The Scriptures and the Power of God

But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God." (Mt 22:29)

Jesus gave this reply in response to the Sadducess who did not believe in the resurrection. They tried to trick him with a question involving a woman who had been married multiple times, and asked him whose wife she would be in the resurrection. Jesus as always cuts straight to the heart of the issue. The testimony of the resurrection is both the scriptures and the power of God.

I know for some in the reformed tradition saying the scriptures and anything is tantamount to heresy, but it is the scriptures themselves that testify to this fact!

My speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1Co 2:4-5)

For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. (1Co 4:20)

And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. (Mt 9:35)

Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Lk 24:45-49)

Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. (Heb 2:1-4)

And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip when they heard him and saw the signs that he did. (Ac 8:6)

I could go on, but I trust the point is made. To testify to Christ, his resurrection and his ascended glory, we need to be those who know both the Scriptures and the power of God. The Word of God and the active reality and presence of the Spirit of God. Sound doctrine, and manifestations of the Spirit. It was never intended to be an either-or! God never intended his one church, his bride, to become polarised into those who love the Word and yet are distrusting of the activities of the Spirit, and those who love the Spirit yet are ignorant of theology and lead others astray with their flaky teaching. There is no excuse for either! God wants his one church to be full of men and women who know and are familiar with both his word and with his power, and testify to the world that Christ is risen indeed! Jesus came to destroy every wall of hostility within his people, let us not build them up again with any label that we might care to apply to those sections of Christ's body we disagree with, but let us all seek to know more of Christ and his revelation, both in the scriptures and in the powerful movings and manifestations of the Spirit.


Mark H said...

Yes! Yes! Yes! And I can agree with you because ...?

... I haven't arrived. I don't know it all. I haven't experienced it all. I'm being equally challenged myself right now - to go deeper in Word and Spirit, together.

God clearly told me not so long ago that I needed to really dig deep into the Word if I wanted to go deeper in the things of the Spirit - and He told me that I NEEDED to go deeper in the things of the Spirit :-)

Holy Spirit wields the Word as a sword (Ephesians 6:17) - He is the master of it, not us. How limited is the warrior that is not offered his sword? How effective is the sword that is not placed into the hands of the warrior?

Libbie said...

As a reformed cessationist, I heartily agree. I imagine we'd differ on what a manifestation of the Holy Spirit is! :-)

But yes, and amen. One can read the bible through every week and still be no closer to the Lord if it is done without the intimate experience of the Holy Spirit.

Christopher Alton said...

Great stuff Chris, I think this is no more succinctly demonstrated than in Paul's statement to the Ephesians, "the Sword of the Spirit".

It is the sword of the Spirit because he authored it and because the WORD of God was given to us for us take into our hand and use, rather than to sit and gather dust upon the shelf. God chooses to anchor everything in his written word so that everything that we experience in the Spirit may be measured against the unchangeable WORD of God, rather than our own subjective judgements. The Holy Spirit uses the WORD of God as his primary tool to speak to us for this very reason. Everything he says can be verified through the Word. Indeed it is his Word which the Holy Spirit causes to germinate within our hearts. Sparks put it this way: -

“The Spirit makes the Word to germinate within. The Spirit germinates within by means of the Word … Not until the Word has found a response can that Word become a living thing within. That is why an unsaved person can never know the meaning of the WORD of God. The meaning of any Word of God demands the inward work of the Holy Spirit to make it live, to make it germinate, and response to it opens the way for the Spirit.”

This should tell us how alien to God’s will is the often seen dichotomy in the church of “Word-people” or “Spirit-people”. As far as God is concerned his people should “Sword of the Spirit – people”!