
It is the word taught to us by the Spirit of God that provides us insight into our own fallen condition and our means by grace to do what we hear. It is this same word that gives us the conviction required to walk away from sin, to deny self, and strengthens our faith to remain in Christ. Our own efforts in spiritual matters are at best weak and superficial and subject to much self deception. When we are taught of God this same teaching, because it is from above in Christ, is full of light giving insight into the mysteries of the kingdom. Apart from this teaching the only light we can receive is the light of day and not the light of heaven.
We recognize that Gods thinking has never changed regarding how men, who call upon His name, should live and receive grace.
And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”
What has changed for us is our method and means to live the moral law, in Christ. In Christ is our strength and grace to live according to Gods will which is according to Christ holiness in us. What is unfortunate, Christians seek all other means and ways to walk with a holy God other than what He has given them in His Son through faith; to do so is to sacrifice knowing God in the manner He would like to reveal Himself to us and the resultant is a religious life rather than a godly one.
Christ died, not that we might be able to form an holy nature in ourselves, but that we might receive one ready prepared and formed in Christ for us, by union and fellowship with Him. Marshall, Walter.
Therefore, regarding what are Gods thoughts for us, which are primarily in terms of what God has accomplished for us in Christ who is our means to walk upright and holy before God the Father. God’s way is that we become dependent upon God the Spirit for His daily instructions that we might obey Gods moral law, i.e. the righteous requirement of the law.
…that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
It takes a level of spiritual maturity to understand how to walk according to the Spirit; we enter into Gods thoughts to do so. Understanding those things of the Spirit do not come from the natural man but via the Holy Spirit voice and activity in us. We learn to walk so that we might learn to walk according to the righteous requirement of the law that it might be fulfilled in us. The righteous requirements of God’s law has not been set aside but is fulfilled according to the work of God in His Son. Obedience to this law takes precedence over all other things in our life, and should become our primary individual focus, i.e. not ministry, nor secular work, nor gifts of the Spirit, but our primary focus of life should be in accordance with Jesus commands to love God and our neighbor, where both commands are accomplished not in our strength of life, but are accomplished in the strength of Christ life where learning from above is our source of understanding things that are higher than what is natural.
There exist a high level of immaturity and ignorance in the Church today because it does not see what are Gods requirements for each of us and what are His means of obtaining them and as Jesus explained it to be…
Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.
Consequently, there is much confusion propagated by Gods people pertaining to every religious and scriptural matter under the sun because of their lack of insight into Gods lively thoughts and ways in their daily lives. Until one begins to understand that God is primarily concerned about only one thing, in which His thoughts are centered upon for us, and that is His Son and our completeness in Him through faith; faith maintains our union, through the Holy Spirit, with Jesus. Otherwise, without given insight into our union with the Son we will continue to be tossed to and fro by every wind of teaching that blows through our lives because we are more dependent upon ourselves, than we are in Christ. As mentioned, God the Father has one thing on His mind regarding His children, and that is His Son Jesus Christ, where in Him God the Father has made every provision for us to live upright and holy in His sight, and no longer live as the Gentiles live.
So this I say, and solemnly affirm together with the Lord [as in His presence], that you must no longer live as the [unbelieving] Gentiles live, in the futility of their minds [and in the foolishness and emptiness of their souls], for their [moral] understanding is darkened and their reasoning is clouded; [they are] alienated and self-banished from the life of God [with no share in it; this is] because of the [willful] ignorance and spiritual blindness that is [deep-seated] within them, because of the hardness and insensitivity of their heart.
Regrettably, there are thousands of different doctrinal and theological emphases in our local churches across America, and in this world, both past and present. Where there are a multitude of opinions and interpretations regarding every conceivable biblical topics, and just as many beliefs regarding what God is saying to the Church. This confusion is not from God, but ours, and is due to an unrestrained self-seeking, self-motivated natural life that is centered in ones personal religious thoughts and beliefs. It is not our thoughts and opinions that matter, that is, those thoughts that are not in line with Gods thinking, but it is to what degree we have entered into Gods thoughts that matter. Our thoughts are always inferior and counter to Gods; no matter how logical, reasonable, honorable, religious, or moral we might believe they are, and unless we have received what is from God, through His Spirit, in the light of Christ, there is no light in us that can direct our way. Within the natural life of the soul there is no light, our only source for light, in our most inner man, is from the Lord, who is the light of life. Scripture explains to us that Gods thoughts are higher than ours, and His ways are not ours. Some of the ancient men of God explain their own insights and dependence upon Gods thoughts.
