His Unspeakable Gift
By Larry White
July 23, 2015
"Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" (2Cor. 9:15)
The words of scripture definitely say that there are things in the faith of Christ that are indescribable. When I became a Christian, the local church had a standard mockery of what "Pentecostals" said about their ecstatic experiences. They would label them as "Better Felt Than Told." I for one, being new, then had to take inventory of what my experiences with God were like according to this standard. Did I have experiences that I could not describe? What that meant to my young ears was that if there was an experience to be had, it had better have a scriptural reference describing it or it was bogus imagination in the eyes of my brethren.
But I wasn't too worried because God was leading me. I was constantly finding scriptural references to what I was experiencing and knowing in my heart. However, what I found instead was that Christians were reading about the aspects of the spiritual realm in the scriptures just as I was and not seeing them, knowing them or experiencing them. There were many things that I knew and had insight into that I would be hard pressed to try to describe to someone. I say that because, when I would try to share or communicate insight of our life in the spiritual realm I would typically be met with blank, glossy-eyed looks of incomprehension, misunderstandings and sometimes even fear - and all the while I was using scripture references for them.
"But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear."
However, there were all too infrequent, refreshing encounters with some Christians that were thirsting for insight and I recognized in them the same dissonance, doubt and confusion about the teaching in the church that I dealt with all the time. And when I would talk to them about spiritual things the lights would go on in their eyes and we both would have joy in our discovery of each other. But then we would have to wonder about what was going on in the churches. It was like being in a foreign country and finding someone who spoke English. Finally, someone who understands me! I found that these spiritual aspects of our faith were not indescribable after all when talking to someone that could hear - i.e. relate to what I was saying.
"Are ye not carnal, and walk as men? "
Paul in places talks about things that only the spiritual man will discern. (1Cor.2: 1-16) Also that he was not able to talk to the Corinthian church about these things because they were still carnally minded. (1Cor. 3)
Paul said that he described spiritual things with spiritual words - words that a spiritual man would spiritually discern. I have since found that the carnal man who rejects the things of the Spirit of God will interpret these same words of Paul on a carnal level of human, common sense, man-on-the-street reasoning and elementary understanding. Then he will teach it that way to the congregation. And he will purposely do this thinking that God's word should be able to be understood by the man off the street. He will mock any other understanding as esoteric and occult, meaning hidden knowledge, that only the initiates may understand. He'll call it mysticism and "better felt than told." This fear-mongering and intimidation shuts down any communication between Christians on a spiritual level.
"But be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Rom. 12:1
Paul does not tell the Corinthians how to stop being carnal and become spiritual (which usually means that it is had in exercising a stronger faith). He does however, register surprise at them for not growing sooner. "You are yet carnal." and then he proves it to them by their behavior in exalting men. (1Cor. 3)
To the Galatian churches he assumes that they had some spiritually minded members when he told them to be the ones to restore a wayward brother. (Gal. 6:1)
A spiritual mind has to be the product of really believing the word of God and exercising faith in the application of it. Really believing who you are in Christ and the exalted position you have with him in the spiritual realm - the heavenlies.
"and raised us up together (with Christ) and made us sit together in the heavenly realm in Christ Jesus." Eph. 2:4-7
Is there an experience that a child of God can have that even God cannot describe in English? Peter speaks of a joy that is felt in the hearts of Christians that is indescribable and full of glory. (1Pet. 1:8) That glory is the same thing that Paul wanted all Christians to see and experience.
Yes, there are some things the scriptures talk about that simply cannot be described. The Apostle Paul in places doesn’t even try. What words would he use to describe something beyond their natural experience? How could they, by words alone, gain an immediate first hand understanding and appreciation for something beyond anything they can imagine?
I tried once to describe the color Green to my son, who is red/green color blind, colors that he cannot distinguish or see. I could not make him see Green through words.
Paul instead prays that God would show them, that he would open their eyes and let them see.
“I …cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints is, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he worked in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenlies,”
So, God can open the eyes of our hearts to what his purpose is, and give us an experiential knowledge – (επιγνοσκω - epignosko) a full knowledge, a “put-your-finger-on-it” knowledge that cannot be communicated with words. He can make us appreciate what our hope of glory is by giving us a glimpse of it. This is something supernatural, it has to be. And he does this in answer to prayer.
It goes without saying that this prayer has to be from a faithful Christian asking in humble faith and an intense desire to understand with an open mind, not pulling back, but trusting in God completely. You have got to believe that he is answering this prayer of yours and be open to what he shows you. Don't pull back and don't worry that you're going crazy. Trust him. You are not going beyond his word, and you are definitely not leaving the doctrine of Christ.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
This is the wisdom that is from above, i.e. spiritual wisdom.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easily entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.