The Capabilities Of The Inner Man
“What are the qualifications necessary for registration in this College?” enquired the young man. In reply a high degree of academic attainment was submitted to him.
As sinners, we had nothing but our need, with which to commend ourselves to God; we never could have qualified for His salvation. How merciful and gracious of Him to accept us in His beloved Son. Thank God, we are now saved, and are definitely anxious to learn more perfectly the ways of the Lord. While we do not need any academic qualifications, it would be well if we were to approach our Bibles, with true purpose of heart, and certain well recognized spiritual qualifications.
CONVICTION OF MIND in the verbal inspiration of the Bible: Two young men who had majored in the same subject at school found themselves employed in an industrial laboratory. As they performed their routine and research duties, they discussed different topics as well as current events. On a certain occasion, said the one to the other, “I enjoy reading the Bible.” “What, you?” was the sharp reply. “Yes, me, for I believe the Bible to be the word of God,” asserted the first. “Not I,” was the rejoinder, “I am not sure that there is a God, but I feel convinced that if there be One, the Bible is not His. To me the Bible is a cunning production, a piece of classic literature.” “To me,” answered his associate, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”
The conviction of the young chemist, must be our conviction, if we are to learn more from a closer perusal of the Word of God.
REVERENCE OF HEART and prayerfulness: God is to be had in reverence of all of them that are about Him. (Psa. 89:7). The Christian is to serve Him acceptably with reverence and godly fear, ever remembering, that his God is a consuming fire. (Heb. 12:28-29). The two sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, perished in the consuming flame; because, irreverently, they handled the holy things entrusted to them. We call the Word of God the Holy Bible, and holy it is. Let us ever thus revere it, and read it. We always must use the Holy Bible with profound respect because of its divine origin, because of its supreme sublimity, because of its impeccable perfection, because of its irrefutable truth, and because of the importance of its message. To always raise the heart in submissive and brief prayer, as we commence to read the Bible, is a helpful custom all should adopt.
DEPENDANCE OF INTELLECT upon the Holy Spirit: Even a limited understanding of the ministry of the Holy Spirit, as presented in the writings of the apostle John, will convince all, that as we study the Word of God, it is necessary to rely for illumination upon Him. In his first epistle, John speaks of the reception of the Spirit, and of His residence in our hearts: “But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but the same anointing teacheth you of all things.” (1John 2:27). By a comparison of Scripture we know definitely, that this statement cannot mean, that God does not use men as a channel of teaching for, “He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” (Eph. 4:11-12). We, consequently, conclude that this statement by John indicates, we need not that any man be to us a source of teaching.
In the Gospel of John, we have three references to the operation of the Holy Spirit within the early disciples. Let us ponder well each reference. First, “He shall bring all things to your remembrance.” (John 14:26). Through this activity of the Holy Spirit, the apostles were able to recall the details, and to write the life of Christ in the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, long after the scenes had passed. Second, “He shall teach you all things.” (John 14:26). Reference here must be to the new teachings which form a major part of the New Testament epistles. In the third portion, we read, “He will shew you things to come.” (John 16:13). Here the intimation is to prophecy, the permanent form of which we have particularly in the book, The Revelation. The implications are, that the Holy Spirit of God is the channel of revelation, the means of inspiration, and the power of illumination. We are obliged therefore, to look to, and to depend upon, Him, the Divine Interpreter. He takes of the things of Christ and reveals them unto us. (John 16:14). God reveals them unto us by His Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. (1Cor. 2:10).
HUMILITY OF SPIRIT before the Lord, and before men: There are some who are possessed of a certain natural religion that produces a spurious humility, of these we read, that they engage in things which have a shew of wisdom and a shew of humility. (Col. 2:23). May the Lord deliver us from such pharisaical hypocrisy, and may we always, in lowliness of mind, refusing to rely upon fleshly wisdom, approach our joyous periods of Bible study, knowing that, “By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honour, and life.” (Prov. 22:4) The Lord Jesus is the classic example; of Him we read, “He made Himself of no reputation.” Moreover, He said, “I am meek and lowly in heart.”
SUBMISSION OF WILL to practise what is learned: It is said, for the encouragement of those who wish to extend their vocabulary, that if a new word is used five times it becomes their very own. If we want to impress our minds deeply with some new theory, we attempt to see that theory in practice. In the things of God, we learn by doing. “If any man shall do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God.” (John 7:17): There are three words which we generally look upon as being synonyms, and yet it is well that we differentiate among them. There is knowledge, the abstract fact we acquire; wisdom the sagacity in the application of the fact; and understanding, the actual application of the acquired knowledge in a wise manner. We must not only acquire a degree of Biblical knowledge, but in humbleness of mind, we ever ought to be ready, understandingly, to act that knowledge out in wisdom.
Let us earnestly pray that these spiritual qualifications may be developed in us so, that with real competency and proper inward pose, we may learn, and that our lives may be enriched, and our service controlled, and our blessed Lord Jesus glorified.