By Quentin McCay
Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me “to glory” (Psalm 73:24). These are the words from one of the Psalms of Asaph, who had observed the affairs of men and wondered why the wicked were so prosperous and happy. He makes a list of their seeming advantages and their evils and concludes momentarily that the righteous life is vain. His conclusion brought him great pain. He then went into the sanctuary of God and learned of the final end of the wicked. He learned that there will be a time when all the inequities of this life will be adjusted, that God will judge all people and prove Himself to be truly just. Asaph then commits himself to God and murmurs no more. He resolves to be guided by the counsel of God and has the blessed hope of being received into glory.
Asaph lived and wrote under the law of Moses, which was abrogated by the death of Christ (Heb. 10:9-10; Col. 2:14). Though we now live by the counsel of God revealed through Christ (Heb. 1:1-3), the principle set forth by Asaph is still true. It is by the counsel of God set forth in the New Testament that we are sanctified, justified, or saved. By the counsel of God, made known by Christ, we must live if we are to be received into glory. It should give one great courage to follow the counsel of God when he recognizes the completeness, sufficiency and the authority of it.
The Bible is a revelation of the counsel of God. The word “revelation” means “an uncovering.” At one time the will of God was a “mystery,” which means that His will had not been revealed. Paul declared, “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man, neither was I taught it, but by revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal. 1: 11). From Ephesians 3:1-6, we learn that Christ made known unto Paul the mystery, Paul wrote it down, and those who read it can understand the mystery. This mystery included the message that the Jews and Gentiles are “fellow heirs in the same body and partakers of the promise in Christ by the gospel.” There are no additional revelations from God. The Bible is complete in its message for sinful man. All modern-day revelations, which claim to be from God are false.
The Bible is an inspired revelation. The men chosen to write the message from God were not guided by their own ability, wisdom, or memory. They were “moved along” by the Holy Spirit as they wrote the very word the Holy Spirit directed them to write in expressing to us the counsel of God. The Bible claims to be a verbally inspired revelation (Eph. 3:3-5; 1 Cor. 2:10-13). The Holy Spirit searched the “deep things of God,” and guided men to express the counsel of God in words. Such a revelation assures us that we have a complete and sufficient message containing all of the counsel of God. Since the message from God is complete, there are no inspired men. None are needed.
The Bible is also a confirmed revelation. What Christ and His inspired apostles revealed was confirmed by “signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will” (Heb. 2:4). Since there is no need of further revelation, there is no need of inspired men to make known the message and no need of confirmation of the message since it has been confirmed once for all time by Christ and His apostles. The miraculous was to end with the complete revelation of the perfect law of liberty (` Cor. 13:8-12). The claims of miraculous powers today are false claims. The Bible plainly declares that “when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” “That which is done in part” (1 Cor. 13:9-10) refers to those nine gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:1-11. “That which is perfect” means the perfect “law of liberty” which has come (Jas. 1:25; Eph. 4:7-16).
As long as there was a need of revelation of God’s counsel, there was a need of inspiration. As long as there was a need of inspiration, there was a need of confirmation. Since revelation is complete (Jude 3), there is no need of inspiration, or further confirmation.
The Bible is an understandable revelation. As stated by Paul in Ephesians 3:1-6, he received his words by revelation, wrote it and we can read it and understand his “knowledge in the mystery of Christ.” The Bible affirms that one can and must understand the counsel of God. “Wherefore, be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17). All the truth one needs to know about God, His will, the church, sin and salvation has been revealed to us and one must understand it, believe it and obey it to be received into glory (John 8:31-32; Heb. 5:8-9; Rev. 22:14).
All of this means that God’s will is completely revealed. The counsel of God has been confirmed and is adequate and sufficient. There is no need for doubt. God’s revelation to man is final and fixed. There is no need for more information and we are warned not to tamper with His revealed will. “Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8). God’s counsel will judge us in that great day when all the evil thoughts, words and deeds will be remembered (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5: 10). It is a mark of great wisdom to be resolved, as was Asaph, to be guided by God’s counsel. This is the way to glory.
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 9, pp. 259-260
May 3, 1984