The World Cannot Receive
May 6, 2022
And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you (John 14:16-17).
Notice that Jesus did not say “the world will not receive Him,” but “the world cannot receive Him.” Why is that? If the Apostle Peter is correct in saying (2 Peter 3:9), The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance, then how does that correspond with the words of Jesus?
The inability of the world to receive the Holy Spirit of truth reflects the true character of the people of the world - they are spiritually blind, under the lordship of Satan, and are opposed to God the Father.
Spiritual blindness is the condition of all people. (Ephesians 4:17-19) This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. It is the result of the sin nature we are all born with. (1 John 2:16) For all that is in the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life - is not of the Father but is of the world. The whole world is subject to the power of Satan. (1 John 5:19) We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.
The Holy Spirit can be ‘seen’ and known only through ‘spiritual discernment’. The Apostle Paul wrote (1 Corinthians 2:14), 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. Spiritual discernment (anakrinetai: to judge) is the ability to ‘sift’ information through personal investigation to expose the truth. How can a ‘natural’ person ‘spiritually discern’ anything if they are spiritually blind? Only when the Holy Spirit opens the spiritual eyes (understanding) of a person can they begin to grasp spiritual things. Jesus said to Nicodemus (John 3:3), Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. The Apostle John wrote (1 John 5:20) And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. But how does that work? We will look at this question tomorrow. Amen.