Friday, August 14, 2015

Scripture Q&A (Part 3) - How Does Anyone Get Truth?

"I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 

He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. (John 16:12-15)

I'm back! That is, I'm back to quoting Scripture verses packed with so many wonderful things to talk about. But, for your sake, I'll try my best to contain my enthusiasm.

To start, definitely take note that Jesus Himself said...
  1. He still had many things to say to His disciples.
  2. His disciples could not bear them at that time.
  3. The Spirit of truth would come and take over in guiding them.
  4. The Spirit of truth will be thorough in guiding them into all the truth.
Many things to say? Wow! Didn't He say it all with the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord's Prayer, parables, the teachings about the spirit of the law versus the letter of the law, rebuking the religious leaders, personal interactions when performing miracles, the confirmation of Old Testament fulfillment, etc., etc.?

Aren't we supposed to just pick up from His example of gentle, non-judging love and kindness and imitate Him? Isn't it our highest calling to joyfully marvel at what He did and offer the sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving? No! Not according to these verses, anyway. Yes, those things, but also so much more.

Yes, what He did was great, beautiful, stunning. He amazed crowds (and me, perhaps you) with His wisdom and authority. Paul didn't hold back his amazement when he offered stunning doxologies in his letters. But what Christ did for us should not be minimized: He opened a door that had never been opened before, to reveal a secret and hidden wisdom of God destined for our glory before time began (1 Cor 2:7).

Because of the work that Christ did in executing the Father's plan, we have been given the opportunity to know the Father intimately. The Father, our Father, who did not He spare His own Son, nor His own Spirit. The Spirit that is in God has been freely given to the believer.

Consider these perspectives: these "many things to say" must be very important for Christ to make such a big deal about them, yet these "many things to say" were beyond human comprehension because it was spiritual information. We would do well to let Him teach us and not presume we already know what He is going to say because we long to loved and forgiven.

Why? Because these "many things" that Christ still had to say, that His disciples were not ready to bear, were the very thoughts of the Father. What was His plan before the foundations of the world? What is His primary goal for the Church, which is the body of Christ?

All that the Father has belonged to Christ, and the Spirit would reveal all that Christ had. To understand what Scripture is saying from a human perspective is to miss the boat. Instead, let us with patience have ears to hear.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Scripture Q&A (Part 2) - Where Does Truth Come From?

"Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth." (John 17:17)

How's that for a short, simple answer?
  1. Truth is God's word. 
  2. God sanctifies us in His word. 
  3. So, His word is where we find truth.
Yes, I know, it's not like me to be concise. But, in this case, it's the best way to be clear. Perhaps, all I can do is provide other ways to say the same thing.
  • Truth is the word of God. 
  • All Scripture is God breathed... (2 Tim 3:16-17). 
  • The word of God is alive and powerful (Heb 4:12). 
  • Truth is the revelation of God through Scripture. 
  • Truth is God's reality.
God's reality is who He is, who we are, what is His eternal plan, His purpose, what is the church, what is suffering, who is Christ, etc., according to His perspective.

Truth comes from God. Truth comes from God's word. Scripture is God's word. So, what truth will sanctify you? God's word, aka Scripture. (Stay tuned for the Who and How of sanctification.)

So, in John 17, why did Jesus pray that His disciples, and those who would believe through their message (John 17:20), for His Father to "sanctify them in the truth"? Simple answer, so that the truth, through God's word, would set them apart from the world.

Another way to look at this beautiful simplicity is to understand what truth is not. Truth, God's word, does not come from...
  • the wisdom of humans
  • personal experience
  • feelings nor emotion
  • anything apart from Scripture
  • traditional nor ritual
  • higher moral standards
  • inward meditation
  • legalistic self-righteousness
  • reciting the Lord's prayer nor a sinner's prayer
  • salvation alone
  • etc.
I think you get the idea. The list above is just a list of what Scripture, God's word, is not. If God's word cannot be those things, neither can truth be. Why? Because "Your word is truth."

Furthermore, which I'll save for another time, there are distinguishing features of the truth, God's reality, His word, as it pertains to the church. Huge differences from anything we've seen before.

But, for now, we've looked at a high-level of what truth is (Part 1) and where truth comes from (Part 2). Stay tuned while we ask how we acquire this truth (Part 3). We will need this 3rd part as we seek to discover the critical details of the truth as it applies to Christ's church, His body.

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 1:24-25)