The Bible can be difficult to understand. This fact is illustrated well by numberless theories, sects, denominations, doctrines, and denunciations all based on the words of Scripture. I have been studying the Bible for many years and am still learning.
One reason many people who interpret the Scriptures end up with such odd conclusions is that the truth of the Word of God is off-limits to many who read it.
“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. “ 1 Corinthians 2:14
Again and again the Bible contrasts believers with unbelievers using words like “spiritual” and “natural”. The “natural” man is just as he came into the world. His understanding is limited to only what the human brain can receive and discern. By contrast, the “spiritual” man is able to comprehend Spiritual truth as well as what the “natural” man can learn.
The passage above states the case clearly. The “natural” person “does not accept” and is “not able to understand…” Another passage comes to mind that teaches us the same truth.
For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot” Romans 8:7
Here again the truth is very clear. The “natural” person “does not submit” to God and His law and “cannot” submit.
What is at the heart of so much foolishness in the name of Christianity is that people the Bible says cannot understand or accept the things of God are engaged in trying to do what God says they can’t do. Unsaved, unspiritual, men and women are busy making statements and writing books and articles about subject matter that is only understood by those who have been born from above, “spiritual” men and women. The Holy Spirit is the exclusive teacher of spiritual truth.
So, Jesus says to a crowd,
“…Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day…” John 6:54
A discussion followed and most of the people hearing his words failed to understand, and many of those who had been following him around left him after that day. Jesus diagnosed the problem with these words.
For the exact same reason (unbelief), many people today expect that when they drink wine or grape juice and eat bread or a cracker on Sunday morning that somehow they are eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Jesus. I agree with brother Al Maxey who said in an article on New Wineskins earlier this month that it is very unlikely Jesus had in mind our practice of communion when he spoke those words long ago.
People only receive Jesus by faith and God is on record justifying those who believe and trust him. Did you notice what Jesus said in the text above? “…The flesh is no help at all”. You can take it to the bank, what you and I do, the sum total of our religious activity, including every rite or ritual, is “no help at all” in receiving what God offers in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
This raises important questions. Which side are you on? Are you “spiritual” or are you “natural”? If you have been born from above you have the ability to understand God’s spiritual truth and to submit to it. If you are still only “natural” you must do a u-turn and become willing to submit to God’s Son Jesus who is Truth. He said these words.
Truly, truly, I say to you,whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” John 6:47-51
He did give himself as a sacrifice for ungodly people like all of us. Trust him alone. He is eternal life.