What do we believe: Our experience or the Word of God?

Posted: February 17, 2011 in Christian

Does existence precede our essence? Does what you experience define who you are as a Christian? How has God fashioned us as human beings?

God created us in His image and His likeness, which is our essence.  Our essence therefore precedes our existence and our experiences. Who we are as Christians should define what we do. God is the God of experience and He is the God of emotion. Our emotions and our existential experience are vital to us in the eyes of God. God reminds us that the definition of experience is neither true nor false; it is only descriptions or propositions that are true or false. Words are true or false. Experiences are either enjoyable or not enjoyable; anytime your experience comes into conflict with the written revealed word of God, you have to go with the written revelation over that existential experience which can be false.

Here is why: The Apostle Peter, with James and John experienced the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ. His body glowed extreme white and they saw how Moses and Elijah descend from heaven and spoke with Jesus. They were Hebrews and probably wanted to speak with Moses and Elijah too. God said, “This is My beloved Son, My Chosen One, in Whom I am well pleased, listen to Him.” The Apostles asked Jesus if they should build tents there after the experience. Jesus said, no, we must leave.

In Peter’s epistles, he described that experience, but even after that, Peter establishes a greater certainty than experience when he said in 2 Peter 1:16-21, “For we were not following cleverly devised stories when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah), but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty (grandeur, authority of sovereign power). For when He was invested with honor and glory from God the Father and a voice was borne to Him by the [splendid] Majestic Glory [in the bright cloud that overshadowed Him, saying], This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased and delight, We [actually] heard this voice borne out of heaven, for we were together with Him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word [made] firmer still. You will do well to pay close attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dismal (squalid and dark) place, until the day breaks through [the gloom] and the Morning Star rises (comes into being) in your hearts. [Yet] first [you must] understand this, that no prophecy of Scripture is [a matter] of any personal or private or special interpretation (loosening, solving). For no prophecy ever originated because some man willed it [to do so–it never came by human impulse], but men spoke from God who were borne along (moved and impelled) by the Holy Spirit.” (Amplified Bible)

Peter is not speaking of prophecy given to a person by revelation of the Holy Spirit (like the gift of prophecy); rather he is speaking of the revealed, written, inerrant word of God, the Holy Scriptures. He established this point in his first epistle where he stated in 1 Peter 1:22-25, “Since by your obedience to the Truth through the [Holy] Spirit you have purified your hearts for the sincere affection of the brethren, [see that you] love one another fervently from a pure heart. You have been regenerated (born again), not from a mortal origin (seed, sperm), but from one that is immortal by the ever living and lasting Word of God. For all flesh (mankind) is like grass, and all its glory (honor) like [the] flower of grass. The grass withers and the flower drops off, but the Word of the Lord (divine instruction, the Gospel) endures forever. And this Word is the good news which was preached to you.”  (Amplified Bible)

Peter understood with a greater certainty that the written word of God transcends experience, even the Transfiguration experience he had on that Holy Mountain.

Peter proclaims in the book of Acts 1:16, “Brethren, he said, it was necessary that the Scripture be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit foretold by the lips of David, about Judas who acted as guide to those who arrested Jesus.”

God word is sure. The Holy Scriptures are certain. Jesus Himself states this in John 10:35, “So men are called gods [by the Law], men to whom God’s message came–and the Scripture cannot be set aside or cancelled or broken or annulled–”

Therefore, our Christian experiences are important and vital, and we may “know” God in our experiences, but the truthfulness or the falsehood of those experiences is measured by the objective revealed written word of God. The word of God is the authority by which we measure the truthfulness or the falsehood of our experiences. For this reason, God sent us the written word of God.

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