Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Knowledge of the Holy Spirit

If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:15-17)

All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:25-26)

When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth who goes out of the Father, he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.” (John 15:26-27)

But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.” (John 16:7-11)

I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of Truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.” (John 16:12-14)

Who can better introduce the Holy Spirit to us than Jesus the Son of God himself? In John 14-16, Jesus took the initiative to introduce the third person in the Trinity to his disciples. This event is an extremely important event due to the coming events of the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ.

Jesus’ introduction of the Holy Spirit begins by recognizing him as “another Counselor.” This recognition clearly shows that there is a Counselor prior to the Holy Spirit. In Isaiah 9:6, Jesus was introduced as the “Wonderful Counselor.” Obviously, the Counselor prior to the Holy Spirit, who is the “another Counselor,” is Jesus Christ himself. Through this kind of recognition, Jesus points out that the Holy Spirit is equal to him in stature. The Holy Spirit is God. And the Holy Spirit is also a Counselor, like Jesus Christ. This is important to remind all of us that we should not take the Holy Spirit lightly. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees when they called the Spirit that resides in Jesus (cf. Matthew 12:17-21) as the prince of demons. Matthew quoted Isaiah 42:1-4 to recognize Jesus as God’s servant of whom the Holy Spirit is within him. Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16). Jesus then said something unexpected: “And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matthew 12:31-32).

Jesus also reveals that the Holy Spirit will reside with all the believers forever. Jesus is going back to the Father, but the Holy Spirit will stay with us forever. Through the Holy Spirit, the believers will be made one with God, the Father and the Son (cf. John 17:20-26). Jesus’ presence in the hearts of all believers is made possible through the work of the Holy Spirit that God poured out in the day of Pentecost. In his human form, Jesus can only be at one place at one time. But through the Holy Spirit, Jesus is present with all the believers forever. This truth is important that in the midst of tribulation, Jesus stands together with all believers. This truth also has a tremendous implication that relates to the duty of the Holy Spirit. For example, Jesus also called the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Truth, in which one of the duties is to guide all believers into all truth (John 16:13). And the truth is the truth that Jesus teaches (John 14:26). This means that we will be reminded all the time by the Holy Spirit of the truth, which is the teaching of Jesus. Unlike the Old Testament time, the Holy Spirit dwells within the believers’ heart for good. God will not take the Holy Spirit from us. Once he is in our hearts, he never gets out anymore.

Jesus calls the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17, 15:26, and 16:13). This Spirit of Truth, Jesus says, the world cannot accept. Only those that have been born again in the Spirit can accept him (cf. John 3:5-8). The world knows not the truth for they don’t accept the Spirit of Truth. For the Holy Spirit testifies about Jesus and Jesus is rejected by the world (cf. John 1:10-11). And Jesus is the truth (John 14:6). In other words, those who don’t accept Jesus are the world, and those who accept Jesus are not of the world (cf. John 17:14). The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, is given only to those who believe in Jesus. The Spirit of Truth is to guide all believers into all truth so all believers will be sanctified in the truth (cf. John 17:17). Jesus did not send a spirit of confusion, but instead the Spirit of Truth is sent to us. This shows how serious Jesus was. He did not send an angel. He did not send a human being. He sent God, the third person of the Trinity, to seal the deal. The best work can be done only by God. And precisely for that reason, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, to be our Counselor so we all may know the truth. If we are about to seal a business deal and make sure that everything goes right with a very important person, we won’t send our representative, but we will come ourselves or we will send someone equal to our position. Jesus did just that.

The Holy Spirit will not come unless Jesus ascends to heaven. Therefore it is necessary for Jesus to ascend to heaven, so the Holy Spirit may come. One of the most difficult duties the Holy Spirit assumes is to convict the world of guilt (John 16:7-11). This duty is threefold for the conviction deals with three aspects namely sin, righteousness, and judgment. The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin because the world does not believe in Jesus. “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:18). Many people would find this conviction absurd. They say that God has no basis for condemning those who don’t believe in Jesus. For they think that believing in Jesus is optional. For they think that one may choose to reject believing in Jesus, who is the truth, and thus embraces the lies, and get away with it. They think that they are free to ignore the truth. They think they have the authority to judge which is the truth and which is not. They think they are equal to God so the truth of God can be argued. Therefore God sends the Holy Spirit to convict the world of its sin for not believing in Jesus, God himself, who is the creator of the world. Therein lies the irony. The world does not believe in its own creator. The world, therefore, deserves to be condemned.

The Holy Spirit convicts the world of righteousness because Jesus goes back to the Father. Jesus is not lying when he claims: “”I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58). Jesus applies the name of God that was introduced to Moses by God to himself: “God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14). But the people who heard Jesus’ claim did not believe and they threw stones to him to condemn him, who is God. If Jesus were a liar, then Jesus would never go to the Father. If Jesus were a liar, he would be condemned in the deepest hell, for he deceived with the greatest deception. But instead, Jesus goes back to the Father. This shows that everything that Jesus claims is the truth. The Holy Spirit is working to convict the world of guilt based on this truth because it condemns Jesus, who is God, to death simply because he says the truth (cf. Matthew 26:63-66). If Jesus were a liar, the High Priest’s sentence would prove true, and Jesus would not rise up from the dead, moreover ascended to heaven. But the truth is Jesus speaks the truth, and he is now at the right hand of God the Father, which proves that the High Priest was guilty for condemning an innocent man, and the entire world is guilty for calling the truth as untruth. Jesus said: “As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God” (John 8:40).

The Holy Spirit convicts the world of guilt in regard to judgment because the prince of the world stands condemned. This is extremely important because Satan has deceived humans into believing in his lies. By believing his lies, the truth of God is rejected. Jesus accused his opponents: “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). The world chooses to believe in lies rather than believing in the truth. Jesus said: “Yet because I tell you the truth, you do not believe me!” (John 8:45). Jesus’ word reveals the irony of the human heart. Humans are supposed to believe in the truth, but yet when Jesus tells the truth, people do not believe. They have embraced a deception that they regard as the truth and this is the sole reason why they cannot fit in the truth that Jesus says in their system. Of this matter the Holy Spirit convicts the world of guilt, for the deceiver is condemned by God, and so all who believe in his deception.

The Holy Spirit will not speak wildly out of the boundary of Jesus’ teaching (John 16:12-14). Many people now believe that the Holy Spirit will speak things that are not in the Scripture. They disregard what Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will only speak what he hears from Jesus and what Jesus teaches. So, when people believe in what they call as the holy spirit but that spirit does not speak what Jesus teaches, they believe in lies and that spirit is not the Holy Spirit. This matter cannot be taken lightly. The apostle John reminds us: “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (I John 4:1). The way to test spirits is by following Jesus’ explanation of who the Holy Spirit is. One important way to test is by checking whether what people claim as the spirit speaks only the truth that Jesus teaches. Many people nowadays claim that the Holy Spirit is in them but yet they don’t speak the truth that Jesus speaks. Based on what Jesus said, those people don’t have the Holy Spirit, but instead a different spirit that masquerades himself as the Holy Spirit. Paul warned the church of Corinth: “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light” (II Corinthians 11:14).

Such is the Knowledge of the Holy Spirit.

* The Business of Christian Education XX

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