The Acid of the Word?

“I see where you are coming from now…But I must go because I cannot endure what you are saying to me…what you are saying to me feels like acid being poured over my flesh.” This was the response that I recently received from a philosopher when I addressed her on her playing field with six verses of Jesus Christ. This is a somewhat graphic response to the internal medicine of God’s Word, albeit typical from a sinner initially reached with Gospel conversation. What does one do when confronted by a secular philosopher (or any educated sinner), well-educated and well-traveled? What if this philosopher engages you in a conversation about truth and knowledge? Will you be able to address the person on their level, where they are, and raise them up to where Christ is? And how are you to do this? Know God’s Word! Speak God’s Word! Live God’s Word! Share God’s Word:

“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.’ Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater (philosopher) of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through (human) wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe,” 1 Corinthians 1:18-21. Again, I say, know God’s Word!

Recently, I was confronted by an elderly woman about knowledge, seeking to impart her wisdom to me. Her theory was one of proper growth in knowledge. That human knowledge is the highest sort of knowledge; that if one is to truly make the most of their short time on earth, and to advance in this world, one must take advantage of every sort of human knowledge already available to them apart from the knowledge that they have attained for themselves by their own study. If someone else has already attained the knowledge, then it is not necessary for me to do the leg work on it; all that I must do is listen and learn and grow. And while there is some validity to listening and learning from others, yet her philosophy was centered on humanism; she did not believe in a knowledge that transcends the natural level, or the human intuition. All that we need to know or can know is attainable for us via study or other beings, and the world around us.

So I responded. If knowledge is to be had, then ought we not to pursue that greatest sort of knowledge, that highest knowledge, which is of God the Father in heaven through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And this knowledge does in fact transcend the natural man’s ability to discern. If she had here admitted as much to be true, she would have necessarily had to forsake the foundation of her worldview and lifestyle and philosophical presuppositions. If God is the Sovereign of the universe, the Creator, the Almighty and Free Potter, the Alpha and Omega, and yet, the Author and Perfecter of faith, a Savior, a Lord that would willingly sacrifice Himself on a Roman cross for sinners, rebel enemies of this Almighty King; if God is Who is says He is, then to know Him is the highest and greatest sort of knowledge. Both reason and Scripture attest to this. For from the Fall, no one has known Him lest He reveal Himself to us through His eternal Son, Jesus Christ.

I quoted John 17:3 to this person. Here Jesus defines eternal life: “This is eternal life, that they know You the One True God, and Him Whom You have sent, Jesus Christ.” This “know”ledge of the One True God through faith in Jesus Christ is a transcendent sort of knowledge; it goes beyond the earthly realm and penetrates into the heights of eternal glory; no man has ascended into heaven except He who descended from heaven, the Son of Man who is in heaven (John 3:13), and so God had to reveal these sort of truths because of the inability and exclusivity of man from heaven and, hence, the knowledge of spiritual things relating to the joyful reign of God in the soul and in glory and above all earthly powers.

Stunned to silence, I progressed with her to John 3:3, 5-8, and spoke to her the words of Christ to Nicodemus, who was likewise well-educated and experienced in his field, and yet, Christ breaks in upon his natural worldview and undoes any thought that Nicodemus had it all figured out. “Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God…unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” And just as Nicodemus was undone by these words, so the soul that God appointed to me for Gospel conversation was undone.

In an instance, her calm, cool, philosophical conjectures were turned to sarcasm, and inward rage, an inferno of pride. This educated, well-traveled philosopher was overwhelmed at the hearing of six verses of Holy Writ, Jesus Christ, the Word of God. Her intellect succumbed to her emotion, for her the lostness of her soul had been engaged by the Savior of the universe. Her philosophy bowed the knee to her religious ancestry, which I am sure was a last resort. What is more, she claimed Judaism! She was Jewish! Here I am by the appointment of God in a conversation with a philosopher who, herself, initiated our time together, and we are speaking about knowledge, and I have just quoted to her the words of Jesus, a Jew, to the Pharisee, Nicodemus, a Jew, about his need for a spiritual new birth without which he and all of his discernment are but “flesh”, all of his natural knowledge falls short of that knowledge which saves and thereby transcends human understanding because the saving knowledge stands on the right side of faith, whereby the disciple of Christ is equipped with the lens of faith, the mind of Christ, the ministry of the Holy Spirit that we may initmately know God and worship Him.

To these things, she replied, “I see where you are coming from now…But I must go because I cannot endure what you are saying to me…what you are saying to me feels like acid being poured over my flesh.” Six verses of Jesus Christ she could not endure and now I remember why – “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart”; and it is a terrible imagery that she gave, though she considered not the spiritual truth of 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”! Acid on the flesh! What she meant in a physical fashion holds true in the spiritual realm; for though she meant it as illustration, yet her description was quite true of what she was inwardly experiencing – the Word of Christ was reverberating in her soul, like a hammer smashing through her hardness of heart, breaking down philosophical presuppositions, acting as a restraining agent, and I pray the womb of regeneration. She was confronted with the laver of the Word of God, and she called it acid. But, as acid will certainly eat away at the flesh, so the Word of God, in a sense, does the same, as it eats away, restrains, and cleanses that spiritual carnality that the Bible deems “the flesh”.

I hope to see her quite often over the next several months. I find myself both greatly burdened for her because of her blindness, and I am thereby exceedingly earnest to continue to pursue her for the sake of the name of Christ; and though I stand burdened and hungry to share with her, I also stand in amazement at the power of God’s Word, it’s piercing, penetrating, lively, active, dividing, restraining, and saving power and the promise of God that it will not return to Him void when He has sent it out. Moreover, my great hope is that those six verses of Christ might continue to rain down upon the soils of her heart, softening her to the seed of the Gospel in due time, and that as Nicodemus was with Christ in the end, so in the end Christ will be in her and she in Him to the glory of our God. It is sufficient to conclude with this for now, that God’s Word is awesome and powerful both to convict and to save; that the therefore, let we who love God through Christ attend to this Word with a great urgency in proportion to the urgent condition of the lost in this world, for the Word of the cross is the power of God to those who are being saved. Amen.

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One Response

  1. That’s crazy man

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