I really like the theological forum at www.GraceCentered.com. It gives me an opportunity to share with others the good things God has taught me. But there is a problem. Some people do not believe that God teaches us anything at all, so they don’t think I’m sharing what God taught me. As a result, a great deal of our discussion does not focus on the things that God teaches us, but on defending the fact that God directly communicates with us.
Most people on the forum believe that the Spirit of God lives in us, but some of them think He is completely silent. They argue that He does not actively lead us and guide us into all truth, but He has given us the Bible and a brain so that we may figure things out on our own. I think they might say I’m mischaracterizing their position. You can go there and judge for yourself:
To me, the argument is not about whether or not we should use our brains. The argument is over God’s role in teaching us the truth. God certainly teaches us the truth. And Scripture tells us how it works. He communicates by His Spirit to our spirits (Romans 8:14-17). And we understand what He tells us (John 10:25-30). Consider these Scriptures, as an example. They are all on the same subject:
Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:3 NKJV)
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 16:15–17 NKJV)
No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. (John 6:44–45 NKJV)
If you believe in your heart that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, then you did not come to this conclusion by hermeneutics and exegesis alone. Logic, reason, disciplined interpretation, and common sense all may have been involved, but they were not the final determining factors in your confidence in Christ. What was the final determining factor was that you trusted the direct testimony of God concerning the identity of His Son. God told you who Jesus is and you believed Him.
This is the only way spiritual truth is acquired by human beings. We can only learn spiritual things when we hear them from God and trust what He says (1 Corinthians 2:9-16). This is how new life in Christ begins, and it is how we grow spiritually. And this is not my personal opinion, as some on the forum say it is. This is something the Bible tells us:
This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? (Galatians 3:2–3 NKJV)
Gaining spiritual understanding (i.e., growing spiritually) comes when we trust the Holy Spirit as He leads and guides us. This is how our Christian lives started, and this is how we grow.