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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp, 24

In the previous excerpt, Knapp states that there are four features of "impressions" from God. These are Scriptural; Right (consistent with good morals); Providential (in harmony with God's will); and Reasonable. He continues:

1. Scriptural. Impressions from above are always in harmony with the teachings of the Word. Other impressions may wrest isolated passages to their support, but God's guidance is in harmony with the whole blessed Book. It never leads a person to do contrary to its teachings or to influence others to such a course. On every doubtful point the question, "What does the Bible teach?" should lead to search until that knowledge is gained, and then it should be acted upon. While it is a book of general principles, it also covers almost every practical point that ever occurs in human life.

Multitudes of impressions from below die of fright at their own images when they are compelled to look in the mirror of God's Word. The Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God, will pierce the thickest armor in which Satan can mail his deceptive suggestions. Then let every doubtful impression first of all be rigidly examined under the focalized light of all that the Scripture teaches in regard to it.

Jesus himself thus appealed to the Word when tempted by Satan, and victorious are all His followers who walk in His steps.

In regard to every doubtful impression ask: "Is it Scriptural?" If it is not, then it should be transported as a felon to eternal exile in the Siberia of doomed impressions.

2. Right. God speaks through the voice of man's moral convictions. The rule of right and wrong in moral matters is universal. Even cannibals know that it is wrong to steal and lie and kill, "which show the work of the law written in their own hearts."

Impressions which are from God are always right. They may be contrary to our feelings, our prejudices and our natural inclinations, but they are always right. They will stand all tests, and their rightfulness soon becomes a conviction which can not be shaken.

The voices of Scripture and of right always agree, but many who have not all the light of Scripture are convinced by the voice of this monitor within which way the path of duty lies. This voice brands as from below any impression which would lead to a wrong act.

Millions of impressions, if compelled to answer the simple question: "Are you right?" will blush and hesitate and squirm, and finally in confusion retire.

3. Providential. God often speaks to His children through His providences. "In examining the Scriptures upon this matter," writes Dr. G. D. Watson, "we find that the peculiar sphere of the Father's leading is providence; the peculiar sphere of Christ's guidance is the written Word, and the peculiar sphere of the Spirit's guidance is direct conviction and illumination upon the heart and spiritual senses.

"The providence of God touches at every point our physical being and wants, and appeals to our common sense. The Logos, the Word of God takes hold of our immortal nature and appeals to our faith; the Holy Spirit operates immediately on our heart and mind, giving us such impellings and restrainings, such premonitions or drawings as compose the living, practical filling up of the outline of guidance."

The open door of providential opportunity awaits every person who follows impressions from above.

"I will go before thee," declares Jehovah, to all who follow Him, "and make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron." Impressions from above find "crooked places" divinely straightened, gates of brass divinely broken, and bars of iron divinely sundered.

The providential openings which thus ever welcome those divinely led are marvelous. God never impresses a Noah to build an ark, or a Solomon a temple, but that means, material and men await their appropriating faith. He never impresses a Philip to go preach to an individual, but that he prepares the person for Philip's preaching. He never says to an imprisoned Peter "Arise up quickly," but that Peter will find chains providentially broken, and gates providentially burst.

The Peters that are mourning because they can not, on account of providential interpositions, do what they claim God is impressing them to, are not being influenced by impressions from above. This third door to the secret chamber of certainty, in regard to being divinely led, always flies open as by magic before the face of him whom God is guiding.

God never prompts to do impossibilities, therefore His leadings can always be followed. He who is impressed to do something which in the nature of the case he can not do, may be sure that the leading is from some other source than above. If the way will not open for us to put our impressions in practice, and providential indications are all to the contrary, it is well to bury them. They may die hard, but death should be their doom.

Excerpted from Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp. Original publication date, 1892. Public domain. My source is here. The previous post in the series is here.

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