Literature Ministries International
- By Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
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SPIRITUS EXTERNUS AND SPIRITUS INTERNUS
He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.
1 John 5:10
Here is a matter of accepting testimony and witness. God has said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” (Matthew 17:5). Am I to refuse Him? Well, the terrifying thing is that if I do, I am saying that God’s pronouncement is not true.
In addition to the external evidence, there is also the subjective or internal evidence. John puts it in this way: “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself.” So we are dealing here with these two different stands—the external and the internal. I am not at all sure but that this is not the most vital of all parts of the subject. It was a great matter to the minds of the Reformers. They clearly defined this matter. The believer is confronted by two great sources of certainty, one outside and one inside—spiritus externus and spiritus internus.
But perhaps the best way to understand this is to ask ourselves, “How may I know that the Bible is the Word of God?” There are two main ways. There is the Word itself—the testimony of the Holy Spirit, and the agreement of the books written within it. This general consensus, the internal unity of the Bible, and various other arguments—this is the spiritus externus—the outside testimony. But according to the Reformers, that is not enough to give people certainty. They need something inside as well, and the Holy Spirit also gives them that internal certitude—the spiritus internus.
Let me put this personally. There was a time when I read the Bible and thought it was a wonderful book; I felt it was a unique book. Later I was confronted with the great evidence given to me in the Gospels and the Old and New Testaments, and I had a feeling within me that this was the Word of God. That is what it means—this internal evidence.
A Thought to Ponder
The believer is confronted by two great sources of certainty, one outside and one inside.
From Life in God, pp. 86-87.
Today’s devo is taken from Walking with God Day by Day © 2003 by Good News Publishers. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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