1 Corinthians 2:14… “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (KJV).
This verse has been on my heart recently and I would like to share some thoughts. What kind of man is the natural man? Here, the word “natural” man stands opposed to the “spiritual” man. It singles out those who are ruled and influenced by natural instincts and desires, as opposed to those who are influenced by the Spirit of God. There are people, sinners and Christians alike, who reject revelations or teachings that come by the Holy Spirit. They do not accept them because they do not understand them. The Corinthian church had a fondness for learning, wisdom, and oratorical display, but they could not understand Paul’s words. The word “natural” has different meanings, such as “one who is governed by his sensual nature, one who rejects and resists the things of the Spirit, one who sneers at both Christ and Christianity.”
Paul groups the meaning of the word “natural” in four different ways.
The old man is the natural man… the unregenerated man or one with a sinful nature that must be renewed. Romans 6:6… “Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, and so that we should no longer be slaves of sin” (NASB). The old man is man as he was before his conversion to Christ by the grace of God. Paul writes in Ephesians 4:22-24… “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (KJV).
The outward man is also a natural man… 2 Corinthians 4:16… “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day” (KJV). The outward man is the body, the flesh, and the inward man is the soul. As the body is wasted by the afflictions of life and is subject to decay, the soul is renewed day by day through the Spirit of God.
The carnal man is also the natural man… Paul, in Romans 8:1-14, draws a distinction between the carnal man and the spiritual man. The carnal man is identified with the law of death, and the spiritual man is identified with the law of the spirit of life. These two laws are two principles: one makes man to be at enmity with God and leads to death, but the other makes man friends with God, leading to life and peace. The word “carnal” means the human nature with all its frailties and passions, both sinners and Christians can fall into this (note 1 Corinthians 3:1-4).
The natural man is the old man… the outward man and the carnal man all together. 1 Corinthians 2:14… “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (KJV). Man inherited all of this from Adam’s fall. He is changed into a new man, a spiritual man, and an inward man by the Spirit of God and by the grace of God. To learn more about the natural man we must turn to the book of Ecclesiastes.
(To be continued…)
Pastor George Belobaba
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