Author’s Note: I’ve been on the subject of sola scriptura in my last few posts, today is no exception. It’s one that I feel like is vital for any one that says they are a Christian.
How many times have you heard someone quote to you the verse from 2 Kings where Elijah hears God’s voice in the silence, God’s still small voice? The perceived idea being God will speak to you directly the same way He did Elijah. Yet nowhere in scripture does it say that this is the normal way God communicates with us. To say that this is a normative Christian experience we would then also have to assume that it would be equally as normative for us to call fire down from heaven or have angels prepare food for us. Yet, I’ve never woken one morning to find an angel fixing me eggs and bacon. (Mmmmm…Bacon…)
Elijah’s experience was not normal nor should we try to normalize it. Yet we do, or at least we try to. In fact we try so hard to normalize Elijah’s experience that we neglect the primary means of God’s communication with us…the Bible.
If I were to wait for God to speak to my heart in a still small voice, how would I know if it was really God or my own thoughts and desires? The Bible says “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
“Yes, but…” you say “Christ gives you a new heart” While that’s true it’s not the whole truth. Why else would Paul say “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”? This is Paul speaking, the guy who wrote most of the New Testament, and he struggled with sin. Paul also acknowledged that there was nothing good in him. Did Paul have an identity crisis? No, sin is still a part of us, and we are not totally free from it until we die. Although we have been set free from its bondage, even though sin doesn’t consume us like it once did, we continue to wrestle with sin, we try to put it behind us, but it always lies in wait. Sin is always just outside our door ready to pounce on us. Like a mugger, sin is always ready to rob the joy we have in Christ. And the easiest way to let this sin into your life is to listen to your heart…to sit in silence, waiting for God to speak to you audibly, because you’ve been lead to believe from the misunderstanding of 2 Kings that this is the normal Christian experience.
“Yes but,” you say “I’m pretty sure the Bible says God will give us a new heart.” And yes this is true…it says so over and over, and He does give a new heart, but nowhere does it say He repairs the old nature, and it is the old nature that causes us to sin. It is our old nature that we fight, and our old nature we hate. Yet we are so deceived by our old nature that we willfully invite it back into fellowship with us. But what fellowship does darkness have with light?
While the work of regeneration is instantaneous, other parts of salvation, (progressive sanctification) are a process, and it is a process we, in our pride, generally resist. Just as we resisted the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration until we could no more, we are so marred by sin we resist the work of sanctification in our lives as well.
When we are saved Christ replaces our cold heart of stone with one of flesh, but nowhere does Scripture say that this is now the primary means of my communicating with you, just listen for my whisper directly to your new heart that I’ve given you. As I have said again and again in my last couple of blog posts all over the Bible we see the supremacy of scripture. Scripture is called God’s word. It is how we are sanctified. Jesus prays for us in John 17: “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” And in the book of Matthew Jesus reminds us that we live on every word from the mouth of God. And in Timothy we see that scripture is called the very breath of God.
Do you want to know what God’s will for your life is? Look to scripture. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
Sometimes I think we use the story of Elijah as an excuse not to carry out what God has clearly told us to do in Scripture. “Wait for God to reveal it to you what He wants you to do…listen for His still small voice.” Why wait, when we have the revealed Word already before us. Do you honestly think the Great Commission is an optional part of Christian life? Aren’t you secretly just hoping that God would whisper something in your heart so that you can live your live contrary to scripture? Why do you crave to hear that which is not found in scripture? It is certainly because you think more highly of yourself than you ought to. You are full of pride and you are dissatisfied with what God had already revealed to you as your spiritual act of worship. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Repent of this pride, repent of neglecting to read and trust His Word, Trust the scripture is sufficient by itself to bring you to full maturity in Christ.