So many among God’s people are sensing some difficult-to-define rumblings taking place. God’s divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, as stated in Second Peter 1:3. The objective Word of God constantly serves as a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105), so we may walk by faith with confidence that we will arrive successfully at God’s appointed place and at His appointed time. I am a grateful pilgrim for all of the objective resources which have been granted to us from God to bring us along in our journey. Having stated all of that, I will also add that I believe there is far more that we do not yet know than there is that we currently know. The biggest and the best is yet to come, saints. We have not even begun to scratch the surface of the eternal depths of God and His everlasting Kingdom. This stirs incredible excitement and spiritual hunger within my soul.
“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” – Habakkuk 2:14
The moment of your salvation was a moment of origination for you, not termination. It began there and then, but assuredly did not end there and then. The genesis of your experience spiritual life occurred at your conversion – God brought forth life from death. From that genesis moment until now you are experiencing an exodus of sorts. You have been brought out of judgment (Romans 8:1). You are being brought out of the traces of your fallenness (Colossians 3:5; Romans 6:13). You are coming forth from a world system which is characterized by elements of bondage and slavery (Galatians 1:4). You are being liberated from the strength of your own flesh (Romans 8:29; Colossians 3:10). You are exiting a darkened mindset and experiencing the renewing of your mind via progressive enlightenment (Ephesians 4:23; 2 Corinthians 4:16; Romans 8:6). You are daily being brought forth from the old way and being ushered into the new (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:24). There is no doubt that God is teaching us that we began an uninterrupted journey with Him when we were brought to faith in Jesus Christ. However, in spite of this clear line of teaching in Scripture, my belief is that many (most?) Christians are living a life which evidences their erroneous belief that God saved them in the past, and will powerfully connect with them again at some future date but, until that moment comes…they live in a hollow, unfulfilled parenthesis of God’s inactivity.
Friends, the God that was and the God who will appear is the same, exact, immutable, uninterrupted, changeless GOD WHO IS.
Oh that we would escape the imposed assumption that we are to expect little interaction with our God in this present age. We have whittled away at the heart of, purpose from and biblical revelation about God to the very point that we operate as functional biblical deists. It is as if we believe that God began something in the Church at Pentecost, maintained it for around seven subsequent decades, but then left it all in our hands while He withdrew to observe the next 1,900 years of church history up unto today. No interactive elements with Him anymore? No expectation of the miraculous? No supernatural occurrences which are sourced in His unchanging nature? No need to be concerned with why our modern lives do not resemble the lives of the first Christians? It seems as though many of us believe that God sent the Son, the Son sent the Spirit, the Spirit inspired the Scriptures… and the Scriptures replaced the Spirit. Forgive me for the slightly critical tone, but I am afraid that we have not slowed down and examined the ramifications of how we are living out our lives of faith. We have become an age of supremely academic and rational followers of the mind-blowing, nature-defying, inexplicable, inscrutable, inexhaustible God of the ages. We have a hard time lifting Him up in our ardent worship because we have tidily summed Him up with our arrogant words. I love my bible. I reverence God’s Word. I declare the objective authority of the Scriptures with all that is within me! I have doggedly maintained a ministry whose foundation is the truth of God’s Word. Because of my reverence for this sacred Book, I also affirm that it has not replaced nor is it in competition with the Person and power of God the Spirit. The Author of the bible, the Holy Spirit, lives within us, gifts us, animates us, uses us, fills us, anoints us, transforms us and leads us! These are not fanatical words – this what the Scriptures teach us, and to the degree that we welcome His interaction with our lives, we will experience the resulting fruit which He has produced in God’s people since the very moment He came to indwell us.
As I begin an objective study on the gifts of the Holy Spirit this Sunday at Meadow, I hope that each of us will open our hearts and discipline our minds to seek to objectively understand what the Scriptures say about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. A line of theology that cannot be tested should never be trusted. If we will not open God’s Word to examine our beliefs, then I must agree with Augustine who said nearly 1,600 years ago, “If you believe what you like in the Gospel, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself.”
Let us persistently ask and answer on all matters pertaining to the faith, “What do the Scriptures themselves actually say?” This question from me does not represent an argument – it is my commitment.
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