“Then he answered and spoke to me, saying,
‘This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel:
Not by strength, nor by power,
but by my Spirit, says the LORD of Hosts.’ ”
Paul said that only those who are led by the Spirit are the children of God (Rom. 8:14). He did not say that those who join the church of their choice, or those who repeat Romans 10:9, or those who claim to believe the Bible are children of God. Just those who are led by the Spirit. That’s all.
We could apply Paul’s standard to every righteous person since the beginning of the world. Only those who were led by the Spirit to prophesy were prophets, not those who were esteemed prophets by the people, or those who graduated with a prophesying degree from the Prophecy Institute for Saving Souls (or whatever). Just the ones who were led by the Spirit. Likewise, only those who were led by the Spirit in wisdom were wise men, not those who were esteemed wise by the people, or those who graduated with a wisdom degree from the School of Higher Insight in Theology (or whatever). Just the ones who were led by the Spirit.
Think about it. What true man of God ever was not led by the Spirit? For that matter, what true man of God was ever led by the Scriptures? What scripture did Noah read that inspired him to build an ark? What scripture inspired Abraham to leave his country and his kindred? What scripture moved Moses to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt, or what verse told David that he should challenge and kill Goliath? What verses did the lions read that told them not to eat God’s servant, Daniel? What scripture did Jesus quote to heal the sick or raise the dead, or what scripture carried Paul to the third heaven to hear things unlawful for him to speak?
It has always been the case that those who are truly God’s servants are led by God’s Spirit, and now that the Son of God has given us that Spirit within, it is more true than ever. God help us never to think that anything else will do.