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Grace Notes

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OUR HELPER
by Philip Owen

            We are familiar with two kinds of helpers. There are helpers, for example, in the mechanical trades whose role is to aid the experienced journeyman or licensed mechanic with the less technical or more menial aspects of his work, while learning from his more skilled and qualified superior. Then there are helpers who provide aid from a position of greater knowledge or experience, for example, a teacher or a doctor. Believers have been given a helper of the latter variety, though at an infinitely superior level, namely, the Holy Spirit of God. Just prior to His death, the Lord Jesus informed His dismayed disciples that He would be leaving them but that they should be consoled by the fact that He would send “another Helper” (John 14:16). Those words should have clued in the disciples immediately to consider what their current “Helper” had provided, how complete His wisdom, instruction, provision, and example had been for them. Yet later in the same conversation, the Lord assured them that “it is to your advantage that I go away” (16:7) in order that He might send them this Helper, the Holy Spirit. Although by no means an exhaustive list, in John, chapter fourteen, the Lord mentioned several blessings His coming Spirit would provide.

            “He may be with you forever” (v. 16). Even when Christ was on earth, He was not with the disciples perpetually. Sometimes He sent them elsewhere to minister and serve; sometimes He departed to pray in private; sometimes He chose only some to go with Him. Finally, and at best they would be the beneficiaries of His direct help for only a little more than three years. But the Holy Spirit would never leave or forsake them—nor will He those of us who have believed and are living in the Twenty-First Century.

            He is “the Spirit of truth” (v. 17). Our Helper engages in a multifaceted ministry in the realm of truth. First of all, we may trust His every ministry to us because it is true. Second, He opens the truth of God’s Word to us so that we can understand it. Third, He reveals to us the reality of the person and work of Christ. Finally, He warns us about false teachers and doctrinal error that would harm us.

            He “will be in you” (v. 17). That phenomenon occurred initially at Pentecost, but since that time, the Holy Spirit indwells every believer from the moment of salvation. As our Seal, He secures us in salvation forever; as our earnest, He assures that all that has been promised us regarding salvation will be provided without fail. Indwelling the believer, He provides, among other things, constant vigilance, unceasing guidance, ongoing peace and joy, and unfailing strength.

            He provides a specific and critical type of knowledge (v. 20). “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” Through the Holy Spirit, we gain an unfathomable unity with the Father and the Son. Though we do not deserve it nor truly comprehend it, we realize through the work of the Spirit that we have become one with the Father and the Son, that when the Spirit indwells us, so do the Father and His Son. The Lord further confirmed this when He explained that “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him” (v. 23—that is, in the person of the Spirit). Unimaginable relationship wrought by grace!

            “He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (v. 26). How many things did the Lord teach that His disciples could not understand? Yet they understood the truth after the Holy Spirit indwelt them. The things of God are “spiritually appraised” and are foolishness to the natural man (1 Cor. 2:14). But the Spirit interprets the otherwise unintelligible language of heaven to the minds and hearts of those He indwells so that we can hear and understand the words of God, be delivered from our sins, receive eternal life, and live a life that honors and pleases God.

            What kind of Helper is that? Are you fully availing yourself of His immeasurably gracious aid?

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