The Apostle Paul once wrote that if we live by the Spirit, we must keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25). This fits right in line with what Jesus said in John 16, that the Holy spirit would guide us into all truth. The implication here is that there is an active process of revelation, one that requires our active participation.
The thing I think we need to see here is that revelation is not received–well, that is to say it’s not received passively. Revelation is a natural result of active relationship. But this word “active” would be the key.
You see, since the Holy Spirit guides us into truth, it would mean our current state or position is not adequate to understand deeper truth. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that God has already blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus. And I believe that it is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom, to reveal His nature, and to mold us into the image of His Son.
What God gives to us in terms of revelation and intimacy, they are already ours. They are not earned in any manner. They are not a reflection of our goodness, or what we could accomplish. Rather they are a reflection of His goodness and what He did accomplish through the death and resurrection of Jesus. But the understanding–the living in and living out–of what God has made completely available to us is not immediately realized. It is only understood through the process of relationship with Him.
That relationship was made possible through Christ…initially. Because of the forgiveness that Christ’s sacrifice affords us, and because of the identity that we now share with Him, we have been given new life by the Spirit. And this Holy Spirit, who gives life to our spirits, also gives purpose to our new spiritual lives. And in order to mold us into the image of the One we’ve been united with, the Holy Spirit leads us in this journey of discovery and transformation.
The point of all of this is not the building up of beliefs and doctrines…and certainly not so we can neglect the Spirit as we take it upon ourselves to further create new life by systematic implementation and reproduction of these beliefs…no the point is relationship. The point is that we would step from where we are into what we don’t know as we live in communion with the very One who is guiding those steps. Those steps, simply put, are steps of obedience and steps of risk (faith). But whether they are one form or the other, they are meant to guide us from an imperfect understanding of who God is, and into an understanding that is being perfected.
It is here in the process of stepping with the Spirit–steps of obedience, and steps of faith–that we discover who God is and who He has created us to be.