John 14:16-17 - The Spirit of Truth is With Us Forever
He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth.John 14:16-17
It must have been with heavy hearts that the disciples heard Jesus speaking to them about his departure. How would they be able to continue after Jesus has left them? Jesus encourages them, "Do not let your hearts be troubled" (John 14:1). Jesus is going to his Father and will prepare a place in his Father's mansion for all those who believe in him.
When Jesus comes to his Father in heaven, he will ask the Father to give to the disciples, to the church, another Counsellor to be with them forever. Jesus does not abandon his church but continues unfolding the grand plan of salvation. God will raise Jesus from the dead after he has brought the one and only sacrifice for sins on the cross, and then the risen Christ will take his place at God's right hand. He will speak to the Father and the Father will listen to his Son and send the Holy Spirit to the church on Pentecost.
The disciples will no longer have Jesus with them on earth but things will get even better and richer for them. There is progress in the history of salvation. The ascension of Jesus Christ and the completion of his ministry on earth means that now the way is open for more of the blessings of his work, in this case, the sending of his Spirit to his church (cf. John 16:7). Now the Spirit of Christ will be with his people forever. He will dwell in our hearts.
Jesus calls the Spirit a "Counsellor" or "Paraclete," that is, someone who comes alongside the disciples in order to give them any help that they need. The Spirit is described as "another" Counsellor. At first the disciples had Jesus with them, but now they will receive his Spirit. He is different from Jesus, for he will be in their hearts and in the hearts of all believers. But his goal will be the same, namely, to help us in our life of faith in the Lord. He will be with us always to guide us in the truth of the gospel.
The Spirit who comes is the "Spirit of truth." Everything which the Spirit tells the disciples will be true and sure. He will teach the disciples all things, and will remind them of everything that Jesus said to them (John 14:26). The Spirit of truth will guide the disciples into all truth and understanding, and he will bring glory to Jesus Christ. While he was on earth, Jesus could not tell the disciples all that he had to say to them, for they could not bear it all nor were they able to understand it all. But the Spirit will make it known to them when he comes, being sent by the Father and the Son. This deeper understanding of the gospel of Christ and the truth of God has been revealed to us in the apostolic writings, the New Testament Scriptures.
What a comfort it is to know that also the church today in the 21st century has received the Spirit of truth to guide us and to be with us always. In this post-modern time of relativism and skepticism, we treasure the knowledge of the Spirit's work of renewal in our minds and in our hearts. He renews us so that we may know and understand the truth of God as revealed in the Scriptures.
Jesus told his disciples that,
the world cannot accept him (the Spirit of truth), because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in youJohn 14:17
Similarly, the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth that believers in Jesus Christ have received "the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us" (1 Corinthians 2:12). Those who do not have the Spirit regard the gospel as foolishness, but for us who believe, it is the power and glory of God!
As we celebrate the coming of the Spirit on Pentecost, let us encourage one another with the reality of his presence in our hearts. It is through the Spirit's working that we believe the gospel of Jesus Christ and have life and joy in God. Truly, Christ has fulfilled his promise to never leave his church, but to be with his body always, to the very end of the age. Let us go forward in faith with that rich comfort!