1 November 2023 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 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. 18I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (Gospel of St. John 14:16-18; All scripture from the Authorized KJV)
Today’s subject is critical to the Christian Faith which would not exist apart from it – the Paraclete of God whom the Lord named as our Comforter whom He would send so as not to leave us comfortless at His Ascension.
Perhaps to the surprise of many, the Paraclete is first found in Job 16:2 in its plural form – Paracletor, or comforters. The Great Paraclete of our faith is the Lord Jesus Christ for the legal meaning of the term is advocate, defense counselor, intercessor, or helper. Another word for the Holy Ghost is our Comforter sent by our Lord to Comfort and Guide us in the physical absence of our Lord. He intercedes in prayer on our behalf and proclaims our deepest need in utterances that are sometimes beyond our ability to express. But the Holy Ghost never speaks of Himself but always points to God. He reveals mysteries already spoken in Holy Scripture and calls all to our remembrance of those Scripture that illuminate our understanding of the Word of God – that is, our Lord Jesus Christ. The utterances of the Holy Spirit never creates confusion or misunderstanding. For those who hear His Voice, all things are made clear.
Jesus Christ is our great Paraclete, or Advocate, who sits on the right hand of the Father to intercede with the Father on our own behalf. “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 3And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1 John 2:1-4)
The Holy Ghost is our Paraclete to stand beside us in our earthly walk in Christ. He does not adhere to the manufactured schedules of the TV evangelists who pretend to call His presence down at the appointed broadcast hour. We are to patiently await the whispers of the Holy Spirit and never presume to go before Him either in prayer or action. You may be quite comfortable in your Christian walk. You attend church regularly, read your Bible, have regular prayer at home and in daily living. Is that enough, or do you need more? The rich young ruler Thought he lived well. He believed he kept the Commandments of God even if he had not even kept the first Commandment. He apparently lived a morally sound life, but he could not subordinate his wealth to follow the Lord on the Way, the Truth and the Life. The same is true with the Holy Ghost. His Will and purpose is precisely that of the Father and the Son.
All our works must not be our own, but the Holy Ghost working in and through us. “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13) We can take no credit for our good works if they belong to Christ working in and through us; but we must certainly take credit for any works of dishonor, presumption, or hypocrisy. Those belong solely to us.
The Holy Spirit is a Being apart from our physical universe. He has no weight, physical structure, or limitations of presence. He can exist in all parts of Creation at once. There are no limitations of distance in His communication and his advocacy on our behalf. He is sent to be with all who call upon the Name of the Lord in sincerity and love. He is with me as I write this little devotion, and He is with you as you read it. He is with our brothers and sisters in the isles of the sea and on every continent at once. Our prayers are filtered through His loving will, and He makes known to the Father our deepest heartfelt prayers which we may not be able to accurately and full articulate.
The love and patience of the Elect are the prerequisites in our calling upon the Holy Spirit. In times of sorrow, He stands shoulder to shoulder with us and speaks of the meaning of our trials. He encourages with the certainty that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are the called according to His purposes. (See Romans 8:28)