At least twenty-five different names are used in the Old and New Testaments in speaking of the Holy Spirit. There is the deepest significance in these names. By the careful study of them, we find a wonderful revelation of the Person and work of the Holy Spirit.
I. The Spirit.
The simplest name by which the Holy Spirit is mentioned in the Bible is that which stands at the head of this paragraph--"The Spirit." This name is also used as the basis of other names, so we begin our study with this. The Greek and Hebrew words so translated mean literally, "Breath" or "Wind." Both thoughts are in the name as applied to the Holy Spirit.
1. The thought of breath is brought out in John xx. 22 where we read, "And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost." It is also suggested in Gen. ii. 7, "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." This becomes more evident when we compare with this Ps. civ. 30, "Thou sendest forth Thy Spirit, they are created: and Thou renewest the face of the earth." And Job xxxiii. 4, "The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life." What is the significance of this name from the standpoint of these passages? It is that the Spirit is the outbreathing of God, His inmost life going forth in a personal form to quicken. When we receive the Holy Spirit, we receive the inmost life of God Himself to dwell in a personal way in us. When we really grasp this thought, it is overwhelming in its solemnity. Just stop and think what it means to have the inmost life of that infinite and eternal Being whom we call God, dwelling in a personal way in you. How solemn and how awful and yet unspeakably glorious life becomes when we realize this.
2. The thought of the Holy Spirit as "the Wind" is brought out in John iii. 6-8, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." In the Greek, it is the same word that is translated in one part of this passage "Spirit" and the other part of the passage "wind." And it would seem as if the word ought to be translated the same way in both parts of the passage. It would then read, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the 'Wind' is wind. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh or whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the 'Wind.' " The full significance of this name as applied to the Holy Spirit (or Holy Wind) it may be beyond us to fathom, but we can see at least this much of its meaning:
(1) The Spirit like the wind is sovereign. "The wind bloweth where it listeth" (John iii. 8). You cannot dictate to the wind. It does as it wills. Just so with the Holy Spirit--He is sovereign--we cannot dictate to Him. He "divides to each man" severally even "as He will" (1 Cor. xii. 11, R. V.). When the wind is blowing from the north you may long to have it blow from the south, but cry as clamorously as you may to the wind, "Blow from the south" it will keep right on blowing from the north. But while you cannot dictate to the wind, while it blows as it will, you may learn the laws that govern the wind's motions and by bringing yourself into harmony with those laws, you can get the wind to do your work. You can erect your windmill so that whichever way the wind blows from the wheels will turn and the wind will grind your grain, or pump your water. Just so, while we cannot dictate to the Holy Spirit we can learn the laws of His operations and by bringing ourselves into harmony with those laws, above all by submitting our wills absolutely to His sovereign will, the sovereign Spirit of God will work through us and accomplish His own glorious work by our instrumentality.
(2) The Spirit like the wind is invisible but none the less perceptible and real and mighty. You hear the sound of the wind (John iii. 8) but the wind itself you never see. You hear the voice of the Spirit but He Himself is ever invisible. (The word translated "sound" in John iii. 8 is the word which elsewhere is translated "voice." See R. V.) We not only hear the voice, of the wind but we see its mighty effects. We feel the breath of the wind upon our cheeks, we see the dust and the leaves blowing before the wind, we see the vessels at sea driven swiftly towards their ports; but the wind itself remains invisible. Just so with the Spirit; we feel His breath upon our souls, we see the mighty things He does, but Himself we do not see. He is invisible, but He is real and perceptible. I shall never forget a solemn hour in Chicago Avenue Church, Chicago. Dr. W. W. White was making a farewell address before going to India to work among the students there. Suddenly, without any apparent warning, the place was filled with an awful and glorious Presence. To me it was very real, but the question arose in my mind, "Is this merely subjective, just a feeling of my own, or is there an objective Presence here?" After the meeting was over, I asked different persons whether they were conscious of anything and found that at the same point in the meeting they, too, though they saw no one, became distinctly conscious of an overwhelming Presence, the Presence of the Holy Spirit. Though many years have passed, there are those who speak of that hour to this day. On another occasion in my own home at Chicago, when kneeling in prayer with an intimate friend, as we prayed it seemed as if an unseen and awful Presence entered the room. I realized what Eliphaz meant when he said, "Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up" (Job iv. 15). The moment was overwhelming, but as glorious as it was awful. These are but two illustrations of which many might be given. None of us have seen the Holy Spirit at any time, but of His presence we have been distinctly conscious again and again and again. His mighty power we have witnessed and His reality we cannot doubt. There are those who tell us that they do not believe in anything which they cannot see. Not one of them has ever seen the wind but they all believe in the wind. They have felt the wind and they have seen its effects, and just so we, beyond a question, have felt the mighty presence of the Spirit and witnessed His mighty workings.
(3) The Spirit like the wind is inscrutable. "Thou canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth." Nothing in nature is more mysterious than the wind. But more mysterious still is the Holy Spirit in His operations. We hear of how suddenly and unexpectedly in widely separated communities He begins to work His mighty work. Doubtless there are hidden reasons why He does thus begin His work, but often-times these reasons are completely undiscoverable by us. We know not whence He comes nor whither He goes. We cannot tell where next He will display His mighty and gracious power.