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord…The Lord knows the thoughts of man, That they are futile… How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them… For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts…The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile… no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God… We also speak of these things, not in words taught or supplied by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining and interpreting spiritual thoughts with spiritual words…The Lord knows the thoughts of the [humanly] wise, that they are useless.
We understand via the scripture, from those who are mature in the things of God, that men are in grave need to know and understand Gods thoughts as a means to their continual salvation and maturity, where these thoughts are received, and from what are received, are taught, taught in the light of Christ according to His mind, and are taught those things that are in accordance with, and in line with, Gods intentions in His Son, His will. Unfortunately, after one is born of the Spirit, and they see and enter into Gods kingdom, most take it upon themselves to make progress in their given faith apart from Gods daily input. Yes we can read the words on the page of our bible however unless the Spirit of Gods intervenes, allowing His thoughts to break into upon our own, those words we read remain superficial in our understanding of them. Without hearing from the Spirit we will remain spiritually ignorant and blind to those things above, given in Christ. All of us are in need of spiritual hearing, receiving what is according to Gods thinking and ways in order that we might come and reside in Christ, which is Gods intention… No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.
To say it again, the content and context of Gods thoughts toward you and I, are always regarding His Son, and what God has given us in Him, that is, God ( Father, Son and Holy Spirit) will always direct us to Christ Jesus, where in Him is the fullness of God. For it pleased the Father that in Him (Jesus) all the fullness should dwell, i.e. all that God has put in Jesus, when He raised Him up, and glorified Him. God has summed up all things in His Son, and finds pleasure only in Him. This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.
Therefore, Gods primary will and purpose for all of us is that which we learn in Christ; learning to abide and to remain in Him, to abide and remain in union with Him via His Spirit, and learning to partake of His divine nature and life as our only source for holiness of life. Consequently, although our many thoughts are on many things religious; that is, religious activities either internal or external, those we do according to our own resources, apart from the Spirit, we hinder what is God primary emphasis for us. That is, to focus upon only one thing, and that is His Son as our primary source for living a life that is acceptable to God the Father. Therefore, we must hear and receive Gods thoughts on every matter regarding His only begotten Son; receiving more and more insights into the knowledge of Gods Son.
For this reason, since the day we heard about it, we have not stopped praying for you, asking [specifically] that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom [with insight into His purposes], and in understanding [of spiritual things], so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord [displaying admirable character, moral courage, and personal integrity], to [fully] please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing in the knowledge of God [with deeper faith, clearer insight and fervent love for His precepts]…
The Focus of our Thoughts is Jesus Christ
In all of our attempts to come to God the Father, to know Him, to please Him, He in turn will always point us to His Son, for God the Father has shut up everything of Himself in Christ, and it is in Christ that the Father is revealed, revealed not according to our will, but according to Jesus will.
All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.
Not only does the Father point us to the Son, that we might know Him, but He will teach us, through His Spirit, of His Son and our completion in Him, teaching us of all He has placed in Him for our good, i.e. all spiritual blessings in Him when He raised and glorified Him
… Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.
All is revealed and taught to us in Christ, so that we might know the Father in Him; unto ultimately knowing the Fathers governing love in and through His Son. When we walk in unity with the Son, we are walking in unity with the Father.
