August 22, 2017

We Are Not Alone

We have not been left alone on this earth, to toil and strive for Christ without help. Rather, we have been given “another Helper” to guide us and carry us and strengthen us on our journey in this world.

What a comfort these words of Christ are for us as believers:

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17).

Let’s look at the surrounding context of this passage.

Christ has just told His disciples that He would be departing to a place where they could not yet follow. His death on the cross was almost at hand, and soon after that He would be caught up with His Father in heaven. But He offers them comfort, telling them that they will not be left alone after His departure. He says they will receive “another Helper.” The word “another” here implies “another of exactly the same kind” – another Helper just like Christ! In a sense, the disciples actually benefited from Christ’s ascension into heaven, for they then received the unseen Helper of the Holy Spirit, who would dwell in each of them constantly during their time on earth (unlike the physical Christ, who was only in one place at a time).

Every believer since Christ’s ascension into heaven has received this Holy Spirit – He dwells in each of us until the day we are fully redeemed. He has been given as a promise or a guarantee of that redemption:

“And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee” (1 Corinthians 1:21-22).

“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14).

So we have this Holy Spirit as a promise, a constant reminder of our guaranteed future redemption. But His purpose goes far beyond being simply a reminder. He is given to us at the moment of salvation, and He continues in us, whether we follow His leading or turn away from Him.

No true believer can ever lose the precious indwelling of the Holy Spirit; in fact, the absence of the Spirit (seen by the absence of His works in a person’s life), is proof of that person’s unbelief, as is stated in Romans 8:9 – “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” This Spirit is one of the greatest gifts ever given to the true disciple!

Consider just a few of the things He does for us, to help us:

He teaches us: “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you” (John 16:13-14).

He assures us: “… but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:15-16).

He prays for us: “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27).

He helps us minister: “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7). Consider the lists of gifts recorded in Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, 28-30; and Ephesians 4:11-12.

He fills us: “… but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:18-21). Consider some of the aspects of His filling in Galatians 5:22-23 and Ephesians 4:30-32.

What a comfort it is to have this constant Companion, this ever-present Helper, as we toil through the difficulties of this life. What a privilege to have His unfailing guidance and direction as we seek to make decisions, to have His peace-giving assurance as we fight off the doubts of the devil, to have His constant intercession for us as we struggle in our weaknesses. What a joy to have Him fill us and control us, to help us live Christ-honoring lives of ministry to our fellow believers and of obedience and praise before God.

Fellow believers, we are not alone in this world!