Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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“Understand, you brutish among the people; and you fools, when will you be wise?”
“A brutish man does not know; neither does a fool understand.”
The word “brute” means “an animal”. An animal is unconscious of the grace of God. It knows nothing, and is interested in nothing, except physical comfort and survival. Its flesh is its master. When it dies, its life is over, forever, and there is no Final Judgment to face. Issues of this life matter supremely to animals, and nothing beyond it matters to them at all. They are led by their physical senses alone and always.
In the Bible, the Spirit refers to people who are led by their fleshly senses instead of by God’s Spirit as brutish; that is, animal-like. In the Old Testament, David said that even highly honored people are like animals if they do not understand the things of God (Ps. 49:20). In the New Testament, Peter and Jude even described certain children of God as being like beasts because they were no longer led by the Spirit but were led by their flesh instead (2Pet. 2:12; Jude 10). Jude, in particular, described them as making judgments based on human knowledge rather than by revelation.
That some of God’s own children act and think like animals instead of like sons of the living God is a sad reality of life. But any one of us can fall into that state if we do not keep our connection with Jesus strong; that is, keep our hearts free of condemnation as we walk with him. To learn to hear the gentle voice of the Spirit, and then to learn to trust that gentle voice over all the other voices that are in the world — including most of all the thoughts and feelings of our own flesh — is the secret to attaining to eternal life.
A brutish man will never understand the ways of God, for the ways of God seem foolish to him (1Cor. 2:14). This is why Paul insisted that only those who are led by the holy Spirit are the children of God (Rom. 8:14). He knew that in the end, only those who have been led by the Spirit will be judged worthy to live forever as God’s dear children.