The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit

R.A. TorreyFor several months now I have been trying to get through R.A. Torrey’s classic book The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit. Anyone who knows my reading habits knows that I rarely sit and read a book straight through. It takes me a while because I will put it down for a while, read other books, and then come back to it. This is what has happened with this book of Torrey’s. So as I was saying, I have come back to it. Much of the first quarter of the book describes things that I already knew and understood however there is one important practice that Torrey has greatly expounded upon that I have yet to take up and am now attempting to do so.

Namely, I am talking about understanding the Holy Spirit as the Paraclete. Torrey labors the point that Christians should understand that the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Father and that He (the Spirit) is our advocate, our comforter, helper and the one who stands beside. I admit that somewhere in my psyche the Holy Spirit has been diminished in importance perhaps related to the fact that so many weird things have been done in His name and also because, well, frankly, He is listed last in the persons of the Trinity: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. But just because the Holy Spirit is mentioned third does not mean that He is third in importance. That would be nonsense considering what the doctrine of the Trinity states. No, the Holy Spirit is God. The Father is God. The Son is God. The Holy Spirit is God.

What if the doctrine of the Trinity were described in terms of “Father, Holy Spirit, Son”? Now we know that this does not change anything because they are all still God. But what if in my heart I regarded the Son as unimportant some regard the Holy Spirit (though they would never admit to such an attitude)? I could not be called a Biblical Christian if I in any way diminished Christ to a level that was anything but divine. And so it is with the Holy Spirit. He is divine. To ignore the Holy Spirit is every bit as wrong as ignoring the Son or the Father. The Holy Spirit is God. So I have been attempting to be aware of His presence in my life for believers are indwelt with the Spirit.

I have heard Christians give advice to other Christians by telling the latter to remember that God sees everything. They have given such advice to help weaker brothers in combating sin. This is good advice but I would do them one better. I would say that God the Holy Spirit is beside you, indeed in you, all of the time. This, in my estimation, is much more comforting and gives clearer understanding of just how heinous sin in the life of a believer really is.

In this vein, Torrey also gives testimony of how he suffered from stage fright at the beginning of his ministry. He was terrified to speak before groups and he would write out his sermons to the letter, read them from the pulpit, and quickly sit down. He often could not wait for his sermons to be over. But once he understood that the Holy Spirit was with him in all of his circumstances, it removed his fear. He gained a clearer idea that he was able to rely on God the Holy Spirit. Likewise he knew a lady who was an adult but was deathly afraid of the dark. But once she understood God’s presence with her via the Holy Spirit, her fear left her.

I have to remind myself often of the presence of the Holy Spirit because I am simply not used to thinking in this way. However I am determined to have a consistent, faith-inducing awareness that the God of all creation is by my side; he is my advocate, and my ever-present comforter.

Josh H.


2 Responses to “The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit”

  1. April 7, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    I really need to read this book. Excellent post, Josh.

  2. April 7, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    it really is very encouraging.

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