Thursday, November 24, 2022

The Interpreter

The Bible sets no precedent for us needing a human interpreter to understand what God has given us. In fact, it repeatedly tells us that we will be given all that we need to see. 

Ironically, what we are an Interpreter.

This was the promise all along, right? This is exactly what Jesus said. He said it was better for us if He went away because that meant He was sending Someone else to help us understand everything. He promised that the Holy Spirit would come upon us and guide us in all truth, and the New Testament repeatedly reports this happening - someone believes, the Holy Spirit comes upon that person, and that person understands what God has been trying to say all along. 

Now, if you've been following along this week, you know that there are probably some persons out there who are going to say something like, "Yes, God gave the Holy Spirit to the early believers because they were the ones who were going to have to tell the story for us. So they needed the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit to get it right. But He doesn't give us that any more." 

First, as we saw earlier, this doesn't really solve anything; it just pushes the inspiration and interpretation question a little bit further away, as we then have to ask how we're ever supposed to know whether we understand the human interpreters correctly.

Second, wow. God doesn't intend to give us the Holy Spirit any more? That's a slap in the face. (Among other things.) 

The Holy Spirit is fundamental to the Christian faith. Period. Everything we know, every good thing we do, every act of love, even of being loved, is a product of the Holy Spirit at work in us. To argue anything else is to say that there is such a thing as human goodness, and if there is human goodness, then the work of Jesus was entirely unnecessary as, it seems, we absolutely would have gotten there on our own. I mean, if we're getting there now on our own so far removed from God's gifts of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, all on our own left to figure things out by human wisdom, much for the work of the Cross and the promise of the Spirit. Thanks, God, but we don't need it. 

So then the next argument is, well, the same as it's been all week - that there is still a Holy Spirit, but it isn't given to you. It's only given to a select few, to elite pastors or academics, who are then tasked by God with the challenge of dumbing things down so that even you can understand (which is interesting because in the same breath they say this, these guys also often do everything they can to talk over your head so that you really believe that things are too complex for you until you get so frustrated that you end up just screaming, "Just shut up and tell me what I'm supposed to do!" Then, they've got you). 

But that wouldn't be the testimony of the Bible, either. The Bible keeps telling us of all these times that persons received the Holy Spirit on account of their believing, and these aren't elite pastors or academics. A lot of times, they aren't even Jews - they're Gentiles. They're the ones to whom the faith was closed for so long, like so many of the ragamuffins that today's religious elite still try to keep out of the church. In other words, it's the very same guys and gals that the "church" said could never be persons of God who received the gift of the Holy Spirit and came not only to know truth, but fire. They are the foundation of all that we are. (Okay, a lot of the foundation.) 

The same is still happening today. 

Everything we know, we know because God gave it to us to know. And because God then gave to us the One Who knows it - the Holy Spirit - to lead us into that truth. And that includes biblical truth. That includes the words that you've been told you aren't "supposed" to understand for yourself. In a sense, that's right - you don't. But you don't need some fancy full-of-himself human authority to tell you what it means. 

You've got the Holy Spirit. 

And that's exactly what He is for.  

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