The Holy Spirit: The Presence of Jesus in the Believer

Liberty University

 

 

THE HOLY SPIRIT: JESUS WITHIN THE BELIEVER

 

 

A paper submitted to Dr. TOM CAMPBELL

In partial fulfillment of the Requirements for

the course NBST 655

 

 

Liberty Theological seminary

 

By

William Mcpherson

Lynchburg, Virginia

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2012

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION…………………………………………………………………………………………………………..1

THE HOLY SPIRIT AS THE SEAL OF JESUS’ DIVINE AUTHORITY……………………………….2

 

THE HOLY SPIRIT AS ENABLING PRESENCE OF JESUS………………………………………………7

THE HOLY SPIRIT AS THE ULTIMATE HARBINGER OF THE GOSPEL’S BENEFITS……13

CONCLUSION………………………………………………………………………………………………………………18

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY…………………………………………………………………………………………………………..20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

 

“What is the Holy Spirit?” If one has ever been asked the question, then one is aware of the tension and apprehension it causes. For one, the orthodox believer typically cringes at being asked “what” rather than “who” is the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is one of the three persons of God, not to be confused with “the Force” from the movie Star Wars. R.A. Torrey writes, “It is of the highest importance from the standpoint of worship that we decide whether the Holy Spirit is a Divine Person, worthy to receive our adoration, our faith, our love, and our entire surrender to Himself,” he continues, “or whether it is simply an influence emanation from God or a power or an illumination that God imparts to us.”[1] This leads him to another conclusion, “It is also of the highest importance…that we decide whether the Holy Spirit is merely some…power that we…somehow…get hold of and use, or whether the Holy Spirit is a real Person…who is to get hold of and use us.”[2] This is an amazing observation, and the orthodox Christian would do well to give the right, biblical answer.

It can be argued that evangelical Christianity is languishing without the power of the Holy Spirit; there are a variety of factors that may contribute to this. It seems that one wing of Evangelicals prefers to see the Holy Spirit as an ‘it’ or at best a person over whom they have power and control; the Holy Spirit is their slave-genie to make God fulfill his promises, or so they think. The other wing of Evangelical Christianity completely ignores the Holy Spirit, preferring to play it safe rather than to dig into the clear, biblical teaching on the Holy Spirit. Jesus told his disciples in Acts 1:8, But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (NRSV) Jesus is saying that the key to the disciples being able to be his witnesses is that they would receive power from the Holy Spirit. If this is the case, then how can Evangelicals afford to not to have a biblical understanding and experience with the Holy Spirit?

The Apostle John wrote his Gospel delineating Jesus as the divine Son of God, but one of his sub-points was the replacement of Jesus by the Holy Spirit. Andreas Kostenberger writes, “According to John…the primary role of the Spirit is that of substitute presence for Jesus…When the Spirit comes to dwell in believers, it is as if Jesus himself takes up residence in them.”[3] Thus, whatever prominence and authority one gives to Jesus the Christ, one must also give to the Holy Spirit; the Spirit is Jesus’ replacement. The Gospel of John represents the Holy Spirit as the seal of Jesus’ divine authority, the enabling presence of Jesus in the believer, and the ultimate harbinger of Jesus’ Gospel and its benefits after Jesus’ death and resurrection.

 

THE HOLY SPIRIT AS THE SEAL OF JESUS’ DIVINE AUTHORITY

 

There was no doubt in the disciples’ minds of Jesus’ authority as he left the earth; Matthew 28:18-20, “ And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.'” (NRSV) The mission of Jesus given to his disciples was based on the authority and presence of Jesus, but how can this be so if Jesus ascends back to the Father in Acts 1:9? The answer is the Holy Spirit becomes the ultimate seal of Jesus’ divine authority from the Father.

Francis Chan attests to the authoritative power of the Holy Spirit, “The world is not moved by love or actions that are of human creation. And the church is not empowered to live differently from any other gathering of people without the Holy Spirit. But when believers live in the power of the Spirit, the evidence in their lives is supernatural.”[4] The Church is to be about doing the work that God has been doing throughout the ages; reaping the benefits of a harvest that the Church has not sown. (Jn. 4:36-38) The only way that this can occur is with the authority of Jesus Christ; this is given to every believer through the Holy Spirit.

