The Spirit of Truth

John 14:16‑17  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 9
H. D. R. Jameson
“I will pray the Father; and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; 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” (John 14:16-1716And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17Even 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. (John 14:16‑17)).
In chapters 13 to 16 of John’s Gospel, we have the words of instruction and comfort addressed by our blessed Lord to His sorrowing disciples in view of the period of His present absence on high. In each of these chapters, save the first, the coming of the “Spirit of Truth” is presented in differing connections: let us look a little now at His coming as presented in the 14th chapter in the verses above quoted.
Jesus was going away; He could not abide with the disciples forever: the claims alike of infinite love and infinite holiness necessitated His departure in a way they could not then understand, and sorrow filled their hearts. But He would pray the Father, and in response to that prayer the Father would send to them another Comforter, even the Spirit of Truth; and, mark, He abides with us forever. How precious to know that His presence with us today is the immediate result of the prayer of Jesus on our behalf!
The title given to the Holy Spirit here as “The Spirit of Truth” is full of significance, occurring as it does just after the Lord Jesus had spoken of Himself as “the Truth” (verse 6). Christ is “the Truth”: in Him God is fully declared; and, moreover, in the light of the full shining forth of God in Him, all things are seen in their true relative positions. In Christ therefore the whole range of truth is presented objectively before us for the faith of our souls.
But this is infinite, and hence we can understand the need of a power within commensurate with the greatness of the revelation without and this we have in the Spirit of Truth in us and with us; for the Spirit of Truth is the power and light and witness in us subjectively of all that Christ is objectively as “ the Truth.”(He is more indeed than the power of it, for, on the subjective side, He is the thing itself. He is” Truth” — 1 John, 5:6).
Now the coming of the Spirit of Truth, as presented in this scripture, brings immediately to view, in the most striking contrast, two distinct and sharply defined circles, namely, the “world” and the “you.” His coming and presence marks out these two circles in a distinction the one from the other which is vital and eternal. They cannot overlap.
There is on the one hand the “world”: it does not, indeed cannot, receive the Spirit of Truth, for it “seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him.” On the other hand in blessed contrast we have the “you”: the divine circle here on earth where the Spirit dwells. Of these it can be said “ye know Him, for He dwelleth with you and shall be in you.”
“In” is an explanation setting forth the way the Spirit would be with them: He was not to be external to themselves, as Jesus was whilst with them, but He would be with them by being in them. But the great thought in the passage is that whereas Christ could not remain with them, the Spirit of Truth, who was to come, would abide with them forever.
He would be with them moreover as the Spirit of Truth. In the “world” there is not one ray of divine light, but in the divine circle here on earth (the “you” of this verse) the truth and light of God are known, enjoyed and set forth; for there the Spirit of Truth dwells, maintaining in the hearts of all in that circle the glorious light of Him who is — “the Truth.”
We have before us then but the two circles, the world on the one hand and the Christian circle on the other; and this brings us in the very simplest and most elementary way to what is collective. “He dwelleth with you”: that is the divine circle on earth. Though every believer is indwelt, yet we are not indwelt by the Spirit as so many isolated units; the whole Christian company is in view.
Now this truth is of the greatest practical importance and worthy of earnest attention and consideration, for if we would have the unhindered gain of the Spirit’s presence here, our minds must have the same outlook as His, and our service contemplate no smaller circle than that in which He dwells, and which is the sphere of His marvelous operations — that wide and blessed circle within the everlasting affections of Christ in whose Name He comes (vs. 16).
The Lord grant it may be so, for His Name’s sake!