Personal experience, Scripture, or the Holy Spirit?
Here is the full question as I received it:
To what extent does your experience of God have to be bound to Scripture? God has worked in others’ lives in ways that aren’t specific in Scripture. Does your experience of God need to match Scripture or not go against Scripture? And how does the Holy Spirit play a part in this?
God does work in some pretty weird and wacky ways sometimes and we must never put Him in any kind of a box or have any kind of a limited expectation of what He may do. God is Sovereign. As some folk say, “God is God and I am not.”
But at the same time God is immutable… unchanging in character and attributes. What He has revealed to us in scripture as truth is truth, has always been truth and will always be truth. “I am the Lord, I change not.” (Mal. 3:6), “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8). The Holy Spirit personally guides the believer into all truth, but He does not present us with any new truth, rather, He reminds us of the truth and points us to personal applications of the truth.
“…the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” / “…He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come… the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” (John 14:26; 16:13, 15).
This question comes very close to asking if Feelings can sometimes trump Facts. The answer here is a resounding “NO!” This juncture is what Faith is all about. Of Abraham Paul writes, “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed…” (Rom. 4:18).
Paul urged the Galatians “…even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!” (Gal. 1:8).
Paul also knew he could not even trust his own estimations of himself. Our conscience can be our guide only so far as it has been accurately informed. Writes Paul, “My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.” (1 Cor. 4:4).
So, while God is free to act in unique ways with each individual He is not the Author of confusion. He does not work at cross purposes to Himself, show favoritism, or contradict His own attributes or nature. Thus, for example, He cannot admit sinners into Heaven, for to do so would contradict His justice and holiness. His Love does not want anyone to perish, thus His Mercy and Grace act in Christ to provide atonement for all who call upon Him.
Experience, feelings, and emotions should be challenged whenever they are in disharmony with the Word of God.
Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.