The first instance of this authority of the Holy Spirit is found in John 1:29-34, where John the Baptizer baptizes Jesus. It would seem incredibly odd for the sinless Jesus to need a baptism of repentance; in fact John the Baptizer protests in Matthew 3:14, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” (NRSV) The purpose of Jesus’ baptism is that he would be anointed as the Messiah predicted in the Old Testament; in many ways, Jesus was the prototype for a post-Pentecost humanity; human beings who could be filled with the presence of God. Jesus is filled with the Holy Spirit so that he can also be the dispenser of the Holy Spirit (c.f. John’s the Baptizer’s comments in Mt. 3:11-12, Lk. 3:15-18).

R.A. Torrey agrees, “As He stood in the Jordan after His baptism, ‘The Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon Him,’ and it was then and there that He was anointed with the Holy Spirit, baptized with the Holy Spirit, and equipped for the service that lay before Him.”[5] F.F. Bruce writes, “The descent of the Spirit on Jesus marked him out as the Davidic ruler of Isa. 11:1…as the Servant…in Isa. 42:1…and as the prophet…in Isa. 61:1.”[6] “Jesus was anointed by the Spirit,” writes Lesslie Newbigin, “He heard in his ears words that echoed the word of the Lord: ‘Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights. I have put my Spirit upon him, he will bring forth justice to the nations.'(Isa. 42:1)”[7] Thomas Schreiner summarizes this thought, “Jesus is God’s chosen one because God has poured out his Spirit upon him…Jesus accomplished what he did in his ministry by virtue of the Spirit’s work within him.”[8]

John 16:12-15 gives the second instance of the Holy Spirit being the seal of Jesus’ authority. According to these verses Jesus has too many things to tell the disciples that he cannot at the hour of his trial and death say; therefore, when the Holy Spirit, called the “Spirit of truth,” comes he will make these things plain to the disciples. D.A. Carson writes concerning this title, “Coming so soon after 14:6, where Jesus claims to be the truth, ‘the Spirit of truth’ may in part define the Paraclete as the Spirit who bears witness to the truth, i.e. to the truth that Jesus is.”[9] Leon Morris agrees, “It is interesting to see the Spirit associated with truth, for we have just had Jesus describe himself as ‘the truth,’ and we earlier learned that those who worship the Father must do so ‘in truth'”[10]. Thus, the Holy Spirit will be sent to be the authoritative replacement for Christ, because he glorifies Christ by bearing witness of the truth who is Christ.

Schreiner concurs, “Indeed the Father, Son, and Spirit are again revealed to be in harmony with one another…What belongs to the Father also belongs to the Son, and yet what belongs to the Son also belongs to the Spirit, for he takes what belongs to the Son and discloses it to his disciples.”[11] This accords well with John 15:15 where Jesus tells his disciples, “I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.” (NRSV) William Barclay, though his meaning is questionable, nevertheless gives insight, “Revelation comes to us… from a living person. The nearer we live to Jesus, the better we will know him. The more we become like him, the more he will be able to tell us. To enjoy his revelation we must accept his mastery.”[12] It should be added however, that the Holy Spirit is a witness to all that Jesus taught and did, not to new revelation; the Spirit has the authority of Jesus because he faithfully represents Jesus in and to the believer. As Merrill Tenney observes, “The Spirit would not present an independent message, differing from what they [the disciples] already learned from him. They would be led further into the realization of his person and in the development of the principles he had already laid down.”[13]

The final means by which the Holy Spirit is the seal of Jesus’ authority can be found in John 16:8-11, where Jesus is describing what the Spirit will do in contrast to the world, which in John 15:18-27 Jesus warns that the world’s hatred is coming. The Spirit is said to, “prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because they do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.” (vv. 8-11, NRSV) There are many different understandings concerning what these verses mean.  The verses will be discussed below, but suffice to say that the Holy Spirit is the seal of Jesus’ authority because he convicts the world of Christ’s person and work.