However, initially we must come to recognize, in the light of heaven, the reason the Father points us to His Son, and that is, because there is no good thing is us, apart from Christ, and if we are to possess anything of spiritual and heavenly value it has to be revealed and received from above, in Christ, through the Holy Spirit; knowing that godly things are not resident in us, apart from the Son. For example, there is no truth in us, and if we are to know the truth we have to know the Son, who is truth, in addition, there is no light in us, and apart from the Son, who is light in us, we remain in darkness…..Jesus is the light of life. Also, we do not know our spiritual path, or way, apart from Christ in us, who is the way; not the knowledge of the way, but Jesus Himself is the way, where in our union and fellowship with Him, in our abiding, we maintain our relationship with Him, thus we begin to know Him as the way, the truth, and the light of life. If the Father is teaching and instructing us, He is instructing us to abide and remain in the Son, in whom He has made us sufficient for all things that He requires of our life, according to His moral laws. Our works, works of every born anew Christian, are the works of daily holiness, and to do these works we are given spiritual strength in Christ.
When we say we are no longer under the law, but under grace, we should mean that now we have the grace to do the works of the moral law.
Self-sufficiency vs. Christ sufficiency
With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.
We understand all of Jesus parables to be shrouded in a mystery, things hidden from the natural man, things difficult to understand by the reasoning self-governing mind rather than what can be received from above, that is, given spiritual understanding associated with the eyes of ones heart being enlightened…And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Jesus parables are those things given from Him, where the understanding of them, is also given by Him as we see recorded in the gospels where Jesus after preaching to the crowds later took His disciples to the side and explained the meaning of each parable. In addition, we can understand these parables in our coming to the Lord, with a child like dependency, and with a anticipation and expectation that He would give to us understanding, thus opening our spiritual eyes so that we might know things of His kingdom for the purpose of our walking according to the kingdom by faith.
Initially, Christ is revealed in us, to our hearts, unto knowing His inner graces and strength prior to given instructions of Him in whom we have access to by faith; faith is our means and manner to all that the Father has for us in His Son. A robust faith in us is what will keep us in union with the Son, that we might remain in Him and in His kingdom, our inheritance, as a branch remains in the vine. It is only when we see, in the light of Christ, our self-sufficiency, knowing that in ourselves there is no good thing, and that in Christ, through His Spirit in us, makes available to us all good things, in Christ.
But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth [full and complete truth]. For He will not speak on His own initiative, but He will speak whatever He hears [from the Father—the message regarding the Son]…He will glorify and honor Me, because He (the Holy Spirit) will take from what is Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Because of this I said that He [the Spirit] will take from what is Mine and will reveal it to you.
Those who are in-between knowing the difference between our self-sufficiency vs. Christ sufficiency are always more tempted to rely upon what they know in themselves, rather than upon what they know in Jesus Christ. Our approach to God is always hindered by our self-sufficiency, even though we have a new birth, we still are in grave need to be taught of God, that is, if we are going to enter into all that God the Father has for us in His Son resurrected, after all, Jesus resurrection is one of Gods greatest work. Therefore, God is glorified only by one thing, and that is His own work, what is of Himself, and His greatest work is what He accomplished in and through His Son, a new creation in Christ, and based upon His grace we are allowed to share, not only in Christ death, but also in His resurrection by faith. Therefore, whatever is found in us that is Gods work, then God is glorified, because it is His work, His creation… Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You… There is no good thing in us except Him whom the Father glorified, and when His life is manifest in us, and by it, we do the Fathers will and works, God is glorified.
Therefore, the snare today for most, that is, in a lot of the local churches, is the belief that in much study and accumulation of the knowledge about God will, and our striving in our own strength to do Gods work will somehow bring us into a knowing of Him personally, individually; nothing could be further from the truth, our self-sufficiency does not glorify God because it is not His work but ours. Our work is to recognize via the instruction and given insight by the Holy Spirit our own inabilities to live according to scripture and armed with this given insight to seek, ask, and knock with a sincere heart that we might know the Lord in an ever increasing manner. The test of one’s faith is in our unrelenting seeking for the treasures of heaven, unto living upright and holy with the sole motive to please the Lord; if our motive is other than to please the Lord, then we are seeking with an impure heart.
The judgement seat of Christ will be one that rewards what of Christ’s life has been realized and manifested by faith in our own, which ultimately had been the Spirits work in us, where the most basic of works, like giving a glass of water to one of the least of Christ’s disciples, receives a reward.
And whoever gives to one of these little ones [these who are humble in rank or influence] even a cup of cold water to drink because he is my disciple, truly I say to you, he will not lose his reward.
