"The best that I can hope is that this has just opened a window, and that as you look through it you are seeing one thing - how superior is Jesus Christ to all else!"
- T. Austin-Sparks
The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him… (1 Corinthians 2:14)
Here truly will be found such as are sinners manifest to all; here heathens who are often referred to by the "civilized" (?) as "sitting in darkness" (what a false comparison!), but here also are included the most enlightened by the light of civilization as such. Here are some of the greatest brains the world has known. Here are multitudes of the most scholarly and learned. Here are even many whose researches have led them far into the realms of theology and theosophy. Yes, they include many who have held place in ministry and office in what is called "The Church." Many of these live lives which from man's point of view are morally almost flawless. And yet, and yet, with all they do not know in that realm and in that vital way which is "life," eternal life, because Divine and not human life. Look again! What is their description? "The natural man receiveth not... neither can he know the things of the Spirit of God."
It should be well known by now that that word "natural" in the Greek is psychical. Perhaps the faulty translation is not altogether unfortunate for the natural man is the psychical man, and the psychical man is the natural man. He is a different species – so to speak – from the spiritual man. As the word implies the psychical man is entirely governed and bound by reason, feeling, volition, within a world of sense. But the things of the Spirit of God are not in that realm in the first instance. True, spiritual forces can and do register themselves upon psychical apparatus, but the psychical apparatus does not know them (hence the delusion and deception of spiritism), and this is true to the absolute in the matter of the things of God. Not only the delusion of spiritism has its ground in the psychical as a registering apparatus, but the entire counterfeit of the truly spiritual or divinely spiritual is in this realm. Evangelism, "Apostolic" teaching and practice (?), "Pentecostal" experience (?), prayer force, and even exorcism can all be merely psychical. Signs, sensations, impacts, can be psychically produced by the use of the most orthodox New Testament language and doctrine, even the Name and the Blood of Jesus may be employed in terms and language. There is only one sure safeguard against the colossal delusion by which multitudes will be carried away in the latter days, and that is a clear apprehension of the teaching of the Holy Spirit concerning soul and spirit and the continual operation of the Cross in the realm of the "natural" man. No, the natural man CANNOT! He may be full of religious knowledge, emotions or feelings, and activities, but if the Bible thunders more than speaks on any matter, it is this: that such can be the most mistaken and deceived. The highest reach of genius comes far short of the lowest degree of Divine inspiration and revelation.