Newbigin remarks, “And the work of the Spirit is–as we would expect–to continue the work of Jesus…Once more we see that the Spirit is not the domesticated auxiliary of the Church; he is a powerful advocate who goes before the Church to bring the world under conviction.”[14] But lest we get the Spirit’s work too separate from the Church, Torrey writes, “While it is the Holy Spirit who convinces men of sin, He does it through us… That is, our Lord Jesus sends the Holy Spirit unto us (unto believers), and when He is come unto us believers, through us to whom He has come, He convinces the world.”[15] Carson concurs with this, “Just as Jesus forced a division in the world…so the Paraclete continues this work. Indeed, he most commonly does so through the witness of disciples; he always does so in connection with the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”[16] Indeed, the first example of this at Pentecost is described by Sinclair Ferguson, “There is a close relation between the promise of John 16:8-11 and the events described in Acts 2:22-24…by the Spirit’s work in the hearer’s hearts, he convicts them of their sin…and of Christ’s righteousness…and of judgment since the resurrection…had taken place in him.”[17] But this conviction should not be seen positively, as in “without this work of the Holy Spirit, there can be no conversion,”[18] but rather negatively as a statement of judgment. C.F.D Moule concludes, “It is in keeping with this that elsewhere also the Spirit is associated with judgment. The Baptist’s announcement that the One who was to come after him would baptize with Spirit and fire…probably refers to coming judgment.”[19]

It is clear that the Holy Spirit was the seal of Jesus’ authority. Not only did the Holy Spirit inaugurate Jesus’ Messianic ministry, but he is also is the one who continues it in the world today. The authority that Jesus had is now in the hands of the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit provisionally gives this authority to the Church. Ultimately this authority is leveraged not just on our behalf but against our spiritual foe, “Behind the men who acted as Jesus’ prosecutors and judges stood the adversary-in-chief…Jesus foretold his imminent expulsion…The presence of the Spirit is the token that this prediction has been fulfilled.”[20] The Holy Spirit continues to demonstrate the authority he bestowed on Jesus by glorifying his name, and through their own defiance, bringing just condemnation to the world.

 

THE HOLY SPIRIT AS THE ENABLING PRESENCE OF JESUS

 

 

As Jesus was departing from the world, John makes it clear that the disciples were worried by the many times that Jesus says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled…” Jesus had been a comforting presence with the disciples since the beginning of his ministry. As Kostenberger points out, “Jesus seeks to encourage his followers and build their faith. Rather than being preoccupied with his own imminent painful suffering, our Lord is primarily concerned with the trauma his death will temporarily cause his disciples.”[21]

Jesus was concerned with showing his disciples that his death was the beginning rather than the ending of his presence with them, “In a very short time life for the disciples was going to fall in. Their world was going to collapse in chaos around them. At such a time there is only one thing to do–stubbornly hold on to trust in God,” Barclay continues, “If we believe that in Jesus we see the picture of God, then, in the face of amazing love, it becomes, not easy, but at least possible, to accept even what we cannot understand…and in the storms of life to retain a faith that is serene.”[22] The Holy Spirit as the enabling presence of Jesus in the believer is shown in three forms: his replacement of Jesus, his reminding of Jesus’ teaching and example, and as the one who will spring forth true worship in the heart of the believer.

As the replacement of Jesus, the Holy Spirit is described as ‘the Paraclete'; there are many different definitions of this term but it is first introduced in John 14:16-17, reappears in verses 26-27, and again in 16:7. Kostenberger finds most renderings of parakletos unhelpful and offers his own definition of “helping Presence.”[23] Carson[24], Bruce[25], and Morris[26] favor a legal connotation but in the warm, personal rather than the cold, technical sense. When approaching the definition of parakletos, Newbigin gives this insight, “By using the name Parakletos John is identifying the source of all this calling and comforting and exhorting and beseeching and consoling as no human achievement but as a gift from the Father, a gift whose coming is made possible by the intercession of Jesus.”[27] What is clear then is that the protection, counsel, and support the disciples had been getting from Jesus was now to come from the Holy Spirit, who was another parakletos, because Jesus is described as parakletos with similar language in Johannine epistles.[28]

