Thursday, June 16, 2011

Who told you what?

I'm often confronted with well-intentioned people seeking to justify their decisions on one phrase, "God told me..." or the more bold, "I heard God say..." This is problematic for a number of reasons. First of all there are some things God would absolutely not tell you. I've heard people say that God told them it was not their burden to bear to share the gospel with so-and-so. That is contradictory to the commands He's given to every believer such as Matthew 28:19-20. There is no way God told you not to share His good news or not to seek reconciliation with a brother or sister where separation has occurred or not to participate in the life of a local church. Justifying sinful behavior by falsely claiming God told you to do it is simply more sinful behavior. If a voice in the sky told you to sin, don't credit God, get an MRI (and repent).

The second reason this is problematic is that you don't need to claim some divine audible special revelation to do what the Bible clearly says to do. Serve others. Share the gospel. Be compassionate. Stay faithful to your spouse. Disciple your children. Claiming some trumpet in the sky order to do what the Bible already has made clear is just grandstanding and comes off vain. God told you to use your spiritual gifts and talents to serve in some area in your church family? Wow that's amazing! No, that's Bible. Just do it and stop drawing attention to yourself.

The third reason the "God told me" line is problematic is that His Word says, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." In other words, Scripture is entirely sufficient to instruct us according to what God wants us to do. Of course the Holy Spirit indwells every believer and as John 16:13 says, "He will guide you into all truth" but this means He will help us to understand and apply God's revelation as given in His written Word.

God has given us brains and calls us to be discerning as to how the principles of Scripture are applied in our particular context. For example, I know God has commanded me to share the gospel. I've got to discern and seize those opportunities when made available. To claim some audible and special revelation infers that Scripture is not sufficient. Does God still speak to His people? Yes. He speaks to us through His Word which is given in the written Scriptures. He has given us His Holy Spirit to understand, discern, apply, and carry out His Word.

1 comment:

Kenneth Bent said...

Points well made Jeremy!