The Current Word of God
God still speaks today just as He did nearly 2000 years ago. In the first century A.D. the church received the current word of God for their day and it was what they needed to hear, for it spoke directly to what they were experiencing. Likewise, we need to hear the current word of God for our generation as we grapple with a new set of circumstances.
For almost 400 years between the old and new testaments God did not speak to His chosen people. There was a famine in the land not for food but for the word of God. What if the Israelites would have decided that God was through speaking forever and resisted any new revelation?
In fact this very thing happened to the majority of Israel when they rejected the Son of God. Being entrenched in their doctrine and believing that they had all God’s truth they rejected and crucified the very Messiah they earnestly waited for. Brethren, I can’t say this emphatically enough: as it was with them so it is with us today.
God always records His dealings with Israel and when they are grafted back into the olive tree, during the millennium; it is very possible more scripture will be written. Does this shock you? Imagine being a Pharisee in the first century A.D. and reading the book of Galatians. If it happened like that to them it may certainly happen to us.
It is written,
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
1 Corinthians 13:11
The principle that is put forth in the scripture above is one of greater clarity which follows greater maturity. As a child grows his understanding evolves and deepens. Just as it is vital for natural children open their minds to accept new ways of thinking about familiar things I believe that it is important that we remain open minded as we mature too.
For example, one can know a person somewhat through letters. However, the degree to which the writing is understood depends a great deal on how intimately one knows the author. A point that is relatively obscure to those unfamiliar with the writer may be instantly clear to someone who enjoys a close relationship with Him. Plus, if there is a personal relationship, any difficulty understanding what he wrote can be cleared up simply by speaking directly with the penmen.
As our relationship matures with our Father we need to open our minds to receive a deeper understanding of His scriptures too. As I have come to know God better I have started to gain more perspective on how the current word of God relates to the Bible. It is plain to me now that, to the first century Christians, the current word of God (which is now our New Testament) was more important than the law and the prophets combined. The current word spoke directly to what they were presently experiencing and while it did not contradict the Old Testament it did illuminate them in new and exciting way. Likewise, the current word of God that we are receiving today is more important than both the Old and New Testaments combined for it speaks to what God is doing now.
Does the current word of God contradict what God has said in the past? No, it does not. God is consistent and He changes not. However, here is a fundamental truth:
“Though the current word of God does not contradict scripture it may contradict our present understanding of the Old and New Testaments. It is the blind belief in our own error that causes many to stumble when further truth is revealed.”
For example, if you were a Pharisee in the first century the New Testament writings would have seemed blasphemous. From the Pharisees perspective the New Testament epistles contradicted almost all that Israel held to be rock solid truth. Their accepted teaching demanded that what Jesus and His followers taught was heretical. Yet, it was not the new revelation that contradicted God’s truth but their old misunderstanding. The erroneous doctrine of the Pharisees blinded them to the current word of God. God’s chosen had drifted so far from His truth that when the Son of God came speaking further revelation perfectly consistent with the Old Testament they could not receive it.
I feel somewhat like a watchman on a wall when I say the following:
“Just as Jesus came to His own and they received Him not so to in our generation Jesus will come to us and many will again miss the time of their visitation.”
The current word of God is more than the Holy writ. God has something on His mind now days just as he did in the first century and He is eager to share it with all those who will listen. We need to come to know God well enough to be able to say, “That sounds like something He would say” and “My spirit bears witness with that revelation”.
Now days, when someone brings a new revelation to me I will know instantly weather it has the “ring of truth” because the Spirit within me immediately accepts or rejects it. This allows me the security to be open to search out new perspectives and consider new truths without immediately rejecting them. I do not need to fear what people might say because God will either testify for or against their words through His Spirit and His scriptures.
This type of confidence in the Holy Spirit makes many people nervous and sometimes even agitated. To them, the Bible is the very foundation of their faith and anyone who challenges their current understanding of it is viewed as attacking God Himself. However, the foundation of our faith should be our relationship with Jesus and not primarily our understanding of the scriptures. At the great white throne judgment it is not how well we can recite the Bible that will commend us to God but how well Jesus knows us.
The Bible is good but a personal relationship with God is better. In fact, the better your personal relationship is with God the better you will be able to understand the Bible. Today, God’s people are being literally taught to death by well meaning but misguided church leaders. People have been led to believe that knowledge of the scriptures will bring about godliness in their lives. They are told they lack understanding and if they could only clearly know what God was saying that would solve many of their problems. Yet, knowing the depth of the word of God does not address the main problem that many people face: that they are not even living the plain things of scripture that are easily understood. Knowledge feeds our heads but usually doesn’t change our hearts. What does change our hearts is personal and intimate contact with God through His Holy Spirit.
Teaching can be likened to rudder of a boat. We all know a rudder is absolutely necessary to steer any ship. However, unless the ship is moving the rudder is useless. First, the wind of the Holy Spirit must fill the sails of the church and only after the body of Christ is being driven forward is it time to steer through teaching.
We must also seek a balance between our personal relationship with our Father and knowing about Him. A personal relationship with Him means that when He speaks we listen and obey. Knowing about God means understanding Him in the light of His actions of the past. Both are needed but if you have to choose one I would suggest choosing a personal relationship over man’s teaching any day.
A significant portion of the world’s believers do not have access to Bibles. Yet, for their apparent ignorance of the scriptures they still accomplish mighty exploits in God. They preach salvation, heal the sick, cast out demons, and listen to God’s voice without a fraction of the teaching that we have received in the western world. Therefore, and this is a truth which is well worth considering, the teaching that we so highly regard is not nearly as necessary to live a vibrant and useful Christian life as we have been told.
Truly, my aim is not to despise the scriptures but simply to elevate our understanding of them to its proper place in our lives. It is wonderful to read the Old and New Testaments and learn what God did with others in the past. From understanding what God did we can extract valuable principles and perspectives with which to guide our present day lives. What we are most in need of today, though, is a revelation of what God wants to communicate to His people now so that we may walk in the light of His current word today.
Many of us have been given the current word of God for His church yet we refuse to preach and teach it because we fear what our peers (other ministers) and the people will say. We protest that “the people are not ready to hear this” and “they would not understand”. However, God knows the times and seasons and He would not give us these revelations if He did not believe it was time for His people to hear them. Therefore the bottom line is this:
“We must dare to speak the current word of God to His people, as God reveals it, no matter what the cost or else we are unprofitable servants.”