Monday, August 16, 2010

The Dove

Occasionally I hear preachers and teachers propose that "the Holy Spirit is the most neglected member of the Trinity," and "there's not enough teaching about the Holy Spirit."

I'm sure there's truth in these notions, and an adequate appreciation and understanding of the Holy Spirit's presence and role in our lives is a good thing.

However, I suspect that the Holy Spirit Himself has at least something to do with the supposed neglect.

"Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you" (John 16:13-14).
"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" (John 15:26).

The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are coequals in substance, personhood, and importance as the personalities of the godhead. They nevertheless serve different roles. In the case of the Holy Spirit, His function is to direct our attention to the Lord Jesus Christ and His relationship with His Father. Numerous passages in the New Testament confirm this, passages wherein the Father and the Son are spotlighted by the Holy Spirit's direct inspiration, but with no mention of Himself.

"This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent" (John 17:3).

Where is the Spirit of God in this definitive declaration? He is in the very inspiration of the words, but with no mention of Himself in one of the most vital teachings of the New Testament. This tells us something about the function and ministry of the Holy Spirit, namely, "He shall not speak of Himself... He shall glorify Me... He shall testify of Me."

If there is neglect about the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, much of it relates to this truth of His self-deference. Personally, I find this so beautiful that I never think about it without tears coming to my eyes. The blessed Dove of the Godhead ever and forever works so quietly and unobtrusively, and in such deference to the Father and Son, that He inspired an entire Word of God that contains no systematic "doctrine of the Holy Spirit." This is precisely as He would have it to be. Therefore, when we hear about "too little teaching on the Holy Spirit," we do well to consider that He Himself may be leading us, as His Bible plainly states and implies, to focus rather on the Father and the Son.

Few truths will cause us to more understand, appreciate, and love the Spirit of God. The beauty of His humble character is sublime, and it is His indwelling presence in believers that makes our faith real and living and true and dynamic and consciously known. On rare occasions, His manifest presence will accompany His working in our lives. The norm, however, is "a still, small voice" (I Kings 19:12). Little wonder then that the Bible refers to the Holy Spirit's presence within us as a "gift" (Acts 2:38). Because it is hard to imagine any bestowal of God more wonderful than being spiritually united with Someone so beautiful in heart, character, and manner.

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance."
(Galatians 5:22-23)

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