WILLIAM KIMBROUGH PENDLETON. THE MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
W. T. Moore, ed. The Living Pulpit of the Christian Church (1868)
"Nevertheless, I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 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 xvi: 7-11.
WHEN the Savior said to his apostles, "It is expedient for you that I go away," it must have been to them a declaration hard to understand. His presence had been so necessary to their confidence, and so full of comfort and of power, that they could not regard a separation with less than the gloomiest forebodings. They had hung upon his words with the fond and newly-awakened hopes of eternal life; they had forsaken all to follow him; and now, to be left alone, what could it seem but the saddest and darkest disappointment? When "many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him," and he had asked them, with such pathetic tenderness, "Will ye also go away?" Peter, the prompt and impulsive Peter, had answered, "Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life." There was no light, no strength, no hope to them but in Christ, and how could it be expedient for them that he should go away? It was a saying hard to be understood, requiring, in fact, a fuller revelation of the Divine economy of redemption than he had yet made to them.
Hitherto, the central power of this economy had been in his sensible person. Martha, weeping over the death of Lazarus, says: "Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died." Before Jairus's daughter is raised, Jesus goes to the house of her parents, stands over the bier, takes her by the hand, and says, "Daughter, arise."
The power of Christ to help was centered in his visible, sensible person, and that was limited to time and place. True, in sending out the seventy, and healing the centurion's servant, we have instances of power exerted where he was not personally present. But even in these cases there was direct connection with his person by some one before the influence was imparted. Evidently these sensuous limitations were not suited to the omnipresent wants of a spiritual kingdom. An omnipresent agent is needed for a universal kingdom. A spirit-presence must take the place of a sense-presence. The heart must be filled where the eye can not see; and Jesus must go away, that the Paraclete, the advocate and comforter, may come.
Let us consider the difference. Suppose Jesus to-day at Jerusalem, and seated on the throne of David, in the person he wore when he stood, eighteen centuries ago, arraigned as a criminal before the bar of Pilate.
Around the throne there might be the effulgence of glory, and in his presence fullness of joy. But what would he be to us, in this far distant land of the West? Between him and our hearts an ocean-barrier rolls; the radiance of his countenance beams not upon us, and his words come to us through the telegraph, chilled by the distance and void of the vital breath of the King. We can not see him, or hear him. Like Moses, wrapped in the misty shroud of Mount Sinai, he is hidden from our view. What would be left us but, like the children of Israel, to turn to our own devices, and cry: "Up, make us gods which shall go before us." Peter returns to his nets, and the rest go with him.
On the other hand, enthrone Jesus in heaven, invest him with all power, and fill the earth with the presence of the Spirit--the Paraclete--the official advocate and comforting minister of his reign.
Here is a power wide as the domain of his truth, breathing with ever-present influence through words of eternal life; working with the same energy that brooded over the primitive chaos, and molding into order, and form, and beauty, and conscious blessedness, the new spirit-world, a glorious regeneration of the wreck of the old.
Doubtless the apostles felt disconsolate when the Savior said, "I go away;" but when, on the day of Pentecost, the Spirit came, and they were baptized in its power, and began to speak with tongues, and felt the mighty energy of truth burning for utterance, and saw its two-edged sharpness piercing the hearts of their enemies, they could say:
"We are not left comfortless; the blessed Jesus has indeed gone away; but, being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear." Truly did he say, "It is expedient for you that I go away," because, as he promised, he hath sent the Comforter.
Thus, in one passage, the Savior very formally announces his purpose to devolve the advocacy of his cause upon the Holy Spirit,
to replace his personal presence by the ministration of the Paraclete, and declares it to be expedient for his disciples that he should do so. There is to be a new administration of affairs, and a new ministry. Let us consider--
I. The Minister
II To Whom He is Sent
III What is His Work
I. THE MINISTER.
He is called the Paraclete. The term, in its fullness, means a comforting helper. It is a name by which the Savior calls the Holy Spirit. (John xiv: 26.) In our passage he is presented to us as the successor of Christ in the administration of the economy of redemption.
He proceedeth from the Father,
and is sent by the Son. (John xv: 26.)
He is, therefore, a distinct manifestation of God.
The orthodox view of the "trinity" is that God is manifest in three or more views to mankind. However, neither the creeds nor church fathers ever cut up the Godhead into three separated beings or "people." They use the word personae or "faces" which did not mean person.
The modern heresy is that the Godhead IS LITERALLY three, separated personal beings with their own "spirit" or mind. They are identified as ONE only in the sense that they are all made of THE SAME GOD STUFF, as man is one because he is made of man stuff.
