Sunday, January 2, 2011

Living By Every Word That Proceeds From the Mouth of God - Part 8


The Promise of the Spirit to Guide into All Truth, Part 1.

(This is part eight in a series that examines the view of Justice Boshoff who advocates that God’s word comes to us personally and directly from the Holy Spirit through prayer for wisdom and that the scriptures are a hindrance to hearing the word of God. You can read a transcript of two of his You-Tube videos: According to the Scriptures, You Won't Make It and Breaking Through the Bible Barrier.)

Mr. Boshoff cites the promise of Christ to his disciples to send them the Holy Spirit after his departure who will guide them into all truth. Mr. Boshoff applies that promise to himself and to all Christian’s today (unwittingly violating his rule that we cannot apply the scriptures to our situation). Since Mr. Boshoff appeals to this scripture in making his case, he deems it important and meaningful to us in our situation today. Let us examine the biblical text and make a determination on the validity of Mr. Boshoff’s application.

These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. John 14:25, 26

But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning. John 15:26, 27.

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.

How are we to understand this promise of Christ to guide into all truth?

The Recipients of the Promise. It is a promise made to his disciples and not to the body of saints at large. The disciples were to become the holy apostles of the church and this promise was in anticipation of their fulfillment of that office. The apostles, along with apostolic era prophets, comprise the foundation of the Church (Eph 2:20, 3:5, 4:11), which is the body of Christ (Eph 1:22,23), the whole community of saints of all ages (Eph 1:10; 2:11-16, 19; 3:6).

Paul, as promised by Christ, and as an apostle called by Christ, was guided by the Holy Spirit into the truth of the great mystery that had been hidden in ages past but finally revealed to the apostles and prophets. The mystery was hidden and then revealed, it was truth that the disciples were not ready to bear, but after Christ’s session at the right hand of God, he revealed that mystery to Paul. Paul, in fulfillment of his calling as an apostle of Christ, explains this mystery to the saints in Ephesus, that the Gentile believers were no longer outside the commonwealth of Israel, but were now fellow citizens with the saints of the Old Testament who had come before but now in heaven, and with those of the New Testament era and still living on earth (Eph 1:10). Listen to the revelation of the marvelous mystery as he writes:

Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh --- who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands --- that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Eph 2:11-13.

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone. Eph 2:19, 20.

Paul writes along the same lines again later in the epistle and specifically identifies the Spirit as the one who brought this revelation to him:

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles --- if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power. Eph 3:1-7.

In this text, Paul identifies the recipient of this revelation of the Spirit as the apostles and prophets of the New Testament era. There were many things Christ had yet to reveal, but his disciples were not ready to bear them, presumably because a good portion of it had to do with his coming crucifixion and resurrection, a concept that was a stumbling block to their clear understanding of Christ’s work (Matt 16:22,23). Christ was going to leave them and afterwards send them his Holy Spirit to bring to remembrance not only the things he had taught them while with them on earth, but also other things which he had not told them, things that were yet to come to them through the Spirit after his departure into heaven.

The ‘truth’ into which the disciples were guided after Christ’s ascension was a completion of that body of truth he had begun to teach them while in their midst, and the fulfilling of that promise could only take place within that small circle of men who were called to be Apostles. The context of what we learn about the apostles in the New Testament requires us to understand that Jesus’s promise of being guided into truth by the Holy Spirit was exclusively for his apostles.

One may object to the exclusion of any outside the small body of disciples as recipients of this Spirit guided truth. Paul was not among them; does that not prove that the promise was not exclusive to the disciples and to exclude others is a blatant error? Does not Paul’s example vie more toward the position that the promise of the Spirit’s guidance is to be extended to all Christians, of every age since the Lord departed? We will find the answer to that is no.

No comments:

Post a Comment