THUS SAITH THE LORD – PART 2
In part one of THUS SAITH THE LORD, I asked the following questions: “Does God still speak today? If so, how? Can Christians expect new revelation from the Lord, or has the time for divine revelation been completed with the last book of the Bible? Can any individual declare a ‘thus saith the Lord’ today?” My response to these questions made it clear that God does speak to His people today, but only through His inspired, inerrant and sufficient Word – the Bible. There are no individuals or church groups who can authoritatively say, “Thus saith the LORD.” There have been no new revelations given to the Church since the close of the canon of Scripture.
Christianity is based on a relationship with the living God through Jesus Christ His only Son. It is not merely a system of propositional truths. Of course propositional truths are vital to a relationship with God. So if believers have an abiding relationship with God in Christ, how then does God speak with His children today?
Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:27 – 28). How does Jesus speak to His sheep? Are believers expected to hear His audible voice or some kind of “inner voice?”
I love chapter 10 in John’s gospel. Jesus is portrayed as the Good Shepherd of the sheep. He is the One who has come that His sheep “may have life and have it abundantly.” In verse 11 Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” How precious! Jesus Christ loves His people. He lays down His life for them and keeps them safe.
Any portion of Scripture must be interpreted both in its immediate context, and in its place in the overall narrative of the Bible. In chapter 10 of John, Jesus is revealing Himself as the true Shepherd in contrast to the false religious leaders of that time. He said that these “false leaders” are like thieves that “come only to steal and kill and destroy.” Jesus comes to give life, the life of God – eternal life.
Earlier in John’s gospel, Jesus said “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” He also said “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day” (6:37, 44). God is the One who gives the grace of salvation. He is the One who has planned and initiated all of redemption for His own. He is the One who by His Holy Spirit opens ears to hear and regenerates the spirit of man. In these verses God’s role in calling people to Himself is made clear.
When Jesus says that His sheep “hear his voice,” He is not referring to an ongoing conversation like a telephone call. He was not saying that people would hear audible or inner voices from God. He was referring to His call to salvation. Jesus is calling His sheep to an endless life of fellowship with the living God. These believers follow Christ and show renewal in the new direction and commitment of their lives to Him.
Yes Jesus does still speak. He speaks through the proclamation of His gospel message. He speaks through His word. Note what the apostle Paul says in Romans chapter 10:13 -18 –
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for
“Their voice has gone out to all the earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.” (Emphasis – my own)
The voices of those who proclaim the gospel message go throughout the earth. God’s voice is in His Word, not in some self-proclaimed authoritative “prophet.” Oh how precious the voice of Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd as He awakens His children out of the slumber of spiritual death into new life in His kingdom – through His Word.