Thomas Campbell used the word "person" but warned that we should never see God as we see human "persons."
For the want of a better term, we call him a person, a word which very inadequately represents the idea of a spiritual essence. But the New Testament leaves no ambiguity
as to the threefold manifestation of God,
In Father, Son, and Holy Spirit;
and as the word person has been used by the common version to translate both the prosopon (prosopon) of Christ, (2 Cor. ii: 10,) and the hupostasis (hupostasis) of the Father, (Heb. 1: 3,) we are warranted in applying the same term also to
that manifestation of God, which is called, in the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit.
That the Holy Spirit is a distinct personal manifestation of God is evident:
I still like my example: If Casper the ghost suddenly materializes we don't think that Casper is twins. And if don't see Casper but hear his words we do not make Casper into triplets. Paul explaind that the ONE God manifests Himself as Father and Son:
Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. Heb 1:4
For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again,
I will be to him a Father,
he shall be to me a Son? Heb 1:5
Full invisible Deity
- Holy Spirit of Father
- Of Son
- Of Believers made Holy
Full invisible Deity
First, from the fact that he is designated, like the Father and the Son, by appropriate names. He is called "the Paraclete," and "the Holy Spirit;" and the latter designation is expressly given as his name: "Baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." (Matt. xxviii: 19.) The expression is literal, and the distinctness of the three marked by a definiteness that could not be more sharply indicated by language. Our baptism brings us equally into relation to the three as persons, and presents the three to us, at the same time, as also one in nature.
The Spirit of Christ is not another person but an invisible Christ. Since Christ is the One and Only Paraclete, we should see the Spirit as a manifestation and not a person.
While you cannot speak of the manifestations of God without treating each one individually, Pendleton keeps them as one nature and never as separated. The word paraclete applied to the ANOTHER COMFORTER is only applied to Jesus Christ who intercedes between heaven and earth in another or "fuller" Spiritual sense. Only the "one" who dies for mankind can mediate:
Jesus' promise of the Paraclete when He said I WILL COME TO YOU:
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; John 14:16
Jesus didn't say that He would be a THIRD MEMBER OF THE GOD FAMILY but:
Even the Spirit of Truth.
Parakletos (g3875) par-ak'-lay-tos; an intercessor, consoler: - advocate, comforter.
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Jn.14:26
When the Lord as Spirit appeared to Paul He said: "I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you persecute." Therefore, when God sent the Son he was sent "in the name" of Jesus. When he sent the Spirit his name was Jesus or Jehovah-Saves.
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth,
which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: Jn.15:26
The "father" is the thought or the SENDER: the Son or Spirit is the SENDEE. Father is LIGHT and the SON is the BEAM which we can see.
John wrote in a letter to EXPLAIN clearly the NAME of the Advocate or Paraclete:
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: 1Jn.2:1
And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:2
Since the Spirit is the spirit OF Truth, we know Him in a non-mystical way:
And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 1 John 2:3
Paul said that there is only ONE Mediator between God and men: Jesus Christ. Unless the Spirit's "name" is Jesus of Nazareth then there is no PERSONAL, separated member of the God family sent out.
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 1Ti.2:5
Mesites (g3316) mes-ee'-tace; from 3319; a go-between, i.e. (simply) an internunciator, or (by impl.) a reconciler (intercessor): - mediator.
While Pendleton does not hint at three members of the God family able to appear side by side so that we might see a family, tribe or committee, we don't have to defend him.
However, this will be a good place to amplify what Pendleton did not include in this very short statement:
First, the word "mediator" used by Paul has the same meaning as comforter used by Jesus:
an intercessor, consoler: -
(intercessor): a go-between, i.e. (simply) an internunciator, or (by impl.)
a reconciler - mediator.
Since there is only ONE of these and His name is Jesus Christ, we can be assured that full Deity has not separated itself with two members sitting it out and the third member running the world.
Second, note that Jesus said: "I am that another Comforter" who will dwell in you:
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 14:17
I will not leave you comfortless (orphans): I will come to you. John 14:18
Third, Jesus claimed that He would come as FATHER by saying, "I will not leave you orphans." The Holy Spirit "person" is never pictured as a father.
Fourth, God sent his own RIGHT ARM to be the intercessor. The Holy Spirit is not the Arm of Jehovah:
Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Ga.3:19
And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him. Is.59:16
Paga (h6293) paw-gah'; a prim. root; to impinge, by accident or violence, or (fig.) by importunity: - come (betwixt), cause to entreat, fall (upon), make intercession, intercessor, intreat, lay, light [upon], meet (together), pray, reach, run.
