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The Natural And The Spiritual

The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.
It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory.
It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.
It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

And so it is written,
"The first man Adam became a living being."
The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
However, the spiritual is not first,
but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.

The first man was of the earth, made of dust;
the second Man is the Lord from heaven.
As was the man of dust,
so also are those who are made of dust;
and as is the heavenly Man,
so also are those who are heavenly.

And as we have borne the image of the man of dust,
we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. (1 Cor. 15:42-49)

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground,
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;
and man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7)

Man was formed from the dust of the ground. The dust of the ground is natural. But God breathed the breath of life into man, and gave him His Spirit. Thus, man became a spiritual being. The spiritual is not first, but the natural is. The spiritual comes after the natural. We have borne not only the image of the man of dust but also the image of the heavenly Man, Jesus Christ our Lord!

When we look closely at the teachings of Jesus, we will be amazed to find that Jesus used the natural to explain the spiritual. Some examples are:

Things Of Nature

Scriptural References

The Sower and the Seeds

Matthew 13:3-9; Mark 4:3-9; Luke 8:5-8

The Grain of Wheat

John 12:24

The Wheat and the Tares

Matthew 13:24-30

The Net

Matthew 13:47-50

The Growing Seed

Mark 4:26-29

The Mustard Seed

Matthew 13:31-32; Mark 4:30-32; Luke 13:18-19

The Leaven

Matthew 13:33; Luke 13:20-21

The Budding Fig Tree

Matthew 24:32; Mark 13:28; Luke 21:29-31

The Barren Fig Tree

Luke 13:6-9

The Birds of the Air

Matthew 6:26; Luke 12:24

The Flowers of the Field

Matthew 6:28-30; Luke 12:27

The Vultures & the Carcass

Matthew 24:28; Luke 17:37

The Tree and its Fruits

Matthew 7:16; Luke 6:43-45

The Weather Signs

Matthew 16:2-3; Luke 12:54-56

A Lamp and its light

Luke 11:33

The Shut Door

Luke 13:24-30

The Doorkeeper

Mark 13:33-37

A Faithful and Wise Servant

Matthew 24:42-51; Luke 12:42-48.