(4) The Spirit, like the wind, is indispensable. Without wind, that is "air in motion," there is no life and so Jesus says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." If the wind should absolutely cease to blow for a single hour, most of the life on this earth would cease to be. Time and again when the health reports of the different cities of the United States are issued, it has been found that the five healthiest cities in the United States were five cities located on the great lakes. Many have been surprised at this report when they have visited some of these cities and found that they were far from being the cleanest cities, or most sanitary in their general arrangement, and yet year after year this report has been returned. The explanation is simply this, it is the wind blowing from the lakes that has brought life and health to the cities. Just so when the Spirit ceases to blow in any heart or any church or any community, death ensues, but when the Spirit blows steadily upon the individual or the church or the community, there is abounding spiritual life and health.
(5) Closely related to the foregoing thought, like the wind the Holy Spirit is life giving. This thought comes out again and again in the Scriptures. For example, we read in John vi. 63, A. R. V., "It is the Spirit that giveth life," and in 2 Cor. iii. 6, we read, "The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life." Perhaps the most suggestive passage on this point is Ezek. xxxvii. 8, 9, 10, "And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. Then said He unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceeding great army" (cf. John iii. 5). Israel, in the prophet's vision, was only bones, very many and very dry (vs. 2, 11), until the prophet proclaimed unto them the word of God; then there was a noise and a shaking and the bones came together, bone to his bone, and the sinews and the flesh came upon the bones, but still there was no life, but when the wind blew, the breath of God's Spirit, then "they stood up upon their feet an exceeding great army." All life in the individual believer, in the teacher, the preacher, and the church is the Holy Spirit's work. You will sometimes make the acquaintance of a man, and as you hear him talk and observe his conduct, you are repelled and disgusted. Everything about him declares that he is a dead man, a moral corpse and not only dead but rapidly putrefying. You get away from him as quickly as you can. Months afterwards you meet him again. You hesitate to speak to him; you want to get out of his very presence, but you do speak to him, and he has not uttered many sentences before you notice a marvellous change. His conversation is sweet and wholesome and uplifting; everything about his manner is attractive and delightful. You soon discover that the man's whole conduct and life has been transformed. He is no longer a putrefying corpse but a living child of God. What has happened? The Wind of God has blown upon him; he has received the Holy Spirit, the Holy Wind. Some quiet Sabbath day you visit a church. Everything about the outward appointments of the church are all that could be desired. There is an attractive meeting-house, an expensive organ, a gifted choir, a scholarly preacher. The service is well arranged but you have not been long at the gathering before you are forced to see that there is no life, that it is all form, and that there is nothing really being accomplished for God or for man. You go away with a heavy heart. Months afterwards you have occasion to visit the church again; the outward appointments of the church are much as they were before but the service has not proceeded far before you note a great difference. There is a new power in the singing, a new spirit in the prayer, a new grip in the preaching, everything about the church is teeming with the life of God. What has happened? The Wind of God has blown upon that church; the Holy Spirit, the Holy Wind, has come. You go some day to hear a preacher of whose abilities you have heard great reports. As he stands up to preach you soon learn that nothing too much has been said in praise of his abilities from the merely intellectual and rhetorical standpoint. His diction is faultless, his style beautiful, his logic unimpeachable, his orthodoxy beyond criticism. It is an intellectual treat to listen to him, and yet after all as he preaches you cannot avoid a feeling of sadness, for there is no real grip, no real power, indeed no reality of any kind, in the man's preaching. You go away with a heavy heart at the thought of this waste of magnificent abilities. Months, perhaps years, pass by and you again find yourself listening to this celebrated preacher, but what a change! The same faultless diction, the same beautiful style, the same unimpeachable logic, the same skillful elocution, the same sound orthodoxy, but now there is something more, there is reality, life, grip, power in the preaching. Men and women sit breathless as he speaks, sinners bowed with tears of contrition, pricked to their hearts with conviction of sin; men and women and boys and girls renounce their selfishness, and their sin and their worldliness and accept Jesus Christ and surrender their lives to Him. What has happened? The Wind of God has blown upon that man. He has been filled with the Holy Wind.
(6) Like the wind, the Holy Spirit is irresistible. We read in Acts i. 8, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth." When this promise of our Lord was fulfilled in Stephen, we read, "And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spake." A man filled with the Holy Spirit is transformed into a cyclone. What can stand before the wind? When St. Cloud, Minn., was visited with a cyclone years ago, the wind picked up loaded freight cars and carried them away off the track. It wrenched an iron bridge from its foundations, twisted it together and hurled it away. When a cyclone later visited St. Louis, Mo., it cut off telegraph poles a foot in diameter as if they had been pipe stems. It cut off enormous trees close to the root, it cut off the corner of brick buildings where it passed as though they had been cut by a knife; nothing could stand before it; and so, nothing can stand before a Spirit-filled preacher of the Word. None can resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he speaks. The Wind of God took possession of Charles G. Finney, an obscure country lawyer, and sent him through New York State, then through New England, then through England, mowing down strong men by his resistless, Spirit-given logic. One night in Rochester, scores of lawyers, led by the justice of the Court of Appeals, filed out of the pews and bowed in the aisles and yielded their lives to God. The Wind of God took possession of D. L. Moody, an uneducated young business man in Chicago, and in the power of this resistless Wind, men and women and young people were mowed down before his words and brought in humble confession and renunciation of sin to the feet of Jesus Christ, and filled with the life of God they have been the pillars in the churches of Great Britain and throughout the world ever since. The great need to-day in individuals, in churches and in preachers is that the Wind of God blow upon us.
