The Spirit of Truth

I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”

- John 14:16-17

The names assigned to people in Scripture have great importance. For example, at several significant points in redemptive history, God renames people, giving them a new name that provides important clues as to their identity and purposes in the Lord’s plan. For example, Abram is renamed Abraham in Genesis 17:5 because God promises to make the patriarch “the father of a multitude of nations.” This is appropriate because the name Abraham literally means “father of a multitude.”

When we consider the Holy Spirit, we must note how interesting it is that His name is Holy Spirit. Scripture tells us that “God is spirit” (John 4:24), so this means that the Father is spirit and the Son, in His divine nature, is spirit as well. Yet the Father and the Son do not bear the name Spirit as the Holy Spirit does. Why is this the case? The answer—at least in part—seems to be that the third person of the Trinity bears the name Holy Spirit because of the particular work that is His. Though the Father, Son, and Spirit are involved in all that God does, the Holy Spirit comes particularly to the fore in regeneration. He provides the inward transformation—the change of our spirits—that provides what we need to trust in Christ (3:1-8). The Holy Spirit strengthens us within in our sanctification (Eph. 3:16). He does a spiritual work in making us holy in our hearts and minds; thus, it is particularly appropriate for Him to be named Holy Spirit.

Part of what makes the Holy Spirit holy—indeed, part of what makes all three persons of the Trinity holy—is His commitment to the truth. The Holy Spirit also holds the title Spirit of truth (John 14:16-17), which is likewise related to the work He does inside of us to convict our minds of the truth and to cause us to embrace God’s truth with all of our hearts. He is also the Spirit of truth because He is set in opposition to the spirit of antichrist or the spirit of error (1 John 4:1-6). John informs us that error is ultimately rooted within. Those who lie and who do not receive the truth of Christ do so because they are lying spirits, which can refer either to the fallen souls of unregenerate men, Satan and his minions, or both. These spirits are unseen to the human eye, but they show themselves when people teach and believe lies about the Lord. Similarly, the Holy Spirit is unseen to the human eye, but He shows Himself wherever people love and teach the truth of God’s revelation in Christ (1 Cor. 12:3).

Coram Deo

In order for us to be rightly related to God, we must know Him, and we cannot know Him if we are not concerned with the truths about Him taught in His Word. This is why believers must be concerned with God’s truth more than anything else. Love for the truth is something that the Holy Spirit must grant us, and hunger for the truth of God’s revelation is one sure sign that the Lord has done His work in us. Do you have a love for God’s truth?

Passages for Further Study

Isaiah 35:13-16
John 16:13
2 Thessalonians 2:13-15
1 John 5:6-11

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