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(All quotations from the King James Version unless stated otherwise).
Ephesians 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
I believe your contention is about the way that the Holy Spirit communicates with us in order that we might understand the righteousness and truth which is acceptable to God.
Does God communicate with individuals directly in a supernatural way, or does he communicate the necessary information through the written word of God?
You believe the former and I believe the latter.
I cannot prove that someone is not guided by the Holy Spirit, but I can reduce it to being highly unlikely simply by comparing the gospel and doctrine that they preach with the written word of God.
The fact that you believe in a triune God (‘God the Holy Spirit’ is not a phrase found in the Bible or a doctrine taught therein) weighs heavily against the possibility of Holy Spirit guidance. The Holy Spirit is not God; it is the power of God (Luke 1:35).
1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
2 John 1:10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
The doctrine is that which the apostles preached. We can see what it is by reading the Bible. We can compare what is preached with what is written.
Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
The gospel which the apostles preached we can read in the Bible.
It follows that if one claims supernatural guidance by the Holy Spirit they should preach the gospel and teach the doctrine found in the Bible.
We are told that the scriptures were written by inspiration of the Holy Spirit for that very purpose. It is the scriptures that are able to make us wise unto salvation, not the possession of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit speaks to us through the written word. If we take what is written into our minds and live by God’s precepts then de facto the Holy Spirit dwells in us. If we reject the written word in favour of our own surmising then we are bereft of the Spirit.
The advice to Timothy is valid for us all.
2 Timothy 3:14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
Timothy had a gift of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands but he is still exhorted as follows:
1 Timothy 4:13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. 15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. 16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
His success was dependent upon reading the scriptures and applying them, not on possessing the Holy Spirit.
Logically it is unlikely that God would inspire prophets, often resulting in the loss of their lives, to write scripture if he did not intend it to teach righteousness and truth those who came after. Paul says it was all written for our learning.
Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
When the gospel was preached to those at Berea, they did exactly what we are intended to do.
Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
When we encounter those who claim to be taught righteousness and truth directly by the Holy Spirit we can but test their claims in the same way that Israel were to test the prophets.
Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
After his resurrection Jesus used the scriptures to teach his disciples about himself.
Luke 24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
John 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
You will be aware that across a broad range of Churches there are many who claim Holy Spirit guidance from the Pope downwards. God is not the author of confusion. All but one must be a victim of self delusion.
We have a plumb-line against which all beliefs can be tested and test them we must. You will agree, I’m sure, that there can only ONE standard of righteousness and ONE truth.
It is disingenuous to try to prove that we are taught righteous and truth directly by ‘God the Holy Spirit’ when the Holy Spirit makes clear that what we need to know is written down for us to read in the word of God.
Matthew 4:4... It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
This in no way detracts from the writing of God’s law in the heart but it is written there when we read, believe and apply the scriptures, not by supernatural means.
Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Our minds must be renewed by what we hear (in our case read) in the word of God.
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
As far as ‘not trusting God with His own people’, we have to bear in mind that any of us can fall away. Salvation has to be worked at. We cannot earn salvation with works; but faith without works is dead. A dead faith will not save us.
Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
1 Corinthians 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
We can draw near to God and he will draw near to us or we can fall away and be rejected. ‘Once saved always saved’ is not a doctrine supported in scripture. We have to be sure that we understand what being ‘born of the Spirit’ actually means in practical terms.
If you want to come to grips with what the Bible really teaches, why not take the free Bible study course on www.thisisyourbible.com? You may take this course either online or by regular mail.
This course will give you a background in the major themes of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. As with everything we offer, there is no cost to you other than your time and effort. You will also have a personal tutor to whom you may pose questions either from the course itself or those questions which come to you as you read the Bible.
I hope you have found this helpful.
May God bless you,