As a Quaker, it is my conviction that every person – regardless of their status or circumstance – has access to the inward light of Jesus Christ. I confess with the authors of both Oldand NewTestaments that, “the word is very near to [us]; it is in [our] mouth and in [our hearts] for [us] to observe.” Despite all the hurdles that keep us away from God, the living presence of the Holy Spirit draws near, pressing at our hearts and inviting us into the loving embrace of our Savior.
So, which is it? Does God directly inspire and draw us into Christ’s Kingdom without the need of human intermediaries? Or does God work through people who are called to the work of proclamation? As is often the case with the things of the Spirit, the truth seems to be found in the midst of paradox. The above passages, both taken from a letter that Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome, demonstrate the tension between two truthful answers. Yes, God’s witness in the human heart is sufficient for Christ’s sovereign work of grace. And yes, God uses human beings as instruments of grace, mercy and salvation to the world.
On the other hand, I am convinced that God’s intention is to use each of us as agents in the holy work of healing the world. How are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? God wants us to share the good news that we have received! God wants to use our lives to proclaim the riches of his glory, through our words and deeds, through our family life and daily work. Amazingly enough, each of us is truly necessary for the work of the Holy Spirit in the world. Though it would seem to us that God does not need us at all, in some mysterious sense we are indispensable!