The Bible Edge
Everyone needs an Edge, Believers can have a Bible Edge
I Corinthians 15:46
Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
In this series of “Random thoughts of a Spiritual Nature” some basics are required to understand. One is taught in today’s verse. When considering spiritual things, know that this same flow of events is always the same. Natural comes before spiritual. Always has, always will. I Corinthians 15 is commonly called the great Resurrection chapter of the Bible. In it Paul writes about two men. The first man and the last man. One was natural, one was spiritual. One was Adam, one was Christ. From one came death, from one came life. One is earthly, one is from heaven. There are many contrasts of these two men but know this; Adam pictures the natural, Christ the spiritual. Adam came first, Christ came last.
From this illustration Paul is teaching us a wonderful truth. First, we are natural, afterward we can be spiritual. Many never make this transition, only living in the natural realm. It’s understandable, for from a baby everything is focused on the natural. Growing as a young child the things of the natural world are learned. Eating habits are formed, how to speak, walk, tie shoes, everything is focused on things natural. Making a living, renting or buying a place to live, are big concerns, but they are largely natural not spiritual. Taking care of the natural things of this life takes time, energy and learning about natural things.
Spiritual things, in the natural way of seeing things, are not important. At least in priority. Spiritual things like reading the Bible, studying the Scriptures, prayer, church attendance, performing the work of a ministry, these, to most, are secondary to the natural cares of this life. But to the person who is spiritual minded, these are first. Yes, spiritual life always comes after physical life, but then, in a spiritual type of transition the spiritual will overtake the natural and become first.
Make no doubt, an identifying mark of a spiritual person is that spiritual things come first. For a natural person, natural things come first. For a spiritual person, spiritual things come first.
It happens like this. A person experiences the new birth that the Bible speaks about. Meaning they come to the place in their life that they realize they are a sinner in need of a Savior. Upon hearing the Gospel, they put their trust in Christ and are born again into the family of faith. When this happens the Holy Spirit of God, who by the way gives them the faith to trust Christ, moves into their heart and life. He, the Holy Spirit, then begins a spiritual work. Wherein prayer was once foolishness, now it becomes increasingly important. Preaching was also once foolishness, now it is like taking a cool drink of water or a piece of delicious bread. On and on the Christian growth in spiritual things continues until the spiritual becomes priority over the natural. Instead of disobeying or ignoring Scriptural teachings there is a hunger to obey them.
Hence a person who was at first only natural becomes spiritual. But, those two natures, the natural nature and the spiritual nature will continue to be at odds throughout all of one’s earthly life. Hence the personal war that continually rages in the soul. For every believer in Jesus Christ fights this battle, there is no exception. This is why Paul encouraged Timothy to…Fight the good fight of faith. May you also do so today and every day.
William T. Howe, Ph.D.