In previous blogs I have covered the top ten teachings according to the frequency with which Christ taught (seen on page 133 of the download ‘What on earth have we done with the teachings of Jesus’). We are now covering the Words of Jesus regarding the Holy Spirit. The next of these is His purpose is ‘to lead us into all truth’.
What is truth?
If you were to ask people on the streets today, what is truth? There would be a myriad on answers. Each would have their own definition. Certainly when it comes to spiritual matters there is a real diversity of opinion. There are thought to be more than 4,200 religions in the world today. All with their own ideas of how to get to heaven or reach some state of utopia here on earth. They can’t all be true. Many would say that truth is relative to each person. Whatever is true to that person is truth to them. This is why we have courts of law. To decide who is telling the truth and who is lying. Punishment is then assigned to the wrongdoer. So truth can’t be relative. It has to be absolute.
Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the light. No man comes to the Father except through Me. We all long for an ideal Father. For those that were raised by one, I have always marvelled that there seems to be surety about them. They exude confidence and have well-balanced emotions. Not many today have had that experience growing up. We are more a fatherless generation than ever. But the Father in heaven can be far more than any earthly father could hope to be. He can give us that confidence and bring wholeness to our wellbeing and ultimately eternal life.
The Son is truth personified
But we only reach the Father through the Son and His Son is truth personified. Whilst on earth, Jesus taught the truth. Now He has ascended back to heaven, His Spirit leads us into all that is true. But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future], John 16:13.
It is the truth that sets us free. When we are in some level of deception either regarding our own state or with some form of wrong opinion – then we are held in bondage. It is the Holy Spirit who comes to reveal those things in our lives that needs to come into the light. We are then changed through repentance and through conforming to the Father’s will in His Word. But it is the Father’s work from start to finish.
Henry says – Christ’s departure was absolutely necessary to the Comforter’s coming, John 16:7. This was strange to the disciples and they were loth to believe it. Those things often seem grievous to us that are really advantageous for us. Our Lord Jesus is always for that which is most expedient for us, whether we think so or not. He deals not with us according to the folly of our own choice, but graciously over-rules it, and gives us the medicine we are loth to take, because He knows it is good for us.
The gift paid for and prayer for
It was therefore expedient because it was for the sending of the Spirit – If I do not away, the Comforter will not come. He that gives freely may take back one gift before He bestows another, while we would fondly hold onto all. The ambassador extraordinary must be recalled, before the envoy can come, that is to constantly reside. This gift was both paid for, and prayed for, by our Lord Jesus, that we might learn to put the greater value upon it.
The glorified Redeemer is not unmindful of His people on earth, nor will ever leave us without necessary support. Though He departs, He sends the Comforter. Even still, though one generation of ministers and Christians depart, another is raised up in their place, for Christ will maintain His own cause.
His Spirit is everywhere, in all places, at all times, wherever two or three are gathered in His name. The coming of the Spirit was absolutely necessary to the carrying on of Christ’s interests on earth (John 16:8 when He comes, He will convict and convince the world and bring demonstration to it about sin and about righteousness (uprightness of heart and right standing with God)). He will convince the world, by your ministry, concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment.
He shall convince
The Spirit, by the Word and conscience, is a reprove. To convince is a law-term, and speaks of the office of the judge in summing up the evidence, and setting a matter that has been long appealed in a clear and true light. He shall convince, that is, “He shall put to silence the adversaries of Christ and His cause, by discovering and demonstrating the falsehood and fallacy of that which they have maintained, and the truth and certainty of that which they have opposed.” Convincing work is the Spirit’s work, He can do it effectually, and none but He. Man may open the cause, but it is the Spirit only that can open the heart.
The Spirit is called the Comforter (John 16:7), and here it is said, He shall convince. One would think this were cold comfort, but it is the method the Spirit takes, first to convince, and then to comfort. First to lay open the wound, and then to apply healing medicines.
The Spirit gives the world the most powerful means of conviction. The apostles were to go into all the world, backed by the Spirit, to preach the gospel, fully proved. He shall sufficiently provide for the taking off and silencing of the objections and prejudices of the world against the gospel. He shall effectually and savingly convince many in the world to their conversion in the faith of Christ. The Spirit shall work on the conviction of sinners which is a comfort of faithful servants. This would be the fruit of their services and sufferings.
