The burden of proof is a term common in law which means it’s the duty of one party in any dispute or criminal case to prove guilt or innocence.

In most criminal cases it’s the prosecution, usually the State that has the burden to prove the guilt of the accused. There are however, some cases where the burden is on the defendant to prove their innocence. In most civil cases it’s the plaintiff or claimant that has the burden to prove guilt.

In the case of the alleged rapist or murderer for example, the burden of proof is with the prosecution to prove guilt beyond all reasonable doubt. The accused doesn’t have to give any evidence in his or her defence; in fact the accused can remain silent from arrest to the time a verdict is rendered. Saying nothing in one’s defence is risky for it can be used by the prosecutor to infer guilt. Moreover, people are inclined to take the view, (sometimes incorrectly), that the innocent will always speak up for themselves. This argument is not fool proof for if the judicial system is corrupt it may serve the accused not to say anything.

There are cases where the burden of proof is with the accused. It’s up to the accused to prove innocence. These cases are as far as I am aware nearly always brought by local and national government; a bizarre state of affairs given the might and resources of the State. What this says to me is the State never likes to lose and plays unfair even when it doesn’t need to.

The inspiration for this blog came about following a prayer I have recently prayed in connection with trying to find something. In my prayer I asked The Lord to speak to my spirit. I waited and waited and then I believe I got the answer as to what happened. I was able to see the steps taken by the person responsible for the missing item, including the motive and the opportunity.

Immediately my spirit found rest not because I believe I am infallible but rest is a sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit at work.

How does one prove that the answer which one believes comes from The Lord is irrefutable? The answer is one cannot. To quote Apostle Paul: “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God”. (1 Corinthians 2:11).  

In any given situation only God and the individual concern can truly know what has happened. In human affairs we have established ways of getting to the truth such as eye witness account, testimonials, finger print and in modern times, DNA evidence. The reason we can never know what truly happened and the reasons behind the incident is because we do not know the secrets of the heart.

Only God and the person truly know the secrets of the heart. It is for this reason that in dealing with God we must be honest and truthful to God and ourselves. David could have denied that he had anything to do with the death of Uriah when told he was guilty by the prophet Nathan. If he did deny it there was nothing Nathan could have done about it. David however, admitted his sin: repented and was forgiven by God and the nation. Read 2 Samuel 12, for background on the story.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit writes Paul are for the profit of all. The all includes: the potential beneficiary, onlookers and the person operating in the gift.

The beneficiary has most to gain for he or she has received a direct word from God which should cause them to believe, confess and repent.

Let me give you an example of each type of respondent.

A word of knowledge concerning a sickness or disease does not heal us but it is sent to strengthen faith to believe that the healing is about to take place but we must believe irrespective of how long one has been sick or how serious the sickness.

A word of knowledge is also profitable for onlookers who may have other sicknesses or conditions who on seeing that God is there should exercise their faith to receive from God.

A word of knowledge is also important for the person operating in the gift to strengthen their faith to pray the prayer of faith.

In the case of sin, all three benefit from a word of knowledge. The preacher in that he or she knows that God is with them; the onlookers, that God is in the midst and therefore should fear Him and again the one with the most to gain, the one for whom the word of knowledge was sent. If on receiving a word of knowledge about sin if the person for whom the word was sent refuse to acknowledge and repent then be it upon his or her head. This is also true for healing and miracles.

The question one might ask is if The Lord truly revealed a matter then the preacher or person operating in the gift of the Spirit should be completely sure. The answer is no. The thing that one must never forget when operating in the gifts of the Spirit is we can only do so by faith. If David denied the sin he had committed there was nothing Nathan could have done to prove his guilt. What if he fell dead wouldn’t that be proof that Nathan was correct? Perhaps.

Jesus was tried by both Herod and Pilate and both tried to release him for they found him not guilty. The people were asked by Pilate to provide evidence of guilt, they found nothing. Moreover, they later said, “we find no fault in him, but crucify him”. Pilate proceeded to crucify Christ not before washing his hands because it would please the people.

The majority if asked would have opined that God punished Jesus in allowing his death because of his blasphemies. How wrong, how very wrong.

There is a second reason that we should never think that in operating in the gifts of the Spirit we are infallible and it’s to do with humility. God hates pride but gives grace (favour) to the humble.

When operating in the gifts of the Holy Spirit we must do so with humility. Speak with authority what the Spirit has shown you but do so with humility: “but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will”. (1 Corinthians 12:11). Apostle Paul makes it very clear that the operation of the gifts is as He wills.

In conclusion let me quote from Apostle John: “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. “Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight”. (1 John 3:20-22).

Our platform is the world and our congregation the people. 

The Lord’s servant 

Lloyd Denny