Friday, August 12, 2005

Rhema Revelation

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. (Romans 10:17)

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. (Ephesians 1:17)
Which is more important — faith or revelation? Which is more important — your left leg or your right leg? The answer in both cases, of course, is that they both are equally important. They are two sides to the same coin.

We need to hear the Word of God because it is itself a revelation of God given by the Holy Spirit. In the Greek New Testament, there are two different words for “word.” The first is logos, and refers to words in general. All the words of Scripture are logos (or logoi, plural). They are all God-breathed and given to us by the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21). By themselves, they convey a certain understanding of God, His ways and His purposes. But there are things in them that are not going to be understood by the natural man. Paul tells us why:
We speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age know; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written:

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of god, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
(1 Corinthians 2:6-14)
Long passage, I know. But very helpful to understanding the dynamics involved in the Word of God. You see, without the Spirit, so much of the Scriptures seems like foolishness. The wisdom of the world simply does not comprehend the things of the Spirit. The words (logoi) of Scripture are given by the Holy Spirit, and that means that we must have the Holy Spirit at work in us before we can come to a full understanding of them.

Paul says that the Holy Spirit “compares spiritual with spiritual” (the word “things” is not in the Greek text). That is, He teaches us Holy Spirit truths using Holy Spirit words. The natural man does not understand because they are “spiritually discerned,” that is, discerned by the Holy Spirit revealing them to our spirit.

That is why Paul prayed for Christians in Ephesians that God would give them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation — that is, revelation by the Holy Spirit — so they could know God more and more in intimate relationship.

So what does that have to do with “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God?” That brings us to the other Greek word for “word,” rhema. Logos refers to words generally, but rhema refers to words which are acutely spoken, words that are especially needed in a particular instance.

All the words of God are true all the time. But there are some words I need particularly for this hour to deal with specific circumstances in my life. All the words of God are wisdom, but there is a particular guidance I need for this moment. It is when the Holy Spirit takes from the words of Scripture the thing that I especially need to hear today, and speaks it to my heart — then it has become a rhema.

Perhaps you have experienced, in your quiet time with God, reading a passage from Scripture that you have read dozens of times before. The words may be very familiar to you, and though they are inspired, they may seem very uninspiring to you. But then one day, while you are reading that same passage, all of a sudden the words seem to leap off of the page and strike up an excitement within you. Now you understand them with a depth you did no have before and you have an intense realization of what they mean in your life and in your relationship with God. You have had a rhema moment. The Holy Spirit has taken the Word of God and spoken it to your heart with an astonishing acuteness and clarity. The light has come on and now you can see. God has awakened your spirit with Holy Spirit insight.

That is what Paul is talking about in Romans 10:17, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” The word for “word” here is rhema. When the Holy Spirit speaks the Word of God to your spirit with precision and simplicity, it has become a rhema. Then faith begins to arise and become powerful inside you.

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the rhema of God. If you have been born again by the Spirit of God through faith in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit dwells within you. If you listen very carefully, He will bring the Word of God to you today with such amazing lucidity and relevance that it will change your life forever.