First the Natural, Then the Spiritual (When We Awake 2)

Chapter 2



(c) 2015 by Glenn Hall


“Oh cruel, cruel!” I wailed. “Is it nothing to you that you leave me here alone? Psyche; did you ever love me at all?”

“Love you? Why, Maia, what have I ever had to love save you and our grandfather the Fox? (But I did not want her to bring even the Fox in now.) “But, Sister, you will follow me soon. You don’t think any mortal life seems a long thing to me tonight? And how would it be better if I had lived? I suppose I should have been given to some king in the end–perhaps such another as our father. And there you see again how little difference there is between dying and being married. To leave your home–to lose you, Maia, and the Fox–to lose one’s maidenhead–to bear a child–they are all deaths. Indeed, indeed, Orual I am not sure that this which I go to is not the best.”



“Orual,” she said, her eyes shining, “I am going, you see, to the Mountain. You remember how we used to look and long? And all the stories of my gold and amber house, up there against the sky, where we thought we should never really go? The greatest King of all was going to build it for me. If only you could believe it, Sister! No, listen. Do not let grief shut up your ears and harden your heart–”

“Is it my heart that is hardened?

Till We Have Faces, 73-75

In this passage from Till We Have Faces Orual has gone to visit her beautiful sister Psyche the night before she will be sacrificed to Ungit, the god of Glome. She hates all of the gods because they remain so secretive and mysterious, but she hates Ungit in particular because she now dares to steal her beloved sister. Psyche, however, does not fear her fate. She has always longed to go to the Mountain of the gods. Orual went to Psyche to try to comfort her and it turns out that Psyche has to comfort Orual. Psyche even calls Orual “Maia,” the Greek name for “baby.” Orual becomes bitter toward Psyche, although she honestly loves her. How is that Orual would become bitter toward her beloved sister? Because Psyche sees in the spiritual and Orual, a type of carnal Christian, sees only in the natural.

God is a Mysterious Spirit

This demonstrates a very common trait in God’s people. Many believers become satisfied in their spiritual walk with God and remain spiritual babies all or most of their lives. When confronted with other believers who live more consistently by the precepts of God’s Word, they become bitter and accusative. Often, they make accusations that the more spiritual believer is “legalistic” or “unloving.” Sometimes they attempt to make the spiritual one feel or believe that he has arrogantly condemned them when, in reality, his righteous way of life smites their conscience. At the end of the church age we do in fact witness the fact that most church members and leaders call those who preach righteousness “legalistic,” “arrogant,” and “self-righteous.”

But we who desire to overcome in Jesus Christ do not preach a righteousness of our own, Instead we mourn the sinful nature within us. We despise our propensity to sin and know that we still do sin. Even though we ourselves do not meet God’s standard of righteousness, still we preach it, still we walk on toward the goal of one day being perfect even as he is perfect. We cannot be self-righteous because we understand that only our Creator is righteous. But, by faith we count his righteousness as our own, and by faith one day we will be righteous even as he is righteous. The carnal Christian depicted by Orual, however cannot see or understand this.

Throughout Till We Have Faces Lewis draws upon the theme of the carnal versus the spiritual Christian. The major part of Lewis’ book contains Orual’s complaint against the gods. She accuses the gods of remaining hidden from human view. She believes that they do not fully reveal themselves or their purposes to us. Insteach, they just use and abuse us mortals for their pleasure. “How can we ever please them,” and “How can we ever know what they want us to do?” comprise two main questions Orual pits against the gods and especially against Ungit. And we, too, must confess that we sometimes become exasperated or angry because we do not see God clearly and do not understand his work in our lives. I know that I, like Orual, have railed against God at times because I did not see Him nor perceive His ways with me.

I remember one night that I learned that a client would not pay the $23,500 I had already earned and that he fully owed me. I stormed out into my back yard and railed at God. I challenged God and I challenged Satan. I told Satan I would destroy him right then and there if I had the power. I screamed at God to meet me face to face and deal with me like a man. My family needed money to pay the mortgage and buy food. I had worked hard. I deserved the money. This was not fair and I intended to tell Him so face to face. Like Orual I complained against God. But, I complained as a fool without knowledge, without faith in the love that our dear Father cares for our every need. I screamed at God without faith in His total sovereignty over our affairs. I wanted to meet God face to face so that I could yell in His face. I thought I was a mature Christian, but I was far from ready to see Him as He is. Had he appeared he would have consumed me in his fire in a second.

Maturing Christians Can Begin to Understand God’s Mysteries

Paul’s dissertation on communion in 1 Corinthians 11 represents the culmination and summary of his teaching on “things offered to idols” which begins in verse one of chapter eight. Those four chapters deal extensively with this one issue, which begins, “Now concerning things offered to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him” (1 Cor. 8:1-3) Paul begins this teaching with a notice and a warning. First he warns that knowledge leads to pride, even knowledge of this doctrine that he now wants to teach. Right after introducing this brand new topic, he quickly says, “if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.”