Millard Erickson comments, “Jesus had been a teacher and leader, but his influence was that of external word and example. The Spirit, however, is able to affect one more intensely, because dwelling within, he can get to the very center of one’s thinking and emotions, and lead to all truth, as Jesus promised.”[29] The Spirit would be like Jesus inside of them; so that when they yielded, he could live his life through them. The Spirit is not a different parakletos than Christ, but rather shares in his mission and purpose, “The Spirit’s function is to represent God to the believer as Jesus did in his incarnate state.’Another’ (allon) means another of the same kind, not of a different kind.”[30] This ‘helping Presence’ is ultimately helpful for the disciples, “The coming of the Spirit is the equivalent of the indwelling of Jesus.  This is for the disciples’ good, since it implies such a close union with Christ that he dwells in them, not merely with them.”[31]

The Parakletos reminds the English speaker of the word ‘parrot,’ and in many ways the Holy Spirit is the ‘parrot’ of the example of Jesus and his teachings. This can be seen especially in John 14:25-26 and 16:12-13. In chapters fourteen and sixteen, parakletos and Spirit of truth are coupled together. As was mentioned by Carson above, the Spirit of truth points toward the truth, which is the person and work of Jesus. The twofold duty of the Spirit in 14:25-26 is to 1) teach and 2) bring to remembrance all that Jesus embodied in his incarnation. In 16:12-13 the Spirit’s purpose is to 1) guide the disciples into all truth and 2) to speak the things he hears in the counsels of the Trinity. Thus, not only do the disciples have access to Jesus’ previous example and teachings, they also have the ongoing work and conversation of the Trinity through the counsel of the Holy Spirit.

Malcolm Yarnell III writes, “As helper, the Spirit will teach, remind, testify, guide, speak, and disclose to the disciples the things concerning the Son.”[32] The Spirit while teaching the disciples (and future believers) many things will not reveal the whole counsel of God, “”All things’ is comprehensive and probably means ‘all you need to know.’ The Spirit is to be the guide and teacher of the Church. This does not mean that he will make new revelations; rather he will bring back to the disciples memory all the things Jesus had told them.”[33] This again, despite the coming persecution, is an advantage to his disciples, “The coming of the Paraclete will compensate them for the loss of his [Jesus'] own visible presence, and will in addition equip them with all the resources they will need in the new way of life on which they are about to enter.”[34] Being able to know and understand the mind of Christ would be crucial for suffering persecution and for living the day-to-day Christian life. The Holy Spirit makes this all possible because he indwells the disciples of Jesus the Christ and is there to guide, teach, and remind the disciples of Jesus’ teaching and life as they are in the moment.

Finally, the Holy Spirit unleashes the ability of true, unhindered worship; the presence of Jesus in the believer opens up the portals of heaven and allows one to worship God the Father. There is not a better passage to illustrate this than John 4:13-14 and also 4:19-24; however, the idea is again repeated by Jesus in 7:37-39. In his dialogue with the Samaritan woman, Jesus claims that he is the source of ‘living,’ eternal water; after more conversation, Jesus explains part of the implications being the Father looking for true worshipers who worship him in ‘spirit and truth.’ Go forward to 7:37-39 to Jesus’ visit to Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles, and Jesus again mentions that he is the source of living water and that all may come and drink. The Evangelist then makes the remark that, “Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”(v. 39 ESV) This links the ideas expressed in John 4 to the Holy Spirit in John 7; thus, the Holy Spirit will spring forth and allow true worship from those who believe on Jesus the Christ.

