Ministering: Rev. Kayode Oyegoke
Text: Hebrews 5:13-14
Those whose senses are exercised to discern good and evil are those who have come of age to know both good and evil. They became this way because they have exercised their senses to participate in the realm of God. Paul made it clear in 1 Cor. 2:14 that we cannot come into the things of God except we are spiritually discerning. It takes a spiritual man to know the things of God. This man is he who is past the realm of natural judgment/discernment. Any attempt to judge that kind of a man by natural parameters will always end in error because he can only be accurately discerned spiritually. A spiritual man, actually, can judge all things.
Jesus said, “judge not that you be not judged” (Luke 6:37). Unfortunately, we have used this verse wrongly to mean we should not be corrected by men. God is not the only One who can judge us; even men can, especially those who are spiritual because they have attained judgment. This notwithstanding, a spiritual man cannot judge angels. It is a thing to be able to judge while it is another thing to have graduated from the school of judgment. Without learning spiritual things, we cannot judge.
The way God commits things to us is to raise our capacity as judges. The essence of God investing so much into us is because He wants to make judges out of us. A spiritual man can judge a natural man. It is possible to be born again and still have a natural soul. Paul said, “who has known the mind of the Lord that He may instruct him? For we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16). This means that without the mind of the Lord, He will not be able to instruct us. This portion, among several others, do not get appropriated by confession.
Having the mind of Christ means employing and embracing the thinking pattern of Christ. The mind and the brain are not the same thing. The brain is the organ that connects the mind to the body and is the servant of the mind. There are things that the heart can accommodate and know that the mind cannot handle because the heart is more spiritual than the mind. It is possible for your mind to know things that your brain is completely ignorant of. The Bible says the word of God is the “discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).
The mind entertains thoughts while the thoughts of the heart is called “intent”. The heart is deeper than the mind. The word of God, however, can touch every dimension of man including these compartments because it is sharper and can travel farther than every thought. Many times, we are ignorant of the state of our hearts. It takes time to know hearts because it is deceitful above all things (Jer. 17:9). The reason many people continue in wickedness is because they have been deceived by their hearts. It takes so much time to access the intents of the heart, break it and begin to do righteousness.
Many times, God designs dealings around our lives to reveal the true state of our hearts to us because we do not know the true state of our hearts. The laws of evil written in our hearts are more powerful than the laws of family and brotherhood. We should ask God for grace to cooperate with goodness in the season when our hearts are tested. Many times, when God wants to save a family, He will cause a Joseph to be raised in such a home. He will do this to reveal the true state of their hearts for the purpose of healing them all.
The reason we should be spiritually minded is to come into discernment. When Paul said, “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16), he did not mean that we already have it within us because many of us still think like Gentiles. He was speaking of a provision in the Spirit that is made available for the church. This mind is also already documented in scriptures. We have to possess this mind, however, to be able to come into judgment. Possessing the mind of Christ is very essential to come into the things of God.
It is not every kind of thought that you will find in the mind of Christ because there are things that Christ minds. Paul spoke of the “law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2). Christ delivers freedom from the law of sin and death but then salvation is a different matter. It is possible to have freedom and not be saved. A soul can be free and return to bondage. It does not matter how high-sounding a preacher is, the acid test for determining whether or not he is free is his obedience to the law of Christ.
There is a law in Christ Jesus that is better than life. The spirit of life in Christ Jesus breaks the soul from bondage and set it free while God saves to the uttermost. Freedom from the law of sin and death is not the end of faith. Freedom from the law of sin and death does not mean the soul cannot offend anymore. Salvation is the removal of every tendency to violate and break the laws of life that can return the soul to bondage. Paul spoke about those who are after the flesh and those who mind its things. Minding the things of the flesh is living by a law that is alien to the life of Christ. The only answer to this is Christ and God.
In contrast, those who mind the things of the Spirit are not those seeking the spectacular or following the gifts of the Spirit. The Corinthian church came behind in no gift but were still carnal (1 Cor. 3:1-3). This is why they were fed with milk. The dimension of feeding a carnal man is milk, which prepares the soul for spiritual things. The Bible tells us about “the spirit of the world” and “the spirit which is of God” (1 Cor. 2:12). One teaches the things of the world while the other teaches the things of God. The spirit of the world is the teacher of the world; that is, the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and pride of life (1 John 2:16).
Those who do well in the world, by the world and for the world have so much access to the spirit of the world. Unfortunately, pastors employ this spirit to populate their churches by allowing those who preach the world to come to speak to the saints. John said, “those who are of the world” hear such people (1 John 4:5). Lust of the eyes is beyond lusting after a woman; that kind of lust does not need to be taught. The world prospers by the disputers, prudent and wise of this world (1 Cor. 1:19-20). The truth of Christ and God is hid from “the wise and prudent” and revealed to “babes” (Luk. 10:21).
