Jesus said to the learned scribes and Pharisees, “You search the scriptures and in them you think you will find life and it is these which speak of me, but you will not come to me that you might have life.” The more that things change, the more that the mind of religion remains the same.
T. Austin-Sparks wrote:
…the difference between soul and spirit is very clear and definite. The spirit is the organ of spiritual knowledge, and spiritual knowledge is very different from natural or soul knowledge. How does God know things, and by what means does God come to His conclusions, decisions? On what basis of knowledge does He run the universe? Is it by reasoning inductively, deductively, philosophically, logically, comparatively? Surely all this laboriousness of brain is unknown to God. His knowledge and conclusions are intuitive. Intuition is that faculty of spiritual intelligence by which all spiritual beings work. Angels serve the will of God by intuitive discernment of that will, not by argued and reasoned conviction. The difference between these two is witnessed to by the whole monument of spiritual achievement. If human reason, the natural judgment and ‘common sense’ had been the ruling law, most, if not all, of the giant pieces of work inspired by God would never have been undertaken. Men who had a close walk with God and a living spirit-fellowship with Him, received intuitively a leading to such purposes, and their vindication came, not by the approval of natural reason, but usually with all such reason in opposition. ‘Madness’ was usually the verdict of this world’s ‘wisdom’. Whenever they, like Abraham, allowed the natural mind to take precedence over the spiritual mind, they became bewildered, paralysed, and looked round for some ‘Egypt’ way of the senses, along which to go for help. In all this we are “justified in the spirit”, not in the flesh. The spirit and the soul act independently, and until the spiritual mind has established complete ascendency over the natural mind, they are constantly in conflict and contradiction. In all the things which are out from God and therefore spiritual, “the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the spirit is life and peace” (Rom 8:6). This, then, is the nature of spiritual knowledge.
The only knowledge of God which is of spiritual value for ourselves, or for others by our ministry, is that which we have by revelation of the Holy Spirit within our own spirits. God never—in the first instance—explains Himself to man’s reason, and man can never know God—in the first instance—by reason. Christianity is a revelation or it is nothing, and it has to be that in the case of every new child of God; otherwise faith will be resting upon a foundation which will not stand in the day of the ordeal.
‘The Christian Faith’ embraced as a religion, a philosophy, or as a system of truth, a moral or ethical doctrine, may carry the temporary stimulus of a great ideal; but this will not result in the regeneration of the life, or the new birth of the spirit. There are multitudes of such ‘Christians’ in the world today, but their spiritual effectiveness is nil.
The Apostle Paul makes it very clear that the secret of everything in his life and service was the fact that he received his gospel “by revelation”. We may even know the Bible most perfectly as a book, and yet be spiritually dead and ineffective. When the Scriptures say so much about the knowledge of God and of the truth as the basis of eternal life, resulting in being set free, doing exploits, etc., they also affirm that man cannot by searching find out God, and they make it abundantly clear that it is knowledge in the spirit, not in the natural mind.