The Persistent Neighbor

Luke 11:5-8

The Son's Request

Matthew 7:9-11; Luke 11:11-13

The Judge and the Widow

Luke 18:1-8

The Pharisee and the Publican

Luke 18:9-14

Master and Servant

Luke 17:7-10

The Waiting Servants

Mark 13:33-37; Luke 12:35-38

The Laborers in the Vineyard

Matthew 20:1-16

The Talents

Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:12-27

The Lamp

Matthew 5:14-16; Mark 4:21; Luke 8:16

The City Set on a Hill

Matthew 5:14

The Lamp of the Body

Matthew 6:22; Luke 11:34-36

The Wineskins

Matthew 9:17; Mark 2:22; Luke 5:36-39

The Dishonest Steward

Luke 16:1-12

The Unforgiving Servant

Matthew 18:23-35

The Rich Fool

Luke 12:16-21

The Wicked Vinedressers

Matthew 21:33-41; Mark 12:1-9; Luke 20:9-16

The Two Builders

Matthew 7:24-27; Luke 6:47-49

The Two Debtors

Luke 7:41-43

The Hidden Treasure

Matthew 13:44

The Pearl of Great Price

Matthew 13:45-46

The Arrogant Guest

Luke 14:7-11

The Bridegroom's Friend

John 3:29

The Bridegroom's Attendants

Matthew 9:15; Mark 2:19; Luke 5:34

The Bride's Friends or Ten Virgins

Matthew 25:1-13

The Tower Builder

Luke 14:28-30

The Wedding Feast

Matthew 22:1-14; Luke 14:16-24

The Wedding Garment

Matthew 22:11-14

The Rich Man and Lazarus

Luke 16:19-31

The Good Samaritan

Luke 10:30-37

The Prodigal Son

Luke 15:11-32

The Two Sons

Matthew 21:28-32

The Lost Coin

Luke 15:8-10

The Lost Sheep

Matthew 18:12-14; Luke 15:4-7

The Good Shepherd

John 10:1-18

The Doctor and the Sick

Matthew 9:12; Mark 2:17; Luke 5: 31

The Sheep and the Goats

Matthew 25:32

Jesus knew that the only dividing line between the natural and the spiritual is that of His Spirit, the Breath of Life. This dividing line is not about church or Christian programs and activities! It is about whether we have the Spirit of God or not. With the Spirit of God, a king could be called a man after His own heart as in the case of King David. Without the Spirit of God, a church could be declared as a dead church like the Church in Sardis (Rev. 3:1). In fact, many churches in Europe have become mosques, restaurants or shopping malls. The only difference is having the Spirit of God or not. Being spiritually alive or spiritually dead!

But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.
For the Spirit searches all things,
yes, the deep things of God.
For what man knows the things of a man
except the spirit of the man which is in him?

Even so no one knows the things of God
except the Spirit of God.
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world,
but the Spirit Who is from God,
that we might know the things
that have been freely given to us by God.

These things we also speak, not in words
which man's wisdom teaches
but which the Holy Spirit teaches,
comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

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.

But he who is spiritual judges all things,
yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.
For "who has known the mind of the LORD
that he may instruct Him?"
But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Cor 2:10-16)

We are both natural and spiritual beings. We need natural food, and we also need spiritual food. One without the other is incomplete. When God gave us His Holy Spirit, we become spiritually alive! And the Holy Spirit is our Teacher. He will teach us all things! We know about these things because God has sent His Spirit to tell us. His Spirit searches out and shows us all of God's deepest secrets.

No one can really know what anyone else is thinking or what he is really like except that person himself. And no one can know God's thoughts except God's own Spirit. God has actually given us His Spirit to tell us about the wonderful gifts of grace and blessings that God has given us.

The Holy Spirit will help us to understand and explain spiritual truths even by looking at the natural. We are inspired by the Holy Spirit living within us. He will bestow us with wisdom from above. And we do not use mere words of human wisdom and knowledge.

Before a man receives Christ, he is just a natural man. But he is spiritually dead. He cannot understand and accept the teachings of God, which the Holy Spirit teaches us. They will sound foolish to him because only those who have the Holy Spirit within them can understand what the Holy Spirit means. Others just can't take them in. But the man who has received the Spirit of God has become spiritually alive. He will have insight into spiritual things, just like Jesus Christ our Lord! He will have the very thoughts and mind of Christ. By looking at the natural, the spiritual man will also be able to explain the spiritual.

As we have the Holy Spirit, we must bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), namely:

  • love

  • joy

  • peace

  • longsuffering

  • kindness

  • goodness

  • faithfulness

  • gentleness

  • self-control

We must begin to see God outside the walls of the church. Let's stop playing the religious game of acting spiritual! Being spiritual means having the Spirit of God and bearing spiritual fruit, and not just going through the motion of doing Christian activities.

"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,'
shall enter the kingdom of heaven,
but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
Many will say to Me in that day,
'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name,
cast out demons in Your name,
and done many wonders in Your name?'
"And then I will declare to them,
'I never knew you; depart from Me,
you who practice lawlessness!' (Matthew 7:21-23)

We must be able to bring our spirituality into our homes, into our schools, into our working places, into our factories, into the shopping malls, into the gardens and parks, into the streets, into the highways, into the subways - into everywhere and everything!

God creates everything! The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it! Yes, the world, and everyone who live in it! We must let them know that the vacuum in their hearts can only be filled by the Spirit of God. When they do so, they will become spiritually alive! They too will have the Holy Spirit living within them! They too will praise and worship the LORD!

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD! (Psalm 150:6)

Written on:
16 March 2006