A Question I Was Asked

'If the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth, how come we still need instruction?'

Here is the question:

"If the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth, then why do we need articles such as yours - indeed, why would Paul, for example, need to write to the various churches with instruction about this or that? Why can't we wait for 'inspiration' to show us individually about the Law of Christ? Or am I being really stupid?"

My Reply:

No, you are not being stupid, but the explanation is that God has never worked with His human Creation in a manner in which they do nothing and have no responsibility. After all, the Lord could have put the 'Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil' totally out of reach, but He chose not to do that - He wanted Adam to be fully aware of it and to exercise a bit of character in the matter. In our everyday lives we also find that we have to make constant decisions at all times - this is the nature of human existence. Maybe the problem here is with your conception of 'inspiration' - the biblical writers wrote under divine inspiration but God also allowed them to write in their own idioms, this is what John Stott called the 'double authorship of Scripture.' God has never used people like unthinking automatons, and perhaps Adam and Eve were surprised that God wanted to work in partnership and cooperation with them. Understanding how God worked with the biblical writers can help us better understand how God works with us: there is a partnership! A very vital component of how God works with us is through His encouragement of human responsibility. At all stages our response in a trusting and loving manner is vital - no, that does not save us, but we can be fashioned better in that way.

The Holy Spirit will lead those whom God is calling at the present time into the spiritual truth which will fashion them for God's kingdom - that is the promise. But the Holy Spirit does not 'possess' us - He works with us! This does not mean that He shows us everything at once either, in fact, I think that almost never happens but such people grow into the spiritual knowledge which they need. Of course, this does not mean that salvation is facilitated by knowledge - that is definitely not the case, the whole thing is a work of divine grace, through faith, but Our Father ensures a certain level of spiritual knowledge for us to understand the true nature of our calling.

I hope that this starts to answer your question.

Robin A. Brace, February, 2008.