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Answers About the Holy Spirit
Q Throughout the world today, people believe the Holy Spirit communicates with them through an inner voice, or through feelings and emotions, why is this belief extremely dangerous to faith and salvation?
In addition to God the Holy Spint, there are also many demonic spirits near us at all times. Without God's Word as your guide, you have no way of knowing which communication is coming from the devil since he constantly disguises himself as an "angel of light" (2 Cor 11:14). On this matter God is very emphatic and clear: "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (1 Jn. 4:1). "All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
Q: This issue of Good News repeatedly states that the Holy Spirit will speak to you only through the Word. Why is this so important?
Because the certainty of your salvation is at stake! If you base your faith on spiritual emotions or religious feelings, you will be always unsure of your total forgiveness, God's constant presence, and your eternal salvation. Basing your faith on your emotions will cause you to be up one day and down the next. God's Word never changes. "Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow" (Jam. 1:17).
Do not allow yourself to be fooled by your dreams, feelings, and emotions, all of which the devil can twist and manipulate. Instead, insist on listening to God's voice ONLY in the Word. Then ou will never need to wonder whether the Holy Spirit is speaking to you. God also warns that dreams and other experiences will NEVER speak more clearly than the Bible itself. "If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets [that is, the written Word of God], neither will they be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead" (Lk. 16:31).
Q: Are you saying that God does not work in our lives in any way other than the specific and clear revelation in His Word? Doesn't the Holy Spirit guide our daily lives in any other way?
Certainly God works in other ways! In the Old Testament, Abraham opened the door of opportunity to his nephew Lot, letting Lot choose which land he wanted for himself (Gen. 13:8-11). In the same way, the Holy Spirit gives opportunities io His Christians, opening such doors as a choice of employment, a chance to move to a new place, and so forth. In providing these opportunities, the Holy Spirit happily allows us to choose what we want, just as Lot chose the land he desired. The Spirit will not, however, speak to you directly and tell you which choice you should make.
The Holy Spirit also guides Christians in ways that are sometimes beyond their choosing. For example, God allowed Joseph to be sold into slavery (Gen. 37:28) and imprisoned in Egypt (Gen. 39:20), so that Joseph could save his family and people from a horrible drought.
Here is the point: God may permit, and even cause, certain events to occur in our lives in order to accomplish His loving and gracious will to draw us and keep us close to Himself. However in His Word, God says He will never speak to you or any of His other children through,dreams, visions, small voices, or any other direct way; because there is no way you could determine for sure that this communication is from Him, and not from the devil disguised as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14).
Q: In what way does the Holy Spriit influence our decision-making when the Bible does not speak directly to the issue at hand?
When Christians must make decisions that are not directly addressed by the Word, they are free to make their best choice, guided by the Word. You need not seek a special message from the Holy Spirit because there is no right or wrong answer in many decisions!
Obviously, a Christian would never be troubled by the question of whether or not he should become a professional thief. God's Word is made clear by the Holy Spirit "You shall not steal" (Ex. 20:15). But suppose the man's choice is less obvious. Suppose he must decide whether to stay at his current job or to move his family to a distant city in order to work at a better job. He does not need to decide which job God wants him to have because God has provided both opportunities to him (Jam. 1:17). Therefore the man will simply pray, "If the Lord wills . . ." (Jam. 4:15) and make his best decision.
Finally, God Himself says His revealed and written Word is totally adequate for everything and every situation. Reliance on dreams, intuition, or special voices is not only unnecessary, it is an offense to God and a sin. "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
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