Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
What’s the role of internal testimony in the life of the Christian? The conservative Reformation emphasized God’s work extra nos - “outside of us.” Our perceptions of an internal change of heart and mind are subject to all sorts of corruption and error. For this reason, many will downplay the role of emotion and feeling. Yet 1 John 5:9-15 points us directly to an internal testimony, especially in verse 10 but also in verses 13-14. Our confidence here seems to be placed on some sort of internal testimony.
Reconciling the idea of an internal testimony and a truth of the Gospel outside of us is not actually very difficult. It may seem so at first glance, but as soon as we consider the fact that the Bible speaks of our belief in Jesus’ ability to save us as central, we realize that the internal testimony John is speaking of is whether we believe Jesus or not.
Would you like to know the riches of God’s love for you in Christ? Maybe it doesn’t seem like much, but the internal proof is that you want to know and that you believe he has done it. Would you like to have an internal testimony that knocks your socks off? How about the understanding (an internal thing) that Jesus has promised never to leave you, and a knowledge (another internal thing) that the accounts of his teaching are shown to be reliable in other matters?
This kind of internal testimony causes no concern whatsoever in the minds of the Reformers. Christianity isn’t confirmed because I feel a particular way, spiritual, moral, socially changed, or whatever. It’s confirmed because I believe that the true, documented facts about Jesus are for my sake. What if I don’t feel particularly emotionally moved by it at every moment? That’s all right. It doesn’t mean it isn’t true or that Jesus’ life hasn’t been applied to mine. It simply means that I am living in a world full of ideas and feelings. We have different emotional responses to all kinds of things, whether true or not.
Jesus gives us an internal testimony. We believe that Jesus’ death on the cross is for us, that his resurrection from the dead will be applied to us, and that he doesn’t intend to leave us out in the cold. That’s great! And sometimes it even moves us deeply, which is also super. Regardless of our momentary reaction, we are responding to the extra nos work of Jesus for us.
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