This post is part of an ongoing series in the study of John we are doing during January. Subscribe to the blog for daily updates in the Bible Study posts. Subscribe to the podcasts to hear our discussion of the book of John throughout this month. Join us in your daily devotions as we travel through this fascinating account of the life of Christ.
“When the Counselor comes, the One I will send to you from the Father — the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father — He will testify about Me. You also will testify, because you have been with Me from the beginning. “I have told you these things to keep you from stumbling. They will ban you from the synagogues. In fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering service to God. They will do these things because they haven’t known the Father or Me. But I have told you these things so that when their time comes you may remember I told them to you. I didn’t tell you these things from the beginning, because I was with you. “But now I am going away to Him who sent Me, and not one of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ Yet, because I have spoken these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I am telling you the truth. It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send Him to you. When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment: About sin, because they do not believe in Me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see Me; and about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. “I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, because He will take from what is Mine and declare it to you. Everything the Father has is Mine. This is why I told you that He takes from what is Mine and will declare it to you. John 15:26 – 16:15 (HCSB)
We have already touched on Jesus’s discussion about the Holy Spirit in this section of John’s Gospel, which consists of his final words to His followers. The return to that topic follows His promise of coming persecution that we looked at yesterday. We find a link between the experience of persecution and the Holy Spirit in our lives. Persecution highlights the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. This is a fundamental principle of life in the Kingdom of God. As our flesh decreases, His Spirit increases. In a few chapters we will see one of the most illuminating examples of this when Jesus is praying in the Garden of Gethsemane.
God poured out His Holy Spirit upon us to lead us into the fullness of the Kingdom life. The salvation prayer alone did not do that. Salvation gave us access, but the outpouring of the Holy Spirit leads us forward into the Kingdom of God reality. Our greatest obstacle is not this world or Satan; it is the god of the self. When we follow the Holy Spirit, we separate our journey from the god of the self and walk into His presence and purposes.
Jesus said to His disciples, “ It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you.” He meant these words in a very literal way. We can easily miss the point if we follow Jesus only based on command. The Holy Spirit leads us forward based on the gap between God’s will and what needs to shift inside us. The journey is one of transformation from the inside out. It is a spiritual journey, not a journey of the flesh. The flesh merely dies along the way.
We are not of this world, and we do not live in accordance with this world’s ways and standards.
for we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7 (ESV)
Our lifestyle relationship with the Holy Spirit is central to that uniqueness. We do not follow what we see but what we do not see, and in that following, faith springs up, and the grace of God through His Spirit flows out. That is how God impacts the world with convictions of sin, righteousness, and judgment. It is through the power of His Holy Spirit actively operating in our lives.