"God is a Spirit; and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and truth." (John 4:24)
Jesus made it very clear to the woman at the well in John 4 that for one to truly worship God, they must do so in Spirit (Holy Spirit) and truth. There must be a balance. One without the other leads to error. Truth without the Spirit leads to orthodoxy and deadness. Spirit without truth leads to fanaticism.
This same principle also applies to salvation. For one to be genuinely saved, there must be a balance of Spirit and truth. God's written Word is truth but one cannot be saved by Word only. Paul stated in I Thess. 1:5 that, "Our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance. . ." This verse indicates it is necessary for one to have the Word (truth) to be saved, but that it not enough by itself. The Word must be empowered (sharpened) by the Holy Ghost (Spirit) or one will never be convicted (reproved) of sin, righteousness, and judgment. (Heb. 4:12; John 16:8-11) No one has ever been saved nor will they ever be saved without Holy Ghost conviction.
There are many Baptist churches who pride themselves that they preach the truth. I will have to agree that the words they preach are according to the Bible which is truth, but there is not a balance of truth and Spirit. The result is that those churches are filled with those who have made professions, but they have no life. They are dead and orthodox.
Thank the Lord for the written Word, but life is not in the written Word but the living Word. "In him (the Lord Jesus) was life." (John 1:4) "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." (I John 5:12) For one to have the Son requires believing the written Word (called "the record" in I John 5:10-11) which is really like a sign pointing to the real (the living Word: Jesus). One must not stop at the written Word but believe on the living Word and receive Him as their Lord. (John 1:12) So many have settled for the sign (written Word; truth) instead of having a balance of Spirit and truth. I Cor. 12:3 states, "... no man can say that Jesus is Lord, but by the Holy Ghost." Truth without the Spirit will lead to error and many such churches are filled with the product of this imbalance.
On the other side, there are many churches who say they have the Spirit. They shout and seem to praise God in their so called worship. But let us look and see if they have a balance. Most of these churches teach that you can lose your salvation. This means that they are depending on works to be saved or works to keep saved. This is not truth. Why? The Bible says so in Eph. 2:8-9, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast." The Spirit without truth leads to error--fanaticism.
This leads me to another principle found in the Scriptures. Jesus said, "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come he will guide you into all truth. . ." (John 16:13) This verse states plainly that the Holy Spirit will guide you into truth. Therefore, we have to draw the conclusion that those churches who say they have the Spirit but teach not the truth really do not have the Holy Spirit, but another spirit which reveals them another god and another Jesus. You cannot have the Holy Spirit without truth, because He will guide you into all truth.
Folks, I am not trying to anger you but help you to see truth. I see many churches on both sides of this issue which are filled with people who have a false hope and false assurance that they are saved and will be in heaven one day. But these are the ones Jesus was referring to when He said, "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Mat. 7:22-23) How sad that day will be!
But it does not have to be that way for you. Get honest with yourself. Do you have a balance of the Spirit and truth in your salvation experience and worship? If you do not, allow the Holy Spirit to sharpen the truth, complete His word of conviction (reproval; John 16:8-11), and point you to the Lord Jesus Christ, the living Word. "In Him is life." (John 1:4)
If this article angers you, then that is a good indication that the spirit in you is not the Holy Spirit. If you have Him, you would agree with truth for He is the Author of the Word of God. (II Peter 1:21)
If I can be of help to any of you in any way, please feel free to write or call. I am your friend. I care.
THE PERSUADER - Aug.-Sept., 1997