Newbigin brings out the force of this truth, “But a new reality is now impending…It is not present although its full reality will only be manifest when the hour comes for the glorifying of the Son in the cross, the resurrection, and the outpouring of the Spirit,” he continues, “Then both Jews and Samaritans…will be summoned to true worship. This will be an action of the Father. He himself will seek such worshippers and he himself will ‘draw’ them to the Son in whom the truth is present.”[35] This builds on what was said earlier: the Holy Spirit is the presence of Jesus in the believer and therefore the one whom the Father uses to draw men and women to worship the risen Lord. Craig Keener points to the source of living water as Jesus, “John interprets the believers as recipients of the Spirit, thereby implying the glorified Christ is the Spirit’s source. This would also better explain why the Spirit is not available before Jesus is glorified.”[36] This accords well with Jesus’ actions in 20:22 when he gives the disciples the Holy Spirit (though the Spirit is dormant till Jesus leaves and Pentecost arrives) after his resurrection. This can be directly linked to the promise of Ezekiel 36:26-27, where God speaks of giving dead Israel a heart of flesh and, “I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws,” (v.27 NIV) all of which are grounds for true worship.[37] One is also reminded of the prophet Joel who prophesies in 2:28-29, that “I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,” (v. 28 ESV) which will lead to manifestations of worship in the Spirit. Ferguson sums the matter up, “Christ as crucified will give the Spirit. From his side both water and blood flow; the blood of forgiveness, the water of the Spirit. Only as the crucified one can he give the messianic Spirit.”[38] This sacrifice allows the believer to worship the crucified and risen Christ in both spirit and truth.

The presence of the Holy Spirit as the Paraclete and as the Spirit of truth should be a source of immeasurable comfort to believers. Jesus makes a very poignant statement in John 14:18, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.” (ESV) Jesus considers his disciples family and he tells them that he will not abandon them; even though he would ultimately appear to them again, the promise is fulfilled mainly in the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Francis Chan concludes, “It really is an astounding truth that the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you. He lives in me. I do not know what the Spirit will do or where He’ll lead me each time I invite Him to guide me.”[39] Just as Jesus’ presence in this life was unpredictable, so the presence of Jesus in our lives through the Spirit will be just as unpredictable.

 

THE HOLY SPIRIT AS THE ULTIMATE HARBINGER OF THE GOSPEL’S BENEFITS

 

 

When one thinks of the Gospel, one immediately thinks of Jesus the Christ, and rightfully so; for without his death and resurrection there is no Gospel. However, it would likely surprise the reader to know that the Holy Spirit is just as necessary to the carrying out and ultimate mission of the Gospel. Moule writes, “It has been well said that mission is not for the benefit of the Church, as though the Church’s aggrandisement were its goal. On the contrary, ‘the mission is not at the disposal of the church; both are at the disposal of the Spirit'”[40] The message of the Gospel and the commission to make disciples was given to the Church, but it would be fruitless and empty without the Holy Spirit. In order for the world to benefit from the death and resurrection of Christ, the Holy Spirit had to come empower the Church.

But how does the Holy Spirit fuel the mission of the Gospel? How are the benefits of Christ supplied to the believer through the Holy Spirit? The Puritan theologian John Owen puts the matter in the following way, “And hereby are our faith and obedience regulated in our dealing with God about him: for we may both pray the Father that he would give and send him unto us, according to his promise,” he continues, “and we may pray to him to come unto us and sanctify and comfort us, according to that work and office he hath undertaken. This is that which we are taught hereby; for these revelations of God are for our instruction in the obedience of faith.”[41] The Holy Spirit is the harbinger of the Gospel as being the agent of regeneration, the applier and multiplier of Jesus’ work, and unites the believer with Christ and one another as Jesus is united with the Father.

Jesus receives a visit by a Pharisee by the name of Nicodemus during the middle of the night in John 3:3-8; during this conversation the reader gets the first glimpse of the Spirit’s role in regeneration. According to Jesus, it is not enough to be born once, one must be born again (or from above, the Greek is ambiguous) and one must be born, “of water and the Spirit,” (v.5, ESV) if one wants to enter the kingdom of God. This also alludes back to Ezekiel 36:26-27, where we see the Spirit being the source of a new heart of flesh, which is the means to inner transformation. The question then arises how one should understand the phrase ‘born of water and the Spirit.’

