I have been a reactionary most of my life, sad to say. One day about 20 years ago I was praying and I heard Father say, “Michael, is there a Book of Re-Acts?” I said, “No Lord, just a Book of Acts.” Then He said, “Learn from this.”
As I read the Book of Acts again I was amazed at how much of it was the acts of the apostles and saints as they listened to and obeyed the Spirit. I had to do some serious soul searching after this encounter as to how many things I believed that were simply a reaction to what happened in my past. And He STILL is showing me things that are more a reaction rather than walking in All Truth as the Spirit was sent into our lives to make happen.
Did I get this message from the Bible? No, I got it from the mouth of God. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that PROCEEDS from the mouth of God.” Did the Word who created all things stop talking with the closing of the canon as most Biblicists believe? I think not! We talk about a “Personal Saviour” and “Personal Salvation” and then set out to depersonalize our walks in Christ by following the traditions of men and what THEY say about the scriptures.
What is most interesting to me is that the early church members had no personal copies of the scriptures or personal Bibles as we have today. That eunuch from Ethiopia had to pay much for a copy of Isaiah to read on his way home and he was stumped by what the prophet said until the Spirit in Philip revealed it to him and he was converted on the spot!
The early church had ears that could “hear what the Spirit was saying to the churches,” but by the end of the first century their hearing had become dull and as a result they had gone off coarse as they had heaped to themselves teachers to tickle their ears teaching Gnosticism and Judaism. This is what 1 John is all about, trying to get them to return to the voice of God instead of the voices of the deceivers that were among them in the form of many anti-christs.
As for the power of tradition, God had to rebuke Peter, who was hung up on his Jewishness, for isolating himself from the Gentiles who would and did come to Christ. Concerning this matter, he even said to the Spirit on one occasion, “Not so, Lord!” Now there is the worst from of religious blindness possible! Calling God “Lord” and refuting his commands because of our perception of what the scriptures say. Like Jesus said to the Jews, “You make of no effect the commandments of God with your own traditions.” “Man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath was made for man.” “If you had known what this means, ‘I will have mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless”… His concept of obedience to the Word of God and theirs was miles apart.
It is obvious to me that if we are truly of the NEW Covenant we are not to live by the letter of the law or the letter of the scriptures, but by the Spirit that God has put in us to “lead us into all truth” (Jesus’ words, not mine). The sin against listening to and obeying HIS voice is what must be dealt with, which is mostly a result of our reactions to the past. The doctrine of Sola Scriptura is a REACTION of the reformers to the Papal decrees called “bulls” and such and it is flawed because of the flesh which seeks to enforce it even to this day.
Something deep and lasting happened to Paul between his Damascus road encounter with the living Christ where he said, “Who are you, Lord?” and when he was able to write many years later, “For me to live IS Christ and to die is gain.” That something is called the way of the cross of Christ which puts to death the First Adam and makes way for the pre-eminence of the Last Adam, Jesus Christ in a life.
Whether we search the scriptures because in them we think we will find life like the self-righteous Pharisees of old or whether we become spiritualists and listen to every voice that speaks to us from the ether waves, we are equally deceived. Why? Because the human heart is desperately wicked and deceitful above all things. It will always grasp on to a message that fortifies its position and pre-eminence over its own life and the lives of those around it. Unless we have been converted and given an NEW heart, the heart of Jesus, and Christ’s Spirit within to lead us and then take up our crosses and follow Him, we will be deceived. That which is born of the flesh IS flesh, but that which is born of the Spirit IS spirit.
Knowing this I often pray, “Oh Father, don’t let me miss the high calling IN Jesus Christ you have on my life. Search me out and root out everything in me that is not of your Son. Conform me into the image of Christ, the Last Adam, and put on the cross all that is in me of the First Adam.” I know that only when His deep cleansing is going on will I hear His voice clearly and will be able to read the scriptures with HIS full Light bringing them forth to accomplish what they were intended.
“In Him was life and the LIFE was the light of men.” It is always Life then Light.