2:13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
I have a son. He actually likes to argue. Not entirely his fault. He comes from a long line that prefer to be right over anything else. I distinctly remember one argument as a kid where I started out thinking I was right and about half way in realized I was wrong but decided I was going ahead guns blazing anyway...
He has an opinion about everything no matter how little he knows about the subject. Last summer I was in a garden shop and above the shelves they were selling signs. One of them said "I don't need Google. My kids know everything. I just ask them." I actually laughed out loud when I saw it.
There are times when he gets humbled by his propensity to speak before he knows what he is speaking about and I keep hoping it will make a lasting impression. So far I'm still hoping. Sometimes life lessons have to be learned, not taught. Like Winston Churchill said "I like to learn, I just don't like to have anyone teach me." Stubborn pride is an awful curse.
The Biblical record of the clash between Jesus and the religious establishment is like that. It's not that they didn't see they were wrong. They just refused to admit it or seek change. The closest they came was a day when Jesus was talking about blindness, heart blindness, mind blindness, and they listened and their response was "Are you saying we are blind also?" They got the message but it made no beneficial impact.
It's not hard to spot that kind of stubborn pride. We have all been there...
Notice that Paul doesn't say the natural (unconverted) man does not or cannot hear or see the things of God. He says they can't receive them. Their pride won't allow it.
Consider love. We would never have known how far real love stretches had Jesus not revealed it. We have the mind of Christ. We know what was in His mind because it came out in his life. No person was unclean to Him. No border classified a person as less or unworthy. When Jesus spoke of the standards of religion He exposed our hard hearts. Religion forbade murder but hate was ok. Religion forbade adultery, but lust was ok. In seven different ways in Matthew 5 Jesus exposed the fact that religion was incapable of moving past the surface to the heart where all brokenness and sin originates. Yet despite our brokenness and in spite of the way we treated Him, His treatment of us was entirely consistent. It was relentless love. "Love your enemies. Bless those who persecute and pray for those who despitefully use you." Radical teachings but for Jesus they weren't just a flowery speech. He lived them. He did them. No one could deny it but still most refused Him. Stubborn foolish pride. There is nothing more destructive.
There is no one more attractive than Jesus as revealed in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. He can be no fictional character because His ideals and life were lived out on a higher plain than we had yet imagined. Yet as awesome as He is so many of us still fight Him daily. "Saul, Saul, why do you kick against the pricks?"
"Today if you hear His voice do not harden your heart as they did in the rebellion..."