But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Mat.13:23
Understanding means to set or bring together. It refers to the special faculty of intelligence or insight which discriminates between the false and the true, and grasp relations in which things stand to each other. This is like putting the pieces of a puzzle together where you can get a view of the entire picture. I want to deal with spiritual understanding in this article.
There is a lot of misunderstanding about understanding. Or I could say there is a lot of ignorance about understanding. Ignorance is defined by Webster’s as uninstructed, uninformed, untaught or unenlightened. Many are unenlightened about understanding possibly due to the fact of having their minds captured by tradition (Col. 2:8: “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”) which causes them to have preconceived ideas about understanding that are contrary to the Bible.
Rom. 3:11 says, “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” Yet our text states plainly that all the good ground hearers understandeth. Is this a contradiction? No, for the Bible does not contradict itself. Therefore, we must find what each verse means in context. Romans 3:11 is in the midst of several verses that are describing a natural lost man--he does not understand because he has not been enlightened about the ways of the Lord. Mat. 13:23 is an explanation of the parable of the sower and the seed. The good ground hearers are the only ones saved in that parable and they “understandeth.” This means that for a person to be saved he must have some understanding. One might ask, “how much?” Enough--about sin, righteousness, and judgment. (“And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.” John 16:8-11)
There are many today who do not believe that a person has to understand anything to be saved. They are ignorant about understanding--not enlightened. The Bible makes it clear that there is a way that leads to life and that is the narrow way of Mat. 7:14 (“Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”) which is equivalent to the “way of understanding” mentioned in Pro. 21:16. (“The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.”) A person who will not walk in that way--will not allow the Holy Ghost to plow their hard heart and make it good ground, will “remain in the congregation of the dead.” This means he will not be saved.
Now, some will say “God does not show a lost person anything.” But, the Bible makes it clear that the Lord will teach the sinner (the lost) in the way--the narrow way that leads to life where sinners are enlightened whereby they have enough understanding about sin, righteousness, and judgment to be saved. (Psa. 25:8: “Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way.”) For a person to make such a statement as just mentioned shows that he is ignorant of understanding.
The Bible is clear in John 6:45 (“It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.”) that before one ever “cometh” to the Lord Jesus, he has to have heard (must have ears to hear spiritual things; Mat. 13:9: “Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”) and “learned of the Father.” “Learned” is a translation of a Greek word that is also translated “understood.” “Cometh” is continuous action in the Greek, thus meaning to have an habitual lifestyle of coming to the Lord for salvation. This involves walking in the way of understanding which can only be done by the enabling power of the holy Ghost. (I Cor. 2:14: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”; John 6:44: “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”)
Some would say that I’m teaching “progressive salvation.” The answer to that is a definite NO! Salvation is at an instant but coming to the end of self and understanding enough about sin, righteousness, and judgment (Holy Ghost reproval, equivalent to Holy Ghost conviction) is necessary for one to be saved.
Some will adamantly disagree with this article. The reason being--they did not experience this probably due to the fact they called their experience of turning from the broad way to the narrow way the point where they were saved. But that is not salvation. It is only entering the way of understanding which leads to life. Therefore, they are ignorant of salvation.
Others will say understanding comes after one is saved. While it is true that a saved person will continue to grow and have a greater understanding of the things of God, it is also true that a lost person must have enough understanding about sin, righteousness, and judgment to become “good ground” and be saved.
This is only a skeletal outline of the thoughts concerning understanding. We have several series of messages dealing with the principles of this subject. If you would like some of the CDs, please feel free the contact us. All our material is free of charge. (Pro. 23:23; “Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.”) Do not be like the Pharisees that turned and walked away after Jesus spoke the parable in Mat. 23. They did not understand and died and went to hell. Be like the disciples who drew close to Jesus and ask Him to tell them what He meant by the parable. Those who had ears to hear and understood enough about sin, righteousness, and judgment were made good ground and were saved. That is my desire for you. I care for your soul. Allow the Lord to give you understanding so that you might be saved.
THE PERSUADER - Jan.-June, 2012