Revelation: Renewing Your Mind

“I thought there was a relation between God and the soul as yet unknown. On this theme the mind the mind can reason to a point, a dead impassable wall. Arrived there, all that remains is to stand and cry aloud for help. So I did, but no voice came to me over the wall. In despair, I tore myself from the cities and the schools. … I found a cave in a hill … there I dwelt, giving myself up to … waiting for … revelation.” – Ben Hur (1880)

The oft-quoted saying that the mind can’t think its way to God is trite but true. Reason and speech are God’s gifts to humanity. No other earthly creature possesses these things. Mankind alone can think and talk. However, we are still finite beings. We don’t know all that there is to know, in heaven or on earth. On this side of eternity, we never will.

jesus mary joseph nativity bethlehem christmasGod alone is all-knowing. He’s also a spirit (John 4:24). Since “no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God,” saving knowledge of him requires divine revelation rather than human reason (1 Corinthians 2:10-11).[1] Only through the Son can we know the Father (Matthew 11:27). So, only through revelation could Daniel tell Nebuchadnezzar his dream (Daniel 2:19-30). Only through revelation could Peter call Jesus “the son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16-17). And only through revelation could Paul be converted and preach salvation to Gentiles (Galatians 1:11-12, 2:2; Ephesians 3:3-7). Even the Incarnation was the revelation of a divine mystery, “kept secret since the world began” (Romans 16:25).

“It is as absurd to argue men, as to torture them, into believing.” – Cardinal Newman (1801-1890)

Our hearts must be converted and our spirits must be transformed before our minds can be renewed (Romans 12:2). So, arguing with sinners is pointless. Their minds have been darkened by unbelief and blinded by Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4). Sinners live only in the natural realm. They don’t “receive the things of the Spirit of God,” which they call “foolishness,” and can’t “know them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). The world can’t receive the Holy Spirit “because it neither sees him nor knows him” (John 14:17). This is why “flesh and blood” will never reveal Jesus, a human being and the son of a poor carpenter, as the ever-living Son of God (Matthew 16:17). Therefore, only divine revelation can save sinners. Only repentance and faith can convert them.

liberty-universitySome Christians acknowledge these truths. Others take pride in formal education. Going to university to train our thinking and learn more about the world we live in is a good thing. Going to seminary to learn more about the Bible, theology, and church history is an excellent thing. Still, human teachers in brick-and-mortar buildings can’t teach us to know, love, believe, and obey the Triune God. Only God by his Holy Spirit can do that; he alone will guide “us into all truth” (John 16:13). Therefore, true believers are “taught by God,” not men (Isaiah 54:13, John 6:45).

Thanks to blind unbelief, too many sinners use their God-given minds to deny him. Thanks to worldly wisdom, too many Christians use their minds to quench the Holy Spirit. Who will embrace the truth of divine revelation and let Christ renew their minds through faith? Who, like David, will say, “By my God I can leap over a wall” (Psalm 18:29)?


[1] New King James Version (NKJV), unless otherwise noted


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