Bible Reading: John 16:4-15, Isaiah 11:1-10
“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgement” (John 16:7-8)
A frustration we often seem to have in our walk of faith is this: if only I were alive when Jesus was incarnate in the flesh, then believing and following Him would have been so much easier than it is now.
From our flawed minds, we think such will be the case. However, Jesus thinks otherwise, and thus the reality is otherwise. When Jesus left, the Holy Spirit came, and Jesus said this was to our advantage.
From the Old Testament, we learn about the stubborn nature of our sinful hearts. We learn that it is impossible for us to obey and love God out of our own volition. We recognise that what we love are our idols and sins. Our hearts are darkened, hardened, and dead to spiritual realities. We may even study God’s Word, see Jesus’ face, and yet be stuck in our sin as the Pharisees were.
To counter our frustration, we must ask ourselves, do we really think that we would respond in faith if we saw Jesus? No. Our hearts are darkened and opposed to His ways. If we had seen Him in person, the only thing we would receive would be greater judgement for seeing God face to face yet failing to respond to Him.
The advantage that Jesus speaks of in His departure is the coming of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit came to work God’s word and truth into our hearts and change our hardened hearts. The Spirit will guide us to the true understanding of the truth (see John 16:13). The Spirit will dwell in us and give us new hearts that obeys God (See Ezekiel 36:25-29). There will be an unfound peace for God’s people (see Isaiah 32:14-18, John 14:25-27).
This is the reality we enjoy at this present moment. How could we have personally come to faith? What causes our faith to grow each day? What is the cause of our ability to rejoice in God and treasure Him above all else? It is the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He has been actively reminding us of the words of Christ (see John 14:26), He has been bringing us into the understanding of the truth (see John 16:13), He has been convicting us of sin, righteousness and judgement (see John 16:8-11), He has taken what was Christ’s and given it to us, in the end, bringing glory to Christ (see John 16:14-15).
What Spirit reigned in Christ that has been become ours in union with Christ by the Spirit? Isaiah 11:2-3a says,
“And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.”
This is the Spirit of Christ who is now actively at work in us. He is working so that we too may fear the Lord and have this as our ultimate delight. Praise God for His ways and work in our lives!
Lord, thank You for what You have done for us on the cross, redeeming us unto reconciliation with You through the work of Your Spirit. We praise You for the grace You have lavished on us. We cannot comprehend why You would ever want to work in us through Your Spirit, to give us new hearts that love You. We do not deserve this, Lord. We are ignorant brutes before You. Thank You for Your mercy and grace. May all the glory be to Your Name. In Jesus’ name, amen.