Monday, June 11, 2012

Relationship with God; what it means to be Spirit led


Jeremiah 31:34  “No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."

Jeremiah 31:31-34 gives a clear promise of the new covenant. This promise is strictly to Israel in this particular passage of scripture. However, there are many other passages that include the Gentiles in the promised New Covenant. To list but a few examples; Isaiah 54:1, Isaiah 55:1-5 are some. I have shown in previous posts that jots and tittles have indeed passed from the law. Most importantly, the way in which Gentiles become a part of the people of God… the way they become Israel. They become Israel in Christ Jesus who is the “Israel of God,” and thereby become heirs of the promise made to Abraham (Galatians 3:16-29.) My point in this is that the New Covenant is the ONLY covenant that is in force today. Jews and Gentiles, men and women alike are grafted into the people of God by virtue of apprehending the Israel of God, (Jesus of Nazareth) by faith. Apprehending is a very important word to consider. It means to arrest and grab a hold of, to not let go under any circumstances. It means to persevere in the apprehension for good.

I bring this up because of a question that comes to my mind. Is the contemporary believer to be Spirit led or biblically led? The answer is most definitely that the saint is to be Spirit led. You can ask the question; isn’t being biblically led the same as being Spirit led? I am sorry to have to inform you that the answer is unequivocally no! I hear people say all the time that the Spirit will NEVER contradict something that is written in the bible. Oh? Is that so? Actually, the Spirit has NEGATED what was written before many times. Here is the most glaring example. Exodus 12:48-49 explains how Gentiles could become part of the people of God. The males had to be circumcised and they had to obey the Torah. On the other hand, Acts 15 explains just the opposite. Gentiles DO NOT have to be circumcised and they DO NOT have to become Torah observant.

So now you throw your hands in the air and ask this question; how can I know when I’m being Spirit led? Excellent question! Here is the simple answer. You know that you are being led by the Spirit when the leading produces the fruit of the Spirit. Will the leading produce love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, gentleness, patience and self-control? That is the standard by which we should all judge our “out of self” promptings.  Some may call it a still small voice, others say the Lord told me, but whatever the case if it is leading from the Spirit you will ALWAYS see spiritual fruit. It will always assure you of your connectedness to the Father. His Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.

So then, the Spirit can certainly speak through the bible but even that must be tested by spiritual fruit. However, the Spirit can speak directly to us aside from the scripture. And, there are times when the Spirit may tell us something that seems to contradict what is written in the scripture. You can always judge it by Spiritual fruit.


3 comments:

  1. Wow, Joe, you continue to articulate my thoughts for me :) And you've clarified something I've thought about a lot this past year regarding the Spirit. It is refreshing to hear a clear explanation of being biblically-led vs. Spirit-led. For 24 years I was biblically-led, and the result was a near collapse of my faith.

    I agree with your point that the Spirit not only will contract parts of the Bible, but the Spirit has already negated the Torah's binding nature. In my mind, there is a nuance to this. The Bible itself negates the Torah, and the Spirit simply opens our eyes to see what is plainly written.

    So while the Spirit will contradict something that is written in the bible, this does not imply the Spirit is rewriting God's message. I think the Spirit will not contradict Scripture. In other words, I've learned that the Spirit opens my mind to see the messages of the whole (canon) of the Bible.

    For example, the Spirit teaches me that the 613 commandments have been nailed to the cross, having been fulfilled in Jesus. Thus the Spirit's teaching and the Scripture's teaching coincide perfectly. I am more and more surprised to find that some systematic theological teachings are attempts to resolve what the Spirit and Scripture plainly teach.

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    2. Hi Brian,
      You wrote; "The Bible itself negates the Torah, and the Spirit simply opens our eyes to see what is plainly written." You are right in my mind and I call what you describe above illumination.

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