Much of the difficulty that many find with John iii. 5, "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God," would disappear if we would only bear in mind that "Spirit" means "Wind" and translate the verse literally all through, "Except a man be born of water and Wind (there is no 'the' in the original), he cannot enter the kingdom of God." The thought would then seem to be, "Except a man be born of the cleansing and quickening power of the Spirit (or else of the cleansing Word--cf. John xv. 3; Eph. v. 26; Jas. i. 18; 1 Pet. i. 23--and the quickening power of the Holy Spirit)."
II. The Spirit of God.
The Holy Spirit is frequently spoken of in the Bible as the Spirit of God. For example we read in 1 Cor. iii. 16, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you." In this name we have the same essential thought as in the former name, but with this addition, that His Divine origin, nature and power are emphasized. He is not merely "The Wind" as seen above, but "The Wind of God."
III. The Spirit of Jehovah.
This name is used of the Holy Spirit in Isa. xi. 2, A. R. V., "And the Spirit of Jehovah shall rest upon him." The thought of the name is, of course, essentially the same as the preceding with the exception that God is here thought of as the Covenant God of Israel. He is thus spoken of in the connection in which the name is found; and, of course, the Bible, following that unerring accuracy that it always exhibits in its use of the different names for God, in this connection speaks of the Spirit as the Spirit of Jehovah and not merely as the Spirit of God.
IV. The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah.
The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of the Lord Jehovah in Isa. lxi. 1-3, A. R. V., "The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is upon Me; because Jehovah hath anointed Me to preach good tidings to the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, etc." The Holy Spirit is here spoken of, not merely as the Spirit of Jehovah, but the Spirit of the Lord Jehovah because of the relation in which God Himself is spoken of in this connection, as not merely Jehovah, the covenant God of Israel, but as Jehovah Israel's Lord as well as their covenant-keeping God. This name of the Spirit is even more expressive than the name "The Spirit of God."
V. The Spirit of the Living God.
The Holy Spirit is called "The Spirit of the living God" in 2 Cor. iii. 3, "Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart." What is the significance of this name? It is made clear by the context. The Apostle Paul is drawing a contrast between the Word of God written with ink on parchment and the Word of God written on "tables that are hearts of flesh" (R. V.) by the Holy Spirit, who in this connection is called "the Spirit of the living God," because He makes God a living reality in our personal experience instead of a mere intellectual concept. There are many who believe in God, and who are perfectly orthodox in their conception of God, but after all God is to them only an intellectual theological proposition. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to make God something vastly more than a theological notion, no matter how orthodox; He is the Spirit of the living God, and it is His work to make God a living God to us, a Being whom we know, with whom we have personal acquaintance, a Being more real to us than the most intimate human friend we have. Have you a real God? Well, you may have. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the living God, and He is able and ready to give to you a living God, to make God real in your personal experience. There are many who have a God who once lived and acted and spoke, a God who lived and acted at the creation of the universe, who perhaps lived and acted in the days of Moses and Elijah and Jesus Christ and the Apostles, but who no longer lives and acts. If He exists at all, He has withdrawn Himself from any active part in nature or the history of man. He created nature and gave it its laws and powers and now leaves it to run itself. He created man and endowed him with his various faculties but has now left him to work out his own destiny. They may go further than this: they may believe in a God, who spoke to Abraham and to Moses and to David and to Isaiah and to Jesus and to the Apostles, but who speaks no longer. We may read in the Bible what He spoke to these various men but we cannot expect Him to speak to us. In contrast with these, it is the work of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the living God, to give us to know a God who lives and acts and speaks to-day, a God who is ready to come as near to us as He came to Abraham, to Moses or to Isaiah, or to the Apostles or to Jesus Himself. Not that He has any new revelations to make, for He guided the Apostles into all the truth (John xvi. 13, R. V.): but though there has been a complete revelation of God's truth made in the Bible, still God lives to-day and will speak to us as directly as He spoke to His chosen ones of old. Happy is the man who knows the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of the living God, and who, consequently, has a real God, a God who lives to-day, a God upon whom he can depend to-day to undertake for him, a God with whom he enjoys intimate personal fellowship, a God to whom he may raise his voice in prayer and who speaks back to him.
VI. The Spirit of Christ.
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." The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Christ. The Spirit of Christ in this passage does not mean a Christlike spirit. It means something far more than that, it means that which lies back of a Christlike spirit; it is a name of the Holy Spirit. Why is the Holy Spirit called the Spirit of Christ? For several reasons:
(1) Because He is Christ's gift. The Holy Spirit is not merely the gift of the Father, but the gift of the Son as well. We read in John xx. 22 that Jesus "breathed on them and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost." The Holy Spirit is therefore the breath of Christ, as well as the breath of God the Father. It is Christ who breathes upon us and imparts to us the Holy Spirit. In John xiv. 15 and the following verses Jesus teaches us that it is in answer to His prayer that the Father gives to us the Holy Spirit. In Acts ii. 33 we read that Jesus "Being by the right hand of God exalted and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit," shed Him forth upon believers; that is, that Jesus, having been exalted to the right hand of God, in answer to His prayer, receives the Holy Spirit from the Father and sheds forth upon the Church Him whom He hath received from the Father. In Matt. iii. 11 we read that it is Jesus who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. In John vii. 37-39 Jesus bids all that are thirsty to come unto Him and drink, and the context makes it clear that the water that He gives is the Holy Spirit, who becomes in those who receive Him a source of life and power flowing out to others. It is the glorified Christ who gives to the Church the Holy Spirit. In the fourth chapter of John and the tenth verse Jesus declares that He is the One who gives the living water, the Holy Spirit. In all these passages, Christ is set forth as the One who gives the Holy Spirit, so the Holy Spirit is called "the Spirit of Christ."
