John 16:7 (TPT)
“But here’s the truth: It’s to your advantage that I go away, for if I don’t go away the Divine Encourager will not be released to you. But after I depart, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will expose sin and prove that the world is wrong about God’s righteousness and his judgements.”
Before His crucifixion, Jesus was preparing the disciples for life without Him, at least in His tangible form. Can you imagine what they must have been feeling? For the last three years, they had spent virtually every waking moment with Christ. In fact, they had spent most of their sleeping moments in His presence. The 13 of them had traveled together, eaten together, worked together, and done everything else. Suddenly, Christ reminds them that the purpose for His arrival on Earth was nearing its crescendo.
Obviously, they were going to miss their friend. While they had accepted Him as their Savior, they also knew Him as their friend. They also had to be scared. What was life going to look like for them when Jesus was gone? When they arrived in different towns, He was the person everyone wanted to see. He was the one who had the power to heal, deliver, and work miracles. What would happen to them without Him?
The Word of Promise Audio Bible – New King James Version, NKJV: Complete Bible
In order to calm their fears, Jesus told them that He was going to send the Holy Spirit. Moreover, He told them that it would be better for them if He went away. That concept had to seem confusing to them. Jesus told them that the Holy Spirit living inside them was better than Him living alongside them.
With that in mind, the Holy Spirit continues to be the most misunderstood member of the Godhead. Not only do we underestimate His importance, but we also struggle to understand His purpose. Today, discover more about the purposes of the Holy Spirit by looking at some of the names that refer to Him in Scripture.
The Breath of God
Job 33:4 (NIV)
The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”
In Genesis 2:7, God breathed the “breath of life” into Adam after forming him out of the dust of the earth. While we’re not going to spend today’s study learning about ancient Hebrew and Greek words, this one is worth noting. The term “breath” in the original text is “pneuma.” Generations after Adam was created, Job referenced the same breath (or “pneuma”) that gave him life.
Breath as Prayer: Calm Your Anxiety, Focus Your Mind, and Renew Your Soul
Job said that the Holy Spirit had given him life during a period where he had to feel like he was barely hanging on. He had lost all of his livestock, buried ten of his children, was ridiculed by his friends, and had his wife telling him that he would be better off dead. There was so much going wrong in Job’s life, he had to feel like he was slowly fading away.
While you’ve likely never faced the level of adversity that Job faced, you’ve probably felt like you couldn’t take much more. Have you felt like what you were facing was “killing you?” If so, you’ve felt what Job felt.
In those moments, the Holy Spirit breathes new life into us. The same breath that brought Adam out of the dust, and the same breath that brought Job out of his tumultuous time can breathe new life into us, resurrecting us, and restoring us.
The Spirit of Grace
Zechariah 12:10 (NIV)
“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”
God’s grace is the strongest force in the history of humanity. It was grace that allowed David to repent of the sin he committed with Bathsheba so he could carry out the call that God had on his life. It was grace that took Matthew from a crooked tax collector to a disciple. It was grace that allowed the thief on the cross beside Christ to be granted entry into Heaven after he died. It was grace that took us from the miry pit of sin that we used to live in, bringing us into the family of God.
One of the terms for the Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of Grace.” As was the case with most of the prophets in the Old Testament, God was sending a message to His people who had been taken into captivity. Their captivity was the result of their own disobedience. God didn’t give up on them, instead choosing to pour the “Spirit of Grace” out on them. He does the same for us.
Once we embrace and receive the Spirit of Grace, He motivates us to show grace to others. The Spirit of Grace that leads to our own divine forgiveness allows us to forgive others the way that God wants us to.
John 14:26 (RSV)
“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
The term “Counselor” as used in this context can also be translated as “Advocate.” In fact, there are some Bible translations that use that term in this passage. The word itself refers to a legal representative. Even in today’s terminology, you have likely heard lawyers referred to as “counselors.” You’ve probably also heard them referred to as “advocates” for their clients.
When Christ said that the Holy Spirit would be our Counselor, He was declaring two different purposes of the Spirit. First of all, the Holy Spirit serves as a type of intermediary. While we know that Jesus Christ is referred to as our “Advocate with the Father,” the Holy Spirit is also the proof that we belong to God. When God sees us, He sees His Holy Spirit living inside us. With that in mind, when we falter and come up short, God chooses to give us grace because we are His.
The concept of the Holy Spirit being our Counselor doesn’t stop there. He also reveals our own sinful nature to us. Before you were saved, it was the Holy Spirit who stirred something inside you, causing you to recognize your own need for a Savior (John 6:44). After we enter into God’s family, the Holy Spirit prompts us to recognize when we sin.
When you tell a lie, lose your temper, harbor bitterness, or commit any other sin, you immediately feel a sense of guilt. That is the Holy Spirit working in your life, advising you of the sin that you’ve committed.
A Closing Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit. I know that He is actively working in my life at all times. Thank You for the works that He performs inside me. I know that You, through Your Holy Spirit, are turning me into the Christian that You want me to be. Help me to recognize His presence. Help me to submit to His leadership. If there are any areas in my life that are not fully submitted to Him, allow Him to reveal them so I can make the changes that I need to make. In Christ’s name, Amen.