Speaking the Truth in Love

The Holy Spirit Says


The charismatic movement appeals to an emotional and spiritual need. Christians want to feel close to God. They long to hear his voice and receive individual attention. If the Spirit speaks directly to them, their need is met.

But the apostle Paul predicts the end of the age of miraculous gifts. In the first century the church is in its infancy. With maturity comes the cessation of tongues and prophetic revelations (1 Cor. 13:8-13; cf. Eph. 4:11-16). Does this mean that the deep need for close communion with God must go unmet? Are we never to hear his voice and receive personal attention?

A passage in Hebrews points us to the answer: “The Holy Spirit says, ‘Today, when you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years'” (3:7-9). The Holy Spirit is speaking. He has a specific message for the first readers of this epistle. And where are his words for them found? In the pages of the Bible (Ps. 95:7-11).

Any Christian who meditates on the scriptures can receive personal encouragement from God and specific answers to important questions. For instance, if I’m feeling overwhelmed by troubles, the Holy Spirit says to me, “Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand” (Isa. 41:10). Or if I’m wondering whether it would be right to yield to an immoral temptation, the Holy Spirit says to me, “Shun immorality. […] Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God?” (1 Cor. 6:18-19).

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