Rushdoony: The Spirit, the Law, and Judgment

From gospelbbq (with the footnotes deleted in the quote below):

The Spirit, the Law, and Judgment

By Rev. Rousas John Rushdoony

A central text with respect to the doctrine of the Spirit is 1st Corinthians 2:12-16:

12. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

13. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

14. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

15. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

16. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

The word translated as judgeth and judged in v. 15, and as discerned in v. 14, is anakrino. It means to examine, discern, judge, and it can have reference as in I Corinthians 6:2 to a court of law, although it is there in noun form. As Paul uses it here, every facet of the meaning is in focus. It is part of the theological foundation for his rebuke to the church at Corinth. All believers have the power of the Holy Ghost; Paul is not here speaking of individuals nor only of church officers. In I Corinthians 6:2, Paul uses another form of the same word, krino: the saints are called to judge and govern the world.

Orr and Walther render anakrino as investigate, i.e., investigate in a spiritual manner, but they suggest also “judicially examine.” For Lenski, it means “investigate and value aright.”

Grosheide renders it judge and stresses all things. The Spirit-possessed man is both able and permitted to judge all things. Because the Spirit Himself searches and judges all things, so too can the Spirit-controlled man.

According to Hodge, “to judge here means to discern, to appreciate, and to pass judgment upon…the right of private judgment in matters of religion is inseparable from the indwelling of the Spirit. Those who can see, have the right to see.” Calvin’s comment on v. 15 stated in part:

“But the spiritual man judgeth all things. Having stripped of all authority man’s carnal judgment, he now teaches, that the spiritual alone are fit judges as to this matter, inasmuch as God is known only by his Spirit, and it is his peculiar province to distinguish between his own things and those of others, to approve of what is his own, and to make void all things else. The meaning, then, is this; “Away with all the discernment of the flesh as to this matter! It is the spiritual man alone that has such a firm and solid acquaintance with the mysteries of God, as to distinguish without fail between truth and falsehood–between the doctrine of God and the contrivances of man, so as not to fall into mistake. He, on the other hand, is judged by no man because the assurance of faith is not subject to men, as though they could make it totter at their nod, it being superior even to angels themselves.” Observe, that this prerogative is not ascribed to the man as an individual, but to the word of God, which the spiritual follow in judging, and which is truly dictated to them by God with true discernment. Where that is afforded, a man’s persuasion is placed beyond the range of human judgment. Observe, farther, the word rendered judged: by which the Apostle intimates, that we are not merely enlightened by the Lord to perceive the truth, but are also endowed with a spirit of discrimination, so as not to hang in doubt between truth and falsehood, but are able to determine what we ought to shun and what to follow.”

Calvin’s emphasis is not on the individual’s power of judgment but on the necessity of judgment in the Spirit and in faithfulness to the word of God. The prerogative in judgment belongs to God; hence, the spiritual man is the man who is faithful to the whole word of God in and by the Spirit of God. We must note that Paul was writing to a church with serious moral problems; he was thus placing no confidence in private or ecclesiastical judgment as such.

So, once again we learn that Christians must judge – and judge aright, according to the standards of God – and act as God’s agents in the continual redemption of the world. If we will not judge in the name of God, then covenant-breakers will judge in the name of the State, the People, the Race, Reason, Equality, etc.

And the judgements of covenant-breakers, to the extent that they cut themselves from the will of God, will fail, as it is not in accordance with His law or the reality He has founded and maintains.

I for one am tired of being ruled by destructive and short-sighted incompetents. It’s time to set things on a straight and level path, so the world can start advancing on all fronts, not fall back here, go forward there, and waste time elsewhere.

Self-discipline and truth, not delusion and self-pleasuring fantasies, is what is needed.


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