(2) But there is a deeper reason why the Holy Spirit is called "the Spirit of Christ," i. e., because it is the work of the Holy Spirit to reveal Christ to us. In John xvi. 14, R. V., we read, "He (that is the Holy Spirit) shall glorify Me: for He shall take of Mine, and shall declare it unto you." In a similar way in John xv. 26, R. V., it is written, "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 bear witness of Me." This is the work of the Holy Spirit to bear witness of Christ and reveal Jesus Christ to men. And as the revealer of Christ, He is called "the Spirit of Christ."
(3) But there is a still deeper reason yet why the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Christ, and that is because it is His work to form Christ as a living presence within us. In Eph. iii. 16, 17, the Apostle Paul prays to the Father that He would grant to believers according to the riches of His glory to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in their hearts by faith. This then is the work of the Holy Spirit, to cause Christ to dwell in our hearts, to form the living Christ within us. Just as the Holy Spirit literally and physically formed Jesus Christ in the womb of the Virgin Mary (Luke i. 35) so the Holy Spirit spiritually but really forms Jesus Christ within our hearts to-day. In John xiv. 16-18, Jesus told His disciples that when the Holy Spirit came that He Himself would come, that is, the result of the coming of the Holy Spirit to dwell in their hearts would be the coming of Christ Himself. It is the privilege of every believer in Christ to have the living Christ formed by the power of the Holy Spirit in his own heart and therefore the Holy Spirit who thus forms Christ within the heart is called the Spirit of Christ. How wonderful! How glorious is the significance of this name. Let us ponder it until we understand it, as far as it is possible to understand it, and until we rejoice exceedingly in the glory of it.
VII. The Spirit of Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Jesus Christ in Phil. i. 19, "For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ." The Spirit is not merely the Spirit of the eternal Word but the Spirit of the Word incarnate. Not merely the Spirit of Christ, but the Spirit of Jesus Christ. It is the Man Jesus exalted to the right hand of the Father who receives and sends the Spirit. So we read in Acts ii. 32, 33, "This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear."
VIII. The Spirit of Jesus.
The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Jesus in Acts xvi. 6, 7, R. V., "And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden of the Holy Ghost to speak the word in Asia; and when they were come over against Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia; and the Spirit of Jesus suffered them not." By the using of this name, "The Spirit of Jesus" the thought of the relation of the Spirit to the Man Jesus is still more clear than in the name preceding this, the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
IX. The Spirit of His Son.
The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of His Son in Gal. iv. 6, "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." We see from the context (vs. 4, 5) that this name is given to the Holy Spirit in special connection with His testifying to the sonship of the believer. It is "the Spirit of His Son" who testifies to our sonship. The thought is that the Holy Spirit is a filial Spirit, a Spirit who produces a sense of sonship in us. If we receive the Holy Spirit, we no longer think of God as if we were serving under constraint and bondage but we are sons living in joyous liberty. We do not fear God, we trust Him and rejoice in Him. When we receive the Holy Spirit, we do not receive a Spirit of bondage again to fear but a Spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba, Father (Rom. viii. 15). This name of the Holy Spirit is one of the most suggestive of all. We do well to ponder it long until we realize the glad fullness of its significance. We shall take it up again when we come to study the work of the Holy Spirit.
X. The Holy Spirit.
This name is of very frequent occurrence, and the name with which most of us are most familiar. One of the most familiar passages in which the name is used is Luke xi. 13, "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?" This name emphasizes the essential moral character of the Spirit. He is holy in Himself. We are so familiar with the name that we neglect to weigh its significance. Oh, if we only realized more deeply and constantly that He is the Holy Spirit. We would do well if we, as the seraphim in Isaiah's vision, would bow in His presence and cry, "Holy, holy, holy." Yet how thoughtlessly oftentimes we talk about Him and pray for Him. We pray for Him to come into our churches and into our hearts but what would He find if He should come there? Would He not find much that would be painful and agonizing to Him? What would we think if vile women from the lowest den of iniquity in a great city should go to the purest woman in the city and invite her to come and live with them in their disgusting vileness with no intention of changing their evil ways. But that would not be as shocking as for you and me to ask the Holy Spirit to come and dwell in our hearts when we have no thought of giving up our impurity, or our selfishness, or our worldliness, or our sin. It would not be as shocking as it is for us to invite the Holy Spirit to come into our churches when they are full of worldliness and selfishness and contention and envy and pride, and all that is unholy. But if the denizens of the lowest and vilest den of infamy should go to the purest and most Christlike woman asking her to go and dwell with them with the intention of putting away everything that was vile and evil and giving to this holy and Christlike woman the entire control of the place, she would go. And as sinful and selfish and imperfect as we may be, the infinitely Holy Spirit is ready to come and take His dwelling in our heart if we will surrender to Him the absolute control of our lives, and allow Him to bring everything in thought and fancy and feeling and purpose and imagination and action into conformity with His will. The infinitely Holy Spirit is ready to come into our churches, however imperfect and worldly they may be now, if we are willing to put the absolute control of everything in His hands. But let us never forget that He is the Holy Spirit, and when we pray for Him let us pray for Him as such.
