What kind of person comforts us and counsels us then might convict us? What kind of friend do you want? Do you want one who always comforts you, but never tells you the truth about all your behavior or ways? Well, I want a friend who has the courage to tell me when I am off base or not behaving well. Do you want a friend who counsels you in times of need? I do. But do you want a friend who convicts you of your trespasses, transgressions or sin? You might say maybe. However, as Christians we have a friend and we have more than that, we have a God who does all of these things through His Holy Spirit.
“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:15-17). These are the words of Jesus to His disciples, perhaps some of the most encouraging words ever spoken. The Lord is telling His disciples and by extension us today that He is sending us and has sent someone like Himself as Advocate, Counselor, Helper, the Spirit of truth. Not only is God sending help, He is sending Himself in His Holy Spirit to be with us and even to live in us. This is both encouraging and scary to me. Why? You might ask my use of contradictory terms. Having God with us, Immanuel, is an awesome promise and reality for those who believe in the Gospel truths given through and in Christ. Having the perfect, holy and righteous One in us is the ultimate gift extending beyond the cross. But we are not looking for God in the natural. “All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one” (Romans 3:12). How can a good and even perfect God live in us when we are not? Even more as we look at Isaiah 64:6 “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” These are ugly and yet descriptions of us as unredeemed people. “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them” (Ephesians 5:8-11). Paul is telling us about unredeemed and redeemed people. After we chose to follow Jesus Christ a Savior and Lord we become new, even transformed and renewed. He tells us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2). Paul is telling the Romans and again us today to be different, even transformed and renewed by the Lord through His Holy Spirit. How do we do that?
“But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because am going to the Father…But when the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth…He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you” (John 16:8-11; 13; 14-15). Isn’t it amazing that God is providing all things in Him for us? “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26). The Spirit is teaching us all things. And if the Holy Spirit is really within us we should be living a life that is different from the world and filled with the power and wisdom of the Spirit. What we will look like if we are really abiding or living in Him is good fruit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).
Paul tells the Corinthians that when Christ’s Spirit is within them, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Are you new or old? Well, you have a choice to be new even though you are getting older every day. We should be ripening as good fruit, not rotting on the vine. God is at work within us making us more like Him if we have Him within us. This is sanctification after we find salvation by believing in Him. This is a process that will go on until we die and see God face to face. We should be getting better and better every day through the indwelling Holy Spirit.