There’s no substitute for evidence based, knowledge supported truth. We are talking about the joining of the dots and the joining of them in the right way. The frame for Biblical understanding is the new covenant which means that the words of the Bible - to be known their correct meaning - must be read in the Living Word who is the Christ and logos: The One in which reality is coherent, meaningful and purposeful. We have meaning because the world and we find our bearings in Jesus.
When Jesus held the scribes and Jewish leaders entranced as a youth it was not because he was a carpenter who had read some scrolls. It was because He was a deep thinker, was spiritually discerning and had an intellectual grasp of the nature of God and the nature of us. But it was mainly because He was one with God in His being.
If you want your car fixed get a mechanic to it. If you want to know the truth listen to a theologian with a keen mind and a high degree of intellectual clout.
Understanding is based on connecting the dots. Connecting the right dots and developing an attention span long enough to ponder the operation of cause and effect. Understanding comes from considering ideas that are not black and white but paradoxical, ambiguous and mysterious but nevertheless as real as the chair you are sitting on. Thomas Torrance, commenting on the Church Fathers who met at the Council of Nicaea to establish the foundations of the Christian faith wrote,
“If you will not believe, you will not understand’, or ‘be established.’ They[ the council] were thereby making the point that it is through faith that our minds are put in direct touch with reality independent of ourselves. For it is through faith that our minds assent to the INHERENT INTELLIGIBILITY OF THINGS, yield to their self-evidencing power, and are adapted to know them in their own nature (κατὰ φύσιν). It is upon that kind of BASIC CONTACT WITH REALITY that all sure knowledge rests and all genuine understanding is established.”
This is to say that it is not enough to live in a silo doing the gifts and uttering ‘words.’ We need our lives to be rooted in the reality of our achieved union with God: Achieved as a result of the enterprise of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
TRUE AND FALSE
We live in a season where inconvenient truths are labelled as ‘false facts’ and nonsense is labelled as ‘truth.’ If believing things are true because we want to, is folly in politics, it is even more so in relation to the Kingdom of God.
In the quote above Torrance is talking about the working out of the truth about Jesus, His relationship to our Father, the nature of Christ in His divinity and humanity and the position of ourselves as a result of the vicarious humanity of Jesus.
Knowing the facts as they are reveals why legalism is a furphy. This informs us why Sabbath-keeping is passé, why possessing an active belief in the new covenant is a must and why knowing that we are incarnated and interwoven with the trinity is both our normal and supernatural life. That is to say our life in the Spirit as the sons and daughters of God.
(1) Torrance, Thomas F.. The Trinitarian Faith: The Evangelical Theology of the Ancient Catholic Church (T&T Clark Cornerstones) (p. 20). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.