XI. The Holy Spirit of Promise.
The Holy Spirit is called the Holy Spirit of promise in Eph. i. 13, R. V., "In whom ye also, having heard the Word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation,--in whom, having also believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise." We have here the same name as that given above with the added thought that this Holy Spirit is the great promise of the Father and of the Son. The Holy Spirit is God's great all-inclusive promise for the present dispensation; the one thing for which Jesus bade the disciples wait after His ascension before they undertook His work was "the promise of the Father," that is the Holy Spirit (Acts i. 4, 5). The great promise of the Father until the coming of Christ was the coming atoning Saviour and King, but when Jesus came and died His atoning death upon the cross of Calvary and arose and ascended to the right hand of the Father, then the second great promise of the Father was the Holy Spirit to take the place of our absent Lord. (See also Acts ii. 33.)
XII. The Spirit of Holiness.
The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of holiness in Rom. i. 4, "And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." At the first glance it may seem as if there were no essential difference between the two names the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of holiness. But there is a marked difference. The name of the Holy Spirit, as already said, emphasizes the essential moral character of the Spirit as holy, but the name of the Spirit of holiness brings out the thought that the Holy Spirit is not merely holy in Himself but He imparts holiness to others. The perfect holiness which He Himself possesses He imparts to those who receive Him (cf. 1 Pet. i. 2).
XIII. The Spirit of Judgment.
The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of judgment in Isa. iv. 4, "When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the Spirit of judgment, and by the Spirit of burning." There are two names of the Holy Spirit in this passage; first, the Spirit of judgment. The Holy Spirit is so called because it is His work to bring sin to light, to convict of sin (cf. John xvi. 7-9). When the Holy Spirit comes to us the first thing that He does is to open our eyes to see our sins as God sees them. He judges our sin. (We will go into this more at length in studying John xvi. 7-11 when considering the work of the Holy Spirit.)
XIV. The Spirit of Burning.
This name is used in the passage just quoted above. (See XIII.) This name emphasizes His searching, refining, dross-consuming, illuminating and energizing work. The Holy Spirit is like a fire in the heart in which He dwells; and as fire tests and refines and consumes and illuminates and warms and energizes, so does He. In the context, it is the cleansing work of the Holy Spirit which is especially emphasized (Isa. iv. 3, 4).
XV. The Spirit of Truth.
The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of truth in John xiv. 17, "Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him; but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you" (cf. John xv. 26; xvi. 13). The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of truth because it is the work of the Holy Spirit to communicate truth, to impart truth, to those who receive Him. This comes out in the passage given above, and, if possible, it comes out even more clearly 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." All truth is from the Holy Spirit. It is only as He teaches us that we come to know the truth.
XVI. The Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding.
The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of wisdom and understanding in Isa. xi. 2, "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 of the fear of the LORD." The significance of the name is so plain as to need no explanation. It is evident both from the words used and from the context that it is the work of the Holy Spirit to impart wisdom and understanding to those who receive Him. Those who receive the Holy Spirit receive the Spirit "of power" and "of love" and "of a sound mind" or sound sense (2 Tim. i. 7).
XVII. The Spirit of Counsel and Might.
We find this name used of the Holy Spirit in the passage given under the preceding head. The meaning of this name too is obvious, the Holy Spirit is called "the Spirit of counsel and of might" because He gives us counsel in all our plans and strength to carry them out (cf. Acts viii. 29; xvi. 6, 7; i. 8). It is our privilege to have God's own counsel in all our plans and God's strength in all the work that we undertake for Him. We receive them by receiving the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of counsel and might.
XVIII. The Spirit of Knowledge and of the Fear of the Lord.
This name also is used in the passage given above (Isa. xi. 2). The significance of this name is also obvious. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to impart knowledge to us and to beget in us a reverence for Jehovah, that reverence that reveals itself above all in obedience to His commandments. The one who receives the Holy Spirit finds his delight in the fear of the LORD. (See Isa. xi. 3, R. V.) The three suggestive names just given refer especially to the gracious work of the Holy Spirit in the servant of the Lord, that is Jesus Christ (Isa. xi. 1-5).
XIX. The Spirit of Life.
The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of life in Rom. viii. 2, "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of life because it is His work to impart life (cf. John vi. 63, R. V.; Ezek. xxxvii. 1-10). In the context in which the name is found in the passage given above, beginning back in the seventh chapter of Romans, seventh verse, Paul is drawing a contrast between the law of Moses outside a man, holy and just and good, it is true, but impotent, and the living Spirit of God in the heart, imparting spiritual and moral life to the believer and enabling him thus to meet the requirements of the law of God, so that what the law alone could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, the Spirit of God imparting life to the believer and dwelling in the heart enables him to do, so that the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in those who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. (See Rom. viii. 2-4.) The Holy Spirit is therefore called "the Spirit of life," because He imparts spiritual life and consequent victory over sin to those who receive Him.
