Suffice it to say, we need Divine assistance in the matter of spiritual understanding. "For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding" (Col 1:9). It is God that "fills" us with wisdom and understanding in spiritual matters, and He does so by teaching us. This thought focuses on the unique privilege of being "taught by God." His teaching does not obviate the disciplined involvement of the human heart and mind. Without God's personal instruction, however, all such activities are vain. The New Covenant is not the induction of a deistic enterprise. That is an activity where God is really not present; one where things run by laws and principles. Such is not the case with the regime of Jesus! It is a Person that holds all things together, not "law of nature" (Col 1:17).
THE WITNESS OF DAVID
Because of his sensitivity to the Lord, David was a "man after" God's own "heart" (1 Sam 13:14; Acts 13:22). As such, I am interested in His observations about the teaching of God. David did have a Bible. It was limited, because revelation was limited. However, he devoured the Scripture he possessed, meditating upon it in the night time, and rising early to ingest its message (Psa 63:6; 119:147,148). Yet, he saw the necessity of Divine tutelage. He wanted to be "taught by God."When counsel is given"I will bless the LORD Who has counseled me; Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night" (Psa 16:7, NASB). Notice that the counsel of God is paralleled with the instruction of David's mind. This was inner instruction, not a voice like Samuel heard. Of course, God does have access to the heart. He not only sees what is in the heart, He can effectively counsel the heart. He can direct our thinking without violating our wills or compromising His character! No one should shrink from this thought. One of the marks of the New Covenant is, "I will put my laws into their minds" (Heb 8:10). There is such a thing as a mind being "controlled by the Spirit" (Rom 8:6, NIV). This is how God counsels His people, opening realities to them in their minds, expanding their thoughts, elevating their contemplations. It is true that He uses Scripture, but that in no way removes His Personal involvement. The Word of God reminds us that God "directs" people. Solomon said, "The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps" (Prov 16:9). The 37th Psalm records, "The steps of a man are established by the LORD; And He delights in his way" (Psa 37:23). In the well-known 23rd Psalm, it is written, "He leads me beside quiet waters . . . He guides me in paths of righteousness . . . You prepare a table before me . . ." These are expressions denoting Divine instruction, or counsel. They emphasize the effectiveness of that instruction. Tranquility, an upright life, and inner nourishment are the results of God's counsel! Interpreting our lives Holy men can look back on their lives and see the hand of the Lord at work. What they have effectively learned has been taught to them by God. The direction of their lives, the outcome of their efforts for the Lord, and the ability to avoid Satanic snares, have all come from the Lord. If we have the eyes to see it, the life of faith confirms that we have been "taught by God." Some expressions from the Psalms will serve to confirm this to our hearts."O God, Thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared Thy wondrous works" (Psa 71:17). "Blessed is the man whom Thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of Thy law" (Psa 94:12). "I have not departed from Thy judgments: for Thou hast taught me" (Psa 119:102). "My lips shall utter praise, when Thou hast taught me Thy statutes" (Psa 119:171).God really did teach the Psalmist, and the Psalmist really did learn from God. This tutelage did not refer to the writing of Scripture, but to insight into the Scripture. It is the Lord that enables the individual to make a connection between His Word and personal life. Insight into the statutes is not an academic appraisal of Scripture. Rather, it brings the ability comprehend its intent, and translate it into joyful life.
THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS
The Lord Jesus Christ is not the "Hero" of believers; i.e., one whose life is unrelated to their own. The relevance of His example is by Divine appointment, and is not merely theoretical. When the "Word was made flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14), God was brought within range of our spiritual faculties. In Him, God became accessible and discernible. He came to deal with sin There was at least a twofold purpose for His life. First and foremost, He came to "put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" (Heb 9:26). This entailed being cursed by God (Gal 3:13), "made sin" for us (2Cor 5:21), and bearing "our sins in His body on the tree" (1 Pet 2:24). It also involved the destruction of the devil (Heb 2:14), the "spoiling" of "principalities and powers" (Col 2:15), and "blotting out of the handwriting of ordinances that was against us" (Col 2:14). The outcome of this glorious work would be the reconciliation of the world to God (2 Cor 5:18-20). God would thus become both "Just and "Justifier" of "him that believes in Jesus" (Rom 3:25-26). This aspect of the Son of God is first and foremost, forming the foundation for both salvation (deliverance) and sanctification (Divine utility).