In another thread on this forum:
In which I had no desire to be part of because of the many words going back and forth on different subjects one which I thought that it would be good to have a discussion on the absolute need of illumination of the understanding
by the Spirit of God especially so in light of the confusion that I was reading. There are a group of men on this forum who believes that truth comes by their "own efforts" alone without God's Spirit
illuminating their understanding~of course this goes well with their gospel based on human merits of their free will, and the will of man directing them enabling them to see and understand spiritual truths apart from God intervening. In that thread one said:
The scriptures are the spiritual revelation from God; they are the work of the Holy Spirit by which God reveals His will to man (2 Peter 1:19-21).
When we read what is written, we can understand God's will (Ephesians 3:1-5). God expects us to study (2 Timothy 2:15). This should tell us that understanding comes from diligent study, not from further revelation from the Spirit on top of the revelation He has already given for that purpose.
Red highlights are mine for our discussion. Another person said in the same thread:
Holding to the doctrine of illumination is basically a failure to understand the work of the Holy Spirit and particularly the role of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the saved.
The doctrine of illumination as commonly taught is not a biblical doctrine. This is true for at least four reasons. One, Christian people who claim to be illumined by the Spirit often have different and even opposing understandings of the same passages of Scripture, e.g., texts about gender roles or the millennium.
Two, even those who believe in illumination recognize that individual Christians grow in their understanding and sometimes change their interpretations of Scripture. When this happens, one always assumes that he is changing from a mistaken view to the correct view, or from a nonillumined view to an illumined view. But does this not mean that what he once thought was an illumined view was actually a mistaken view? So how can he be sure that his present views are illumined rather than mistaken, and that no further changes will occur?
Three, the doctrine of illumination is actually the product of the doctrine of universal total depravity. Illumination is necessary because the totally depraved person is completely blind in his intellect and cannot understand the Bible unless illumined by the Spirit. But as I have already noted elsewhere, the doctrine of total depravity is itself not biblical. The sinner’s blindness is partial and willful, not total and inborn (Rom 1:18; Eph 4:18).
The fourth reason for rejecting the doctrine of illumination is that it has no exegetical basis in Scripture. Ironically, the passages cited as proof-texts for this doctrine are themselves misinterpreted and misapplied. For example, Matt 10:19-20; John 14:26; 16:13; and 1 Cor 2:10-13 apply only to the apostles, and refer to revelation and inspiration. They are not general promises to all Christians; to apply them thus is a serious error.
We shall thus test both of these men by the word of God over the next few days, and both shall come up wanting when their teaching is compared to the word of God I am convinced.
2nd Corinthians 4:6~“For God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”.
This divine illumination, which the mind receives at the new birth, is not by means of dreams or visions, nor does it consist in the revelation of things to the soul, which have not been made known in the Scriptures
. Let us be clear on this point moving forward. The only means or instrument, which the Holy Spirit employs, is the written Word:
Psalm 119:130~ “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple”
So, God’s Word may have been read attentively, and much of its teaching intellectually apprehended; but because there was a veil upon the heart (2nd Corinthians 3:15
) and so no spiritual discernment (Ist Corinthians 2:14
Scriptures 4WD apply only to the apostles to avoid this blessed truth) the reader was not inwardly affected thereby. But now the Spirit removes that veil, opens the heart to receive the Word, as God did to Lydia~
), and powerfully applies to the mind and conscience some portion of it. The result is that the one renewed is able to say, “One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see” (John 9:25
). To particularize:
The sinner is now enlightened in the knowledge of his own terrible condition. He may, before this, have received much Scriptural instruction, subscribed to a sound creed, and believed intellectually in “the total depravity of man”; but now the solemn declarations of God’s Word concerning the state of the fallen creature are brought home in piercing power to his own soul. No longer does he compare himself with his fellows, but measures himself by the rule of God. He now discovers that he is unclean, that his heart is “desperately wicked,” and that he is altogether unfit for the presence of the thrice holy God. He is powerfully convicted of his own awful sins, feels that they are more in number than the hairs of his head, and that they are high provocations against heaven, which call for divine judgment on him. He now realizes that there is “no soundness”~ in him, and that all his best performances are only as “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6
), and that he is deserving of nothing but the everlasting destruction from God's presence.
By the spiritual light which God communicates after
regeneration the soul now perceives the infinite demerits of sin, that its “wages” can be nothing less than eternal death, or the loss of divine favor and a dreadful suffering under the wrath of God. The equity of God’s law and the fact that sin righteously calls for such terrible punishment is humbly acknowledged. Thus his mouth is “stopped” and he confesses himself to be guilty before God, and justly liable to His awful vengeance, both for the plague of his own heart and his numerous transgressions.
By means of this illumination the renewed soul, under the guidance of the Spirit through the Word, now perceives how well suited is Christ to such a poor, worthless wretch as he feels himself to be. The prospect of obtaining deliverance from the wrath to come through the vicarious life and death of the Lord Jesus, keeps his soul from being overwhelmed with and from sinking into complete despondency because of the sight of his sins. As the Spirit presents to him the infinite merits of Christ’s obedience and righteousness, His tender compassion for sinners, His power to save, desires for an interest in Christ now possess his heart, and he is resolved to look for salvation in no other. Under the benign influences of the Holy Spirit, the soul is drawn by some such words as, “Come unto me ill ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” or “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out,” and he is led to apply to Him for pardon, cleansing, peace, righteousness, strength.
Other acts besides turning to Christ flow from this new principle reserved at regeneration, such as repentance, which is a godly sorrow for sin, in abhorring of it as sin, and an earnest desire to forsake and be completely delivered from its pollution. In the light of God, the renewed soul now perceives the utter vanity of the world, and the worthlessness of those paltry toys and perishing trifles, which the godless strive so hard to acquire, has been awakened from the dream-sleep of death, and things are now seen in their true nature Time is precious and not to be frittered away. God in His awesome majesty is an object to be feared. His law is accepted as holy, just, and good. All of these perceptions and actions are included in holiness without which no man shall see the Lord. In some these actions are more vigorous than in others, and consequently, are more perceptible to a man’s self. But the fruits of them are visible to others in external acts.No man comes to this point in his life on HIS OWN, is so clear from scriptures:
Matthew 16:16,17~"And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."
Beginning here let us search the scriptures and see the truth and reject the false notions of men.