Again, your death has to have value before you can intercede: that leaves out the Holy Spirit as a third member of the "god family" and leaves only Jesus Christ:
Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors: and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.Is.53:12
Fifth, Jesus is said to be the interceder in heaven:
Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Romans 8:34
Entugchano (g1793) en-toong-khan'-o; from 1722 and 5177; to chance upon, i.e. (by impl.) confer with; by extens. to entreat (in favor or against): - deal with, make intercession.
Sixth, only one able to save can intercede: the Holy Spirit is never called the saviour:
But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Heb 7:24
Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. Heb.7:25
In the following passage, the Holy Spirit "personally" does not comfort. Rather, comfort comes from giving attendance to the Word where Jesus said:
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63
Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied. Acts 9:31
Paraklesis (g3874) par-ak'-lay-sis; from 3870; imploration, hortation, solace: - comfort, consolation, exhortation, intreaty.
That comfort does not come through some mystical means but Paul defined worship as giving attendance to the Word:
Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 1Ti.4:13
And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: Heb.12:5
Second. From the fact that both intelligence and determining will are ascribed to him. "He is a Spirit of wisdom, of understanding, of counsel, and knowledge." (Isa. xi: 2.)
In Isaiah, He is called the BRANCH but we don't look for limbs or leaves. And the spirit is not personal but the SPIRIT OF all "mental dispositions" relating to knowledge from the Holy Spirit which is the Mind of Christ (1 Cor 2).
AND there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: Isaiah 11:1
And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; Isaiah 11: 2
And shall make him of quick understanding (spiritual) in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: Isaiah 11: 3
But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. Isaiah 11: 4
"He searcheth all things, even the deep things of God." (1 Cor. ii: 10.) He is the author of spiritual gifts; and the apostle declares that, in distributing these, "he divides to every man as he will." (1 Cor. xii: 11.) But what can thus act with intelligence and free choice but a distinct person? Remember that Pendleton has used the word "person" because he needed something but warns about it.
These are not isolated passages, but the general drift of revelation, concerning the Holy Spirit, is to the same effect.
Third. Not only has he intelligence and free choice, but also accompanying power. He descends on the day of Pentecost, as a mighty rushing wind; he imparts the power of working miracles to the apostles, just as Christ had done; he raises up Christ from the dead; he smites the hypocrites Ananias and Sapphira with death in the instant of their falsehood; and many other marvelous works are ascribed to him, which present him constantly before us, in the boldest and most striking aspects of personal grandeur and power.
But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Acts 5:3
Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. Acts 5:4
Fourth. Our passage speaks of him as a person, as one that can come, that may be sent, that can glorify the Son, and guide the disciples into all, or the whole truth. "He shall take of mine," says the Savior, "and show it unto you." (John xvi: 15.) Can an agent like this be a mere influence? Can language like this be applicable to merely impersonal means, having no distinct energy of their own, and moving simply as they are moved by some other power? Surely words are meaningless, and all reality must be banished from the Scriptures, if these expressions are simply metaphors, shadows of shades, misty utterances about unknown phantoms, that vanish from our view when we attempt to fix them in thought, or give them, in our faith, "a local habitation and a name."
There is no mystery if we understand that the Lord identified Himself to Paul by saying "I am Jesus of Nazareth." All of the efforts to make the Spirit a separated "person" rather than a different manifestation of the One God evaporates if we just call Him Jesus.
Fifth. Because, in the new dispensation, he is set forth as the promised personal manifestation of God. In Leviticus xxvi: 11, 12, God, speaking absolutely, says: "I will set my tabernacle among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people." But Paul, in 2 Cor. vi: 16, interprets this as a promise, and finds its fulfillment in the actual bestowal of the Holy Spirit to dwell in the hearts of Christians. He says: "Ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk among them." This he accomplishes in the person of the Holy Spirit. "Know ye not, that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? for the temple of God are ye."
While, then, the Holy Spirit is personally distinct, he is, in nature, God; so that, when he fills the temple of the human heart, it is truly God who dwells in it.
Paul uses the human to define the Divine in 1 Cor. 2. For instance, I am body, soul and spirit but I am not triplets. Sometimes, as Paul warns, our flesh rules our spirit but we should seek to let the spirit or mind rule the sensuoul body. To us, he says that the Holy Spirit is the Mind of Christ.
