The Program of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit has been aptly called “the Executive of the Godhead.” He guards the interests of God, and promotes the best interests of men. He has been executing that program in at least five spheres; namely, inspiration, the Incarnation, the world, the Church, and the believer. As to the first, the production of the Holy Scriptures is a work of the Holy Spirit. No purely human document contains the idea of a divine-revelation of God’s mind, nor the idea of a reliable interpretation of God’s ways; yet it is just this that the Bible contains. An infallible revelation of God and His purposes could only be supplied by the agency of the Holy Spirit working with men of God, divinely chosen, inspired, equipped, and controlled.
No reasonable mind can question the Scriptures’ claim: every original word was Spirit-inspired. “Thus saith the Lord” (Isa. 66:1), “The Holy Ghost saith” (Psa. 95:7-11. Heb. 3:7), and similar terms repeated frequently, represent the Scriptures as direct communications from God. Inclusive statements covering all the books of the Bible, are just as definite that “holy men of God spake as they were ‘borne along’ by the Spirit of God” (11 Pet. 1:21), and that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable” (11 Tim. 3:16).
There are only two alternatives: the acceptance of the original writings as the Word of God, or the rejection of them as false and unreliable. However, one has the right to this latter, drastic attitude only after considering honestly the evidences of Divine authorship.
There is the evidence of unity in diversity. The diversity in Scripture is obvious: the writers were many and varied. They wrote in different times and places. Most were unknown to each other. There was no possibility of collusion, and yet no occurrence of collision. Despite diversity, there has been perfect unanimity. They enunciated the same, high, spiritual principles and adhered to a SINGLE MESSAGE. Their prophetic pronouncements in every case converged upon a single, glorious, messianic Personality. Who is this that stalks the corridors of Holy Writ, in promise, type, prophecy, and figure? It is the Seed of the woman (Gen. 3:15), the King of Israel (Gen. 49:10), the Redeemer of mankind (Ruth 4:9-15), the Governor of the nations (Ps. 22:28). What these men of diversified times and circumstances envisaged in the Old Testament became in the New, the living Jesus in the Gospels, the Christ of experience in the Epistles, and the expected King and Lord of the Revelation.
It is evident that these writers did not fully comprehend the meaning of the Divine Scriptures which they wrote; nevertheless, they wrote them. “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you, searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory which should follow” (1 Pet. 1:10-11). Peter makes clear that these penmen of God were under the power of the Spirit of Christ (as was he); their message was Christ, and God’s grace and salvation. They could not reconcile the one part of their message, “the sufferings of Christ,” with the other, “the glory that should follow;” but they still recorded it. What a testimony to the fact that no prophecy of old came by the will of man but by the Spirit of the Lord!
The authenticity of the Spirit-inspired Writings is further demonstrated by fulfilment. A prophet’s recognition as the Holy Spirit’s mouthpiece, depended upon the fulfilment of his predictions (Deut. 18:22). This principle also covers the veracity of the whole Book of God. The downfall of nations like the Amorites (Gen. 15:14), Babylon (Jer. 27:5-7), Medo-Persia, etc., have been foretold and their doom has confirmed the prophecies (Dan. 2:31-45; 5:30-31). A look at the chequered story of God’s national people should convince the most doubtful, of the accuracy of the Word of God. Their experiences in Egypt are gathered up in embryonic form in God’s predictive words to Abram (Gen. 15:13-16): “thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance … but in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.” The growth, persecution, and eventual emancipation of Israel from Egypt are predicted in these words many years before they became history. In the same way, their present dispersion and sufferings, and their future blessings are in the prophetic Word. Present and future fulfilment offers further confirmation of the inspiration of the Spirit’s message.
In messianic prediction, however, we see scriptural accuracy and veracity in its highest glory. The virgin birth of Christ is taught in Genesis 3:15, and Isaiah 7:14. The Scriptures reveal the place of His birth (Mic. 5:2); the tribe of His birth (Gen. 49:10); His character as the Man of Sorrows (Isa. 53:3); the time of His arrival and death in Jerusalem (Dan. 9:24-27). The scenes in the judgment halls are graphically anticipated. He is to be crucified; men are to gamble for His apparel, while they mock Him with vinegar and gall (Ps. 22:18; 69:21). The very cry of His orphaned heart forms the opening of a Psalm which could have no complete fulfilment in any mere mortal (Ps. 22:1). Neither accident nor coincidence can play a part here; the only solution possible is that the mind who indited these passages foreknew these coming events. It is more fantastic to doubt than to believe such a revelation.
The Holy Spirit’s place in inspiration is also evident in the moral tone of the Scriptures; their standards of divine righteousness and holiness are to be found in no human production. Sin is unveiled in its friends and foes and denouced for what it is. God is seen in all His majesty of purity and integrity; provision is made for sinning man to escape the terrors of a sinner’s punishment and the wrath of a sin-hating God. God’s requirements from all who enjoy relationship with Himself are very plain: “Be ye holy, for I am holy” (1 Pet. 1:16). As man-made books proclaim the mind and character of their authors, so this God-breathed Book pays tribute to its Author, and shows it could emanate from no human source.
Think too of the performance and power of this message of God. The human heart has always feared and resisted the Word of God. As a consequence, there have been many attempts to discredit and destroy it. Despite human rebellion, the knife, the fire, the higher critic, and the Devil, God’s Word is still with us as operative and energetic as ever. It is “alive and powerful and sharper than any twoedged sword” (Heb. 9:12); “the Word of the Lord endureth forever” (1 Pet. 1:25); “the Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). Truly, God’s testimonies are wonderful (Ps. 119:128)!
We have in the Scriptures a true, inspired, completely reliable body of truth, through the sovereign agency of the Holy Spirit. He chose human instruments, restrained and constrained them by His power and wisdom, yet retained their natural characteristics. Now the servant of God possesses everything which God wants man to know, and he is equipped for any order or sphere of service. “All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, fully furnished unto every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
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Holiness is the one divine attribute in which we can be like God. He does not say, “be ye almighty, for I am almighty,” but He does say, “Be ye holy, for I am holy.”