By Al Stoner
Does God have specific matters that He teaches about? Are the things which He teaches of a critical nature? Is it possible for men to come to Jesus apart from receiving Divine instruction? The Father addressing the Son in Isaiah's prophecy declared: "And all Thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of Thy children" (Isa. 54:13). Again, the Lord Jesus Christ, citing that Scripture in His great Galilean discourse, declared: "It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto Me" (Jn. 6:45). From these and other examples, it at once becomes evident that the manner in which God teaches is of an entirely different order than the teaching of men, even the best of men. If men are going to be taught of God, there must be a willingness to forsake the old values, and to embrace entirely new ones. "Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein" (Lk. 18:17).
"In Jeremiah's landmark prophecy of the new covenant it is declared by the Lord God that "they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them" (Jer. 31:34). And also as Isaiah prophesied, "they shall be all taught by God" (Jn. 6:45, RSV, cf. Isa. 54:13). The nature and content of what God is teaching are not academic, that is, not merely factual, but rather He is teaching men to properly esteem His Christ, in order that they might come to, and whole-heartedly receive the Savior. He is teaching men to take hold of "the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory" (II Tim. 2:10). Consider some of the involvements of this Divine teaching.
Taught by God to Come to the Savior. As the Lord Jesus declared, "Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto Me" (Jn. 6:45). Why is Christ "precious" (cf. I Pet. 2:7) to some, but to others, despised and rejected? Yes, to be sure, it is because such ones have believed. However, it is also because the believing ones have "learned of the Father." This teaching and learning is indispensable for coming to Jesus. He is not welcomed, to say the least, by "the natural man" (I Cor. 2:14) nor by "the carnal mind" (cf. Rom. 8:7-8), which all men have inherited from Adam.
Those who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who believe that He is precious, must reason that they have been "taught of God" and that they have "learned of the Father" the great value in coming to Jesus. They now perceive the value within themselves. It is like "treasure hid in a field" (Mt. 13:44). It amounts to "riches" that are "unsearchable" (cf. Eph. 3:8). The riches are boundless and unfathomable. But the value of these riches cannot be taught or learned academically.
Taught by Him to Put Off the Old Man and Put On the New Man. "But you have not so learned Christ; if so be that you have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (Eph. 4:20-24).
Putting off the old man "with his deeds" (Col. 3:9), as well as putting on the new man, are both absolutely essential to new creatureship in Christ. This labor of putting off, and putting on must be taking place in men, or else they are simply not reckoned to be among God's sons and daughters. Such ones are still in the flesh.
Both the old man and the new man are unidentifiable and undiscernible to men apart from the revelation of God's Word. Men have neither the ability nor the wisdom to do this without Divine assistance and counsel. Thus, they must be effectually taught and enabled by God to do this.
Taught by Him to Love One Another. "But as touching brotherly love you need not that I write unto you: for you yourselves are taught of God to love one another" (I Th. 4:9). Concerning the love of Christ's brethren, God teaches believing men and women of the preciousness of other redeemed personalities, who share a common bond of love in the Savior Himself, and a common eternal destiny in the world to come. Those who are begotten of God have a natural inclination toward all others who are begotten of Him (cf. I Jn. 5:1), to frequently associate with them, to do them good as they have opportunity, and to speak with them often concerning the things pertaining to the kingdom of God (cf. Mal. 3:16).
Taught by Him to Overcome Religious Seducers. "And this is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal life. These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the Anointing which you have received of Him abideth in you, and you need not that any man teach you: but as the same Anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, you shall abide in Him" (I Jn. 2:25-27). "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world" (I Jn. 4:4).
The Anointing spoken of here is the Holy Spirit, the "Comforter" (cf. Jn. 14:16-17), sent by the Savior to abide with us forever, as He said. "The Spirit of truth" comforts redeemed personalities by counseling them in the truth. He gives inward instruction and counsel to men by the Scriptures. He shows to believing men and women that the things which are troubling them are "common to man" (I Cor. 10:13), and that their troubles are in order that "may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God" (II Th. 1:5), for which they are suffering. This higher perspective of trouble sweetens the cup of affliction, making it easier to endure.
The Scriptures are, as it were, the raw materials, which the Holy Spirit refines, processes, and personalizes in men's understanding as they earnestly consider them. "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God" (Rom. 8:16, NASB). God has "sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts" (II Cor. 1:22; cf. Eph. 1:13; 4:30). "By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit" (I Jn. 4:13). The Anointing teaches men and enables them, not to be snared by false prophets and false teachers, thus overcoming them (cf. I Jn. 4:1-4), by bringing to their remembrance the preciousness of the Savior and of the salvation which Christ has accomplished in their behalf.