We have been pondering over the subject of ‘wisdom’ and the ‘renewed mind’. In Ecclesiastes, we looked at ‘wisdom’ from the observations and experiences of the preacher (king Solomon or one in his ‘persona’) of life on earth (under the sun); his conclusion is ‘all is meaningless and chasing after the wind’.
We know that in the New Testament, Christ is the “wisdom of God”; we noted also that the mind needs to be renewed (Rom. 12) and the mind and understanding have a great deal to contribute to the transformation of our spiritual lives in Christ (in tandem with the ministry of the Holy Spirit).
The wisdom that is coming from within the believer from God’s ministry to him or her is divine illumination animating our discernments, devotions and declarations – it is a function of spiritual life expressing itself in thought, speech, and decisions that are marked by divinely wrought understanding (the mind). We also noted the primary involvement of the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit, rightly understood and applied, in the promotion of this spiritual life.
John Owen rightly insisted that understanding is the root and fruit of devotion. True understanding should lead to wisdom by becoming a source of insight and of life-change through the Holy Spirit.
Spiritual wisdom and understanding should be conceived as the intellectual and moral dynamic animating the Christian to work and worship, love and obedience, virtue and excellence, as he or she grips and obeys the revealed truth by which he or she has first been gripped.
It should come as no surprise why ‘conversion’ alone cannot mean ‘perfection’ that is immediate. There needs to be the process of transformation (which includes sanctification); but equally important is that the ‘convert’ cannot remain as he was in his ‘unregenerated state’ if he is truly regenerated.
Regeneration effects real change in the person but he remains imperfectly just in himself. He is also in a real process of sanctification by which he is becoming just. But he by no means reaches that point of perfect justness before God declares him perfectly just in Christ .
The ground of the person’s justification, however, remains solely and exclusively the imputed righteousness of Christ. It is by His righteousness and His righteousness alone that the sinner is declared to be just and is really just in Him.