Shining some light on the doctrine of Illumination (pt. 5)

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The Result of Illumination

The most significant contribution to the doctrine of illumination that is found in Psalm 119 focuses on the result of illumination.  The psalmist has clearly demonstrated man’s need, the Spirit’s power, and the scripture’s role in illumination.  But he does not stop at this.  The psalmist also details the result of illumination.  Or to put it another way, the psalmist reveals how illumination affects the child of God.  In this respect, there are really two separate results that the psalmist speaks of.

The first result of illumination is that the child of God will be able to understand the word of God.  In verse 73 the psalmist prays that this would be the result of illumination in his life when he says,

Your hands have made and fashioned me; give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.

This was the result that the psalmist was looking for.  He wanted God to give him understanding so that he would be able to learn the commandments of God’s word.  This however, was not the only result that the psalmist was expecting.

The second result of illumination is that the child of God will be able to appropriate the word of God. This second result was absolutely crucial to the psalmist.  For, to understand the facts of scripture without being able to appropriate those facts into everyday life is useless.  This is why the psalmist consistently prays that he would be able to understand God’s word and then apply it to his own life.  For example, in verse 34 the psalmist writes,

Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law And keep it with all my heart.

Clearly there is a connection between understanding God’s word and appropriating it.  Thus, illumination does not result in just a cold understanding of the facts of Scripture.  As the Spirit of God continually enables the child of God through illumination it is life changing.  Or as the psalmist put it in verse 130,

The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.

With respective to the doctrine of illumination, the psalmist makes it clear that illumination results in the child of God being able to understand and appropriate God’s word.  This process is a life changing process that takes the simple and makes them wise.  It allows God’s children to faithfully live by the precepts of His word.

This final point is an often overlooked point in discussions on the doctrine of illumination.  In fact, it is an often overlooked point for many people in their own bible study.  It is not enough to simply know the facts aobut a passage.  We must understand the spiritual truths about a passage (which are based on a proper understanding of the facts about a passage), and then we must live those truths out.  If we miss out on these final steps in the process of bible study then we miss the purpose of bible study.