Oftentimes, the disputers of the world get angry whenever they hear preachers of Christ. The body of Christ is the way it is today because of the kinds of teachers she has had. To change the body, the teachers have to be changed. Those who have the spirit of the world do it in the church, if not the apostle Paul will not be warning believers against their operations. When a believer hardly thinks about eternal things but bothers himself about his earthly and worldly life, he is worldly. We must be people who are always conscious of eternity.
Eternity is not in heaven, it begins from here. It is possible to be on earth and be living in eternity. It does not matter where God lives, He is not subject to any economy other than the one that flows from within Him, which is Eternal Life. The way to overcome teachers of the world is to rise above the reach of the world by reason of growth. The strongest insulator against the spirit of the world is growth. You must know that it does not matter how eloquent and high-sounding these worldly teachers are, they are teachers of bondage. The true spirit of freedom is dispensed by the teaching of faith. Whoever stops you from faith is preventing you from being free.
A spiritual man is a free man. He is one who mind the things of the Spirit and has walked in them over time. It is this kind of men that can overcome the world. As much as it is not easy to be detached from this world, God is demanding total freedom. Having respect for this world is what it means to regard iniquity in the heart. The garment of the world is so colourful that it often seduces God’s children. A man called it “the shining of the mercury” because it is fleeting in nature. The glory of this world appears in one season and disappears because it is designed to keep man running after it but never laying hold on it.
Unfortunately, this shining is what has informed the choice of many believers’ life partners and it has made them completely disregard men and women who pant after righteousness. Christ is free of and from the world and without this freedom, inheriting God is completely impossible. The freedom that Christ is and gives must be taught the church. It is worldly mindset that makes people interpret open door into nations of the earth as success in ministry; if the Lord allows you access through such doors, it is to change men and make them free from the law of sin and death.
The spirit of bondage is the teaching of the law of sin and death. The purpose of the spirit of freedom is to break bondage. We are told that “God has not given us the spirit of fear” (2 Tim. 1:7). The spirit of bondage is the one that cultures fear in the soul. The spirit of fear is the law of sin and death. We do iniquity because we have fear for tomorrow. When we understand this, we will see that unbelief is the bases for our misbehaviour. Fear makes you run after provisions that you do not need and which will consequently lead you into a life of bondage.
It is important we hear the gospel of freedom over and over till our hearts no longer fears again. “Abba Father” (Rom. 8:15) which the spirit of adoption cries within us is a reaction generated by the Spirit against the bondage that the world propagates. Many preachers preach this world because they are afraid of dying unnoticed. A man who is afraid of shame is a weak man! These are times to be discerning; many preachers inspire people to run after the world because of fear in their hearts. What they say may not appear as evil but, in the spirit, codes of life have been broken by those preachers and the feet of the hearers lay hold on the path of life.
May the Lord cause our strength to be renewed as against the preaching of the adversary. Satan is a preacher who only “savours the things that be of men, not the things that be of God” (Matt. 16:23). The devil never leaves any believer alone until he (the believer) is dead to the things that he (Satan) threatens them with. As long as fear still lodges somewhere in our souls, it shows we are still lacking (Jer. 23:1-5). A spiritual man is not necessarily a man who quotes scriptures; he is one who is free from the things that the flesh minds.
A man who is free is one who is on his way to salvation. It is fear that makes people make decisions out of faith. It is also the reason men will depart from the faith and begin to listen to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons (1 Tim. 4:1-2). Fear can make a believer move back from fellowshipping with meat to milk and then slide back to the flesh, like the Hebrew church (Heb. 5:12-14). Good and Evil are God’s instructions to the man that is spiritual because that is man’s departure from man.
When a man becomes spiritual but then chooses evil, he cannot be redeemed again. You will choose evil without discernment. Without being free, you will not be able to choose the good. We are trained to first learn to refuse evil and choose the good (Isaiah 7:15). God banished man from the Garden because his innocence had been replaced by the evil they partook of in the Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam partook of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil with some innocence. His intention was not to go against God; he only wanted to reap the full benefit of life.
Butter and Honey (Isaiah 7:15) is Christ as a meal. Natural men cannot refuse evil because it takes some discernment to see it as it truly is. It is possible to be a christian and still race into evil. This evil is a level of intelligence and depth that is higher than the works of the flesh that are manifest. God will not allow you take the Good until you have refused the Evil because it is not good to eat and mix God will evil. This is what is called height of holiness.
Those who will arrive at God must be men who have died to fear. The chief of all our fear and the basis of our temptations is that we want continuity. Abraham, after conquering five kings and giving tithes to Melchizedek, was till subject to fear. This is why God appeared to him and told him “Fear not, Abram: For I am your shield and exceeding great reward” (Gen. 15:1-2). Fear is the companion that often stays with us whenever everyone else has moved out. Giving of tithes does not solve the problem that fear gives, neither does conquering external challenges. It is the enemy within that has to be overcome by all. Without this deliverance, there is no true freedom. The way to be free, however, is by “the blood of the Lamb, the word of our testimony and not loving our lives to the death” (Rev. 12:11).