Knowing the unknowable

“But we speak God’s wisdom among those who are mature; … but just as it is written, ‘Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love him.’ … For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:7, 9, 11 NASB).

A favorite pastime in recent days has been to try to anticipate or out-guess the authorities as to when restrictions of travel and assembly might be reinstated. In Alabama this week many were surprised and disappointed when Governor Ivey displayed much caution only slightly relaxing previous “Stay at Home” orders. People in other states and countries continue to deal with rigid restrictions with no end in sight. Especially in South Asia hunger and desperation are growing as close to 2 billion people remain under imposed lockdown with no travel, work, or business permitted outside the home.

This makes us all wonder, “What are our leaders thinking? What do they know that we do not?” We wonder and guess, but are left to wait, hoping that someone has answers to this dilemma.

The apostle Paul was a scholar, a leader, and one who was much respected among his contemporaries in Judaism. Yet when he became a Christian he gave up all claims to personal wisdom, relishing his call to simply speak the words of God as they were revealed to him (1 Corinthians 2:1-5). It was and is God’s wisdom rather than man’s which the world needs, and this is especially true when it comes to salvation from sin.

Only the mind of God could resolve the paradox of justice and love presented by man’s sins. Because God is just, sin must be punished (Romans 2:5-10; Galatians 6:7). Because God loves the humans whom he made, he wants to save them (John 3:16; 2 Peter 3:9). These contradictory imperatives were each satisfied by the gift of Jesus’ death on the cross (Hebrews 9:14; 1 John 2:1-2). Judged by the intelligence of man, the events of the Gospel were beyond imagination or belief (1 Corinthians 1:22-31). Yet the infinite wisdom of God devised the one possible means by which sin could be forgiven without divine character being compromised.

Who can know the mind of God? Only his own spirit. Yet he has chosen to reveal those things which formerly were a mystery through the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. First entrusted to his Apostles, then to all who would receive it, this mystery continues to spread throughout the world. Like the apostles we are controlled by the love of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:14) to share with others that which we have come to believe (2 Corinthians 4:13).

It is not for man to question or complain about God’s activities on our behalf. Rather it is for us to accept them, trusting and obeying without reservation. As Paul commanded Timothy let us do also:

I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate; that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will bring about at the proper time – he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords; who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen” (1 Timothy 6:13-16).

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