Your word is a lamp
for my feet and a light
for my path.
Psalms 119:105

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The Spirit of God

"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God ...Ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God." Rom. 8:14-16

"And it shall come to pass, afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh." Joel 2:28

THE GREAT work of the Atonement could not be properly considered, nor clearly understood, if the work of the holy Spirit, in connection therewith, were overlooked or ignored. The holy Spirit has much to do with the presentation of the Atonement--making manifest to the believer the divine forgiveness, as well as guiding him into full reconciliation of heart to God. It was under the begetting influence of the holy Spirit, received by our Lord Jesus at his baptism, at the beginning of his ministry, that his consecrated heart was enabled to see clearly and distinctly the Father's will, the proper course, the narrow way of sacrifice, and to appreciate the exceeding great and precious promises, whose fulfilment lay beyond his humiliation, ignominy and death at Calvary. By the holy Spirit, therefore, our Redeemer was enabled to perform his great work, being guided thereby to do that which was pleasing and acceptable before the Father, and which provided the ransom for all humanity. Similarly the holy Spirit is identified with the Church: all who have accepted the merits of the great sin-offering, and who have come unto the Father through the merit of the Son's sacrifice, and who have presented themselves living sacrifices, in harmony with the high calling to the divine nature held out to such during the Gospel age, have needed and had the holy Spirit's aid. Only in proportion as any receive the holy Spirit of God are they able to come into proper lines of fellowship with the Father, and with the Son, so as to be able to "prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God," and to do it. Only by the holy Spirit are we guided beyond the mere letter of the divine testimony, into a true appreciation of "the deep things of God," and all those things which God hath in reservation for them that love him, which the human eye hath not seen, the human ear hath not heard, neither hath entered into the human heart to understand and appreciate. 1 Cor. 2:9,10

The holy Spirit's office will be equally important during the Millennial age, in bringing the world of mankind back into harmony with God, under the terms of the New Covenant, through the merits of the dear Redeemer's sacrifice. Accordingly, through the prophet Joel (2:28,29), the Lord has drawn attention to this fact, pointing out that while he will pour his Spirit only upon his servants and handmaidens during this Gospel age, yet "afterward" his holy Spirit shall be generally poured upon the world of mankind, "all flesh." During the Millennial age, then, the world's progress will be in full harmony with the holy Spirit; and in proportion as men shall come into full harmony with that holy Spirit will any of them become eligible to the eternal conditions of life and joy and blessing which lie beyond the Millennial age. The fact that the holy Spirit will cooperate with the glorified Church in the blessing of all the families of the earth is also testified by our Lord. After picturing to us the glories of the Millennium and its abundant supply of truth as a mighty river of the water of life, clear as crystal, he says, "And the Spirit and the Bride say, Come! And whosoever will may come, and take of the water of life freely." Rev. 22:17

It is urged by some that our Lord's reference to the holy Spirit, recorded in John 14:26, proves that the Spirit is a person, because our Common Version reads this passage thus: "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." But a glance at the Greek text of this passage shows that the translators were influenced by their prejudices on the subject, for there is no ground for the use of the words "whom" and "he." Other translations render this verse thus: "But the helper, the holy Spirit which the Father will send in my name, shall teach you all things and remind you of those things which I said to you."

The same criticism is applicable to the seventeenth verse of the same chapter, which, in our Common Version, reads: "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." Here the expression, "Spirit of truth," is evidently used in contrast with the "spirit of error." The passage has no reference whatever to a person, but to the influence of the truth, and the effect of the same upon the Lord's people. Another translation of this verse reads: "The Spirit of truth, which the world cannot receive, because it beholds it not, nor knows it; but ye know it; because it operates with you and will be in you."

Take another illustration--"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 shall show you things to come. He will glorify me, for he shall receive of mine and shall show it unto you." (John 16:13,14) In this passage the Greek word, heautou, is translated "himself," yet the same word is frequently properly translated "itself." In our Common Version this word heautou is rendered in the masculine, feminine, common, and neuter genders. For instance, in the above text it is rendered in the masculine; in 1 Cor. 11:5 it is in the feminine gender--"dishonoreth her head"; similarly in Rev. 2:20-- "which calleth herself a prophetess"; and again in 1 Cor. 13:5 --"Love seeketh not her own." In 1 Cor. 11:31 it is rendered in the common gender--"would judge ourselves"; likewise in 1 Cor. 16:15--"have addicted themselves"; again, Luke 22:17--"divide it among yourselves"; again, John 6:53 --"ye have no life in you." As illustrations of the translation of the word heautou in the neuter form, in our Common Version, note the following:

"Let the morrow take thought for the things of itself." Matt. 6:34

"If a kingdom be divided against itself." Mark 3:24

"If a house be divided against itself." Mark 3:25

"As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself." John 15:4

"There is nothing unclean of itself." Rom. 14:14

"The whole body...maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love." Eph. 4:16

"Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being by itself." James 2:17

Similarly, the word ekinos, rendered "he" in the passage under consideration might with equal propriety, be rendered "that," "this," "those," "the same," "she," "it"; and in our Common Version English Bible it is rendered in all these different forms, and more frequently than as the masculine pronouns, "he," "his," "him." Anyone skeptical on this subject can readily convince himself by consulting a Greek-English Concordance of the New Testament, which shows the various translations of these words. We will give one example of each of these translations of the word ekinos:

"It shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city." Luke 10:12

"She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith." John 20:15

"But know this, that if the goodman of the house." Matt. 24:43

"I do not say that ye shall pray for it." 1 John 5:16

"On one of those days as he taught." Luke 20:1

"The same day was the Sabbath." John 5:9

"The child was cured from that very hour." Matt. 17:18

It is not infrequent, however, to attach to a virtue or quality the gender of the person or thing to which it belongs; thus, for instance, because the heavenly Father is designated as masculine, therefore it would be but proper that his power, his spirit, his every influence and characteristic should be similarly designated in the masculine form. Nor is it rare for things which are neuter of themselves to be designated as masculine or feminine, according as they are strong and active, or passive and delicate. Thus, for instance, the sun is universally referred to as "he," and the moon as "she." Hence, if it were not for the general misconception on the subject, and the prevalent thought that the holy Spirit is a person (and not merely the divine spirit, influence or power--the spirit of the Father), there could be no criticism made of the use of the masculine pronouns in respect to the holy Spirit; because God is recognized as masculine, as the Author and source of life and blessing. So, then, let us not overlook the fact that the use of the personal pronouns does not prove the holy Spirit of God to be another person from the Father and the Son--another God. The holy Spirit or influence is the Father's spirit or influence, and the Son's also, for these are one in purpose and influence.