Thus is this minister of the new reign set before us; by his official and his essential name; by his omniscient intelligence and self-determining will; by his omnipotent power, by his glorious and official procession from the Father and the Son, and by his representative dignity as the personal manifestation of God in the new and spiritual kingdom. By all these, and many other tokens, he comes to us, our Comforter, Helper, Friend. He introduces himself wondrously to us in the sublime and overpowering scenes of Pentecost, and opens up the new empire over the hearts of men, with a grand exhibition of his power to perform the work for which he is sent. Let us inquire:
II. TO WHOM IS HE SENT.
This question need not detain us long; but it is important, in approaching it, to notice the different economies or dispensations of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Before the fall, man enjoyed the full manifestation of God. The unveiled Majesty stood before him in the garden. He walked with God, as a son with a father. Paradise was garnished for him with "herb, tree, fruit, and flower, glistening with dew."
Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense
Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole
Their balmy spoils."
His heart is open to God in all pure worship. He moves, a peer among the cherubim, and mingles his praises with theirs. The will of God thrills through his nature as his vital breath. He trembles with fullness of joy. "God is all in all"--"Omnipotent, immutable, immortal, infinite, eternal King." This is the dispensation of the Father. Man is without sin, and God is manifested only as life, light, and love.
The entrance of sin breaks this harmony. Man is banished from the garden of Eden. The dispensation of love gives place to the dispensation of law. Remedial grace holds the world in quarantine. God operates afar off through his Son.
Remember that the Rock WAS the Christ. In the Old Testament under "quarantine" the Son is often manifest as inanimate agents of God.
- The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. 2 Samuel 23:3
- ---And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:4 (Christ ia always evident in the O.T.)
- He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Psalm 91:4
- ---Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. Ephesians 6:16
God is my
- And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; Luke1:69
Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. Ephesians 4:8
O Lord, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit. Jeremiah 16:19
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21
He does not utterly abandon us, but out of the thick darkness he speaks in tones of thunder, and, at long intervals, by the "angel of the presence." The promised seed of the woman even now has his "delights with the sons of men." (Prov. viii: 31.) He appears to Abraham, and speaks with Moses in the Mount of Sinai, (Acts vii: 38,) adding the law, till he should come in full accomplishment of the promise. (Gal. iii: 19.) Yet when, in the fullness of time, he is manifested in the flesh, his operation is transient, and mostly limited to his personal presence. Even his apostles do not comprehend him. He speaks in parables, and holds the truth under a veil. Until sin is atoned for, and his work of redemption done, there can be no closer or more intimate relation to the sinner. God and man must be reconciled before the lost fellowship of Eden can be restored. This is his work, and it leads him by the gate of death. He must glorify humanity in his own person before he can sanctify it with his Holy Spirit. This is the remedial dispensation--the dispensation of the Son.
Not until it was finished could the Holy Spirit be given. True the Spirit, as of the divine essence, appears in every dispensation as an inseparable, co-operating divine agent. As the Savior said: "The Father worketh hitherto and I work;" and, "Without the Father I can do nothing." So it is equally true that there is also an ever-present co-operation of the Spirit. But it is an operation, ab extra, from without. The glorification of the Son opens up a new era--the dispensation or economy of the Holy Spirit--a manifestation of the Spirit fuller and more permanent and intimate than had ever been enjoyed before. This could not be, our passage expressly declares, until Christ should go away. "If I go not away, the Paraclete will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. The disciples had, doubtless, felt the influence of the Spirit in looking upon the radiant countenance, and listening to the burning words of Jesus, and when he breathed on them, and said unto them: Receive ye the Holy Spirit, (John xx: 22,) the action and the word must have thrilled them with a sense of divine ecstacy and power. But he is not yet given, as the fountain of an overflowing river of living water, in the heart of the believer, because that Jesus is not yet glorified. (John vii: 38, 39.) The disciples must yet tarry, sorrowful it may be, but yet in hope, tarry at Jerusalem till this new power--the Comforting Advocate--shall come. (Luke xxiv: 49.)
He had brooded over chaos, the quickening power in creation; striven with the antediluvians in their rebellion against the will of God; cheered with bright and hopeful visions the fainting hearts of the patriarchs, and other immortal heroes of God; opened long vistas down through the mysterious future to the wondering eyes of the prophets, and clothed, in rosy light, the dawning day of the good things to come; thrilled the souls of poets with sweet inspirations and power to strike the sublimest chords of song; cherished and kept alive, in pure minds, the deathless memories of God, and "the pure empyrean where he sits high-throned above all height;" stirred in brooding hearts immortal longings for the return of the golden days of Eden, long dimmed in sinful night; and in all, and through all the wise and wondrous providence of God, moved and worked, one with the Father and the Son, but yet, not as a distinct dweller in the temple of humanity, an abiding guest in the heart of the fallen, a comforting helper to the orphaned exile from the Father's face.
