Vice President Mike Pence has recently been criticized for claiming to hear from the Lord. Some have gone so far as to say this is a sign of “mental illness.” The fake news media has been more than willing to report these criticisms.
While it is true that some claim to hear from God when God has had nothing to do with it, this counterfeit does not negate the reality of the genuine. The Bible clearly teaches the Holy Spirit speaks to individuals. Communication with God is clearly within biblical orthodoxy.
Jesus called the Holy Spirit the “Comforter” (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7). How can the Spirit comfort without communicating? In the first of these contexts, Jesus referred to the Spirit as “another Comforter” (John 14:16). The word another means another of the same kind. Therefore, as Jesus and His disciples spoke with each other, the Holy Spirit (being another of the same kind) speaks to us and we can speak to Him. Jesus said the Spirit “will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). In the same verse, Jesus further clarified regarding guidance from God, saying “whatsoever he [the Spirit] shall hear, that shall he speak.” Therefore, Jesus taught the truth that the Spirit speaks to us.
In the inspired narrative of Acts, the Scripture says, “the Spirit said unto Philip” (Acts 8:29) and “the Spirit said unto him [Peter] (Acts 10:19). There is no reason to believe these instances were any different from the Spirit communicating to us today. But how does the Holy Spirit “speak” to us?
In a detailed passage on the Holy Spirit, Paul taught under inspiration that the Spirit bears witness with our spirits that we are the children of God (Rom. 8:16). The indication in the New Testament is that the Holy Spirit speaks to the human spirits of believers. This is a knowing, not a feeling (“are the children of God,” not “feel like”), and this communication takes place in our innermost being. Thus, the witness of the Spirit is not referring to external, audible voices that Satan can counterfeit, but it is a genuine communication of the Spirit. This is how the Spirit speaks to us.
The Scripture refers to being “led by the Spirit” (Rom. 8:14) and being “led of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:18). This implies the Spirit communicates with us in a way whereby we know it and can follow. The Scripture urges, “as the Holy Spirit saith, Today if you will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts” (Heb. 3:7-8; cf. 3:15; 4:7). This admonition would be meaningless if we can’t “hear his voice.”
Sadly, some abuse the truth of the genuine leading of God and discredit the concept. There is, however, a genuine leading of the Spirit, and it is unfair and unbiblical to label the true as the false.
John Van Gelderen
About This Blog
Hello, I’m John Van Gelderen. I am an evangelist and the president of Revival Focus Ministries, an organization for the cause of revival in hearts, homes, churches, and beyond, and for evangelizing. This blog is focused on experiencing Jesus. I believe in order to really live, you must access and experience the very life of Jesus Christ.