The Promised Comforter

There is a sweetness and preciousness about the word “Comforter.” It amply describes the ancient word used for the Holy Spirit, “Paraclete.” The word “comfort” is made up of two Latin words – com and fortis. Com often is translated as “to be in company with” and fortis means “to strengthen.” This means that the Comforter is one who strengthens us by companionship. Beloved, this is one of the great incentives of the Holy Spirit! He comes to our side to help us, as an advocate does. An “advocate” is one who comes to help us in our legal difficulties, so the Holy Spirit, or the Comforter and Advocate, has come to help us in every crisis and in every difficulty in our Christian life. In John 14:16, Jesus says, “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever.” Here, we should observe that Jesus uses the masculine pronoun for “He” rather than a neutral pronoun for “it.” This is evidence that the Holy Person is an actual Person, rather than a mere wave of emotion passing over us. The person of the Holy Spirit actually “dwells with you” as Jesus says in John 14:17.

The Spirit is also present in the world in Old Testament times, before Jesus comes. Joseph, Bezalel, Gideon, Samson, and David all show signs of the Holy Spirit’s active working in their lives. (See Genesis 41:37, Exodus 35:31, Judges 6:34, Judges 14:5, and 1 Samuel 16:13) The Spirit is with these men in the Bible, and today He is in believers. He is indeed another Person of the Godhead, but unlike Jesus, does not become incarnate in one person. Rather, He works through the whole church and is everywhere at one time. Jesus describes His work, saying, “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” (John 16:8) We must believe that the Spirit has unfathomable power and energy in His working in believers today and the stories we have in the Bible. We know that He will convict us of our sin and convicts many about not believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. This sin is the great outstanding, damning sin which, if not repented of, will send men and women to a lost eternity forever. Jesus continues by explaining how the Spirit will convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. He says, “of sin, because they do not believe in me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father and you see me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” (John 16:9-11) Jesus is saying that after He has completed His work of atonement by dying on the cross, God will raise Him from the dead on the third day and forty days later He will take Him up to His right hand. Sin puts Jesus on the cross, but righteousness puts Him on the throne there in heaven, seated with God the Father.