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The Mind of Christ: The Believer’s Privilege 1Cor. 2:16c

By Nelson Thomas Mumbai

"WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD THAT HE MAY INSTRUCT HIM?" But we have the mind of Christ.” 1Cor. 2:16

One of the most important, blessed privileges of a Christian is to have the ‘mind of Christ’. We find its significance only when we understand the terrible state of man before his conversion. Apostle Paul quoting from the book of Isaiah emphatically declares in the form of a question; “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” Notice two things in this question.

1. No man knows the mind of the Lord.
God Almighty who is beyond description by any human terms is also outside human comprehension. God’s understanding is unsearchable; and man will never know His plan and purposes unless God Himself reveals it. Cf. Isaiah 40:28; Ecc. 3:11; 8:17.

Yes, it’s true that God our Creator expects man to seek and search Him. Acts 14:17; 17:27. That’s why He chose to reveal Himself in various ways in the past. Yet, man chose to ignore this divine revelation and tried to understand God in their own way. Such a rebellious effort of man resulted in them having a reprobate mind as well as man-made gods and religious systems. Romans 1: 19-32.

However, the fact always remains that unless God chooses to reveal Himself, man by his own ability will never comprehend God and His ways. Paul says, “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…” 1Cor. 2:14.

We should always be conscious of this truth, and with all humility we should acknowledge our helplessness and seek God’s ways and will for our life.

2. God does not need the counsel of man.
Paul’s question includes one more truth that no man can instruct God. We know that advisors are an integral part of effective leadership. It’s their wise suggestions and feedback that help the leaders to take the right decisions.

God does not need such recommendations of man, for He is sovereign and does everything in His perfect will. Since His knowledge is impeccable and profound, He does everything perfect in His own time and manner.

However, there are believers who knowingly or unknowingly try to teach God through their prayers! This is absurd; our prayers should never be an occasion to inform God as if He does not know. We ought to acknowledge His omniscience and power and humbly seek His favor through Christ His Son. In Romans 11: 33-36, Paul puts it poignantly,
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! "FOR WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD? OR WHO HAS BECOME HIS COUNSELOR?" "OR WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM AND IT SHALL BE REPAID TO HIM?" For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.”
This is exactly what we also have to do, acknowledging both these realities.

3. Believers have the mind of Christ.
The third wonderful truth that Paul states in 1Cor. 2:16 is that born-again believers are privileged to have the mind of Christ. What a unique blessing this is! We are given the opportunity to understand the plan and purposes of God; moreover, we can think, evaluate and choose from God’s point of view.

Remember, what Christ told His disciples, “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.” John 15: 15 cf. 17: 8.

Further He said, "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” John 16:12, 13.

Not only did the Lord Jesus reveal precious spiritual truths to His disciples He also promised them the indwelling Holy Spirit to teach them further. Cf. 1Cor. 2:10, 12. That’s why Apostle John writes, “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.” 1John 3:27.

Today, the believer in Christ is able to know Christ’s desire and even think as He would. This does not mean that we know everything and we don’t need any teacher. Cf. Deut. 29:29. Apostle John in fact wrote in the context of the false teachers. God has already revealed His will through the scriptures and the Holy Spirit illuminates the saints to understand and apply God’s will in their day-to-day life.

Practical implication
We ought to make sure that we maintain a Christ-like mind consistently and not let it be just a doctrinal truth. Paul exhorts Philippians, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…” Phil. 2:5. What kind of mind Christ Jesus had? We can notice many unique features of Christ’s mind-set. Let’s consider three now:

a. A humble and obedient mind. Phil. 2: 4-8
He was willing to forsake His position and privileges for the sake of others. He had no hesitation to empty Himself and come down to the lowest level. He made no arguments but chose to remain silent even though He had every right to raise His voice and present His position. Matt. 12:16 cf. Isaiah 42:2.

b. A compassionate and caring mind. Matt. 9:36
Seeing the plight and suffering of the common man, He was moved with compassion. He cared for the needy and downtrodden.

c. A suffering and self-sacrificing mind. 1Peter 4:1
He was ready to suffer pain and humiliation, and that too for others. Such a mind of Christ in believers will definitely make them a blessing to others.
Notice, Paul does not say we have to acquire the mind of Christ through our efforts; rather we have the mind of Christ. 1Cor. 2:16. This is something true by virtue of our union with Christ since our regeneration. Yet, what do we experience often? Do our words and deeds actually exhibit the attitude of Christ? Can we truly claim to have a thinking pattern similar to that of the Lord Jesus Christ?

Remember, our thoughts are so powerful that it can control our entire life. Our mind actually determines the kind of person we are, whether good or bad. Cf. Pro. 23:7; Rom. 1:21. A regenerated, renewed mind is fundamental for one to be spiritual. Rom. 12:2. Nevertheless, the state of our mind is so fragile that if we don’t take care, our thoughts will wander. We will slowly lose the spiritual thinking pattern and slip into the natural, carnal imaginations following our old man. Colo. 3: 8-10; 1Peter 1:13.

That’s the reason why Paul says that he brings ‘every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,’ and he exhorts believers to set their minds on the things that are above. 2Cor. 10:5; Colo. 3:2. It should be a conscious, constant spiritual exercise to think on divine things, the scripture and even on the Lord Jesus Himself. Phil. 4:8; Heb. 12:3. And finally, by being led and controlled by the Holy Spirit, we shall be able to maintain a divine thinking pattern. Thus, we can practically experience and enjoy the blessedness of having the mind of Christ.





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