THE SCRIPTURES AND GOD
The Holy Scriptures are wholly supernatural. They are a Divine revelation. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Tim. 3:16). It is not merely that God elevated men’s minds, but that He directed their thoughts. It is not simply that He communicated concepts to them, but that He dictated the very words they used. “The prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21). Any human “theory” which denies their verbal inspiration is a device of Satan’s, an attack upon God’s truth. The Divine image is stamped upon every page. Writings so holy, so heavenly, so awe-producing, could not have been created by man.
The Scriptures make known a supernatural God. That may be a very trite remark, yet today it needs making. The “god” which is believed in by many professing Christians is becoming more and more paganized. The prominent place which “sport” now has in the nation’s life, the excessive love of pleasure, the abolition of home-life, the brazen immodesty of women, are so many symptoms of the same disease which brought about the downfall and death of the empires of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome. And the twentieth-century idea of God which is entertained by the majority of people in lands nominally “Christian” is rapidly approximating to the character ascribed to the gods of the ancients. In sharp contrast therewith, the God of Holy Writ is clothed with such perfections and vested with such attributes that no mere human intellect could possibly have invented them.
GOD CAN ONLY BE KNOWN BY MEANS OF A SUPERNATURAL REVELATION OF HIMSELF.
Apart from the Scriptures, even a theoretical acquaintance with Him is impossible. It still holds true that “the world by wisdom knew not God” (1 Cor. 1:21). Where the Scriptures are ignored, God is “the unknown God” (Acts 17:23). But something more than the Scriptures is required before the soul can know God, know him in a real, personal, vital way. This seems to be recognized by few today. The prevailing practice assumes that a knowledge of God can be obtained through studying the Word, in the same way as a knowledge of chemistry may be secured by mastering its textbooks.
An intellectual knowledge of God maybe; not so a spiritual one. A supernatural God can only be known supernaturally (i.e. known in a manner above that which mere nature can acquire), by a supernatural revelation of Himself to the heart. “God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). The one who has been favoured with this supernatural experience has learned that only “in Thy light shall we see light” (Ps. 36:9).
God can only be known through a supernatural faculty. Christ made this clear when He said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). The unregenerate have no spiritual knowledge of God. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14). Water, of itself, never rises above its own level. So the natural man is incapable of perceiving that which transcends mere nature. “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God” (John 17:3). Eternal life must be imparted before the “true God” can be known. Plainly is this affirmed in 1 John 5:20, “We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true.” Yes, an “understanding,” a spiritual understanding, by new creation, must be given before God can be known in a spiritual way.
A supernatural knowledge of God produces a supernatural experience, and this is something to which multitudes of church members are total strangers. Most of the “religion” of the day is but a touching up of “old Adam.” it is merely a garnishing of sepulchers full of corruption. It is an outward “form.” Even where there is a sound creed, only too often it is a dead orthodoxy. Nor should this be wondered at. It has ever been thus. It was so when Christ was here upon earth. The Jews were very orthodox. At that time they were free from idolatry. The temple stood at Jerusalem, the Law was expounded, Jehovah was worshipped. And yet Christ said to them, “He that sent me is true, whom ye know not.” (John 7:28). “Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also” (John 8:19). “It is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God. Yet ye have not known him” (John 8:54,55). And mark it well, this is said to a people who had the Scriptures, searched them diligently, and venerated them as God’s Word! They were well acquainted with God theoretically, but a spiritual knowledge of Him they had not.
AS IT WAS IN THE JEWISH WORLD, SO IT IS IN CHRISTENDOM. MULTITUDES WHO “BELIEVE” IN THE HOLY TRINITY ARE COMPLETELY DEVOID OF A SUPERNATURAL OR SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE OF GOD.
How are we so sure of this? In this way: the character of the fruit reveals the character of the tree that bears it; the nature of the waters makes known the nature of the fountain from which they flow. A supernatural knowledge of God produces a supernatural experience, and a supernatural experience results in supernatural fruit. That is to say, God actually dwelling in the heart revolutionizes, transforms the life. There is that brought forth which mere nature cannot produce, yea, that which is directly contrary thereto. And this is noticeably absent from the lives of perhaps ninety-five out of every hundred now professing to be God’s children. There is nothing in the life of the average professing Christian except what can be accounted for on natural grounds. But in the genuine child of God it is far otherwise. He is, in truth, a miracle of grace; he is a “new creature in Christ Jesus” (2 Cor. 5: 17). His experience, his life, is supernatural.
The supernatural experience of the Christian is seen in his attitude toward God. Having within him the life of God, having been made a “partaker of the Divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4), he necessarily loves God, loves the things of God, loves what God loves; and, contrariwise, he hates what God hates. This supernatural experience is wrought in him by the Spirit of God, and that by means of the Word of God. The Spirit never works apart from the Word.
By that Word He quickens.
By that Word He produces conviction of sin.
By that Word He sanctifies. By that Word He gives assurance.
By that Word He makes the saint to grow.
Thus each one of us may ascertain the extent to which we are profiting from our reading and studying of the Scriptures by the effects which they are, through the Spirit’s application of them, producing in us.
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