To know what had been given to us by God we have to learn of Christ… But you have not so learned Christ. Christianity today has adopted its current cultural humanism, i.e., to be the best that you can be, that is, your personal best, your individual happiness, success, and well-being. Consequently, the spin a Christian will place upon this self-centered approach to be the best, is to be the best for God, using scriptural references to support our religious approach believing that these things please God while missing His intent for us in His Son. Gods will for us is solely known in and through His Son where rests all spiritual blessings for us, and as mentioned are realized in union with the Son, unto righteousness and holiness of life. At the end of Paul’s life what is it that He explained had been His motive and intentions,
But whatever former things were gains to me [as I thought then], these things [once regarded as advancements in merit] I have come to consider as loss [absolutely worthless] for the sake of Christ [and the purpose which He has given my life]. But more than that, I count everything as loss compared to the priceless privilege and supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord [and of growing more deeply and thoroughly acquainted with Him—a joy unequaled]. For His sake I have lost everything, and I consider it all garbage, so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him [believing and relying on Him], not having any righteousness of my own derived from [my obedience to] the Law and its rituals, but [possessing] that [genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith. And this, so that I may know Him [experimentally, becoming more thoroughly acquainted with Him, understanding the remarkable wonders of His Person more completely] and [in that same way experience] the power of His resurrection [which overflows and is active in believers]…
Therefore, our approach to knowing our God and walking with Him, unto pleasing Him is not based in our efforts to improve upon ourselves, shoring up the natural self-life however, the Father is only pleased with one life, and one life only, and that is His Sons, and when through much difficulty in our life His Sons life begins to manifest in us by faith, therefore God is pleased, because He sees His work in Christ in us; where one aspect of this bringing forth of Christ in you is to be taught of God recognizing that this work of God is meant to bring us to the Son, …..everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.
In many Churches today an attempt is made to assist Christians in their understanding of themselves believing that the more one understands why they sin somehow this will help in overcoming sin. The Psychology of sin is put in place of the true and liberating gospel message where this same psychology is overtly developed and taught in many American pews where many principles are developed to counter these sins, as a means and method of self-discipline. Many believe if they can better understand, through much teaching and instructions the fallen human condition, one can stop sinning; yet the more you wrestle with sin the more entangled you get with it. Because these many pastors, who are moving away from the true gospel message preached by Paul and the other Apostles, their congregation remain under the dictates of their sins and sinful nature, i.e. they can never know the freedom from sin. Rather than calling a spade a spade, that is, sin is rebellion against God, an evil in each of us, we are rebels, we are sons of disobedience, and under control of sin which proceeds from our evil nature, and apart from Christ in us who is our only freedom from sin through faith, who has freed us from sin by His cross and burial, and where our continual freedom from sin is in the newness of life in Christ.
It is to a new life that God is calling us; not to some new steps in life, some new habits or ways or motives or prospects, but to a new life. Horatius Bonar
No level of understanding of sin will ever free us from its grasp, and in gaining more knowledge of it only propagates its hold on us. Yes, the law and our wrestling with its commands and service gives us a knowledge of the sin in us, however its purpose is to drive us further into Christ and we understand these things in Christ light and given understanding, and not given in understanding the psychology of human behaviors.
The next time you sit in your church listening to your pastor listen for what is being preached and if the name of Jesus Christ is not used often then I would question what you are really being taught. There is power in the gospel message,
….the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…
The true and healthy gospel message has dealt with sin and the flesh in a onetime event in Christ and now places us in a position where we are learning what we have in Christ where we now are learning of the new life we have in Christ this should be the message of any Sunday service, that is, if the pastor knows of these things; you cannot teach what you do not know
Again, I believe one thing that has been amiss in our age of information is that many believe that in order to mature in their Christian faith, and walk, more is dependent upon biblical objective knowledge about God, and Jesus, rather than it does upon the prophet’s declaration, that all shall be taught of God. Making progress in our faith is solely dependent upon our hearing more than it is in ones self-efforts in getting much learning and knowledge about God, and the historical Jesus, which many times is rooted in self-interest, and self-ambition, as well as self-promotion in religious matters, rather than based in a love for God, to do His will in Christ, which is only known through the Spirits work in each of us. These evil self-centered motives I speak of are in all of us, and it is only as the Spirit works and instructs us, in the light of Christ, can we do what is right and acceptable in Gods sight. In other words, as the Spirit works in us, moving us from self-interest to an unfeigned heart of love for Him, to do His will; we remember the words of Jesus, on the mount, where He explains that the pure in heart will see/know God.