It will be argued that ‘water and the Spirit’ both symbolize the same event: the regeneration of the believer by the Holy Spirit. This is the view of Carson[42], Kostenberger[43], Schreiner[44], and Bruce.[45] Carson enumerates it as such, “The most plausible interpretation…turns on three factors. First, the expression is parallel to ‘from above,’…and so only one birth is in view. Second, the preposition ‘of’ governs both ‘water’ and ‘spirit.’…Third, Jesus berates Nicodemus for not understanding these things.”[46] However, both Tenney[47] and Newbigin[48] propose that it is John’s water baptism and Jesus’ Spirit baptism, “Since Jesus’ ministry came shortly after John the Baptist, Jesus may have been referring to John’s preaching, which dealt with the baptism of water, signifying repentance, and with the coming messenger of God who would endow men with the Holy Spirit.”[49] Schreiner though has a poignant rebuttal, “it seems unlikely that the necessity of John’s baptism would be emphasized in John’s Gospel, especially when we consider the Johannine theme that John is merely a witness and not the true light.”[50] Morris goes his own way and opts for water meaning seminal liquid, “rabbinic, Mandaean, and Hermetic sources…show that terms like ‘water,’ ‘rain,’ ‘dew,’ and ‘drop’ were often used of male semen…Being born ‘of water’ may point to natural birth, which must then be followed by being born ‘of the Spirit.'”[51] While this may seem logical, Carson takes issue with this view, “Odeberg’s [the scholar cited by Morris] supporting citations are both late and unconvincing, demanding that the reader (not to mention Nicodemus!) make numerous doubtful connections. Jesus’ indignation that Nicodemus had not grasped what he is saying…suddenly sounds artificial and forced.[52] Thus, the likelihood is that the phrase means that being born of water and the Spirit are both descriptions of the same event and that being the symbol for regeneration.

The work of the Holy Spirit in applying and multiplying the work of Jesus is a conclusion that is based on previous discussion. The passages in John that stand out are John 4:13-14, 6:22-59, and 7:37-39. In each of these passages Jesus presents himself as an inexhaustible resource (bread, blood, and water) that is capable of feeding and quenching the thirst of any who come to him. Now, it is certainly impossible for a single human being (even Jesus because of his voluntary limitations as a human being) to provide for the entire world. These are all metaphors; Jesus was not talking about actually eating his flesh, drinking his blood, or being sated by a fountain coming out of his body. The reason Jesus was able to speak in this manner was that it would be his presence in the believer through the Holy Spirit who would apply these things; the Holy Spirit would enable the work of Jesus to be applied and multiplied many times over.

Carson quotes Thomas Cramner, “figuratively he [Christ] is in the bread and wine, and spiritually he is in them that worthily eat and drink the bread and wine; but really, carnally, and corporally he is only in heaven, from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.”[53] Even though he is speaking of the Eucharist, notice Cramner’s intimation that Christ is ‘in them that worthily eat the bread and wine,’ the meaning of the Eucharist (remembrance and communion) is imparted by Christ through the Holy Spirit in the believer. Schreiner links the Spirit with both the water of life and the bread of life, “The Spirit himself satisfies the thirst of the human soul, so that believers slake their thirst by drinking of him…The flesh cannot see that life comes only through Jesus’ flesh and blood. Only the Spirit opens eyes so that people perceive the source of life,” he concludes, “The Spirit does not work apart from Jesus or in spite of him but rather on the basis of what he has accomplished.”[54] Even the incarnate Son was limited in body, geography, and other factors; the Spirit is bodiless, omnipresent, and essentially limitless.

The final way in which the Holy Spirit is the harbinger of the Gospel’s benefits is the Spirit’s uniting of believers with Jesus (and one another) as Jesus was united to the Father. This concept is hinted at in John 10:1-18, explained in 15:1-17, and then assured in 17:6-26. In the first passage, Jesus describes himself as the Good Shepherd who looks after his chosen sheep; the sheep recognize his voice because they will not respond to a stranger. Jesus also protects, speaks to, and ensures the salvation of his sheep. Jesus confirms this in John 10:28 and 29 with the statements, ‘no one will snatch them out off my hand,’ and, ‘no one will snatch them out of the Father’s hand.’ (ESV) In John 15:1-17, Jesus talks about the communion that his disciples (and later believers) will have with him as they abide him; he even makes the emphatic statement that, ‘for apart from me you can do nothing.” (v. 5, ESV) The disciples are able to abide it seems because of Jesus’ choice, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide.” (v. 16, ESV) Now keeping this theme in mind; John 17:6-26 is Jesus’ high priestly prayer to the Father before he is crucified (the positive language is in stark contrast to the Gethsemane accounts in the Synoptics) and in this Jesus prays that believers will not only be united to him (and likewise to the Father), but also that they would be united to each other. This is the unity of the Trinity, “that they may be one, just as you, Father are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (v. 21, ESV) The means of accomplishing this, as will be argued, is the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.

