Thursday, April 20, 2017

Learning the Truth

In An Exposition of the Epistle of I John [ISBN 1-888514-01-9], Samuel E. Pierce (1746-1829) describes how Christians truly learn of Christ from 1 John 2:7.

First, he notes what this verse does not mean:

"And ye need not that any man teach you.  It could not be with any design to cast off all preaching and ordinances which are for the spiritual instruction of the people of the Most High God.  The gifts which our Lord Jesus Christ, since he entered into heaven, hath bestowed and still continues to bestow on his ministering servants, are expressly said to be for the edifying of the body of Christ, Eph. iv. 12, consequently our apostle does by no means intend the setting these aside.  No; he does not," (p. 285).

Then, Mr. Pierce shows that the persons so taught are to be preserved from error:

"When we see the glory of Christ, the excellency of his righteousness, the virtue and efficacy of his blood and sacrifice, in the light, and are led into the true knowledge and apprehension of the same, by the intuitive light and teaching of the Holy Spirit, the whole of these important verities appear far more glorious, and important, than all these do, when only spoken of, and taught us by the mere teaching of men.  And while we are not to despise the teaching of men, so far as it is in real unison and conformity to the written and revealed word, and will of God, yet it is the unction, or teaching of the Holy Ghost, which only can make the outward teaching and preaching of the gospel profitable to our souls: for it is he only who can lead us into the life-giving meaning of it, so as that we may be quickened up into real communion with the Lord thereby.

Such as the Lord teacheth, he gives them to distinguish truth from error.  He keeps them in the Truth, and hereby he preserves them from error.  He gives them to value Truth as truth.  He gives them to know, the scriptures are the sacred and grand repository of all Truth--That Christ is the Jewel in this glorious cabinet--That in Him are contained all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge--All which is set before us, in the ever-blessed gospel.  It should here be observed, that whilst no man is to be looked on as infallible, nor any, or every thing he says to be so, yet every one, so far as he hath received the knowledge of the Truth, or, any one single truth into his mind, as the Lord the Spirit hath taught it him, so far he is infallibly taught.  Which most especially appears, when the Truth and the person's spiritual apprehensions of the same, are altogether congenial with the written word.  For whatsoever we receive for Truth into our minds, which is not exactly as the word of God expresses and states it, is not the teaching of the Spirit of God," (p. 288-89).

Similarly, Pastor Mark Fitzpatrick of Arann Reformed Baptist Church makes the same observation in his sermon "The Triumphal Entry" on 03/26/17.  As he looks at John 12:9-22, he notes that it is the Holy Spirit which gives true believers understanding:

First he reads John 7:38-39 -- "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.  (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)"  Next he reads John 12:16 -- "These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him."

Then Mr. Fitzpatrick concludes:
"When Christ was glorified, [He] sent the Spirit to give them understanding of all these things.  It's amazing that even the disciples, at this point, didn't really get it.  You see, without the Spirit of God, we will never understand.  See 1 Cor. 2:14 which says the man without the Spirit does not accept the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him, neither can he understand them because they are spiritually discerned; they are spiritually understood.  We know (we experience as believers ourselves) that when we came to faith, the Bible became clear to us in a way that it was never clear before.  Suddenly we understand it; we get it. We get the simplicity of the Gospel.  We see it.  We see our own sin; we see our rebellion.  We see the righteousness in salvation, the humility of Christ.  We see these things as they meet our need."

"But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him," (1 John 2:27).