Paul expressed the objective and goal of every Christian is not a knowledge as an end in itself, but it is a knowledge that leads all of us to Christ, and ultimately unto Gods love manifested in each of us through Jesus, which becomes the government of our lives,
…if I have the gift of prophecy [and speak a new message from God to the people], and understand all mysteries, and [possess] all knowledge… but do not have love I am nothing…
In all we are taught, if from God, will always point us to Christ moving us from self-sufficiency to being sufficient in Christ in all things. Therefore, if we are going to progress in those things taught from above, we have our own God given responsibilities in this matter, and Jesus explained them in Matthew 7.7.
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
Jesus has put before all of us three stumbling stones in Matthew 7.7, which are, seek, ask, and knock. I say stumbling stones, because we usually go around these in an effort to know the Lord which is a grave mistake on our part, and for the Church at large. These particular stepping stones speak to the responsibility of the individual, the church, and the heavens. Within the context of Jesus statement in Matthew there are two very important sides of responsibilities, one on our part, that is, is to ask, seek, and knock, and the other is for the Lord, to cause us, in our asking, to receive (things in Him), in our seeking, to find those things in Him, and in our knocking, for the door, to an open heaven, to be available to us.
Any true progress we are going to make spiritually is via Jesus statement in Matthew 7, especially in terms of the many snares and temptations coming from our information age which has stumbled many in the Church, to the point that the pursuit for knowledge and information has become an idol. Knowledge about God is completely different than knowing Him in our hearts personally. If we do not understand in what manner God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is involved in any progress and maturity in spiritual matters unto knowing Jesus, all is solely dependent upon God and given by Him.
….the necessity of our being in Christ, and having Christ in us, by a mystical union, to enable us for an holy practice, might put us to a stand in our endeavors for holiness; because we cannot imagine how we should be able to raise ourselves above our natural sphere to this glorious union and fellowship, until God be pleased to make known to us, by supernatural revelation, the means whereby His Spirit maketh us partakers of so high a privilege. Marshall, Walter.
Light that is Darkness
Our being taught, without the accompaniment of the Holy Spirit, is in vain. The danger here is as Jesus said to the religious leaders to be careful, unless the light that is in you is darkness.
The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
Jesus speaks of the condition of the physical eyes that are bad, where no light can enter our bodies, and He speaks of good eyes, where physical light is not hindered from entering the body however, Jesus is here using our physical sight, as an example for what truly is understanding the means to spiritual sight, which is given, and not taken. Spiritual sight is not known physically, but is given via the Holy Spirit, as He takes from what is in the Son all that the Father has placed in Him for us that we might live to please God the Father as did the Son; not in our own strength, or abilities, but in the moral and righteous strength of the Son in us. Paul explains the sight that we should be pursuing, by prayer, and regarding the eyes of our heart being enlightened, which is in accordance to the light in Christ in us. Light from above enters our inner life, and not our physical life, but into our heart, having nothing to do with what is physical, and just like physical light allows us to see and understand those things around us so do spiritual light allow us to see the things of Christ.
….that the eyes of your heart [the very center and core of your being] may be enlightened [flooded with light by the Holy Spirit], so that you will know….
