THE SPIRIT GUIDES US INTO "ALL TRUTH"
Our attitudes and methods
If the Spirit guides us into “all truth”, then it has to be shown in our attainment of the unity of faith. But reality presents quite a different story. Sometimes, our understanding of the truth varies radically from one another. We are especially concerned with the differences among us who have the same Spirit and are faithful and truthful to Jesus, yet rule out those who are not of the True Jesus Church and those who preach another gospel.
Such a discrepancy in understanding is owed largely to the trick played by our carnal mind. In seeking the truth, the Spirit within us is constantly at war with our personality. We know very well that pursuing unity is our goal, and yet we want to be seen as outstanding in teaching God’s word. When others disagree with our teachings we tend, at most, to accept outwardly the conflicting views. This does not in any way constitute a common understanding, although this is what we desperately need to achieve. Yet, we continue to teach what we think to be true, and we are not alone, if the real mind-sets of those who study God’s word are known. Those who do not agree with us may adopt the same attitude. Instead of uniting our minds by losing our wills in the sovereign will of the Lord, we are drifting further and further apart from one another in doctrines, in works and in understandings. The Spirit’s guidance is, thus, repelled.
Humility must come into play at all times. It was the reason (Dan. 10:12) why Daniel became the beloved one of God (Dan. 10:11; 9:23). With humility, he was given great wisdom and knowledge. His relationship with God was excellent. Like Jesus, there was no unrighteousness in him (cf. Jn. 7:17-18). With humility, we are able to think with spiritual astuteness. To admit that, at times, we can be wrong in our interpretations of the Bible, something human nature commonly resists, would enhance the Spirit’s guidance in our pursuit of His word and the unity of faith. For carnality (without humility) can be so virulent, it is easy for us to refuse to acknowledge our faults, even at the strongest beckoning of the Spirit to change. The Corinthian Incident is a warning. Despite being so gifted in many aspects, the members at Corinth remained ignorant of many fundamental truths.
We must prayerfully seek ways to prevent this potentially divisive situation from occurring, caused by the existence of diversified interpretations or understandings of the Bible. It has to be stamped out. For a start, the church must establish a set of biblical principles to govern the interpretation of the Bible, on which the ordained workers must agree. Examples include that the foundation of the basic beliefs must not be re-laid, or the search for biblical understandings must not be extrapolated into biblical unknowns. This is to eradicate the possibility of penetrating God’s word with human suppositions. For us to overcome prejudice and become united in the truth, expounding the Bible outside the agreed principles must be discarded. Each of us must accept the Bible-based principles; it must become the practice for us all.
The word of God has a pattern (Rm. 6:17; 2 Tim. 1:13), within which our understandings must fall. So it is of great urgency for us, together with the Holy Spirit, to create principles to devise the pattern for explaining the Bible that God has long desired us to comprehend. For all to agree requires that all have a heart of humility to change, and to lead the church forward in the unity of faith – to give up on unbiblical interpretations, when compared to the devised pattern we have previously accepted as accurate. In this way, we make ourselves conducive for the Spirit to guide us into understanding the “all truth”.
[To be continued...]