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The personal director of our faith.
The great glory of God’s good news is that it gives us a Person.
I’ve written about this theme on several occasions, but I couldn’t help parroting myself in order to share with you this excerpt from John Henry Jowett’s God—Our Contemporary. The glory of the gospel isn’t that it imbues us with saving knowledge, although it does do that. The great glory of God’s good news is that it gives us a Person. That Person is none other than God himself come in the flesh (John 1:1, 14). That God makes himself personable, knowable is among the chief wonders of his gospel. And this isn’t merely a feature of Jesus’s ministry; it’s paradigmatic of nature of God himself. He made himself known initially through the words of the prophets and more palpably through the Incarnation of his only begotten Son (Heb. 1:1–2) — and he continues to make himself known through the ministry of his Spirit, the “personal director” of our faith. Such is how Jowett terms it:
In the spiritual realm the difference between information and knowledge is the difference between timber and a living tree; it is the difference between the mechanical and the affectional; it is the difference between two callers at your door, a rate collector and a lover. I may know Christ through a scrap of paper: He waits to be known through the wedded and companionable alliance of a pure life.
Mark you, we are not left to an impersonal director — that would be a guide-post. We are not left with an impersonal code of laws — that would be a guide-book. The promise is neither a guide-post nor a guide-book, but a Guide. He, the Spirit of Truth, shall guide you into all truth. And let no one limit the ministry of this Guide to the presentation of knowledge, and to the opening out of secrets as we walk with Him along the way. His guidance is not only to inform, but to inspire; it is to prepare and refine the faculty as well as to present the truth. He not only presents the field of vision, He also intensifies the lens. He creates the eye which is to perceive the scene. He enlarges our capacity, and we apprehend the waiting truth. He guides us into all truth.
The God of all glory and grace guides us into his truth, not impersonally, but through his knowable Spirit. How remarkable that we aren’t left to go it alone in this Christian life with nothing but a “guide-book” on how to get by. We aren’t followers of an “impersonal code of laws.” We are followers of a Person. Indeed, we are given a Person, who promises to walk with us, sit with us, and bring us close. The Director of our lives is none other than the Deliverer from all sin. He rescues us from the “power of darkness” and transfers us “into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Col. 1:13). He stays with us every step of the way, through life’s pleasant meadows and “through the valley of the shadow of death” (Ps. 23:2–4). He is never far way. He is the grace that appears (1 Pet. 1:10; Titus 2:11). The God who comes close.
Grace and peace.
John Henry Jowett, God—Our Contemporary (New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1922), 55–58.