The Spirit convicts
The Spirit is sent to convince sinners of sin. In convicting it is to force them to own it. The Spirit convinces of the fact of sin, that we have done so and so. Also of the fault of sin, that we have done ill in doing so and of the folly of sin, that we have acted against right reason. But also by so doing we have become odious to God. The fountain of sin is from the corrupt nature which unless repented of leads to death. The Spirit demonstrates that the whole world is guilty before God.
Natural conscience tells people that murder and theft are sin, but it is a supernatural work of the spirit to convince them that it is a sin to reject the salvation offered through Christ. As Christians we are under further obligation, that whatever divine revelation shall be made to us at any time, we ought to accept it, and submit to it.
If we who believe, refuse God who speaks to us by His Son, we too sin. It is because of this that we fail to enter into rest. The Spirit shall convince the world that the true reason why sin reigns among us is because we are not by faith united to Christ. ‘Apart from Christ, we do not have a drop of morality’ – Calvin.
Christ was proved to be a righteous man, and not, a deceiver. He is either the great Redeemer or a great cheat, but a cheat we are sure He is not. The Spirit shall convince men of His righteousness. Having by convictions of sin shown them their need of righteousness, He will show them where it is to be had, and how they may be acquitted from guilt, and accepted as righteous in God’s sight.
Christ came to set things right
The devil, the prince of this world was discovered to be a great deceiver and destroyer, and as such judgment was entered against him. He was cast out of the Gentile world when his oracles were silenced and his altars deserted. He was cast out of the bodies of many in Christ’s name, which miraculous power continues long in the church. By the judgment on the devil, the prince of this world, Christ is proved stronger than Satan, and can disarm and dispossess him, and set up His throne upon the ruin of his. He shows that Christ’s errand into the world was to set things right and to introduce times of reformation and regeneration. All will be well when his power is broken who made the mischief.
The Spirit convinces the world that all judgment is committed to Jesus and that He is the Lord of all, which is evident by the fact that he has broken the serpent’s head, destroyed him that had the power of death. If Satan is thus subdued by Christ, we may be sure that no other power can stand before Him.
The Spirit has work to do, not only on the enemies of Christ, to convince and humble them, but upon His servants and agents, to instruct and comfort them. He will guide them into all truth, as the skilful pilot guides the ship into the port it is bound for. To be led into a truth is more than to know it, it is to be intimately and experimentally acquainted with it. It is to be piously and strongly affected with it, not only to have the notion of it in our heads, but the relish and savour and power of it in our hearts. It denotes a gradual discovery of truth shining more and more.
The Spirit guides us into all truth
Whatever was needful or useful for them to know, they would be fully instructed in it. What truths they were to teach others, the Spirit would teach them, would give them the understanding of, and enable them both to explain and to defend.
The Spirit would lead them into nothing but the truth. All that He shall guide you into, shall be truth (1 John 2:27 the anointing (the sacred appointment, the unction) which you received from Him abides [permanently] in you; [so] then you have no need that anyone should instruct you. But just as His anointing teaches you concerning everything and is true and is no falsehood, so you must abide in (live in, never depart from) Him [being rooted in Him, knit to Him], just as [His anointing] has taught you [to do].
The anointing is truth. In the following words He proves it—“The Spirit shall teach nothing but the truth, for He shall not speak of Himself any doctrine distinct from Mine, but whatsoever He shall hear, and knows to be the mind of the Father, that, and that only, shall He speak.” The Spirit knows and searches all things, even the deep things of God (1 Cor. 2:10, 11), so that we may venture our souls upon the Spirit’s word.
The testimony of the Spirit always concurs with the Word of Christ, for He does not speak of Himself, has no separate interest or intention of His own. He is one with the Father and the Son, 1 John 5:7. Men’s word and spirit often disagree, but the eternal Word and the eternal Spirit never do.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
Prayer In that beautiful moment When song-bird fill the air. I seek the quietness of my room To be with You in prayer. Away from the busy world I can to You convey My thoughts, my hopes and dreams, As I kneel to pray. Gentle blowing embers Warm my inner being. Though darkness fills my eyes It’s You I’m clearly seeing. Beyond the far horizon More deeply I’m aware That, my gentle loving Jesus Is alive with me in prayer. By the late Andrew Feakin (passed away 16th March 2019)
Prayer: Father, I thank You for the gift of Your Spirit. Lead me and guide me into all truth. Uncover any deception in my being that I might know the truth and be set free. In the name of Christ I pray. Amen.
The Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth!