We live in an age when many have become familiar with the words, "Come, Holy Spirit." Yet I wonder if we really are aware of what we are asking for. Too often we have been content to view the Holy Spirit as just a useful adjunct to our lives.
Yet, He must never be reduced to that level. For He came as God Himself to be the love of God on fire dwelling within us and the wisdom of God available to guide us into all truth (see John 16:13). As such, He is the supreme Counselor available anywhere in this world today.
The term "counselor," or helper, is a legal term, and it refers to any person who helps someone who is in trouble with the law. In the same way, the Holy Spirit will always be there to defend and stand by God's people, but in this case the range of the term is far broader than a mere counsel for the defense.
The Spirit is also called the Spirit of Truth. Therefore, He is uniquely qualified to make our defense. In the Spirit of Truth, we have a counselor who, by definition, cannot get it wrong.
In John's Gospel, the Holy Spirit is referred to in various translations as the "helper," "counselor," "comforter," and "advocate." In fact, He is a combination of all four: an advocate to plead our case; a counselor to guide; a comforter to console us in times of trouble; and a helper to assist us to do all those things that we can never do alone.
But the picture that the translators of the King James Version envisaged of the Comforter was not of a sympathetic ear. If we go back in history, then we get a clearer picture of what was actually meant by the word, and it is not a comfortable picture.
The Holy Spirit is the one who mobilizes us for battle. His anointing is for the healing of the brokenhearted, the defeat of the enemy and the proclamation of the gospel to the poor. The apostle Paul assures us that the Spirit is the guarantee that we shall receive what God has promised His people (see Eph. 1:14).
So, far from being content with being our divine counselor and guide, who is available to point us in the right direction, this Holy Spirit is also the one who equips us in order that we may fulfill all that God wills for us. He is God Himself, and therefore nothing is impossible for Him.
The more we allow the Holy Spirit to change our lives, the more we understand about His character. The Spirit of God possesses all the essential characteristics of God Himself because He is God.
Therefore, the Spirit is:
- Holy—unblemished and pure (see 1 Cor. 6:19)
- Eternal—always was and always will be (see Heb. 9:14)
- Omnipotent—all-powerful (see Luke 1:35–37)
- Omnipresent—exists everywhere simultaneously (see Ps. 139:7)
- Omniscient—knows everything (see 1 Cor. 2:10–11).
Not only is He all these things; but He is also personal. This means that the extensive grace of God enables us to actually have a living relationship with Him.
It is so easy to forget just how powerful and vital He is to our lives. It is unbelievable that this God would dwell in us, but this gift is given to every one of the people of God.
Clive Calver is senior pastor of Walnut Hill Community Church in Bethel, CT.