I believe Paul spoke this way because he now introduces Christians to a profound mystery and he wants them to hear with spiritual ears. Jesus often set off His mysteries with similar words like, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Isaiah means the same thing when he says, “Give ear and hear my voice, listen and hear my speech.” (Is. 28:23) When we see these and similar cues we need to understand that we have just entered into the world of God’s concealed, mysterious Word. This means it is time to pray for God’s revelation because we will not be able to understand it in the futility of our own thinking. Our fleshly, carnal minds simply cannot perceive God’s truths. We should daily pray for eyes to see and ears to hear God’s truth. Yet, Paul says, once you do understand God’s truth, do not become “puffed up” about it.

For twenty three years of almost daily Bible study and up until God began to reveal to me the truths found in this book in the year 2000, I saw “food sacrificed to idols” as a Corinthian and “non-Christian” problem. After all, who among us has ever seen, much less eaten, literal food sacrificed to a literal idol? I have not and do not know anyone who has. I basically relegated Paul’s teaching to the Corinthians and other pagan, idol-worshiping cultures. I thought I understood “food sacrificed to idols,” and I believed it had no relevance to me or anyone in my culture. I thought I knew. But, I was wrong; I did not know anything concerning this profound doctrine!

In order to prepare us to begin hearing spiritually and to begin apprehending God’s mysteries Paul early in his book says to the Corinthians,

{7} But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, {8} which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. {9} 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.” {10} But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. {11} 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. {12} 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. {13} These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. {14} 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. {15} But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. {16} For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Cor 2:7-16)

The natural man does not receive, or understand, the things of God. Brethren, this describes both the non-Christian and the natural Christian who does not comprehend the things of the Spirit of God. This characterizes the person who does not walk according to the Spirit and hence does not walk in obedience to Christ’s commands. Paul depicts the carnal-minded Christian in Romans:

{5} For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.{6} For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. {7} Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. (Rom 8:5-7)

Before Paul gets to the spiritual meat of his Corinthian epistle, he tells his readers that he could not previously speak to them “as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?” (1 Cor. 3:1-3) We see, then, that the “natural man” of 1 Corinthians 2 is the “carnally minded” or “carnal” Christian of Romans 8 and 1 Corinthians 3. The Book of Hebrews says that “solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” (Heb 5:14 NIV) The doctrine of food sacrificed to idols is solid food for maturing and mature Christians, not the one satisfied with his own perceptions of his spirituality or happy in his own carnal thoughts and actions. In Lewis’ passage quoted above Orual represents a carnal Christian who cannot hear spiritual things. Instead of seeking the will of God Orual pursues the matter by natural means and begins a course of disaster. The speaks of the course that every carnal Christian will take until he or she begins to walk in spiritual truth with eyes and ears open to spiritual reality.

The Spiritual Man Approaches God in Humility

So, how do we begin to comprehend God and the hidden mysteries of Christ? We approach our Lord and His Word in humility. We admit that we do not really know God, nor His ways. We confess that we do not know the deep things of God. We realize that we cannot understand His Word in the futility of our own thinking. In fact, we must confess and acknowledge that even we Christians are yet sinners who live in a body of flesh prone to sin. We willingly confide to Him that we ourselves do not have ears to hear, nor eyes to see his spiritual truths. Therefore, each of us must cry out to Him, “Father open my ears that I might hear. Open my eyes that I might see. I long to understand your ways and pray for more of Your Holy Spirit that I might walk in those ways. I long to know You and have fellowship with You.” This is the cry of the heart upon which God has begun to write His law according to Hebrews:

{10} “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. {11} “None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. {12} “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” (Heb 8:10-12)

Again, in order to begin to comprehend the hidden mysteries of Christ we must approach God and His Word in humility. We need to understand and confess that we do not yet really know God, nor His deep mysteries. This brings us to the difference between the old and the new covenants. Under the old covenant, we and all those under Judaism or any other false religion believe that our good works will bring us into fellowship with God and somehow make our lives acceptable before him. Under the new covenant, however, we learn that fellowship with God by faith in Jesus Christ will bring us into good works and obedience to His Word.

As long as we approach God and His Word in our natural minds and attempt to understand it by only logical reasoning, we will never apprehend its truth. We must take hold of Paul’s words, “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 Cor. 2:13) He said this before he attempted to teach the Corinthians anything about God! Jesus says, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63) Only our relationship with Jesus and our dependence upon the Holy Spirit will enable us to walk in His truth.


This entry was posted in 144000, a perfect stone, Christianity, Covenants, Elohim, food of God, food sacrificed to idols, Hebrews, Holiness, Overcomers, Righteousness, Romans, salvation, Salvation of the Soul, sanctification. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.