THE SPIRIT GUIDES US INTO "ALL TRUTH"
The perimeter of “all truth”
What is received must not exceed the teachings of Christ
The truth is the Spirit, and the Spirit is the truth (Jn. 14:17; 1 Jn. 4:6). “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father sends in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to remembrance all things that I said to you” (Jn. 14:26).
Jesus stated “all things” twice. The second is to qualify the first. Here, He defines the perimeter of what the disciples would know under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This means the disciples would know all things concerning what He had said.
“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He [the Spirit] will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He [the Spirit] hears, He [the Spirit] will speak…He [the Spirit] will glorify Me, for He [the Spirit] will take what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He [Spirit] will take of Mine and declare it to you” (Jn. 16 13b-15).
We must not over-read the intended meaning of Jesus. Otherwise, we can make a grievous mistake in thinking that God’s revelation can be identified not solely with the Bible. We can be led to believe this is the proof that there is no limit to His revelation. Since Jesus is the complete embodiment of the truth, as “the truth is in Jesus” (Eph. 4:21), whatever the Spirit imparts would not exceed what He has said and wants the Spirit to say about things regarding Himself. The Spirit, according to John, works at the instruction of Jesus (Jn. 16:13). He is there to testify of Jesus and His work (Jn. 15:26).
Many of Jesus’ teachings find their basis in the OT Scriptures (Ex. Mt. 22:29-32; Lk. 4:18-27). Jesus preached or even defended His actions with reference to OT quotes. In fact, many parts of the OT Scriptures point to Him (Jn. 5:46). God’s awesome and transcendental revelations came in Him (cf. Jn. 5:39). They are parts of the “all truth”.
However, we must not take the step-by-step disclosure of the “full truth” to the apostles in the Bible to be the pattern for receiving “additional truth”, which is a grey area in the Bible or extra-biblical. Some may perceive that one incident relating to this disclosure is the abolition of circumcision on the Gentile believers (Acts 15). This does not in any way set the paradigm for receiving the truth. Since the apostles only had the OT Scriptures, God had to unfold His truth that could not be found in the OT Scriptures, in His own profound way, to stabilise the church. Such a revelation sets out the principles governing the community of faith under grace, as opposed to those who are under the law (Acts 15).
[To be continued...]