2009-06-27 - The Paraclete
John 14:16, And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.
I have never heard anyone accused of honoring the Holy Spirit too much within the Trinity. The mistake is often made in the other direction. One historical note respecting the Holy Spirit: The year 2009 marks the 500th year since the birth of John Calvin. There are celebrations and conferences going on throughout the world. Many love the doctrines of grace that Calvin taught so well, but others simply cant stand Calvin, or more to the point, what has been called Calvinism (which was a term not used until the Synod of Dort, long after Calvins death). Calvin probably never even heard the term Calvinism. But love Calvin or hate him, he is the only pastor that I have ever known with the title, The Theologian of the Holy Spirit. It is how he was known, and there is much honor in such a label.
So how do we describe this Helper that is come to be with us? The Greek word here is Paraclete. It has a meaning that is difficult to contain. It literally means, called to or called beside someone else, to assist them. The idea of an advocate is very closely related to what the Holy Spirit is and does for us. We might also begin to fill out our definition with concepts like: teacher, comforter, guide, counselor, friend, intercessor, encourager, and pleader. Each of these terms is full of meaning, but the Spirit encompasses all of them and more. Christ calls the Helper another, and uses a word that means another of equal quality to Himself. The word used is allos, and it shows that the Holy Spirit is equal to Jesus. The Holy Spirit is God. If Christ had used the word Heteros, which is also a word meaning another, it would have meant that the Holy Spirit is of a different nature, or quality, but we dont have that word here. It is allos, and Christ is saying that the Spirit undertakes Christs office in the world, and will glorify Christ, after Christ is taken away to Heaven. This is what is in view in this verse, but in 1 John 2:1, the Holy Spirit has a different office.
If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, 1 John 2:1. That word advocate is the Greek word we had above, Paraclete. It is the same word here rendered advocate rather than helper. The Holy Spirit serves to represent Christ and glorify Him, but also the Holy Spirit takes on a role of an intercessor, in Heaven, on our behalf. The Holy Spirit has many roles to fill, and all of them are important to our daily lives with God. Charles Spurgeon put the difference between the ministry of the Holy Spirit and Christ this way: God the Son makes intercession for the saints. God the Holy Spirit makes intercession in the saints. It is a helpful distinction. Christ is gone to Heaven right now. He has sent His Spirit to represent Himself to us, and to lead us to Him. That is one of the many ministries of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is an advocate within us, to lead us to Christ. He is our helper in spiritual things - all spiritual things, and He shows us Christ. He takes the Bible, the Word of Christ, and He helps us understand it. In every way, the Holy Spirit is to be adored and prized by us.
Soli Deo Gloria,