This is a manifestation of the Spirit long promised and yet to come, and its accomplishment brings us to the ever memorable Pentecost; to the scene in the upper chamber, where the disciples are waiting; to the miracles of tongues; to the sermon of Peter, and the conversion of the three thousand in a day. The period of the last days is now fully come, and the Spirit is poured out in all fullness and power. Jesus has been glorified. Humanity has been lifted up in his victory, and fitted for the indwelling of the Spirit. He may now enter the long-closed temple of the human heart, now reconciled to the Father, through the death of the Son, and take up his abode there to dwell with it forever.
Returning to our question: To whom is he sent? we find the answer easy and intelligible. Our passage says: "I will send him unto you"--you, my disciples. Again: "This spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive." (John vii: 39.) Again: "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of Truth; whom the world can not receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." (John xiv: 16, 17.) Yet again, on the day of Pentecost, Peter, speaking as he was moved by this same Spirit, says: "Repent, and be baptized, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts ii: 38.) It is the baptized, penitent believer, then, to whom the Holy Spirit is sent; and to him, in contrast with the unconverted, the impenitent, the unbaptized "world" to whom he is not sent. And the reason of this is plain. As his coming is restrained till Jesus shall go away, and his ministry withheld till humanity is first glorified in the person of Christ, so it is incompatible with' the dignity and purity of the Divine economy that the Holy Spirit should be sent to dwell in a heart that had not, by faith, received Christ, and washed in the fountain of his blood, opened for sin and uncleanness. (Zech. xiii: 1.) The mission of Christ ends with his fitting humanity, by faith in him, for the reception of the Spirit. The mission of the Spirit commences by his taking up his abode in the temple thus prepared for his entrance.
III. WHAT IS HIS WORK?
This is twofold. First, in the heart of the believers, leading them to glorify Jesus, by reproducing in them his life; and second, through the disciples, upon the world.
In these twofold operations there is this difference: in the first, he dwells in and works with the believers. In the apostolic age he imparts spiritual gifts to them; then and always, he dwells in the heart of the disciples to help their infirmities, (Rom. viii: 26,) and work in them both to will and to do of his good pleasure (Phil. ii: 13). In the second, he operates through the disciples upon the world. "The world," as such, can not receive him. Upon them he works from without, producing faith, and preparing them, by the reception of Christ, to become fit temples for his entrance as a comforting guest. And this is the great work to which our passage especially points our attention. It is what the Savior emphatically declares the Paraclete shall do when he comes. "He shall convince or reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment." These are the grand themes of the great advocate. Let us consider them.
1. He shall reprove the world of sin. What is the method of the Holy Spirit in working conviction in the hearts of men? How shall he reprove the world of sin? Shall he descant upon the doctrine of the fall; weave fine metaphysical webs about human depravity; decide whether it is total or partial; discuss the ethics of transmitted guilt; draw nice distinctions between original and hereditary sin; turn all our misfortune and woe over to Adam; or, looking into our own actions, condemn us by the special crimes of our own personal life? This is man's method--the bungling diagnosis of our spiritual doctors. Into what a maze of controversy it leads us, and how it turns the heart away from Christ, and the great question which the Holy Spirit raises with the world! "Shall I be damned because my ancestor, six thousand years ago, imprudently ate of an apple?" says one; and he stands excusing himself on the ethics of this question till he is lost. "I live in all good conscience," says another;" I defraud no one, I give to the poor, and 'with gentle heart worship nature in hill and valley,' cherishing
"'A sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air;
A motion and a Spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things.'
"Shall I, thus elevated in soul, and wrapped in Divine spheres of reason, be ranked with the vulgar herd that grovel in the dust? What is my crime? What stain spots the robe of my righteousness?" And thus, self-fascinated, he puts aside the great question of the Holy Spirit, and goes to the judgment without Christ. Amazing folly! These, O man, are not the questions which the Holy Spirit raises with you, by which he reproves you of sin.
He asks you, "What think you of Christ?" He reproves you of sin, not because of Adam's sin; not because you stand, a shattered column from the ruin of Paradise; but because, so standing, marred and defaced by sin, you refuse his offered help to restore you--to renew in you the effaced countenance of the Father, and fill your heart again with the blessed fellowship of his Spirit. "He shall convince the world of sin, because they believe not on him." The sin that is brought home to us, to each of us, to you and to me, is our own sin--not another's. He says to us: "Look around upon the world's ruin; look within, at the withered glory of the soul; see the work of the enemy; behold, over it my love, like a Niobe of nations, weeping, stoops to regenerate it. Through agony and blood I have travailed to victory. The work is done. Come and share it with me." Who will refuse? What can make us refuse but the love of sin--the sin that caused his death?