XX. The Oil of Gladness.
The Holy Spirit is called the "oil of gladness" in Heb. i. 9, "Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." Some one may ask what reason have we for supposing that "the oil of gladness" in this passage is a name of the Holy Spirit. The answer is found in a comparison of Heb. i. 9, with Acts x. 38 and Luke iv. 18. In Acts x. 38 we read "how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power," and in Luke iv. 18, Jesus Himself is recorded as saying, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor," etc. In both of these passages, we are told it was the Holy Spirit with which Jesus was anointed and as in the passage in Hebrews we are told that it was with the oil of gladness that He was anointed; so, of course, the only possible conclusion is that the oil of gladness means the Holy Spirit. What a beautiful and suggestive name it is for Him whose fruit is, first, "love" then "joy" (Gal. v. 22). The Holy Spirit becomes a source of boundless joy to those who receive Him; He so fills and satisfies the soul, that the soul who receives Him does not thirst forever (John iv. 14). No matter how great the afflictions with which the believer receives the Word, still he will have "the joy of the Holy Ghost" (1 Thess. i. 6). On the Day of Pentecost, when the disciples were baptized with the Holy Spirit, they were so filled with ecstatic joy that others looking on them thought they were intoxicated. They said, "These men are full of new wine." And Paul draws a comparison between abnormal intoxication that comes through excess of wine and the wholesome exhilaration from which there is no reaction that comes through being filled with the Spirit (Eph. v. 18-20). When God anoints one with the Holy Spirit, it is as if He broke a precious alabaster box of oil of gladness above their heads until it ran down to the hem of their garments and the whole person was suffused with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
XXI. The Spirit of Grace.
The Holy Spirit is called "the Spirit of grace" in Heb. x. 29, "Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden underfoot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?" This name brings out the fact that it is the Holy Spirit's work to administer and apply the grace of God: He Himself is gracious, it is true, but the name means far more than that, it means that He makes ours experimentally the manifold grace of God. It is only by the work of the Spirit of grace in our hearts that we are enabled to appropriate to ourselves that infinite fullness of grace that God has, from the beginning, bestowed upon us in Jesus Christ. It is ours from the beginning, as far as belonging to us is concerned, but it is only ours experimentally as we claim it by the power of the Spirit of grace.
XXII. The Spirit of Grace and of Supplication.
The Holy Spirit is called "the Spirit of grace and of supplication" in Zech. xii. 10, R. V., "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication; and they shall look unto Me whom they have pierced: and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for his first-born." The phrase, "the Spirit of grace and of supplication" in this passage is beyond a doubt a name of the Holy Spirit. The name "the Spirit of grace" we have already had under the preceding head, but here there is a further thought of that operation of grace that leads us to pray intensely. The Holy Spirit is so called because it is He that teaches to pray because all true prayer is in the Spirit (Jude 20). We of ourselves know not how to pray as we ought, but it is the work of the Holy Spirit of intercession to make intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered and to lead us out in prayer according to the will of God (Rom. viii. 26, 27). The secret of all true and effective praying is knowing the Holy Spirit as "the Spirit of grace and of supplication."
XXIII. The Spirit of Glory.
The Holy Spirit is called "the Spirit of glory" in 1 Pet. iv. 14, "If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified." This name does not merely teach that the Holy Spirit is infinitely glorious Himself, but it rather teaches that He imparts the glory of God to us, just as the Spirit of truth imparts truth to us, and as the Spirit of life imparts life to us, and as the Spirit of wisdom and understanding and of counsel and might and knowledge and of the fear of the LORD imparts to us wisdom and understanding and counsel and might and knowledge and the fear of the LORD, and as the Spirit of grace applies and administers to us the manifold grace of God, so the Spirit of glory is the administrator to us of God's glory. In the immediately preceding verse we read, "But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings: that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy." It is in this connection that He is called the Spirit of glory. We find a similar connection between the sufferings which we endure and the glory which the Holy Spirit imparts to us in Rom. viii. 16, 17, "The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified with Him." The Holy Spirit is the administrator of glory as well as of grace, or rather of the grace that culminates in glory.
XXIV. The Eternal Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is called "the eternal Spirit" in Heb. ix. 14, "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God." The eternity and the Deity and infinite majesty of the Holy Spirit are brought out by this name.
XXV. The Comforter.
The Holy Spirit is called "the Comforter" over and over again in the Scriptures. For example in John xiv. 26, we read, "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." And in John xv. 26, "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." (See also John xvi. 27.) The word translated "Comforter" in these passages means that, but it means much more beside. It is a word difficult of adequate translation into any one word in English. The translators of the Revised Version found difficulty in deciding with what word to render the Greek word so translated. They have suggested in the margin of the Revised Version "advocate" "helper" and a simple transference of the Greek word into English, "Paraclete." The word translated "Comforter" means literally, "one called to another's side," the idea being, one right at hand to take another's part. It is the same word that is translated "advocate" in 1 John ii. 1, "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." But "advocate," as we now understand it, does not give the full force of the Greek word so rendered. Etymologically "advocate" means nearly the same thing. Advocate is Latin ("advocatus") and it means "one called to another to take his part," but in our modern usage, the word has acquired a restricted meaning. The Greek word translated "Comforter" (Parakleetos) means "one called alongside," that is one called to stand constantly by one's side and who is ever ready to stand by us and take our part in everything in which his help is needed. It is a wonderfully tender and expressive name for the Holy One. Sometimes when we think of the Holy Spirit, He seems to be so far away, but when we think of the Parakleetos, or in plain English our "Stand-byer" or our "part-taker," how near He is. Up to the time that Jesus made this promise to the disciples, He Himself had been their Parakleetos. When they were in any emergency or difficulty they turned to Him. On one occasion, for example, the disciples were in doubt as to how to pray and they turned to Jesus and said, "Lord, teach us to pray." And the Lord taught them the wonderful prayer that has come down through the ages (Luke xi. 1-4). On another occasion, Peter was sinking in the waves of Galilee and he cried, "Lord, save me," and immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand and caught him and saved him (Matt. xiv. 30, 31). In every extremity they turned to Him. Just so now that Jesus is gone to the Father, we have another Person, just as Divine as He is, just as wise as He, just as strong as He, just as loving as He, just as tender as He, just as ready and just as able to help, who is always right by our side. Yes, better yet, who dwells in our heart, who will take hold and help if we only trust Him to do it.
