Bristol, Virginia

The Need for Discernment – Pt.3

Subtitle: Natural or Spiritual Man?

By Roderick Breem

1 Cor 2 reminds the believer that God has entrusted him or her with great spiritual knowledge.

But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” (v.10)


Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” (v.12)

It may be easy for some of us to gloss over those two profound statements. Think on that for a second. The Holy Spirit has revealed secrets hidden before time to us, the church. I love how it says that we have the Spirit so that we would “know the things that are freely given to us of God.” That is past tense. They have been given to us and as we follow the Spirit He uncovers them.

Now, see the distinction between the natural and spiritual man.

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (v.14)

The word “natural” in that verse means the person is limited only to their 5 senses. They are what you call sensual. Now, the spiritual man:

“But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.” (v.15)

The word for “judgeth” means to judge or discern. The spiritual man – the man led by the Holy Spirit – discerns all things. He can relate to his surroundings beyond just the 5 senses. An example of this would be the Apostle Peter when Jesus asked “Who do people say I am?” Peter said he was the Son of God, the Messiah. Jesus said to Peter “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 16:17) Flesh and blood (natural man with his 5 senses) had not revealed that to Peter but the Father.

So, are you a person primarily moved by your natural man with its 5 senses or are you guided by the Spirit? True discernment can only be had by the spiritual man.

Lord, thank you for Your Spirit. Thank you for revealing secrets to us. We want true discernment that only comes through Your Spirit. Help us to walk in the Spirit and reject the natural man that would try to keep us only in the realm of the sensual.