(Bob Hutcheson, editor)
I Corinthians 2:16 says,
“For, “Who can know the LORD’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.”
Is this a contradiction? The scripture says, “Who can know the Lord’s thoughts…”, then goes on to say, “But we have the mind of Christ.” How is this possible, what does it mean to have the “mind of Christ”?
Let’s examine. Think of Christ on the cross, speaking of those who had rejected and crucified Him, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:4). Stephen, when he was being stoned for his testimony of Christ said something very similar, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” (Acts 7:60). One part of the mind of Christ must be forgiveness.
I recently posted an article from International Christian Concern (ICC) in which Pastor Umar Mulinde made this statement: “My message to my attackers is simple; I hold no grudge against them. They wished me death but I wish them life today and forever in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Pastor Mulinde is a former Muslim leader from Uganda who converted to Christianity and started his own church. On December 28th of last year, Pastor Mulinde was attacked by Islamic Extremists who threw acid in his face. He was severely burned and lost sight in one eye. He had to undergo extensive treatment in the following months to save the other eye. Pastor Mulinde had every “human” right to lash out and condemn his attackers. Instead he displays the mind of Christ in the form of forgiveness.
But there is more to having the mind of Christ. All three examples: Christ (the example), Stephen and Pastor Mulinde, display not only forgiveness but a recognition of the sin without condemnation of the sinner. So what is the sin? At it’s core, each is a rejection of Jesus himself. As we know, He (Jesus) is the only way for man to be justified with God, as scripture says:
“Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” Acts 4: 10-12.
I post many stories on this blog, concerning persecution directed towards Christians. Much of the time the stories identify Hindu or Muslim extremists as the persecutors. At other times the “source” is a government. At times in our history, there has been persecution that was carried out by groups and individuals that identified themselves as Christian. How do we resolve this, and how do we have “the mind of Christ” in these matters?
I confess that I do not have the answer, my journey towards having “the mind of Christ” is ongoing. However, there are two scriptures that really help me – Romans 12:2 and Ephesians 6: 12:
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2.
This tells me that the worldly way of thinking and doing is counter to God’s way of thinking and doing. So if my thoughts and actions consistently line up with the world’s, I should do some serious self examination, and finally:
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6: 12.
This verse shows me that the “enemy” is not a person, religion, philosophy, government, or political party.
So, how do we obtain the mind of Christ? How do we align our thoughts and actions with His? With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. It is not an act of our will. It cannot be gained solely through study although the study of the Word of God is essential to the process of the renewing of the mind (Romans 12:2). It is through Christ himself, a gift of the transforming power of the Holy Spirit working in us.
And what is the result of having the mind of Christ?
“So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord–who is the Spirit–makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” II Corinthians 3: 18.