The Work of the Comforter

by Mike Ratliff

“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. “ (John 14:25-26 ESV)

On the night prior to our Lord’s crucifixion and death, He promised that He and the Father would send to His disciples the Helper, the παρακλητος, the Holy Spirit. This Greek word, translated as Helper, means a lawyer or assistant in a legal question. Its Biblical context, however, describes a person who provides encouragement, counsel, and strength. In John 16:7-11, which will be the focus of this post, our Lord promises to send “another” παρακλητος, One like Himself who will carry on after Him the teaching and testimony that He began. 

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. (John 16:7 ESV)

7αλλ εγω την αληθειαν λεγω υμιν συμφερει υμιν ινα εγω απελθω εαν γαρ μη απελθω ο παρακλητος ου μη ελθη προς υμας εαν δε πορευθω πεμψω αυτον προς υμας (John 16:7 WHNU)

7 But I speak to you the truth; it is advantageous to you that I go forth. For if I should not go forth, the comforter shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. (John 16:7 AB)

Our Lord always spoke the truth, την αληθειαν. The word translated here as truth, αληθειαν, is the unveiled reality lying at the basis of and agreeing with an appearance; the manifested, or the veritable essence of matter or the reality pertaining to  an appearance. I always am a bit taken aback when I use Sacred Scripture as την αληθειαν in a post, even directly quoting the Lord Himself, when some who have become deceived by the post-modern paradigm into thinking that absolute truth is unknowable attempt to disagree. These same people will say stupid things in protest to the narrow and fixed Biblical Gospel we hold to, such as, “Surely the Gospel is defined broadly enough to encompass all versions of those who are sincere in their beliefs!” Here, our Lord assures His Apostles that each of His disciples are promised something incredible, He will send ο παρακλητος, the Comforter to them. We defined the Greek word and Biblical usage of παρακλητος in the opening paragraph. Notice that He is sent by both the Father and the Son and that He will complete the mission.

And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. (John 16:8-11 ESV)

8και ελθων εκεινος ελεγξει τον κοσμον περι αμαρτιας και περι δικαιοσυνης και περι κρισεως  9περι αμαρτιας μεν οτι ου πιστευουσιν εις εμε  10περι δικαιοσυνης δε οτι προς τον πατερα υπαγω και ουκετι θεωρειτε με  11περι δε κρισεως οτι ο αρχων του κοσμου τουτου κεκριται (John 16:8-11 WHNU)

8 And having come, that one will reprove the world concerning sin, and concerning righteousness, and concerning judgment. 9 Concerning sin then, that they believe not in me. 10 And concerning righteousness, that to my father I go away, and no longer you view me. 11 And concerning judgment, for the ruler of this world has been judged. (John 16:8-11 AB)

The word translated in the ESV as “convict” and “reprove” in the ABP, is the Greek word ελεγξει. This word has two meanings. It is the judicial act of conviction with a view toward sentencing. It is also the act of convincing, which is, I believe, the proper understanding in this context. The Holy Spirit, ο παρακλητος, convinces the elect in the lost and dying world of concerning the specific sin of not believing in Jesus as Messiah and Son of God for this is ultimately the sin that damns people to hell. He convicts them of the foolishness of self-righteousness, which is hypocrisy. This is what our Lord did in His earthly ministry. He continually exposed the self-righteous and how useless that was in becoming justified before our Holy and Righteous God.

What about this judgment, κρισεως? This is the conviction by the Holy Spirit against the unrighteous and false judgments made by the spiritually blind who are under Satan’s control. We see this all the time with apostate and heretical so-called Christian leaders making huge waves in the visible church with their unrighteous judgments about what is truth and what is not. Never forget my brethren, Satan is a liar and all those who are controlled by him are liars who teach nothing but lies. Never forget, that our enemy is already judged and that we are not to fear the terror he attempts to use to thwart our obedience to serve our Lord.

The Holy Spirit, the παρακλητος, is vital to the Church, and to each disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ. He teaches us the truth from God’s Word. He convicts the elect of their sin, leads them into the truth, and, through the washing of regeneration (Titus 3:5), saving faith is born. Some professing Christians deny the doctrine of the Trinity in one manner or another. Many deny that the Holy Spirit is God. Others deny the deity of Christ. Others deny both. However, our Lord told is above in v7 that the Holy Spirit was coming to the Church after He was taken to Heaven. The Holy Spirit came on the first Day of Pentecost following our Lord’s Ascension (Acts 2).

Have you thanked God for the Holy Spirit? When we see professing Christian leaders take those who follow them down the wide paths of apostasy, we should understand that this is proof that the Holy Spirit is not in them or their ministries. Remember, the Holy Spirit teaches God’s people what the truth is and what it isn’t. The following is an excerpt from John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress The First Part. It takes place right after Christian has made it through the little wicket gate that stands at the head of the narrow way. He is talking with the keeper of the gate, Goodwill. Goodwill speaks first.

We make no objections against any, notwithstanding all that they have done before they come hither. They in no wise are cast out; and therefore, good Christian, come a little way with me, and I will teach thee about the way thou must go. Look before thee; dost thou see this narrow way? THAT is the way thou must go. It was cast up by the Patriarchs, Prophets, Christ and his Apostles, and it is as strait as a Rule can make it: This is the Way thou must go.

Christian replies: But. Said Christian, are there no turnings nor windings, by which a Stranger may lose his way?

Goodwill responds: Yes there are many ways butt down upon this; and they are crooked and wide: But thus thou mayst distinguish the right from the wrong, the Right only being strait and narrow.

Christians leaves Goodwill and proceeds down the narrow path to the house of the Interpreter. There he is given much wisdom. As he is leaving, the Interpreter said to Christian: “Hast thou considered all these things?”

Christian replies: Yes, and they put me in Hope and Fear.”

Then the Interpreter tells Christian: Well, keep all things so in thy mind, that they may be as a goad in thy sides, to prick thee forward in the Way thou must go. Then Christian began to gird up his loins and to address himself to his Journey. Then said the Interpreter, The Comforter be always with thee, good Christian; to guide thee in the Way that leads to the City.

Soli Deo Gloria!

AB is the symbol for the Apostolic Bible Polyglot Copyright 1996 by Charles Van der Pool. In this article I used only the English part of the Interlinear text.

7 thoughts on “The Work of the Comforter

  1. Wonderful posting Mike :-D

    I don’t know how we’d begin to manage to live and walk without Him. The Lord is so kind and loving to have sent the Comforter to us. As always, He knows what we have need of before we even ask. How many times have we seen and felt Him at work in our lives? Too many to even begin to count, yet it all goes on in the background 24/7 whether we are aware of Him or not. His work is not dependent on us, as with everything else – it is all of Him and about Him and for Him! Blessed Lord!

    Have a blessed day today :-D

  2. Thank you for the complete translation of the word “truth,” Mike….It leaves no doubt that His Word is truth! Jesus is truth! We must make the simple choice to take Him at His Word which will enable us to stay on the straight and narrow path.

  3. “As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.” 1 John 2:27 “YOU HAVE NO NEED FOR ANYONE TO TEACH YOU” Praise be to God that He (through the Holy Spirit) is all we need to guide us through His word. While it is true that we are to fellowship together and iron sharpens iron, so many people today rely on Evangelical celebrities to teach and guide them instead of doing the hard work of reading the Bible and learning what God through the work of the Holy Spirit would have us do.

  4. Pingback: The Work of the Comforter in the Face of the Hatred of the World « Possessing the Treasure

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