The thing about dealing with an invisible God is that you will never know anything about him unless he reveals himself to you. And even when he does, what he tells you will be beyond you unless he gives you a heart that understands.
That’s one of the wonders of grace and salvation. That though we can’t see him, he revealed himself to us. And though we didn’t have hearts that could grasp what he was saying, he brought enlightenment to us through his Spirit.
That’s what we see in this passage.
For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. (11)
I’ve always told my wife, “Much as I’d like to be able to, I can’t read your mind. If something is bothering you, tell me.”
It can be difficult to read people sometimes. What are they thinking? What are they feeling? What are they planning? And if it’s difficult to read people who we can see, how much more difficult is it to read God who we can’t see?
People in their own wisdom will never be able to comprehend God or his purposes. Paul gives an example of this in verses 7-8, when talking about God’s plan of salvation. He tells us that God had in mind from the beginning what he would do, but it was hidden from us. God had given the Jews pictures through the sacrifices and pictures through the prophets about what needed to be done for our salvation. And yet they couldn’t grasp it. So Paul tells us,
None of the rulers of this age understood [the wisdom of God], for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (8)
Even Caiaphas, the high priest, couldn’t grasp it, not even the words that came out of his own mouth when he said,
You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish. (John 11:50)
John said of those words,
He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. (51-52)
Talk about God using you in spite of yourself. But Paul’s words in verse 14 are a perfect description of Caiaphas.
The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. (14)
High priest though Caiaphas was, had someone told him that Jesus had to die for the sins of the people, he would have thought they were crazy. Why? Because he was without the Spirit in his life.
But we who are Christians do. For Paul tells us,
However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”– but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. (9-10)
We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. (14)
And yet again,
“For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (16)
Do we understand all things now? Of course not. There are still many things we see dimly. Even salvation, which is one of the clearest things God has revealed to us, is clouded in mystery. But as we draw nearer to God and mature, he will reveal these things to us even more as he teaches us his spiritual truths. (13)
So let us pray, “Holy Spirit, open the eyes and ears of my heart that I might know you, and that I might understand all that you have prepared for me.”
And he will reveal himself to us.