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The purpose of gaining knowledge and discerning the truth is so we are equipped to make good “decisions,” take worthy and fruitful actions. Life’s decisions have eternal significance. If the knowledge is critical to our salvation, who is responsible for determining the truth in knowledge, the “lips” or the “ears?” This is quite a provocative question. In decomposition, it is asking  and age old question, whether the responsibility for understanding and truth are that of the teacher, the lips, or the student, the ears? To answer that question, one must look first at the process of finding Truth.

Reason” is the natural ability of the human mind to discover and process truth. “Revelation” is the supernatural disclosure of truth, by God through the Holy Spirit, which could not otherwise be discovered by the unaided powers of human reason. Both work together and are necessary for humanity to become knowledgeable about our world. This is important because our world is sinful and truth, whether spoken (taught)  or heard (learned), is often distorted by Satan’s bias. If we allow ourselves to simply let politicians, media or even the Internet become our source for knowledge and wisdom, we are doomed! If we accept the teachings of our institutions of higher education without challenge and if we fail to determine what is true for ourselves, our world finds itself where it is today. We are divided, believing absurd things, sitting on the verge of societal collapse. The answer to our lead in question is both the lips and the ears are responsible!

Our Bible clearly demonstrates that God can reason, and because we are made in His image, God intends for us to use our reasoning ability to discover and contemplate what is true. Many truths, however, can only come via revelation. Revelation and reason cannot be separated from the life of the Christian. The world calls upon our reasoning abilities to prove that their view is correct, justification by reason. The Holy Spirit teaches us to depend on God’s Word for guidance. This should not surprise us, since we know that the Holy Spirit is the divine author of the Scriptures themselves.

(1 Corinthians 2:6-16) 1 – “We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written: ‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’ — the things God has prepared for those who love him—these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ”

Reason and revelation form the doorway, the gate to truth when they rest on a foundation of God’s Word. Our educational systems have stripped God from the classroom and our society is effectively stripping God from the family. Satan must be pleased. That leaves our world with little hope. Truth, God’s Truth is the only path to eternal life. Part of that truth is that God Himself, incarnate as Jesus Christ, came to remove all encumbrances from our relationship with Him. We have been granted the grace to seek a full pardon and enter an eternal relationship of love and peace with God. That is the perfection of the Trinity at work, God in three persons, working together to teach us what is True.

Human reason connected to revelation is evidenced by the fact that we are frequently called upon to decide true revelation from false revelation. How can we be discerning apart from using reason? Blind belief is unworthy unless it is consistent with God’s reasoning. It would be foolish to believe everything without applying reason to test its believability or truthfulness. Likewise it is arrogant to assume that everything must be accepted by human reason before it can be accepted as God’s Word, or Truth. It is important for us to have a biblical perspective on life because Scriptures answer the important questions of life. A biblical perspective will cause us to love God more and help us handle life’s trials:

(James 1:2-3, 12) – “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

The Holy Spirit teaches us dependence on God’s Word for guidance which will protect us from errors in judgment. A biblical perspective is not about being right but about knowing how to live right (truthfully). Not every problem in life is clearly addressed in Scriptures. Sometimes there is no answer. There, we must rely on common sense in discerning what to do.

An example might be the world’s approach to abortion. It is hard to conclude any other position from Scriptures other than abortion must be opposed. Yet, we live in a world of free will and democracy. All have the right to their own opinion. Reason and revelation should lead Christians to seek God’s Truth in determining their opinion and not fall victim to the world’s claim of personal choice.

How do we know when reason and revelation are present, working together as God has intended?

  • When the Holy Spirit is present, there is confidence and courage present, even in the face of opposition. The presence of the Holy Spirit encourages Christians to stand up to those who would disparage God’s Truth and to stand up for Christ and the gospel. This is especially true for our leaders.
  • When the Holy Spirit is present, there is a dependence on Scripture. The Holy Spirit and Scripture always go together and become the foundation of God’s Truth.
  • When the Holy Spirit is present, past failures will be forgotten, forgiveness will be present, and we move on. Our world needs Christ’s witnesses focused on God’s future, not dwelling on the past.
  • When the Holy Spirit is present, there is a focus on Christ and the gospel. This is done by repenting and committing ourselves to Christ’s mission for His Church. The mission simply is equipping disciples and sharing Christ. It will be the Holy Spirit who turns a simple conversation into an opportunity to share the gospel. Remember, only when necessary use words! And yes, there is one more component to the mission. Christ came to help the widows, orphans and poor, also adding this to the mission of His Church.
  • When the Holy Spirit is present, God’s Kingdom wins. All gain the wisdom and understanding of God’s revelation of Himself in His Word. God’s Truth becomes known and there is a noticeable lack of divisiveness because we are all One with Christ!

Contemplations

  • Do you agree with our answer to our introductory question: The responsibility for knowledge belong to both the lips and the ear?
    • Items to Explore: How should we question what we hear in and around us? What are our sources, lips, that influence our knowledge base, our beliefs? Are the sources, lips, reliable? What responsibilities do we have to demand that institutions of learning put God back into our children’s teaching? How do we fix the “family?”
  • How do you use reason and revelation to sort out what you hear?
    • Items to Explore: Are you generally questioning? Do you look for opposing opinions? How do you tell an opinion from a fact? Do you ever revisit your opinions, beliefs?
  • How can someone use Scriptures to help their reasoning capabilities?
    • Items to Explore: Do you ever take worldly opinions and check them against God’s Truth? Do you know how to seek God’s Truth for yourself?
  • Have you ever given your beliefs an audit, of sorts, and compared them against God’s Truth?
    • Items to Explore: Do you tend to form and opinion and stick to it for life? Have you ever been wrong about something that you initially believed in? (be truthful here) How did you deal with knowing you were wrong in the past?
  • What does it take for you to change an opinion?
    • Items to Explore: Beliefs are often deeply rooted, formed from events even back to our childhood. Changing them to be consistent with God’s Truth  requires honesty, hard work and practice. Think about the process that you might try to validate your concerns and then change them to be consistent with Scripture.

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
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