By Reuben Archer Torrey
From the fact that the Holy Spirit is a Divine Person, it does not follow that the Holy Spirit is in every sense equal to the Father. While the Scriptures teach that in Jesus Christ dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead in a bodily form (Col. ii. 9) and that He was so truly and fully Divine that He could say, "I and the Father are one" (John x. 30) and "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father" (John xiv. 9), they also teach with equal clearness that Jesus Christ was not equal to the Father in every respect, but subordinate to the Father in many ways. In a similar way, the Scriptures teach us that though the Holy Spirit is a Divine Person, He is subordinate to the Father and to the Son. In John xiv. 26, we are taught that the Holy Spirit is sent by the Father and in the name of the Son. Jesus declares very clearly, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." In John xv. 26 we are told that it is Jesus who sends the Spirit from the Father. The exact words are, "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me." Just as we are elsewhere taught that Jesus Christ was sent by the Father (John vi. 29; viii. 29, 42), we are here taught that the Holy Spirit in turn is sent by Jesus Christ.
The subordination of the Holy Spirit to the Father and the Son comes out also in the fact that He derives some of His names from the Father and from the Son. We read in Rom. viii. 9, "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His." Here we have two names of the Spirit, one derived from His relation to the Father, "the Spirit of God," and the other derived from His relation to the Son, "the Spirit of Christ."
In Acts xvi. 7, R. V., He is spoken of as "the Spirit of Jesus."
The subordination of the Spirit to the Son is also seen in the fact that the Holy Spirit speaks "not from Himself but speaks the words which He hears." We read in John xvi. 13, R. V., "Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He shall guide you into all the truth: for He shall not speak from Himself; but what things soever He shall hear, these shall He speak: and He shall declare unto you the things that are to come." In a similar way, Jesus said of Himself, "My teaching is not Mine, but His that sent Me." (John vii. 16; viii. 26, 40).
The subordination of the Spirit to the Son comes out again in the clearly revealed fact that it is the work of the Holy Spirit not to glorify Himself but to glorify Christ. Jesus says in John xvi. 14, "He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall shew it unto you." In a similar way, Christ sought not His own glory, but the glory of Him that sent Him, that is the Father (John vii. 18).
From all these passages, it is evident that the Holy Spirit in His present work, while possessed of all the attributes of Deity, is subordinated to the Father and to the Son. On the other hand, we shall see later that in His earthly life, Jesus lived and taught and worked in the power of the Holy Spirit.