Jesus’ Promise of the Holy Ghost – Part II

In keeping with our subject and thought concerning the promise of Christ from John’s gospel chapter 14, of the giving of the “Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost,” (John 14:26) we’ll now continue on.

We see that Jesus has absolute confidence and trust in the statement of His promise, that His Father will most certainly “GIVE YOU ANOTHER COMFORTER” (John 14:16). Jesus knows that the answer to His request will be given from the Father; He has absolute confidence in the eternal plan that is even now unfolding with the full assurance in the ability of the Holy Spirit to care for His own children which were given to Him from long before the foundation of the world.

 

 

And we can see the confidence that Jesus has in His Father’s decree of that divine covenant which included His own impending death on Calvary’s cruel cross to redeem His elect people for Himself, and that His Father would send the Holy Ghost to give eternal life to all that the Father given to the Son. And that the Holy Ghost would come and care for those who are among the redeemed who…as His disciples, obey Him, keeping all that He had commanded them. And that He moved with confidence so much so that He willingly entrusted these who are His disciples to the care and presence of the Holy Spirit.

It was for the PROMISE that He made to them of the coming “Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost,” that came for His sake. And the “Comforter” came for the care of those who are Christ’s, and far beyond that work in the here and now, He had that same certainty that the “Comforter” would care for all of those who would come and follow after Him by faith.

The disciples then, as it is with us today, NEED the gift of the “Comforter” in our lives. With the truth of the gospel revealing to us our sinful condition and our inability to recover ourselves, that is to say, “get ourselves right with God.” Living through the new birth with two natures, the first; in our flesh, which the Apostle Paul tells us “dwelleth no good thing,” Rom. 7:18, which sins daily. And the second, our inner man, which has been “born of God” and does “not commit sin; for His seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God,” 1 John 3:9. This brings about a conflict within us, “the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Gal 5:17).

Now the “Comforter” comes to the Church revealing the truth of what Jesus has done of us so that we no longer have the need to improve on what cannot be improved on, that’s our flesh, but we can and ought to wholly depend on the complete and finished work and righteousness of our Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ. That even though we sin, the “Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost,” brings us comfort through the gospel of the truth in Christ Jesus. And what a joy we have in the knowledge that we are cared for today by the Holy Spirit as our “Comforter” in and through out our every day lives. Jesus described the work of the Holy Ghost in the calling of men and woman when He said, “And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on Me; Of righteousness, because I go to My Father, and ye see Me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged,” John 16:8-11. The Holy Ghost would come to and convict His redeemed people of their sin, and seek and save the lost sheep of the family of God. They had lost their way in the world, and He would give them eternal life in the new birth, and lead them to the Son, WITHOUT THE LOSS OF EVEN ONE OF THEM THAT THE SON HAD DIED FOR!!! How many? They number the stars of the heaven and the grains sand of the seashore in multitude! (See Gen 15:5; Gen 22:17; Rev 7:9). And He would do this work alone and unseen by human eyes or unaided by any and all human agencies! He would come to them just as the wind blows, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit,” John 3:8. And that He as the Comforter “whom the Father will send in My name…shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you,’ John 14:26.

We can only imagine how the disciples must have reacted to the words of Jesus when He said to them, “Yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek Me.” Listen to Peter and you can almost hear the alarm in his voice, he asked Jesus, “Whither goest thou?” Peter wanted to follow after Him right then! What? Do you mean to say that Jesus was everything to them, and now He is saying that He is leaving them? Listen again to the concern and fear of being left alone in Peter’s words, “Lord, why cannot I follow thee now?” John 13:36-37. They had been with Him for three years, walking along those long and dusty trails, talking with Him and hearing His words of wisdom. They saw Him open the eyes of the blind. They saw Him cause the lame to receive strength and walk again. They had seen Him cause the deaf to hear. And yes, they had even been witnesses to His raising up the dead back to life! And now their hearts were filled with fear and anxiety, for the love of their Master, even as they continued to listen to His words, even as He Himself addressing their concerns in His love for them, Jesus answered Peter and said, “Whither I go, thou canst not follow Me now; but thou shalt follow Me afterwards.” He was saying, “No Peter, not right now, but you will follow Me later on.”

I know that they didn’t understand, but the precise language used to describe the divine “Comforter” that He would send to them in His place would answer the fears that they had. As Jesus described the Characteristics of the Holy Ghost He made it absolutely clear that He was not sending His disciples anyone less than God than they had with Him who was “all the fulness of the Godhead bodily,” (Col. 2:9). They would receive no less than a full inner presence of the Lord Jesus Christ who would not only be with them, but would be in them. The Lord chose His words carefully as He spoke to them. Let's look at the wording of His promise:

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you,” (John 14:16-17).

Let's take out some time now to carefully consider the full impact of the Lord’s words. Look at the word “ANOTHER.” As a general rule, some words and parts of speech give weight to the meaning of a text. That’s the reason we almost always tend to focus our attention to the nouns and verbs in sentences. Verbs show the action of any statement, and the nouns give and receive the action. So look at how the word “ANOTHER” takes a dominant role in how we understand this passage of Scripture. We have an adjective, which describes a person, place, or thing, giving clarity to the text.

