Author: Paul A. Bartz.
While human reason has been crippled by sin, the use of our God-given minds is something God expects of us. Just as the hands of a person who has been regenerated in Christ can be turned to fruitful service for the Lord, so too, the mind and reason of one who has been regenerated in Christ can be turned to fruitful service in the Lord. We must only remember that just as even the hands of the regenerate can still fall prey to sin and its effects, so can the mind. The forgiving grace of God is, then, a daily need of the Christian that is supplied by God.
Establishing this groundwork, we must say that Scripture shows us that God expects us to use our minds. Faith is not to be placed in opposition to reason, just as service to God is not to be placed in opposition to what we do with our hands. Let’s look at a few of the Scripture passages that reveal the mind of God toward the use of our minds.
We must make clear that when we are speaking of a God-pleasing use of the mind, we are going beyond an education in facts and memory verses. These are essential, but equally essential to the Christian life and a living faith is the use of our reasoning abilities under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Any Biblical discussion of God’s will toward the use of our reason must begin with Matthew 22:37. Here we have the summary of all of God’s commandments: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” The word used here for mind means “intellect” or “full and thorough mind.” The right use of our minds and reason must begin from this point of complete and total love of God and His will. Such love is only possible for us (and then imperfectly) when we know the love of God for us in Christ Jesus. So this is a very grace-centered starting point.
This is stressed in Philippians 2:5 where we are instructed, “Let this same mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” The word for mind here is translated “attitude” in some versions. But the encouragement here is far more than an attitude of humility. We are here being instructed to have an attitude of Christ-like humility and service in love that involves our whole intellect. Hebrews 8:10-13 applies the Old Testament prophecy that God would place His laws into peoples’ minds to the New Testament Church. Again, the Greek here stresses that this is not some sort of blind “leap of faith,” but that this process involves the entire intellect. The pattern God intends is not just that we blindly do what He says, but that life under Christ involves obedience in faith along with an intellectual understanding of what purposes God has in mind through obedience.
Just as regeneration in Christ renews the mind and reason so that, like our hands, our minds can serve God, so also, sin destroys the mind and reason. Romans 1:18-32 gives a detailed explanation of the reasoning processes involved in sin, and how they degenerate as sin increases in a person’s life. 2 Corinthians 11:3 also discusses this problem. While Adam and Eve’s obedience were simple and pure, they were not without understanding. In Genesis 3:1-7 we see how the serpent used reason to appeal to Eve, and we see that her sin really began when her reasoning process (she saw that it was good for food, attractive to look at, and desirable to make on wise) dared to consider the rationale provided by the devil.
Even unbelief itself, especially when it is refusal to receive God’s grace, impairs the thinking and reasoning processes. 2 Corinthians 3:14 and 4:4 make this very clear.
I Peter 1:13 gives us the direction we need to remember daily, “Gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Again the word used here for “mind” means the entire intellect.
What we have seen from these samplings of Scripture is that faith is not to be considered something that is against our reason any more than that our hands and our mouths are enemies of faith. Sin is always possible, but just as faith which does not involve hands and mouth is a dead faith, so faith which does not involve our reason is also dead. Indeed, God expects us who are regenerated in Christ to use our reason.
This means that Christian education must also stress training in the use of mind and intellect. Students should not be led to believe that Christianity is simply saying “yes” at the proper points because you are supposed to. They must be equipped to use their reason as redeemed citizens of heaven under Christ. If Christian educators and parents do not teach our young people the use of reason under Christ, the world, the devil and human flesh will teach them the use their reason after sinful and destructive patterns!
Copyright © 1983 Bible Science Newsletter, Pastor Paul A. Bartz.
Creation Moments, Inc. PO Box 839 Foley, MN 56329 800-422-4253 www.creationmoments.com