Those who violate the Law of God are guilty of sin, which separates them from God (I John 3:4; Isa. 59:1-2). Sinners will remain eternally separated from God unless they are converted. To “convert” is “to change from one form or function to another” (Merriam-Webster). The sinner must be converted, or changed, from a sinner to a faithful child of God. However, the sinner does not have the power within himself to convert himself into a saved state.This conversion from sinner to saint is not possible without the power of God (Eph. 2:8-9; Tit. 2:11-12; 3:4-7). Man should be extremely thankful that God desires every lost soul to be converted and saved from the punishment for sin: “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved…” (I Timothy 2:3-4a; cf. Rom. 5:8-9). However, for one to be converted, he must first “…come unto the knowledge of the truth” (I Tim. 2:4b). This Truth by which men must be saved and sanctified is the Word of God (John 8:32; 17:17; 19; Acts 20:32), which was revealed to men by the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit is the Source of the Scriptures
Throughout history, God’s will and Word have been revealed through many means: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets…” (Heb. 1:1). Sometimes men would have God-given dreams or visions (Gen. 37:5-9; Acts 10:10-16). Sometimes God’s Word was spoken orally by a prophet, sometimes the Word was written, and sometimes prophecies were even “acted out” (Ezek. 4:1ff). There were also physical structures like the tabernacle, which contained inspired, prophetic Truth within their very design! (Exo. 25:8-9; Heb. 8:1-5). Today men are blessed to have the complete, special revelation of God preserved in written form, and the Holy Spirit is the Source of those Scriptures: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For 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 Ghost (II Pet. 1:20-21; cf. 2 Sam. 23:2; Mark 12:36; John 16:13; Acts 1:16; 28:25; II Tim. 3:16-17; Heb. 3:7; Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22).
The apostle Paul wrote that there are wonderful things the Holy Spirit has revealed from the mind of God through the avenue of inspired words: But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual (I Cor. 2:9-13, emphasis JPH).
Notice that the Holy Ghost teaches through “words,” and Paul wrote that we may understand those words revealed to the apostles and prophets by the Spirit: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit (Eph. 3:3-5).
Because God’s revelation has been completed, or perfected, there are no prophets today revealing more Truth (Zech. 13:1-5; I Cor. 13:8-12; Eph. 4:8-16). The Holy Spirit guided the early church into all the Truth that God was going to reveal: “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth…” (John 16:13; cf. Jude 3). Man does not need further revelations from God, because God’s “…divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (II Pet. 1:3). (…continued next week)
Jason Hilburn is a minister at the Nesbit church of Christ in Nesbit, Mississippi.Read Part 2 of this article here.