Biblical counseling is Christ-centered and redemptive.
Then fourth, and this is probably the most important that I’ll say, is that biblical counseling is Christ centered and redemptive. Biblical counseling is not just a bunch of morality and a bunch of rules, do this don’t do that, and we’re going to have a whole lecture about how people change and about how change begins with the gospel. And of course, first, that means you need to be converted. Romans eight says that the man who is of the flesh cannot obey God, cannot please God, and if our goal is to please God, first and foremost, it’s through Christ who makes us pleasing to God in his redemption and saving us that we’re brought in relation with God and through that we gain his spirit by which now we’re enabled to do the things of God. Likewise, as first Corinthians two tells us, that the things of God are foolishness to the natural man, that an unbeliever can’t even understand them. So it’s the redemption in Christ that we as sinners, though our sin is great, Christ died for sin, once for all, the just of the unjust, to bring us to God. He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God. It’s this redemption that brings forgiveness. But then, whoever is in Christ is a new creation.
We’re going to talk about in Roman six how a believer, having been united with Christ in his death and resurrection now can consider himself to be dead to sin and alive to God. What I’ll say to you is that you’ve been in a counseling session and you’ve been talking very much and you haven’t been using the Bible even for a few minutes don’t call yourself a biblical counselor. But I would also say, if you’ve been in a session and you’ve not brought your counselee to Christ and used to gospel, don’t tell them that we trained you. Biblical counseling is always going to come back to Christ. The solution is going to lie near the cross and in the gospel. When you’re embittered and you’re angry, how can I forgive. Well, I can forgive, as Ephesians 4:32, I can overcome bitterness and anger and wrath and clamor, forgiving others as God and Christ has forgiven me to love others as God has loved me through the gospel. So biblical counseling is redemptive. It’s not just rules and morality, don’t do this, do that. Rules and morality don’t change people. All rules do, the law reveals how sinful we are, but the law can’t change us. It’s what Christ has done for us that enables us to be changed.
Biblical counseling aims at the heart.
And then fifth, biblical counseling aims at the heart. We’re not behaviorist. It’s not just a matter of change your actions and deal with merely the external issues and then that’ll take care of everything. Matthew, sorry Mark chapter seven, Jesus says, verse 20, “That which proceeds out of the heart is what defiles the man. From within, out of the heart of men proceed evil thoughts, fornications and thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting wickedness as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from “within and defile the man.” In the context, Jesus is dealing with the Jews and they had the idea well if you eat unclean food that makes you unclean. And Jesus is saying no, and he declared foods clean. He said that the point is not what comes into you that makes you unclean. It’s what’s inside of you. And even applying it to our lives that you may be provoked by your spouse from the outside, but it’s your heart that’s going to produce the action. And being provoked is kind of like squeezing you to see what’s on the inside.
When you’re squeezed by circumstances, and everybody’s going to have trials, what causes the man to give in to the woman at work who’s available sexually, which would be adultery. It’s not the external temptation. It’s the state of his heart. The heart is the issue. So we’re not trying to change people’s behavior. It’s that the heart needs to be addressed. What are the heart’s desires that are contrary to God? What’s the heart desiring more than God, which is leading the heart to take the inner self to lead the body into sin. So we’re addressing the heart both as what in your heart has led you to do this, and then how can the heart be addressed that there would be change. And we’re gonna, as the course continues, go through very particular issues. What are the heart issues behind anger? What are the heart issues in a conflict? What are the heart issues in someone who’s consumed by worry and fear?
Biblical counseling is based upon the all-sufficient and infallible Scripture.
And how does the Bible help you, which is number six. Biblical counseling is based upon the all sufficient and infallible scriptures. We are about the Bible. It can be tempting when you are a counselor. You know the right answers, and you’re talking to somebody. I’ll find myself sometimes. I’m telling them answers that I know are biblical but not using the Bible sometimes. We want to be using the scripture that people can see us. Not just that you’re a little bit wiser than average so you can help them with their problems practically. But God has spoken in his word. And the only authority you have is that which you can prove from the Bible. You want to be constantly using the scriptures. I’ll find myself sometimes when the counselee is saying even the right thing. Last night a counselee was saying some good things, and I would interrupt him and say, well here’s a verse for that and here’s a verse for that.
But this just isn’t something you figured out. It’s not something even that I wisely told you. It’s something God revealed long ago to help you. And believing in the sufficiency of scripture, we believe whatever comes through the door, God has an answer in the Bible. Now, sometimes I may have to say to a counselee I know the Bible has an answer, give me some time and I’ll look for it. Less often the more experience you have. But the problems of people remain the same. Human nature remains the same. Life in its essence, technology has changed, human nature has not. The answers are there and that’s where we need to search.
Biblical Counseling relies upon the Holy Spirit
And then biblical counseling, number seven, is relies upon the holy spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:14 says how the natural man can’t even understand the things of God, of the spirit of God because they’re spiritually appraised, they’re spiritually understood. It’s the holy spirit that Jesus says is the great counselor. He’s the one who convicts of sin. He’s the one who brings to mind the things God has said. And so actually one of the words for the spirit, he’s the counselor for us, and he’s the one that as the word goes forth as the counselor is declaring the word, it is the spirit who is helping the counselor. We counsel in dependence on the spirit to help us find the scriptures, to explain the scriptures. And then when depend upon the spirit to work in the heart of the counselee, to embrace the truth. And that’s a great work of God.
I’ve had a couple cases recently. I had a case where, a couple cases where you had people who had been a couple where there’s been conflict going on for decades of marriage. And both were hopeless. As they were shown how the Bible addresses especially in the gospel to make them people of grace instead of judgement and to love each other as God has loved them and to forgive them and forgive them and all this just amazing change. And woah this is amazing. And yet, somebody else we may counsel, and it seems to get nowhere. And what’s the explanation? Well, the spirit blows where he will, and he works powerfully. There’s nothing that you will learn in this course in terms of technique that’s going to fix everybody. We declare the word with the spirits help. And it’s the spirit who moves in the heart of those with whom we speak.