Saturday, February 1, 2014

"Spirit and Truth"

"Spirit and Truth"

     A spiritual voice from the past (the relatively recent past) postulated that a difference exists between being "Bible taught or Spirit taught."  He suggested the possibility that one can possess a fairly good working knowledge of the truths and doctrines of Scripture without well knowing their Author.

    I understand and agree with the writer's point, albeit with a caveat.  Certainly, we can read, study, and memorize the Bible as a mere exercise of discipline and heartless religiosity.  We can fail to recognize the personal Voice that speaks by the written Word, missing the very heart of the matter by viewing the Sacred Text apart from living relationship with the Person who inhabits the words He inspired.  However, I wonder if the writer might, if he lived in our day, rephrase his opinion.  A half century after his departure to be with the Lord, we presently live in an hour wherein a significant portion of Christendom gives little thought or attention to the authority of the Bible.  This has always been the case to some degree, but not in the dark and unholy measure that now accompanies much Christian profession.  Notions are now bandied about in the temple of God that have little or nothing to do with the Word of God, either in text or in intention.  Activities abound among Christians that only a generation ago would have rightly elicited shock and godly sorrow throughout the camp of professing believers.  Moreover, doctrinal deviations from the "faith once delivered unto the saints" lead astray not merely thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions, but rather tens and hundreds of millions through media dissemination and worldwide broadcast.  All takes place under the auspices of supposed Divine sanction and the Holy Spirit's leadership, notwithstanding the obvious detours from the teachings of the words He inspired.  Bible taught?  Not a chance?  Spirit taught?  Perhaps, but not the Spirit of God.  "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils" (I Timothy 4:1).

   I suspect our faithful brother of old would now adjust his declaration, proclaiming that we must be both Bible taught and Spirit taught.  "The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.  God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23-24).  God made human beings as both spiritual and intellectual beings, thus forming within us the capacity and necessity for both personal knowledge of Himself and His principled truths.  The truth of the matter is that we know our Lord by knowing His Word, and we know His Word by knowing Him.  A living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ thus involves the Word of God and the Spirit of God united.  Again, not "Bible taught or Spirit taught," but rather Bible taught and Spirit taught.

    I certainly hope this does not get me in trouble with my brother from the past.  I suspect it won't, based upon his frequent admonitions concerning the centrality and importance of Biblical authority.  He ministered in times of different spiritual conditions and needs.  In our day, we have no choice but to remind ourselves and each other that everything we believe and do must flow from the holy fount of Biblical sanction.  We must also recognize our complete inability to understand, assimilate, and obey such sanction apart from living relationship with God, as illuminated and enabled by His Spirit.  Yes, the Book of God directs us to the Person of God, who then leads us back to the Book, which then illuminates our hearts with the Person, who then...

"We have also a more sure Word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit."
(II Peter 1:19-21)
"I... make mention of you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened."
(Ephesians 1:15; 16-18)

Weekly Memory Verse           
The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.
(Deuteronomy 29:29)

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