Did God speak in times of old? Absolutely (Hebrews 1:1-2). Does God speak today? Yes, but by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God. The Westminster Larger Catechism, Q&A 155, states, “The Spirit of God maketh the reading, but especially the preaching of the Word, an effectual means …” Ephesians 6:18 says, “The sword of the Spirit … is the word of God.” The Holy Spirit takes the written Word and opens our hearts’ understanding of the truths contained in the revealed Word of God. Psalm 19 rejoices in this when it says “The law” is “the law of the Lord,” “the testimony” is “the testimony of the Lord,” “the precepts” are “the precepts of the Lord,” “the commandment” is “the commandment of the Lord,” and “the rules” are “the rules of the Lord.”
The Word of God, Conviction, and Humility
The Holy Spirit is at work in Christians to help them recognize their sin, convict them of their sin, and produce humility in their lives. In Psalm 19, David meditates upon the Word with the Lord (Psalm 19:12-13), so we, too, need the Holy Spirit to open our eyes as Christians to our sin as we hear, read, and study Scripture.
The Word of God and the Reception of the Lord
The Holy Spirit is at work to drive the Word deep into our lives and draw us to Christ. The Word of God has a reviving effect (Psalm 19:7) because it brings the dead to new life in Christ (Romans 10:9-17). The Word also ministers to Christians in times of deep struggles with indwelling sin (Romans 7). The Word of God matures Christians to be wise in Christ (2 Timothy 3:14) by being acquainted with the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:15).
The Word of God and Growing in the Grace of God
The Holy Spirit uses the Word to affect Christians’ growth in the grace of God. When you read the Word or hear it preached, the Holy Spirit is at work to sanctify the people of God. The Holy Spirit’s sanctifying work is described in the following ways:
- The Holy Spirit desires to grow people into the image of Jesus (Romans 8:28).
- The Holy Spirit uses the Word to strengthen Christians against temptation (Ephesians 3:16).
- The Holy Spirit uses the Word to help Christians grow in grace (2 Peter 3:18).
- The Lord helps Christians discern right from wrong through the use of the Word in our conscience (1 Timothy 1:5; 1 Peter 3:16).
- The Lord renews the mind of His people through Scripture to think His thoughts (Romans 12:2).
- The Lord uses the situations in our lives to direct, change, and help His people grow in grace (James 1:2-5; Hebrews 12:5-11; 1 Peter 1:6-7).
Christians need to read the Word daily and hear the Word preached weekly. As they do, the Holy Spirit speaks to them via the Word of God (Hebrews 4:12).
The Word of God and Hearing from God Today
During the Protestant Reformation, people were looking for a word from the Lord just as they search for one today. The Reformers were men like Martin Luther and John Calvin, who proclaimed there is only one place to hear God speak audibly, and that is in the Scriptures. These men affirmed what is known as Sola Scriptura, which means the Scriptures are the inspired, inerrant, sufficient, clear, and authoritative Word of God.
Moses spoke of the coming prophet in Deuteronomy 18:15-18, and Hebrews 1:1-4 declares that the prophet spoken of by Moses is the Lord Jesus. The prophets were great men of God, but only Jesus is fully God and fully man. The prophets were sinners, and God used them to communicate His Word despite frustration (Jeremiah 20:7-9) and reluctance (Jonah 1:1-3). Jesus is fully God and fully man, meaning He is without sin and never experienced frustration or reluctance.
Hebrews 1:1-4 illustrates the public ministry of the Lord Jesus by showing that He is superior to the Old Testament prophets because He is preeminent in His person and His work. Hebrews 1:1-4 is not only making the superior claim of Jesus but highlighting how He is the Prophet, Priest, and King of the New Covenant. The death, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord Jesus all find their culmination in all the elements, practices, and offices that point to Him. Jesus' death brought to an end animal sacrifice and the need for human high priests since He is now High Priest and ultimate sacrifice for His people (Hebrews 2:17-18; Hebrews 4:14-16). Jesus has brought to an end the need for prophets as He is the ultimate prophet and the bringer of and culmination of divine revelation (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
The Word of God and Jesus the Personification of Truth
Whenever we think of Jesus as the ultimate final truth, we may remember the confrontation at His trial before Pontius Pilate. The Roman governor demanded to know if Jesus thought Himself a King. Jesus replied that His Kingdom was not of this world. When Pilate responded doubtfully, Jesus related His Kingship to God’s truth in the world (John 18:37). Christ reigns through God’s Word because, in Christ, God has fully and ultimately revealed Himself.
Looking into the very face of God’s Son, through whom God has revealed the ultimate truth, Pilate replied, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). Pilate’s response shows that postmodernity’s denial of truth is nothing new while also dramatizing the tragedy of our unbelieving world (John 3:19). There before Pilate stood the very Truth of God, Jesus Himself, and Pilate still denied the possibility of truth.
Pilate thought he was judging Jesus, but with Jesus, before him, it was the governor who was on trial. The same is true today; when you read or hear God’s message through His Son Jesus Christ, you stand before the Truth. If you reject Him, (God’s final Word), you consign yourself to darkness, the darkness of spiritual blindness now and the eternal darkness in hell that will come in God’s final judgment.
The Word of God and Everlasting Hope
If you look to Jesus Christ, where the very truth of God resides, then God’s redemptive work will operate within you. “At many times and in many ways,” God began preparing the world through the Prophets for the coming of His Son Jesus. Why? So that in these last days — these days of God’s redemptive fulfillment in Jesus Christ — we might enter into the fullness of salvation (John 14:6). When we receive Jesus as the Truth, then He becomes the way for us to enter into Life Everlasting, for Jesus is God’s final Word. Even if all else in the world is lost, Christians must hold fast to Him in faith.
The Word of God is a priceless jewel that contains the treasure of the promises of God (2 Corinthians 1:20). The promises of God testify from the first word to the last word and everywhere in-between of the Redeemer to come, who has come, and who is to return in Christ. Today, if you want to hear God audibly speak, open the Word and read it out loud, for it contains the promises of the God that find their completion in Christ alone.
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Dave Jenkins is the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, and the Host of the Equipping You in Grace Podcast and Warriors of Grace Podcast. He received his MAR and M.Div. through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. You can follow him on Twitter at @davejjenkins, find him on Facebook at Dave Jenkins SOG, Instagram, read more of his writing at Servants of Grace, or sign to receive his newsletter. When Dave isn’t busy with ministry, he loves spending time with his wife, Sarah, reading the latest from Christian publishers, the Reformers, and the Puritans, playing golf, watching movies, sports, and spending time with his family.