Ferguson comments, “The Spirit’s coming inaugurates a communion with Christ in which the Spirit who dwelt in Christ now dwells on and in believers…Having the Spirit is the equivalent…of having the incarnate…Christ indwelling us so that we are united to him as he is united to the Father.”[55] The indwelling Holy Spirit is then seen as the key of once again uniting God and man through the work of Jesus Christ. This unity was to be a pointer to the truth concerning Jesus’ person and work, “The unity is another aspect of eternal life because where there is a common source of life there must be a common likeness of expression.”[56] Future fruitfulness was necessary through a link with Jesus through the Sprit, “Only as they [the disciples] remain in union with him [Jesus] and derive their life from him can they produce the fruit of the Spirit.”[57] Morris finishes the point, “Without losing their identity they are to be in the Father and the Son. Apart from the Son they can do nothing. The unity for which he prays is to lead to a fuller experience of the Father and the Son.”[58]

The Holy Spirit is the person of the Trinity that joins the believer to the relationship and life of the Trinity because of the finished work of Christ.  This union is essential to the Christian life as J.C. Ryle writes, “In themselves believers have no life, or strength, or spiritual power. All that they have of vital religion comes from Christ…Joined to the Lord by faith, and united in mysterious union with Him by the Spirit, they stand, and walk, and continue, and run the Christian race.”[59] This union of the believer with Christ is as essential as a baby and umbilical cord; without it the believer is left to suffocate and starve in a world brimming over with the air of sin and the meat of rebellion.

 

CONCLUSION

 

 

The Holy Spirit is indispensible to knowing Jesus as the Son of God and experiencing his person and work in the life of the believer. It is no wonder then that John writes so much about the necessity of abiding in Christ through the Holy Spirit. It is only through the Holy Spirit that the believer is able to fully embrace the richness of the indwelling Christ. It has been shown that the Holy Spirit is the seal of Jesus’ authority, the enabling, helping presence of Christ in the believer, and that he brings the believer into union with God and others. This reality should cause awe and wonder to flow through the heart of the believer. Chan concludes, “This is the Spirit of God choosing you and me to be His dwelling place. That means that as I write, the Spirit of the living God is inside me…the reality is that I am indwelt by the Holy Spirit.”[60] May this truth empower the believer to live that kind of extraordinary life that Jesus lived and do works that are even greater than the works that he did; may the believer abide in the indwelling presence of Christ lavishly given to them by the Holy Spirit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

Barclay, William The Gospel of John: Volume 2 (chapters 8 to 21) (daily Study     Bible (westminster Hardcover)). Revised ed. Cambridge: Westminster John Knox Press,        1975.

 

Bruce, F.F. The Gospel of John: Introduction, Exposition, Notes. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B.               1997.

 

Carson, D.A. The Gospel According to John. Leicester, England.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing               Co., 1991. Kindle Edition.

 

Chan, Francis. Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit. Colorado             Springs, Colo.: David C. Cook, 2009. Kindle Edition.

 

Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 1998.

 

Morris, Leon. The Gospel According to John (the New International Commentary On the New                  Testament). Revised ed. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans     Publishing Company, 1995. Kindle Edition.

 

Ferguson, Sinclair B. The Holy Spirit. Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, 1997.

 

Keener, Craig S. The Spirit in the Gospels and Acts: Divine Purity and Power. Peabody,   Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 1997

 

Köstenberger, Andreas J. Encountering John: the Gospel in Historical, Literary, and Theological   Perspective (encountering Biblical Studies). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2002.           Kindle Edition.

Moule, C. F. D. The Holy Spirit. 1st American ed. Grand Rapids: W. B. Eerdmans Pub.    Co, 1979.

 

Newbigin, Lesslie. The Light Has Come: an Exposition of the Fourth Gospel. Grand Rapids,        Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1987.

