“We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).
These intriguing words of Paul became the motivation behind my life’s ministry. He said that as we read God’s Word, we are to begin a journey of looking beyond things that human eyes can see and begin to peer into God’s unseen world. Things that I see with my physical eyes are destined to pass into oblivion. They are just temporary. The truths found in the Bible that I cannot see with my human eyes are eternal.
God impressed upon me that I am to use the eyes in my mind to see the unseen. My thoughts went quickly to the words of Jesus Christ when He said, “Blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear.” He was obviously not speaking of human eyes or human ears. My mind raced on to another passage that I had recently studied. Contrasting human wisdom with God’s wisdom, Paul wrote these incredible words that God etched forever into my mind:
But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 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. (1 Corinthians 2:9–13)
God’s wisdom is knowledge that cannot be seen with human eyes or heard with human ears. That sounded familiar. In fact, God’s wisdom has never entered a human mind before. Incredible! That means that God’s wisdom is not some rehashed human understanding coming from the mind of man.
Paul then wrote something that has become the motivation for Glimpses of Grace Ministries and the day-by-day church ministries that God has led me to. He said that God has revealed these hidden things to us through His Spirit.
Hold it! Is this saying what I think it is saying? Is Paul saying that God’s Spirit opens to our human spirits the deep things of God, the hidden wisdom of God? Is he saying that we can know the things that human ears have never heard or eyes have never seen? We can know the things that no human mind has ever thought? That is exactly what he is saying. This is fascinating!
How is this possible? The next line reads, “What man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him?” I alone know my own secret thoughts. Likewise, the Spirit of God alone knows the deep things of God. My mind began to race. We have received not the spirit of this world but the Spirit who is from God! Why? So that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. The Spirit of God lives in me. He has a purpose for being there. He can teach me the deep things of God. We can know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
The final words of the passage “comparing spiritual things with spiritual” actually sent me into another world. The Holy Spirit brings to my mind spiritual thoughts as I read the words of Scripture. As I study the written words of the Bible, verse by verse and line upon line, God the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of my mind to see and understand the deep, fascinating wisdom of God. This is absolutely incredible. We can know the mind of God!
But there’s a catch. These glimpses into God’s unseen world cannot be found by searching for them. God opens them to us at His pleasure as we study the Bible word-by-word and line-by-line year after year. These glimpses are not unique to only one Christian. They are open to all. Since we have the Holy Spirit living in us, we meet the criteria to receive these spiritual nuggets. There are not different glimpses for different people. Every believer receives the very same truth.
God has not taught me everything that I have desired to know about His plan, but He has been pleased to give me small insights, little glimpses. These insights placed together began to etch a beautiful portrait in my mind. God has opened to me His incredible salvation plan, the true identity of Jesus Christ, the immense value of His death and resurrection, and the nature and purpose of the Holy Spirit, to name a few. These are glimpses of grace.
Dick Hill is director of Glimpses of Grace