Is not this a simple criterion? Christ finds us ruined by sin--held under its bondage; he comes to redeem us, suffers for us, conquers for us, and offers us the fruit of his victory freely--without money, and without price. "What the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh, and, by a sacrifice for sin, condemned sin in the flesh." (Rom. viii: 3.) And now to refuse him as our sin-offering, what is it but to cleave to the sin which he has condemned? And is not this sin in us? Adam, tempted, and without experience of the damning guilt of sin, yielded to the fatal fascination. He found himself naked, stripped of the glory that had covered him as a mantle, and shrank, abashed at his own deformity, from the purity and beauty of Paradise. He is cast out, a banished exile from the presence of the Father, but with the promise of deliverance. "The seed of the woman shall yet bruise the serpent's head." He sold the life of Eden for the knowledge of good and evil, and received the penalty--death. In the fullness of time, the promised seed comes. The deliverance is achieved. The Holy Spirit is sent to call us to accept it. A free return to the tree of life is offered to us through Christ, and we refuse it. With all the sad experience of six thousand years under sin, we deliberately adhere to the choice of Adam. We repeat his act in our own freedom. We say to Christ: We will continue as we are, hug our chains, CLING to our bondage; we will not come back. Adam has chosen, we abide the choice. The tree of life has been forfeited, we stand by the result. We despise your sufferings, we refuse your sacrifice. We will repeat the sin of the first Adam, and die, rather than accept the sacrifice of the second Adam, and live. O friend, is not this deeper sin than that which brought our fall? Is not deliberate and conscious sin worse than tempted and ignorant impulse? impenitence and ingratitude, than passion and appetite? "This is now the condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men prefer darkness to light, because their deeds are evil." (John iii: 19.) This is the reproof of the Paraclete, that Jesus has died and risen again, and men will not believe on him.
2. He shall convince the world of righteousness. This is the second great theme of the Paraclete, to convince the world of righteousness. This term has a double sense: it points,
first, to the personal character of Christ;
second, to his representative character.
In both these respects, Jesus must be vindicated before the world.
The "spirit of" a human represents the character of that person. It would be some form of insanity if my spirit did not vindicate me in the world.
His personal character was involved in two charges. The Jews accused him of blasphemy and treason;
blasphemy, because he professed to be the Son of God, and thus made himself equal with God (John v: 18);
and treason, because he claimed to be a King, and so was a rival of Cæsar. (John xix: 12.)
The refutation of these charges was easy. The great argument is that "I go to the Father." If I am not the Son of God, the Father will not receive me; if I am not King, he will not welcome me to the throne. He will not acknowledge an imposter, nor honor a pretender. Condemned before Pilate, I appeal to the "King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, with whom are honor and glory forever and ever." (1 Tim. i: 17.) If he acquits, who shall condemn?
"I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." (Psalms xvi: 9-11.)
This was the sublime confidence with which Jesus went to the bar of Pilate, to the cross, to the tomb, to the judgment of the Father. Who shall witness the trial, and report to us the eternal verdict? Human witnesses can not be admitted to this scene.
The Paraclete must come, and the demonstration must be worthy of the sufferer.
This is the first great theme of Pentecost. Peter makes it the prominent point in his first argument. The mighty wonder of the out-poured Spirit demonstrates this:--
"This same Jesus whom you took, and with wicked hands crucified and slew, hath God raised up, whereof we are all witnesses: him hath God acknowledged as his Son, and exalted to the throne, saying, 'Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool.'
Let all the house of Israel know assuredly this, that God hath made that same Jesus whom you have crucified, both Lord and Christ." (Acts ii: 32-36.)
Thus is he vindicated in his high pretensions as the Son of God, as the King of kings and the Lord of lords, and thus is the personal righteousness of Jesus proved by the Spirit.
Jesus was the "body prepared for me" and Jesus said that the flesh profits nothing.
What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? Jn 6:62
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing:
the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. Jn 6:63
Nevertheless, the man Jesus was elevated to sit with God the "Spirit which dwelled in Him" and Jesus will still exist and will come and deal with mankind in the judgment.
In the meantime, Jesus Christ the Man has been nominated by the Invisible Deity to be the image and only manifestation and model of righteousness the human family is allowed to see. Therefore, the Christian life is lived in a physical world and our test is not based on some supernatural power which allows us to live with less temptation than God illustrated in Jesus Christ.
