When the Bible talks about the ‘natural man,’ what does that mean?
From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Q: When the Bible talks about the ‘natural man,’ what does that mean? — N.M.
A: The ‘natural man’ cannot understand the things of God because the natural man does not have the Spirit of God indwelling him. Our natural wisdom comes not from God, but is earthly, sensual, and devilish. Sin has twisted man’s understanding of truth so that we cannot recognize the truth about God.
This is what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote to the Corinthians: “The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:25). When Paul preached about the cross of Christ, it seemed foolish to the people. The Greek philosophers believed they could unravel divine mysteries because they were overconfident of their own mental capacities.
It spite of this available power, the Gospel about Christ who was crucified is still unimportant to millions. They reflect the failure Paul analyzed when he questioned, “What have the philosopher, the writer and the critic of this world to show for all their wisdom? Has not God made the wisdom of this world look foolish? For it was after the world in its wisdom had failed to know God, that he in his wisdom chose to save all who believe by the ‘simple-mindedness’ of the Gospel message” (1 Corinthians 1:20-21, Phillips).
Before the teaching in the Bible can mean anything to us, the Spirit of God must open our minds. The Scriptures teach that a veil covers our minds as a result of our separation from God. To an “outsider” the cross must appear to be ridiculous. But to those who have experienced its transforming power, it has become the only remedy for the sins of each person — and the whole world.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)
©2021 Billy Graham Literary Trust. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.(c)2021 BILLY GRAHAM DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.