1 Corinthians 2:9,10 - The Glories of the Cross Revealed by the Spirit
No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.1 Corinthians 2:9,10
Pentecost Follows Good Friday and Easter
There's a good, divine reason for this. We just couldn't have Pentecost first. Where sin is, the Holy Spirit will not work. God's Spirit is a Holy Spirit, opposed to all that is sinful. Even in the Old Testament this is clearly taught. Think of Samson. He lost the Spirit when he sinned. And listen to David as he prays that the Holy Spirit will not be taken from him, following his sin with Bathsheba and repentance of it.
On Calvary Jesus conquered sin, once and for all. He paid for the sins of His people. With His resurrection He conquered death which was the result of sin. Then, when sin and death had been conquered, the Holy Spirit was poured out into the church. What a glorious day it was and still is for the true church of Jesus Christ.
What the Holy Spirit gives is so wonderful that no eye had previously seen it, nor ear heard of it, nor had it arisen in any mind or heart.
The eye and ear are the two chief senses, the two chief means of perception and awareness.
Through them man has contact with the world around him. With the eye we see and the whole body is full of light; with the ear we hear and the whole body receives knowledge of that which is around us. But man also has understanding. When with his mind and heart he meditates on the perceptions that come to him through the eye and ear, he organizes his thoughts, draws conclusions and utters his reactions. Out of his thoughts are born his conceptions, his actions and his inventions.
We all know that the eye has seen many wonderful things, and still sees them. With our ears we heard glorious sounds, the songs of the bird, the sound of the wind, the voice of loved ones. Who can remember all that his eyes have seen or ears have heard? With the power of the human mind and intellect, man has produced a great fund of knowledge, a culture, and untold number of books and a marvelous world of inventions. Yet Isaiah cries out, (and Paul is quoting him here) "Eye has not seen, ear has not heard and no mind has conceived what God has prepared for them that love Him."
God has been called the "wholly other One." He can be compared with no one. God is not only greater than we are, He is different from what we are. He is the infinite one. That means there's no end in God, no limitation. We get some idea of what this means when we think of the immensity of the universe which He made by a mere word. Astronomers speak of billions upon billions of stars. One of these is our sun, which is so big that it could hold 1.3 million earths inside of it. They also speak of distances in terms of billions of miles. How many billions of stars and miles there are we just don't know.
Isaiah, in speaking about God, says that there is no searching of His understanding. Paul says that His judgements are unsearchable and His ways past finding out. Paul speaks here about the work of the Spirit. Man can't describe it. There are lots of things we have not seen or heard of. But it is possible for us to imagine them. The things of God and the works of the Spirit are beyond our ability to imagine. Such unimaginable things have been poured out into the church on Pentecost.
What can these unimaginable things be?
In a broad sense, we can say that they include all of the works of God, creation, the cross, salvation and the eternal bliss of heaven. But in the immediate context Paul is speaking of the cross of Christ. No human mind seeing the cross, could possibly know its real meaning. Natural man, seeing this wretched "man" Jesus hanging on the cross in pain and agony, and finally dying can't consider Him to be a savior of people.
Who ever heard of God giving His own Son to die like this? No other religion in the world has anything like it. Paul even says that if the rulers had understood what it meant to crucify the Son of God, they would never have done it.
No human heart could conceive of such a way of salvation. No sinner ever concluded the need of such a way of redemption. Who ever heard of such love and such righteousness as it is shown in the cross? What tongue can tell the length and breadth, the height and depth of the love of God revealed here? No mortal mind can fathom the agony of the Son of God and Prince of life as He died in the "depths of hell."
But the Spirit reveals all this to us. This is more than mere intellectual knowledge. Even the world today may know what the Christian church understands to be the meaning of the cross. But the world, the unbeliever, doesn't have the experiential knowledge, the knowledge of the heart. By the Spirit we are able to discern spiritual things. By the Spirit we "feel" and "taste" them. Thus I learn that this Son of the eternal God died for me, a lost, worthless sinner. By the Spirit we learn to know this Savior, in the fellowship of love. This, says John, is life eternal.
To whom does the Holy Spirit give this revelation of the cross? This passage says, "To those who love Him." Dogmatically we could also say, turning this around, "to those whom God loves," the elect. But the text doesn't put it that way. Paul is speaking here from the viewpoint of our experience, and our Christian living. In the way it is put we are confronted with the need for personal self-examination. Do I love Christ, and how much?
As believers we love Him because we "have tasted" His love in dying for us. And loving Him, we want to keep His commandments. That's how we show our love. As we do that, the Holy Spirit will enable us to know in an ever-increasing measure the glories of the cross.
Finally this text also applies to heaven. It, too, will be something no eye has seen or ear heard.
The Bible does not speak much about heaven. Practically all of the Bible busies itself with God's revelation to us on this earth, and tells us how we should live to be blessed and enter heaven. Why should it not say more about heaven? First of all, likely, because our first concern should be that we live according to His Word, and be assured that we are His people and will get to heaven. There is little in the Bible about heaven also because we wouldn't understand it anyway. Heaven is something which no eye has seen or ear heard or heart imagined; the "real thing" will infinitely surpass our highest expectations. It will take an eternity to fully enjoy it.
This we know; God has prepared all this for us. It's finished and ready, and reserved for us, says Peter. Our reservations have been made by the Lord Jesus Christ. These reservations will never be cancelled.
And what the Lord is now doing is preparing us for it-all those who believe in and love Him.