If the truth of the Holy Spirit as set forth in the name "Parakleetos" once gets into our heart and abides there, it will banish all loneliness forever; for how can we ever be lonely when this best of all Friends is ever with us? In the last eight years, I have been called upon to endure what would naturally be a very lonely life. Most of the time I am separated from wife and children by the calls of duty. For eighteen months consecutively, I was separated from almost all my family by many thousands of miles. The loneliness would have been unendurable were it not for the one all-sufficient Friend, who was always with me. I recall one night walking up and down the deck of a storm-tossed steamer in the South Seas. Most of my family were 18,000 miles away; the remaining member of my family was not with me. The officers were busy on the bridge, and I was pacing the deck alone, and the thought came to me, "Here you are all alone." Then another thought came, "I am not alone; by my side as I walk this deck in the loneliness and the storm walks the Holy Spirit" and He was enough. I said something like this once at a Bible conference in St. Paul. A doctor came to me at the close of the meeting and gently said, "I want to thank you for that thought about the Holy Spirit always being with us. I am a doctor. Oftentimes I have to drive far out in the country in the night and storm to attend a case, and I have often been so lonely, but I will never be lonely again. I will always know that by my side in my doctor's carriage, the Holy Spirit goes with me."
If this thought of the Holy Spirit as the ever-present Paraclete once gets into your heart and abides there, it will banish all fear forever. How can we be afraid in the face of any peril, if this Divine One is by our side to counsel us and to take our part? There may be a howling mob about us, or a lowering storm, it matters not. He stands between us and both mob and storm. One night I had promised to walk four miles to a friend's house after an evening session of a conference. The path led along the side of a lake. As I started for my friend's house, a thunder-storm was coming up. I had not counted on this but as I had promised, I felt I ought to go. The path led along the edge of the lake, oftentimes very near to the edge, sometimes the lake was near the path and sometimes many feet below. The night was so dark with the clouds one could not see ahead. Now and then there would be a blinding flash of lightning in which you could see where the path was washed away, and then it would be blacker than ever. You could hear the lake booming below. It seemed a dangerous place to walk but that very week, I had been speaking upon the Personality of the Holy Spirit and about the Holy Spirit as an ever-present Friend, and the thought came to me, "What was it you were telling the people in the address about the Holy Spirit as an ever-present Friend?" And then I said to myself, "Between me and the boiling lake and the edge of the path walks the Holy Spirit," and I pushed on fearless and glad. When we were in London, a young lady attended the meeting one afternoon in the Royal Albert Hall. She had an abnormal fear of the dark. It was absolutely impossible for her to go into a dark room alone, but the thought of the Holy Spirit as an ever-present Friend sank into her mind. She went home and told her mother what a wonderful thought she had heard that day, and how it had banished forever all fear from her. It was already growing very dark in the London winter afternoon and her mother looked up and said, "Very well, let us see if it is real. Go up to the top of the house and shut yourself alone in a dark room." She instantly sprang to her feet, bounded up the stairs, went into a room that was totally dark and shut the door and sat down. All fear was gone, and as she wrote the next day, the whole room seemed to be filled with a wonderful glory, the glory of the presence of the Holy Spirit.
In the thought of the Holy Spirit as the Paraclete there is also a cure for insomnia. For two awful years, I suffered from insomnia. Night after night I would go to bed apparently almost dead for sleep; it seemed as though I must sleep, but I could not sleep; oh, the agony of those two years! It seemed as if I would lose my mind if I did not get relief. Relief came at last and for years I went on without the suggestion of trouble from insomnia. Then one night I retired to my room in the Institute, lay down expecting to fall asleep in a moment as I usually did, but scarcely had my head touched the pillow when I became aware that insomnia was back again. If one has ever had it, he never forgets it and never mistakes it. It seemed as if insomnia were sitting on the foot-board of my bed, grinning at me and saying, "I am back again for another two years." "Oh," I thought, "two more awful years of insomnia." But that very morning, I had been lecturing to our students in the Institute about the Personality of the Holy Spirit and about the Holy Spirit as an ever-present Friend, and at once the thought came to me, "What were you talking to the students about this morning? What were you telling them?" and I looked up and said, "Thou blessed Spirit of God, Thou art here. I am not alone. If Thou hast anything to say to me, I will listen," and He began to open to me some of the deep and precious things about my Lord and Saviour, things, that filled my soul with joy and rest, and the next thing I knew I was asleep and the next thing I knew it was to-morrow morning. So whenever insomnia has come my way since, I have simply remembered that the Holy Spirit was there and I have looked up to Him to speak to me and to teach me and He has done so and insomnia has taken its flight.
