On this episode of Theology Gals Ashley and Coleen discuss whether God talks to us secretly outside of Scripture. They also talk about how we know the will of God.
We’ve all probably heard people say, “The Lord told me….” But does God really talk to us audibly outside of Scripture?
How does God speak to us today?
Hebrews 1:1&2 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
Rod Rosenbladt says of this passage, “… the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews makes very clear that God has revealed Himself most clearly in the incarnate Son (Heb. 1:1–2) and that, correlatively, we Christians living between the First and Second Advents are not to expect a repetition of the “various ways” of God’s self-revelation in what the writer calls “times past.””
Thus Saith the Lord? by Rod Rosenbladt
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart
“Are there instances in the Scriptures in which people describe a sense of God speaking to them through an inner voice? We read accounts of God speaking in an audible voice, through a supernatural dream or vision, a human hand writing on a wall, a blinding light, or a thunderous voice from heaven. This is quite different from the way most people who say that God has told them something describe hearing his voice—as a thought that came into their mind that they “know” was God speaking. One prominent teacher who trains people on how to hear the voice of God writes, “God’s voice in your heart often sounds like a flow of spontaneous thoughts.” But where in the Bible are we instructed to seek after or expect to hear God speak to us in this way?”
Why Do We Say ‘God told me’? by Nancy Guthrie
God’s Word is complete
Westminster Confession 1.1
“Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men unexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of his will, which is necessary unto salvation. Therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his church; and afterwards, for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing: which maketh the Holy Scripture to be most necessary; those former ways of God’s revealing his will unto his people being now ceased.”
God has given us everything necessary for life and godliness in His Word
2 Peter 1:3
His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence
Secret messages from God are not the same thing as prophecy
Bible Dictionary Prophecy:
or prediction, was one of the functions of the prophet. It has been defined as a “miracle of knowledge, a declaration or description or representation of something future, beyond the power of human sagacity to foresee, discern, or conjecture.”
prophēteía (from 4396 /prophḗtēs, “prophet,” which is derived from 4253 /pró, “before” and 5346 /phēmí, “make clear, assert as a priority”) – properly, what is clarified beforehand; prophecy which involves divinely-empowered forthtelling (asserting the mind of God) or foretelling (prediction).
2 Peter 1:21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
“Every case of special guidance given to individuals in the Bible has to do with that person’s place in the outworking of God’s saving purposes.” He adds, “There are no instances in the Bible in which God gives special and specific guidance to the ordinary believing Israelite or Christian in the details of their personal existence.” Graeme Goldsworthy
This is a great article responding to modern day continuationists on prophecy. Discussing an episode of Ask Pastor John with John Piper it says: “Dr. Piper gets to the crux of the cessationist-continuationist debate. In his view, modern prophecy is not “infallible, Scripture-level, authoritative speaking,” but rather “something that God spontaneously brings to mind in the moment, and—because we are fallible in the way we perceive it, and the way we think about it, and the way we speak it—it does not carry that same level of infallible, Scripture-level authority.” He claims three texts of Scripture to provide “exegetical reasons” for his view.
“John’s view is also Wayne Grudem’s view, and represents a radical departure from the historic position of the Christian church.”
If prophecy has continued, why wouldn’t it have the same authority that it did in the early church? I think this is an important point to consider.
Wonderful quote by Martyn Lloyd Jones
“If private revelations agree with Scripture, they are unnecessary and if they disagree they are false.” John Owen
“Given that we have a rationale for accepting the Old Testament text as God’s inspired Word, and given that we have a rationale for accepting the apostolic New Testament writings as God’s inspired Word, Reformation Christians should actively resist and/or reject anything that seeks to supplant these. Even if they do not mean to do it, even if they attempt to offer a rationale as to why their “other revelatory sources” are not revelatory in the sense that Scripture is revelatory, those who argue for “continuing revelation” lead the believer away from sola Scriptura. The Reformers were correct in rejecting the supposed new revelations of the “Spirit-drivers” (Abraham Kuyper) in their day. We must do no less.” Dr. Rod Rosenbladt
“One problem we face is rooted in the multifaceted way in which the term will functions in biblical expressions. The Bible uses the expression “the will of God” in various ways. We encounter two different Greek words in the New Testament (boule and thelema), both of which are capable of several nuances. They encompass such ideas as the counsel of God, the plan of God, the decrees of God, the disposition or attitude of God, as well as other nuances.”
If we ask ourselves, What does God want me to do? We should look to the pages of Scripture. On things where it isn’t clear we must follow it where it is and use wisdom.
Proverbs 15:22 Without consultation, plans are frustrated, But with many counselors they succeed.
Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
Proverbs 24:6 For by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory.
On the will of God
1 Thessalonians 4 For you know what commandments we gave you [c]by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from [d]sexual immorality; 4 that each of you know how to [e]possess his own [f]vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in [g]lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Remember God is Sovereign
Trust in His sovereignty
His secret will is not for us to seek. He will bring about His will
Proverbs 16:9 The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps
Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.
The Lord will bring about things in our lives according to His purposes.
Series by Tim Challies
Recommendations for further study:
The Final Word by Dr. O. Palmer Robertson
Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung
Episode Music from Castle Pines
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