Don’t Be Ignorant About Spiritual Things

bibleThe Corinthian Christians used to believe in “mute idols” (1 Cor. 12:2). These idols could not speak for themselves. They had no revelation to communicate. (Robertson and Plummer)

      We find an illustration of the epithet in the statue of Isis at Pompeii, where    the ruined temple shows the secret stair by which the priest mounted to the back  of the statue; and the head of the statue (preserved in the Museo Borbonico) shows the tube which went from the back of the head to the parted lips. Through this tube the priest concealed behind the statue spoke the answers of Isis.[1]

If the dumb idols could not speak to them, who speaks to them? The priests of their idolatrous religion speak to them. They had to rely on the words of the priests.

Isn’t that your religion before? You believed in dumb idols. You did not know God’s Word. You had to rely on the priests of your religion. Somebody had to tell you what to believe. Now, however, you can read the Bible for yourself. You can discern the truth from the false by reading your Bible. You can check out the Pastor’s preaching if what he says is according to the Bible. Unlike mute idols, God now speaks to you in the Bible.

These Corinthian believers were spiritually immature. But there was a deeper problem. They were spiritually ignorant. They were spiritually captive to idolatry. They believed that different powers come from different gods. They could not distinguish whether a person was speaking by the Spirit or not. (Robertson and Plummer) They lacked spiritual discernment about spiritual things.

Thus, Paul addressed their lack of discernment. “Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says ‘Jesus is accursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit” (v. 3). They can now discern whether the thing comes from the Spirit of God or not. Paul gives them a tool to test whether a teaching comes from God. The tool is one’s statement of faith. Anyone who curses Jesus cannot do so by the Spirit of God. Anyone who declares that “Jesus is Lord” does so by the Spirit of God. The belief, conviction, and declaration that “Jesus is Lord” therefore is the mark of the work of the Spirit in one’s life. (Oster)

As pagans, they used to believe that different activities come from different gods. As Christians now, some of them were still spiritually uninformed. Hence, Paul told them that different gifts come from the same Spirit, the same Lord, and the same God (vv. 4-5).

[1] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Hrsg.): The Pulpit Commentary: 1 Corinthians. Bellingham, WA : Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2004, S. 396).

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