In the thought of the Holy Spirit as the Paraclete there is a cure for a breaking heart. How many aching, breaking hearts there are in this world of ours, so full of death and separation from those we most dearly love. How many a woman there is, who a few years ago, or a few months or a few weeks ago, had no care, no worry, for by her side was a Christian husband who was so wise and strong that the wife rested all responsibility upon him and she walked care-free through life and satisfied with his love and companionship. But one awful day, he was taken from her. She was left alone and all the cares and responsibilities rested upon her. How empty that heart has been ever since; how empty the whole world has been. She has just dragged through her life and her duties as best she could with an aching and almost breaking heart. But there is One, if she only knew it, wiser and more loving than the tenderest husband, One willing to bear all the care and responsibilities of life for her, One who is able, if, she will only let Him, to fill every nook and corner of her empty and aching heart; that One is the Paraclete. I said something like this in St. Andrews' Hall in Glasgow. At the close of the meeting a sad-faced Christian woman, wearing a widow's garb, came to me as I stepped out of the hall into the reception room. She hurried to me and said, "Dr. Torrey, this is the anniversary of my dear husband's death. Just one year ago to-day he was taken from me. I came to-day to see if you could not speak some word to help me. You have given me just the word I need. I will never be lonesome again." A year and a half passed by. I was on the yacht of a friend on the lochs of the Clyde. One day a little boat put out from shore and came alongside the yacht. One of the first to come up the side of the yacht was this widow. She hurried to me and the first thing she said was, "The thought that you gave me that day in St. Andrews' Hall on the anniversary of my husband's leaving me has been with me ever since, and the Holy Spirit does satisfy me and fill my heart."
But it is in our work for our Master that the thought of the Holy Spirit as the Paraclete comes with greatest helpfulness. I think it may be permissible to illustrate it from my own experience. I entered the ministry because I was literally forced to. For years I refused to be a Christian, because I was determined that I would not be a preacher, and I feared that if I surrendered to Christ I must enter the ministry. My conversion turned upon my yielding to Him at this point. The night I yielded, I did not say, "I will accept Christ" or "I will give up sin," or anything of that sort, I simply cried, "Take this awful burden off my heart, and I will preach the Gospel." But no one could be less fitted by natural temperament for the ministry than I. From early boyhood, I was extraordinarily timid and bashful. Even after I had entered Yale College, when I would go home in the summer and my mother would call me in to meet her friends, I was so frightened that when I thought I spoke I did not make an audible sound. When her friends had gone, my mother would ask, "Why didn't you say something to them?" And I would reply that I supposed I had, but my mother would say, "You did not utter a sound." Think of a young fellow like that entering the ministry. I never mustered courage even to speak in a public prayer-meeting until after I was in the theological seminary. Then I felt, if I was to enter the ministry, I must be able to at least speak in a prayer-meeting. I learned a little piece by heart to say, but when the hour came, I forgot much of it in my terror. At the critical moment, I grasped the back of the settee in front of me and pulled myself hurriedly to my feet and held on to the settee. One Niagara seemed to be going up one side and another down another; my voice faltered. I repeated as much as I could remember and sat down. Think of a man like that entering the ministry. In the early days of my ministry, I would write my sermons out in full and commit them to memory, stand up and twist a button until I had repeated it off as best I could and would then sink back into the pulpit chair with a sense of relief that that was over for another week. I cannot tell you what I suffered in those early days of my ministry. But the glad day came when I came to know the Holy Spirit as the Paraclete. When the thought got possession of me that when I stood up to preach, there was Another who stood by my side, that while the audience saw me God saw Him, and that the responsibility was all upon Him, and that He was abundantly able to meet it and care for it all, and that all I had to do was to stand back as far out of sight as possible and let Him do the work. I have no dread of preaching now; preaching is the greatest joy of my life, and sometimes when I stand up to speak and realize that He is there, that all the responsibility is upon Him, such a joy fills my heart that I can scarce restrain myself from shouting and leaping. He is just as ready to help us in all our work; in our Sunday-school classes; in our personal work and in every other line of Christian effort. Many hesitate to speak to others about accepting Christ. They are afraid they will not say the right thing; they fear that they will do more harm than they will good. You certainly will if you do it, but if you will just believe in the Paraclete and trust Him to say it and to say it in His way, you will never do harm but always good. It may seem at the time that you have accomplished nothing, but perhaps years after you will find out you have accomplished much and even if you do not find it out in this world, you will find it out in eternity.
There are many ways in which the Paraclete stands by us and helps us of which we will speak at length when we come to study His work. He stands by us when we pray (Rom. viii. 26, 27); when we study the Word (John xiv. 26; xvi. 12-14); when we do personal work (Acts viii. 29); when we preach or teach (1 Cor. ii. 4); when we are tempted (Rom. viii. 2); when we leave this world (Acts vii. 54-60). Let us get this thought firmly fixed now and for all time that the Holy Spirit is One called to our side to take our part.
"Ever present, truest Friend, Ever near, Thine aid to lend."