But there is another sense, in which the righteousness of Christ is of deepest interest to us. As a matter merely personal to him, his righteousness is, indeed, also a question of vital interest to us, since all his pretensions as our Savior hang upon his Divine nature and official grandeur as both the Son of God, and King. But, in connection with his representative character, his righteousness has a dearer and more comforting significance to us. In his manifestation as the Son of God, he is also the Son of man. "The word was made flesh."
He became Immanuel, God with us.
In our nature, he fulfilled all righteousness.
He carried humanity successfully through temptation, through suffering, through death, and through judgment, up to the very throne of God.
He demonstrated the possibility of its becoming and being perfect, "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sin, and higher than the heavens." This knowledge is too high for us.
It is an announcement of the Paraclete, one of the comforting things which the Spirit hath heard of the Father and shown unto us, a revelation of the superlative and transcendent grandeur of humanity in its new and mysterious union with Christ, that passes all understanding. Ineffable honor, that thus we may be lifted up from our degradation and ruin to the honors and privileges of heaven!
"Nearest the throne, and first in song,
Man shall his hallelujah raise;
While wondering angels crowd around,
And swell the chorus of his praise."
This perfect righteousness of the God-man becomes, again, the sufficient ground of our justification. "By the sacrifices of the law, there was only a remembrance of sins again from year to year; for it was not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins: but this man, after he had made one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool; for by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified." (Heb. x: 3-14.)
Upon the altar of his divinity, he offers the sacrifice of a perfect humanity, and is made of God unto us, who glory not in the flesh, wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. (1 Cor. i: 30.) "He shall convince the world of righteousness, because I go to the Father."
3. He shall convince the world of judgment. If there were no evidence of a judgment, there would, perhaps, be but little respect for law. Man is so perverted by sin that he has but little respect for authority that has no adequate sanction attached to its commands. But here, again, the demonstration of the Spirit goes at once to the root of all rebellion. It contemplates man as, by nature, under the power of the wicked one. It does not stop to inquire into the guilt or innocence of individuals; but, with one sweeping generalization, involves all men in the great controversy with Satan, and condemns them because of their relation to "the Prince of this world." It declares to us that the great controversy is one for dominion. By the successful temptation of the Garden, man fell under the power of the tempter. Christ comes to set him free. The conflict is not with man, but with Satan; that tyrannical prince, under whom man is held in bondage. His dominion is right, or it is wrong, legitimate or usurped. If it is right, then we are justified in adhering to it. If it is wrong, then we are involved in its guilt, if we do not forsake it. This is the issue. Jesus makes it, and Satan rises in all the might of a last desperate struggle to meet it. He approaches him with alluring temptations in the wilderness; lays cunning traps for him in the opposition of the Jews to catch him in his words; confronts him with demoniacal possessions, to test the measure of his power; and, day after day, month after month, year after year, throws around him the cunning meshes of his strategy, till he brings him to the bar of Pilate, with specific charges and infuriated witnesses. The power of hell is at war with the Son of God. The final issue seems to hang upon this trial before Pilate. The conflict is of the many against the one, and the majority carry it. Jesus is humiliated, mocked, scourged, condemned, led away to be crucified, carrying his own cross, with fainting footsteps, to the summit of Calvary. All men forsake him. He "looks, and there is none to help;" therefore, "his own right arm must bring salvation to him." He must go down alone to the citadel of this enemy. "The war must be carried into Carthage."
The way is through the valley of death, and the stronghold is the grave. These must be invaded; and Jesus enters them, not as a strong man, prepared for battle, but with tears, and bitter cries of agony, and burden of sin, at which angels gaze with mute wonder, and the solid earth shudders to its center.
Oh, this is the moment of hell's triumph! Through its fiery caverns the shout of demons thunders: "Victory! victory! The Son of God is a captive. Let captivity rejoice, and hell flaunt her banners over the fallen!"
O, thou bleeding Lamb of God, thou hast not fallen, but stooped to conquer! Thy strength returns to thee. Thine arms are around the central columns of this temple of Dagon.
Thy mocking enemies are within the crushing folds of thy omnipotence. Thou canst not be holden of death. Rise, in the might of thy power, and shake off the shackles of the grave; burst the cerements that bind thee, and, as thou saidst for Lazarus, so for thyself: "Come forth!"
Let us thank God that he did not suffer his Holy One to see corruption, but that he "declared him to be his own Son, with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by his resurrection from the dead." (Rom. i: 4.)
That in his final conflict he gave the verdict in his favor, and condemned Satan, with an everlasting judgment, to "chains under darkness, to be kept till the punishment of the last day." (Jude: 6.)
And now, what is the short argument of the Paraclete with the world? Simply this: If "the Prince of this world is condemned"--already conquered, subdued, and in chains--
what is the condition of "the world," who still adhere to him? Are not they under sentence with him, shut up in the fate of their "prince?"
