Need to Know

God's Tests for Truth

God has given tests so we may determine truth from error. So what shall we do with the "burning in the bosom"? First, no one can say you didn't have a burning in the bosom. You alone know if this occurred. Second, even if you did have some burning in the bosom, when our experience does not line up with God's previously revealed truth, our experience is suspect, not God's revealed truth. We should interpret our experiences in light of God's revealed truth, not the reverse. Sometimes, our experiences point us in the wrong direction. Sensations are no way to approach discernment of truth.

The way God instructs us to discern truth from error is to stick to His revealed truth already available to us in the Bible. Take a close look at the instructions God gives in the following passages:

"If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul." (Deuteronomy 13:1-3)
"When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him." (Deuteronomy 18:22)

In these two passages alone, we have very specific instructions about discerning truth from error, specifically with false prophets in this case. If we boil these two passages down we have the following precepts:

1. if a prophet says something will happen and it doesn't, he is a false prophet.
2. if a prophet says something will happen and it does happen, yet he preaches and teaches a different god than the God revealed in the Bible, he is a false prophet.

Let's look at another passage.

"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." (Galatians 1:8)

This is a quote from Paul the Apostle. We see the same principle in the New Testament, if what is taught doesn't line up with what is already revealed in the Bible, then it is in error. This is the way to approach truth and error discernment, whether applied to people, teachings of others, books, or thoughts and feelings we have ourselves. God has spoken and He got it right the first time. Our job is simply to listen to, and apply, the revelation He has given to our truth discerning situations. Prayer in this matter ought to be that God will help to apply His revealed truth, not that He would re-reveal something that has already been plainly laid out in scripture.

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