If we read scriptures, we read by ambient light, either via the physical sun, or from what is artificial. What we learn from what is physical is known in the light of day and enters the mind where reason, thought, and logic are applied to get understanding and wisdom. The problem in what we learn through physical means is as Jesus warns…. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! In other words, in ourselves we only have the capacity to both deceive ourselves, and others because our heart is evil. Even when it comes to the knowledge of the scriptures, if not in co-unity with the Spirit, we can be deceived because we do not see as we ought to see. To make my point here I simply have to remind the reader of all the divisions within the Church today, where there is much disunity and much suspicion where everyone believes they are right, and hold the correct interpretation of the scripture they hold tightly in their hands. Paul’s warns us in his many letters of all those who seek to deceive and miss lead. Therefore, to unify the Church requires that which is heard and taught of God. In the coming of any words, instructions, and teaching from the Spirit carries with it the light of the Lord, thus enlightening the eyes of our heart assisting us in understanding mysteries not previously understood. It is in this enlightening of our eyes that we can understand those things spoken by the Lord unto spiritual understanding. This Spirit given instructions is not convoluted, nor is it mutable, and those whose possess such instructions will all agree, that is, if they are truly being taught of God, because these things are from God, and He will not confuse us nor does He teach us things that are contrary to what has previously been given If there is deception and miss interpretation it is as Paul explained are those who are living in the natural life, and cannot be considered spiritual.
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.
Wisdom Given from Above
In addition regarding what is being taught from above has specific characteristics in our receiving it, and in our teaching, or sharing what we have received, is as James letter explains to us, has specific godly characteristics.
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
What is the result of the majority of the wisdom and understanding that we receive from above is that it always compels us toward good conduct. Wisdom that proceeds from what is natural and even demonic is based in self-seeking and is envious, and only divides the Church causing much confusion among its members which is evident in the manner that those who hold such wisdom cannot tolerate those who might oppose it thus treating those who are outside of their circles as outside the Church, which is certainly not as James explains works that are done in the meekness of wisdom and is not arrogant nor dividing. However, the wisdom that proceeds from above is always pure, easy to be entreated and makes peace with others even when they disagree with it. This wisdom that proceeds from above is gentle, and is full of mercy, and good fruits. In other words it is unifying and is not divisive.
Also, when one receives that which comes from Christ, or receives when reading, or from those who are teaching, there is an quiet inner amen because the Spirit provides the voice of agreement because He knows what He has given, and will agree with what He gives. John explains,
But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.
Therefore, what is the point of the commentary, it is this, that our self-life needs to be set aside as the primary source for things above; set aside in preference for knowing and understanding those things freely given to us in Jesus Christ by faith, i.e. all spiritual blessings. A self-ambitious self-life has much difficulty with not doing something for its own sake. The spiritual life submits to what is Gods will in that it poses or positions its hearing ear toward God as its only source for understanding and knowing the things of Christ, because it is given according to the Lord, and on His terms, for the purpose of our knowing the Father… no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.
An expression of self-humility on our part is to pursue things from above in the manner that Jesus proposed to each of us, that is, to seek, ask, and knock, and continue to do so until the Lord opens to us the heavens where Jesus sits next to His Father. Jesus explained that we should not tire of the path that He has set before us, that is to continue to seek, ask, and knock because in our continuing in them, our faith being tried, will merge finer that gold, however if we quit our untried faith has no strength to remain in the Son and partake of Him. At times it will seem like the Father is given us a stone, when we ask for bread however, it is in our pursuit of things above that two things might transpire, one being that we pursue them with pure motives and objectives and that we continue to exercise our God given faith knowing it will be tested as we go. Jesus explained it this way,
…what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
Therefore what is it that we should be asking and seeking for, isnt it that the Spirit of holiness would do a work in us where the cry of our heart is not unlike that of the Palmist,
Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness….
To reiterate, the sequence of our receiving Gods thoughts toward us, are to initially convince us of His grace, mercies, and forgiveness, in Christ, that He has secured for us and we have received by His Spirit until we become secure in these things pertaining to our salvation by faith. Once we are secure, our God, by His Holy Spirit, will convince us of our ineffectiveness, through our own efforts, to please God apart from His Son. Finally, Gods thoughts toward us will be to assist and enable us by His Spirit to walk upright in Christ for the Fathers good pleasure.
The only knowledge of God which is of spiritual value for ourselves or for others is that which we have by revelation of the Holy Spirit within our own spirit. God never explains Himself in the first instance to man’s reason. Man can never know God in the first instance by his reason. Christianity is a revelation or it is nothing, and it has to come by revelation to every new child of God, or their faith rests upon a foundation which will not stand in the day of the ordeal. T. Austin-Sparks