Does not this argument "stop every mouth, and subject all the world to the judgment of God?" (Rom. iii: 19.) The Spirit does not enter into a personal examination of the moral character of each man, and seek the ground of his condemnation in his personal misdeeds; but he raises the broad and universal question: Whom serve ye? The conquering Son of God, or the conquered prince of the world? These are the two powers. With which do you stand? With the triumphant soldiers of the Cross, or the broken columns of hell? Is not this a plain question? Can not all men answer it? Is it not an important question? Should not all men consider it? Is it not a decisive test of loyalty? Should not all men be judged by it?
And now, how simple, and yet how comprehensive, is the ministry of the Spirit. In his great plea there is the one supreme end ever in view--the regeneration of the world. In all his work, there is the co-operation of the Father and the Son; for, while there are diversities of gifts, it is the same Spirit and differences of administration, it is the same Lord and diversities of operations, it is the same God, which worketh all in all." (1 Cor. xii: 4, 7.)
In his manifestation to believers and to the world, he maintains sharply the distinction between a heart cleansed by the blood of Christ and reconciled to God, and one still under the power of sin, and allied to Satan; entering the one and dwelling in it, as a deity in a temple, and operating upon the other as an influence from without.
In his operation upon the world, working through the disciples--to whom alone he is sent--and employing words and miracles, truths and demonstrations, to convince and reprove them. And in the wide breadth of his plea, comprehending only the three great themes of sin, righteousness, and judgment: "Sin," says the Savior, "because they believe not on me; righteousness, because I go to the Father; and judgment, because the Prince of this world is judged."
God is manifest to mankind as Father and Son: the word Spirit has no familial relationship to the Godhead:
But to us there is but one God,
> the Father,
of whom are all things, and we in him; and
> one Lord Jesus Christ,
by whom are all things, and we by him. 1 Cor 8:6
Full invisible Deity
Of whom are all things
We IN Him
The Son or Lord
by whom are all things
We BY Him
Full Deity is:
Full invisible Deity
- Holy Spirit of Father
- Of Son
- Of Believers made Holy
Full Deity is also identified as the Christ who appeared as SON in Jesus Christ.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Ph.2:5
who, though he was God, did not demand and cling to his rights as God, Ph 2:6LIV
Therefore, as the Christ the man Jesus was the "body prepared for me" in whom full Deity dwelled.
Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist,
that denieth the Father and the Son. 1Jn.2:22
Using the same Chart note that we don't see the connection as "God, Jesus, Spirit." Rather, God or the Christ is manifested fully as Father and Son while the Spirit is the Word or the Invisible Christ Who is not restricted to the body of Jesus or to Jerusalem:
Full invisible Deity
The Christ in Jesus
Therefore, it is a very dangerous thing to deny that Lord Jesus Christ was God manifested to the human mind as dynamically as God can present Himself.
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. Col 2:8
For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Col 2:9
The tritheistic sectarianism of seeing God cut up into a family of three members denies that Full Deity dwelled in the visible Christ.
It is inescapable that any attempt to "sow discord among the Godhead" and use Greek philosophy to arrive at the trinity of three "persons" is to deny that Christ came fully in the flesh as Father and Son:
And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 1Jn.4:3
The "spirit of anti-christ" is not a person but a false doctrine. Beginning in Babylonia and all ancient nations, the "gods" came in pairs or triads of normally Father, Mother and Son. Thus the modern Catholic trinitarianism sees Father, Mary and little baby Jesus.
But how about the so called baptismal formula? First, you will note that whatever authority you can vest in a manifestation of God, Jesus said that all of that authority is vested in me. This was prophesied by Zechariah who proclaimed that Messiah would be both king and priest and there would be harmony between THEM BOTH. His name is Joshua or Jesus which would be Jehovah-Saves:
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Matt 28:18
The word "name" is singular; Father, Son and Spirit's name is "Jesus of Nazareth whom you persecute."
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Matt 28:19
Full invisible Deity
Jesus the Name of:
The Biblical and historical churches obeyed the direct command of Christ so we hear Peter say:
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38
The apostate church leaders were not fools: they grasped the fact that if this is a baptismal formula and you baptize in the "name of" the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit then you logically were forced to baptize THREE TIMES: and so they did.
Jesus didn't represent a third member of the God family as the teacher and abiding counsellor but said:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matt 28:20
The Catholic "baptismal formula" denies that all things are summed up in Lord Jesus Christ Who represents the Infinite, invisible God in human terms because we are, after all, still humans.