The word another is found 233 times in the New Testament, but it is not always the same Greek word. There are two Greek words that are translated another. One of these words is heteros (het'-er-os), which means another of a different kind. That’s were we get such words as heterosexual, which refers to that of a different sex, i.e. men and women, or heterogeneous, which refers to something containing dissimilar parts. We find the word heteros used in 2 Cor 11:4 and in Gal 1:6 speaking of “another gospel,” which is another of a different from the one that was just referred to, i.e. the true gospel as opposed to a false gospel, and again in Acts 17:7 it’s used to distinguish “another king, one Jesus” from another of a different sort, i.e. Caesar. And so we can clearly see in each instance, it is describing that which is distinctive and different from what it is compared to.

And we see that in John 14:16, that heteros is not the word Jesus used to describe the promise of the Holy Ghost. Here Jesus uses the word allos (al'-los), which means just the opposite of heteros. Allos means “another of the same kind.” When Jesus used this word, He is making a bold promise that the “Comforter” that He was sending would be His perfect “Substitute.” One who is His co-equal, co-eternal nature, the Holy Spirit would NOT be different in being, but He would be “another” just like Jesus Himself!

This very same word Allos is the word used in John 13:34, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” This as well as other “one another” statements of the New Testament ought to encourage us to befriend other true believers--those who are just like ourselves in our imperfect flesh, and in our relationship to Christ. Our trouble is that we often, even though we are like one another in sharing the same imperfect flesh, don't really like to admit it! We will sometimes disagree with, disregard, and condemn those who are just like us. But this isn’t true when we are speaking of the Spirit’s relationship to the Son and the Father. The members of the Godhead are always in perfect harmony with one another. The Holy Ghost is always in perfect step with the desires and affections that Christ our Saviour has for us.

The Holy Spirit cares for us with the same love, the same concern, the same grace, the same compassion, the same truth, the same justice, the same holiness, and the same power that the disciples saw in the Lord Jesus Christ's ministry during the three years He shared with them. But not all of our understanding of the Spirit comes from the word “another.” Take a look at the word that it modifies; “Comforter.” This is “another of a like kind” besides Jesus is a wonderful promise! But another what? Here our Lord used the word paraclete (par-a-kl-eet,) which is a very descriptive word that would have been familiar to the disciples. We use this word in many different ways in our modern language today. We see it used in a legal sense to describe a paralegal or legal assistant, an advocate, or one who pleads another’s cause. This is the perfect word to describe the Person and work of the Holy Spirit, who is our Intercessor and Advocate with the Father; just like Jesus is our Great High Priest and Mediator!

And when we are considerin’ John’s gospel and his letters to the churches it’s clear to see that He dealt with the idea of dual Intercessors and Advocates. But we must understand when we say that John dealt with “dual Intercessors and Advocates” we’re not making a division in the person of God, but we’re saying that there’s more than one office, with each member of the Godhead in complete and perfect harmony fulfillin’ their role, remember when the Apostle Philip said to the Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” To which Jesus replied, “Have I’ [Jesus] ‘been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Jesus is illustratin’ His nature of as God the Son, as the “fullness of the Godhead” in human flesh or “bodily.” He goes on to say, “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works” (John 14:8-10). John writes that the Holy Ghost is our “Comforter” in John fourteen, as well as Jesus being our Advocate in 1 John 2:1, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” And Jesus tells us in John 14:18, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” We see this very same nature between God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, Jesus prays to the Father and the Father sends us the “Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost,” and the says that HE, HIMSELF will come to us! Oh, what a wonderful God that we worship! But when does Jesus come to us? Well, Jesus gives us the answer to that question in Matt. 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

But why two Advocates? Because we are given to understand that we have an Advocate who is present with the Father “and yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Rom 8:34). And we know that we have an Advocate and Comforter that is present with us here and now (see John 14:16,26; 15:26; 16:7; Rom 8:27; 1 John 2:1).

And what does the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost do for us in the here and now? Well, one of the things that He does for us is found in Romans 8:26, “the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit Itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” We see that the Holy Ghost acting as our Advocate praying for us when we are unable to pray the way that our hearts desire to do! It’s clear that these two ministries of advocacy are one in purpose.

As our Advocate, Christ defends us before the Father to keeping us eternally secure. In John 6:37, Jesus gives us the promise that “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” Christ Himself serves as our Defender. He doesn't defend us because of our works, which are sinful, flawed and faulty. No, dear child of grace, His defense of us is based on His perfect and completed work. Oh, what a rich and wonderful promise!

Jesus Christ, died for us, and redeemed us. He gave Himself as the perfect payment required as an answer to a just and holy God. And because of the finished work of the Son, the Holy Ghost as our Comforter works within us giving us the new birth and declares to us the abiding presence of the Living God in our lives. The Apostle Paul wrote to us in Romans 8: 14-16, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”

What the Son has done in our redemption, and the Holy Ghost has done for us in the new birth! We can have here and now, in this present world, God the Holy Spirit as our Comforter. We are able now to pray to the Father through His Son and ask Him to reveal Himself through the Holy Ghost! Paul says it this way, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God” (Rom 8:18-19). We have the Comforter how is ever with us to assure us of the wonderful position that is ours as the children of the living God!  And we read that we have been “sealed” by God the Father and that He has given us “the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts” (2 Cor 1:22; and 5:5).

And I will close for now by adding here that it is through the Holy Spirit that we now trust after that we heard the word of truth, the gospel of our salvation: “in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Eph 1:13-14).

And finally let us prayerfully consider the promise of Christ Jesus concerning the Holy Ghost and “give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip” (Heb 2:1).

Elder Thomas McDonald