 

Owen, John. John Owen On the Holy Spirit: Pneumatologia. Waymark Books, 2012. Kindle        Edition.

 

Ryle, J.C. The Gospel of John. Amazon Digital Services, 2010. Kindle Edition.

 

Schreiner, Thomas R. New Testament Theology: Magnifying God in Christ. Grand Rapids,          Mich.: Baker Academic, 2008.

 

Tenney, Merrill C. in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (volume 9) – John and Acts. Frank           E. Gaebeleined. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1984.

 

Torrey, R. A. The Person and the Work of the Holy Spirit.  CreateSpace Independent Publishing   Platform, 2011. Kindle Edition.

 

Yarnell III, Malcolm in A Theology for the Church. Daniel L. Akin ed. Nashville, Tenn.:   B&H Academic, 2007.


                [1] R. A. Torrey, The Person and the Work of the Holy Spirit CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2011), 4. Kindle Edition.

 

[2] Ibid.

                [3] Andreas J. Köstenberger, Encountering John: the Gospel in Historical, Literary, and Theological Perspective (encountering Biblical Studies) (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2002), 3359. Kindle Edition.

                [4] Francis Chan, Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit (Colorado Springs, Colo.: David C. Cook, 2009), 16.

[5] Torrey, 147.

 

[6] F.F. Bruce, The Gospel of John: Introduction, Exposition, Notes (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1994), 54.

 

                [7] Lesslie Newbigin, The Light Has Come: an Exposition of the Fourth Gospel (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1987), 16.

 

[8] Thomas R. Schreiner, New Testament Theology: Magnifying God in Christ (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2008), 461.

                [9] D.A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Leicester, England.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1991), 500. Kindle Edition.

[10] Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John (the New International Commentary On the New Testament), Revised ed. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995), 14969. Kindle Edition.

                [11]Schreiner, 473.

[12] William Barclay, The Gospel of John Volume 2  (The Westminster Press, 1976), 196.

 

[13]Merrill C. Tenney in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (volume 9) – John and Acts, Frank E. Gaebelein ed. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1984), 158.

                [14] Newbigin, 211.

 

[15] Torrey, 51.

 

[16] Carson, 537.

 

[17] Sinclair B. Ferguson, The Holy Spirit (Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, 1997), 69.

 

[18] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 1998), 888.

                [19] C. F. D. Moule, The Holy Spirit, 1st American ed. (Grand Rapids: W. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co, 1979), 31.

[20] Bruce, 319.

[21] Kostenberger, 3598.

                [22] Barclay,152-153.

[23] Kostenberger, 3355.

 

[24] Carson, 499.

 

[25] Bruce, 301-302.

 

[26] Morris, 14972.

 

[27] Newbigin, 187.

 

[28] Carson, 499.

[29] Erickson, 899.

 

[30] Tenney, 146.

 

[31] Ferguson, 71.

                [32] Malcolm Yarnell III in A Theology for the Church, Daniel L. Akin, ed.  (Nashville, Tenn.: B&H Academic, 2007), 619.

 

[33] Morris, 15077.

[34] Bruce, 318.

                [35] Newbigin, 53.

 

[36] Craig S. Keener, The Spirit in the Gospels and Acts: Divine Purity and Power (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 1997), 160.

                [37] Tenney, 87.

 

[38]Ferguson, 67.

[39] Chan, 47.

                [40]  Moule, 37.

 

[41] John Owen, John Owen On the Holy Spirit: Pneumatologia (Waymark Books, 2012),  75. Kindle Edition.

                [42] Carson, 194.

 

[43] Kostenberger, 1664.

 

[44] Schreiner, 462.

 

[45] Bruce, 84.

[46] Carson, 194.

 

[47] Tenney,  47.

[48] Newbigin, 39.

                [49] Tenney, 47.

[50] Schreiner, 463.

[51] Morris, 5069.

[52] Carson, 193.

                [53] Carson, 297.

 

[54] Schreiner, 464-465.

                [55] Ferguson, 71.

[56] Tenney, 167.

 

[57]  Bruce, 309.

[58] Morris, 16813.

[59] J.C. Ryle, The Gospel of John (Amazon Digital Services, 2010), 5086.

                [60] Chan, 110.

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