References: John 14:16-18
From last week’s post: Solely by the free grace of God, you have comfort. Part of that comfort includes the gift — requested by the Son, sent by God the Father — of the Holy Spirit, so that the comfort might be real for you.
In the text, the Holy Spirit is identified as “another Helper.” It could also be translated “another Comforter.”
Let’s go back to what happened in the garden. Man, though dependent upon God, by his own will cut himself off from God. If anything is clear from Scripture and from life, it is that life does not work being cut off from God. That is the beauty of Christ. He didn’t just come to pay for your sins, as important as that is; He came to help you in your life. Christ was physically present to accomplish the work of salvation; as his work on earth was nearly completed and He was about to leave, He sent “another Helper.”
You might say, “Well, what do I need a Helper for? My sins are covered; Christ paid the penalty and removed the curse; I have the ticket to get into heaven someday. What more do I need?” Consider this. Another word used to describe the Helper is Advocate. Christ is our Advocate, and He sent His Spirit to continue that work. An advocate represents you before the judge. It’s someone who comes alongside you. He speaks for you. This is what we have in the Holy Spirit.
It is interesting to consider the authors of the catechism presented the question, “What is your only comfort?” Comfort is a reality for Christians; we are given what we need for comfort. Because of the promised seed, Adam and Eve had reason for comfort. They expressed their faith immediately.
But comfort is also applied. So now we speak of having a Comforter who will comfort you with the reality of comfort.
Abide with you
Not only do we have the promise that the Helper will be sent, we have the promise He will stay. Human relationships involve connection with others. Sometimes it’s a very special connection; difficulties arise and loneliness ensues because someone failed in the relationship, or providentially they were removed. This promise is made to you, and you can count on it: Not only will the Helper be sent, He will abide with you. He will never leave nor forsake you.
Faith is often mentioned with a warning against turning away from it. That is true and important, but ultimately, faith comes from God by means of the Holy Spirit abiding in you. Everything else might fall apart and everyone else might leave you. He will not.
It is interesting to note when you read the Psalms, the Psalmist often begins by questioning: God, where are You and why did You leave me? Then as the psalm goes on, he realizes that God did not leave Him; the problem is often the struggle with sin. In fact, you will find all of Psalm 88 is the child of God crying out to God because he is struggling, cut off from God and his friends. In Psalm 28, which we looked at earlier, the Psalmist pleads with God not to be silent. Our current reality is that life is a struggle, and we need God.
In the life of the child of God, there is a need, a longing for God. Sin gets in the way; at times we allow our struggle with sin to get in our way. The promise of salvation includes God drawing near to you, so you have access to Him. Now you can call on Him, and you can know He is there.
Here in the New Testament, you have the promise from the Savior that the Comforter will come from God, and He will never leave you. No matter what struggles you face, including overwhelming loneliness, He will abide with you.
The core of the message of comfort is the gift of the Comforter.
Blog post content taken from a sermon series delivered by Dr. Maynard Koerner, President and Professor of Ministerial Studies at Heidelberg Theological Seminary.