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THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH
By Mrs Jessie Penn-Lewis.
“When He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He shall guide you into all the truth . . .” said the Lord to His disciples. The name of this ‘Other’ who would come to them the Lord gives first as “The Comforter” - a Person as truly as He Himself was. Another who would “fill His place”, a “Paraclete” - meaning, Dr. Elder Cumming says, much more than the word “Comforter” conveys - “One called in to defend, support, advise, help, and comfort”. All this we rejoice in, for do we not need a “Comforter” in this world of sorrow, and One able to “defend, support, advise”, and “help” us?
But we are apt to forget that with the name “Comforter” an addition to that name is given by the Lord Himself, which defines and limits its meaning. He said, “He shall give you another Comforter. . . even the Spirit of Truth . . .” (John 14:16&17); “When the Comforter is come . . . even the Spirit of Truth . . .” (John 15:26); “When He, the Spirit of Truth, is come” (John 16:13).
The name “Comforter” therefore depicts His work, but His name “Spirit of Truth” describes His essential character; therefore, all that He does in and for men as the “Comforter” He must do in accordance with His character as the Spirit of Truth. If He is ‘called in’ by any believer, to ‘defend, support, advise, help, and comfort’, He can only act in all these ways as the “Spirit of Truth”, defending, supporting, advising, helping, comforting, in accordance with truth, and truth alone.
The essential character of the Spirit of God, as the Spirit of Truth, needs emphasising at the present time, when we are disposed to think only of Him as the Spirit of Power, or of Love, in His working in the life of the believer. What is the supreme evidence of a man being filled with the Spirit? Some say ‘Power’, while others say ‘Love’; but if we carefully consider the question in the light of the Word of God, we shall see that truth is before Power, or even Love, and that for Power and Love to be truly of God in the believer, it is necessary to have Truth as the groundwork, because Love and Power can both be simulated by the evil one as an angel of light. Jukes points out that the marks of the Divine nature which distinguish it from all counterfeits are first Truth, and then Love. This is surely true of the Spirit of God, for He is Power, and He is Love, but He is first of all the “Spirit of Truth” proceeding from the Father, through the Son, into the world of men.
In the Lord's last words to His disciples before His Cross He very clearly defined the work of the Spirit of Truth, when He should come to dwell among men. This may be briefly summarised as follows:
1. As the Spirit of Truth He makes disciples know the truth of a) the union of Christ with the Father - “I am in My Father”: b) The union of the believer with Christ - “Ye in Me”; and c)The indwelling of Christ in the believer - “I in you” (John 14:20).
2. This being established by His indwelling, the Spirit of Truth then teaches believers the truth as embodied in the words of Christ (John 14:26);
3. Bears witness to Christ (John 15:26), and
4. Guides the believer into “all the truth” (John 16:13).
Not only truth about God, but truth concerning all things as they are seen from the viewpoint of God - the condition of man, the exceeding sinfulness of sin; the truth concerning the arch-foe of the Son of God - in short, the truth around us and in us as seen by the God of Truth. Man in his lost condition is permeated with the spirit of untruth - the spirit of Satan - who once knew the truth, but did not stand in it (Joan 8:44).
We generally think of a ‘lie’ as an act of speaking what is untrue, and have not fully understood that Satan’s nature is the embodiment of untruth as Christ Himself, not only in act and in word, but in nature, was, and is, TRUTH. The Lord made this clear in His words to the Pharisees when He said of Satan: “There is no truth in him” ; therefore, “when he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own - nature -, for he is a liar, and the father thereof”. If the whole world lieth in the evil one, then the world of men breathe in, so to speak, the very AIR OF UNTRUTH IN THOUGHT CONCERNING ALL THINGS AROUND THEM, and particularly concerning themselves. “What is truth?” said Pilate, and “What is truth?” men continue to cry, whilst they are still blinded by the fallen life of Adam, full of the poison of the enemy of God, as he blinds the minds of them that do not believe the truth of God. Hence the world is full of men believing untruths about God, themselves, and Satan - even believing untruth to be truth, by the subtle blinding of the foe.
The Spirit of God, therefore, comes into a world enveloped in a miasma of untruth, as the “Spirit of Truth” to reveal the truth and bear witness to the truth, which in its widest meaning we may describe as seeing things as God sees them - for this alone is truth.