Friday, November 18, 2016

CONCLUSION OF LOGOS/RHEMA

As stated previously, there are a multitude of verses in the New Testament concerning logos/rhema that are worth your study; but I did not want to overburden you.


If you are a true student of the Word, you will know how, or you will find a way, to dig deeper into this very important topic.

Hopefully, by this time, you are beginning to see the point I have been trying to make, which is basically
There is nothing SPECIAL about rhema apart from the scriptures as we have them.

SUMMARY

In this study, I have tried to show
  • that understanding rhema to be something special or magical is simply not accurate.
  • by using scriptures that rhema and logos are essentially synonymous.
  • that while rhema is most often used to mean the spoken word, it is dangerous to take that to mean “spoken to my heart.”
  • that a true rhema word will be the revelation and remembering of a scripture to the heart/mind/soul of a person.
  • that logos is not dead letter in and of itself.
  • that logos can also be the spoken word.

Finally, I want to show why understanding rhema to be something special apart from the revealed Word of God in the Bible is very dangerous.

DANGER OF MAKING RHEMA SOMETHING SPECIAL

There are some serious problems associated with thinking that we need a "rhema" word in addition to the "logos" word, and the first of these problems is

  1. It Undermines the Authority of Scripture:
What Scripture says, God says. That means I don't need another word from God before I believe or obey His Word in Scripture.
But be ye doers of the word (logos), and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (Jas 1:22)
And yet, all too many Christians are ignoring what God has spoken in the Bible while they wait for another word on the same subject. When sharing a verse or passage from the Bible concerning the practical aspects of our Christian life, I’ve had people say, “The Holy Spirit hasn't spoken to me about that yet.”

But if it's in Scripture, then the Holy Spirit has spoken to you about it! You don't need to wait for a so-called "now" word; you have the everlasting Word of God in the Bible.

2. It Undermines the Sufficiency of Scripture:
The Sufficiency of Scripture means that, in the Bible, we have everything we need for salvation and godliness.
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2 Pet. 1:3-4)
That means we don't need a "fresh" word to tell us what we need for godliness in Christ; we already have it in Scripture. God has not left us in the dark, waiting until a rhema comes along to enlighten our path.
Thy word (logos LXX) is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psa 119:105)
No, He is not a God who doles out little portions of grace or illumination now and then, but rather a God who has lavished His super-abundant grace on us in Christ Jesus, and in His loving grace He has given us more than we need for each moment in His Word, the Scriptures.

3. It Undermines the Clarity of God's Word:
This time it's not so much the waiting for a rhema-word that's the problem, but rather just the idea that we need this teaching in the first place.

You see, in reading the Bible normally, in comparing Scripture with Scripture, we'd never see this distinction (because it isn't there!). But this whole concept of "rhema" words is premised on the idea that we need someone to teach us this distinction. It's some sort of new revelation or secret knowledge. (And that must be admitted, for no one in the first 1950 years or more of church history had ever heard of such a distinction, so it must be new or secret.) 

Now any idea of "secret knowledge" should, of course, put us on our guard; needing secret knowledge is gnosticism, not Christianity. But perhaps even more fundamentally, this undermines the clarity of Scripture - it tells Christians that they can't understand the Bible without someone coming along to show them secrets. And that is a very dangerous idea indeed!

4. It Leads to a Lack of Confidence in the Power of God's Word in Scripture:
If we need a "now"-word, a "rhema"-word, to hear from God and know His power at work here and now, then what does that say about the power of God's Word in Scripture? (Heb. 4:12) And this is a fundamental question. 

For, you see, my ministry as a pastor and teacher relies upon, and must rely upon, the fact that God's Word is powerful to do its work. I know that I don't have to rely on my own bright ideas or the latest marketing trend, because God's Word in Scripture is powerful. 

So, as Martin Luther wrote,
'I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing... I did nothing; the Word did everything... I did nothing; I let the Word do its work.' (Martin Luther, Sermon from March 10th 1522, LW 51:77).
But if I have to wait for a fresh "rhema" word, then I can't have that confidence in the written Word to do its work. If I have to wait for a fresh "rhema" word, then the ministry no longer relies on the power of God's Word, but on my own ability to discern the "rhema" rightly. Suddenly it's all about me and how good I am at getting "rhemas", instead of all about Jesus and how good and gracious He is to us in the Scriptures.

5. It Changes the Focus of the Word:
There's a fundamental directional shift that occurs when we buy into this "rhema"-word business. 

You see, Scripture, rightly understood, moves us in a very particular direction - out from ourselves to Jesus. All the Scriptures speak of Christ (Luke 24:27), and Jesus says that we cannot understand the Scriptures at all without seeing Him and coming to Him (John 5:39-40; 46-47).

So Scripture both points us to Jesus and brings us to Jesus.
The whole direction of Scripture is Christward!

But this whole "rhema" business works in the complete opposite direction: it becomes about what I must do, and so drives me further back into myself (which is the opposite direction from Jesus!). God's "Word" (in this "rhema" understanding) becomes focused on me, instead of focused on Jesus. I have witnessed this way too many times. The fruit of this teaching is not good, and is responsible for the next danger in the list.

6. It Elevates Subjective Experience Over Jesus Christ
The "rhema"/"logos" distinction ends up elevating the supposed "rhema" over the "logos".

Now, it might not always be expressed in those terms, but that's what it does. For the logos is seen to need a "rhema", otherwise it's so often thought of as simply words (often"dry words") on a page. 

True spirituality and true power are seen to come through the arrival of the "rhema". And so, understandably, whether or not it's expressed officially, in people's minds the rhema becomes the most important.

But what is this rhema? It's a temporary and subjective thing. The written Word, however, is everlasting (Ps. 119:89) and objective. But more than that, the written word (and the proclamation of that Word) holds out to us Christ the living, eternal Word. 

Jesus is God's Word to us now and at all times. And no temporary, subjective experience can ever compare to Him. The true "now"-word which God is constantly speaking to us is Jesus. That's why true prophecy is the 'testimony of Jesus' (Rev. 19:10). That's why true preaching is proclaiming Christ biblically. That's why the Scriptures constantly turn us out from ourselves to Jesus.

To elevate and chase after some temporary supposed "rhema" word at the expense of seeing Christ, God's "Yes"-Word, held out to us in Scripture, is folly, madness, and ultimately death. 

Christ is the Logos, and He is our life. And He constantly invites us, and appeals to us, to look to Him and live. So why would we look away to chase after something else?

No, my friend, there is no need to seek for nor require a “rhema word” from the Lord in order to progress in your life with Jesus.

There is little difference in the use of the two Greek words logos and rhema. God did not choose one over the other to try to communicate to us something ‘special.’

The Bible, after all these centuries, still contains the words of God for you by which you may live a successful and Christ-centered life.

3 comments:

  1. It's refreshing to know that, "Rhema" doesn't have to be superior or sought after to live the Christian life but that it's part of the whole of scripture.
    Fran

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's refreshing to know that, "Rhema" doesn't have to be superior or sought after to live the Christian life but that it's part of the whole of scripture.
    Fran

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, sir. Not only refreshing, but I would also hope LIBERATING. (Gal. 5:1)

      Delete

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