Summary: Most modern-day Christians have no question as to whether or not the Holy Spirit led the heros of the Bible, but they may become a bit suspicious when they hear someone in the present day say that the Holy Spirit led them to do, or not to do, a particular
Most modern-day Christians have no question as to whether or not the Holy Spirit led the heros of the Bible, but they may become a bit suspicious when they hear someone in the present day say that the Holy Spirit led them to do, or not to do, a particular thing. Now, the text says “these are the sons of God.” This means that, as we are led by the Holy Spirit, we show ourselves to be the sons of God. There is also the implication that we have become the sons of by means of the Holy Spirit’s leadership. I will address that in a moment.
The examples of His leading in Scripture.
The Bible is filled with examples of people being led by the Spirit of God. It was a common occurrence for such people as David, Elijah, Elisha, and many others. Jesus was certainly led by the Spirit. Matthew 4:1 says that he “was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.” As our example, Jesus depended on the Father for everything He did upon this earth, and the Father led Him by the Holy Spirit, just as He leads others. Acts 8:5-6 tells us that Philip was preaching in Samaria, which was a wonderful thing to do. There had been a long standing prejudice against the Samaritans, but God intended the gospel to get to them. As a matter of fact, John 4 records that Jesus purposefully went through Samaria in order to give living water to a woman at the well. She, in turn, went and told the men of the city, and the whole bunch came out and believed on Christ. Now, here’s Philip preaching in Samaria and having good success; but, Acts 8:26 says an “angel of the Lord” spoke to him and told him to go down a desert road. Angels are ministering spirits. Whose spirit do they minister? The Holy Spirit! Philip obeys and leads the Ethiopian official to the Lord, and immediately after baptizing him, v39 says “the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch say him no more.” Does that mean a magical disappearance? More than likely, it simply means that the Spirit told Philip it’s time to go, so just like he had come up to the man’s chariot, he left it. The point is, the Spirit told him to go, and he went! In Acts 16:7-8, the Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit forbade Paul to preach the word in Asia, then would permit him to go into Bithynia. Now, there’s nothing wrong with preaching in these places. Jesus said in Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world, preach to every creature,” so there’s nothing wrong with preaching there. The thing was, God had somewhere else He wanted Paul to go, so He led him by the Spirit to the place he wanted him.
The experience of His leading.
Does God still lead people today by the leading of His Spirit? The only way that we could rightfully say, “no,” would be to have some Scripture telling us that He doesn’t. Do you know of any such Scripture? I don’t. I do, however, want to call you attention to 1 Corinthians 13:8-10. These verses speak of some things that will be done away with when that which is perfect is come. Some well-meaning, yet misguided, people have interpreted that to mean when the writing of the Bible is completed. Look at the entire chapter, the chapter before, and the chapter after, and you will have to conclude that nowhere in this is the writing of the Bible being talked about. Verse 12, however, makes it clear. When are we going to understand everything clearly, and when are we going to know everything completely? When we get to heaven! So, 1 Corinthians 13 is telling us that when we get to heaven, these spiritual gifts aren’t going to be needed. It is not saying that some of the spiritual things are going to end when the Bible is completely written. Now, let me very quickly say that some of the sign gifts are not nearly as evident as they were in the early days of Christianity. The practical reason for this is that we have the witness of the word of God by many believers, and as Jesus said to Thomas, in John 20:29, “...blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” We have no Scripture that would indicate that God no longer leads His people by His Spirit. He does!
You have been led by the Holy Spirit, if you are a Christian. Here is the way it progresses: The Holy Spirit illuminates the word of God to your understanding. You may have read it for yourself, heard it from a preacher or teacher, or even from the words of a song, but somehow it came to you, and the Spirit illuminated to your understanding. Then, the Holy Spirit led you to make a judgement of your life against the word of God, and you were weighed in God’s balances and found wanting! You saw that you came short of the glory of God, and the Holy Spirit led you to feel conviction because of your sin. Finally, the Holy Spirit led you to understand that Jesus was the perfect, sinless Son of God, and that God sacrificed Him on the Cross for your sin, and following the Holy Spirit’s leading, you turned to God with a repentant heart, through faith in Christ, and God saved you, beginning a good work in you that He will perform to the day of the Lord Jesus.