Have you ever had someone go to bat for you? That’s exactly what Laurie did for me many years ago.
My husband had been ill for a while and his situation took a turn for the worse. After visiting him in the hospital, I returned to work weary and overwhelmed, unsure of where to turn. He needed a major surgery, but our insurance was declining coverage. Without the surgery his life expectancy was not good. I shared the news with my co-workers and began pushing through my workday, contemplating what to do next.
I was helping some longtime customers wade through a stack of escrow papers when Laurie gently interrupted. She apologized to us all, but explained that she had just received word that our insurance company had reconsidered and everything was approved – she wanted to let me know right away. While I was struggling under the weight of the dilemma, trying to muster strength for a battle I was ill-equipped to fight, Laurie had stepped in! Those poor customer didn’t know the story, but from my reaction they knew this was big news. I broke down in tears of relief and appreciation in the midst of their signing, and they both joined me!
I arrived at work overwhelmed, feeling helpless and powerless to identify a solution on my own. I didn’t know where to turn. Laurie took up my cause. She knew where to start, who to call, and she used her influence on my behalf.
That is exactly what Jesus Christ does for us. Jesus is our advocate with God the Father, interceding on our behalf.
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Romans 8:31-34
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 1 John 2:1
Jesus lived a perfectly holy, righteous life before surrendering it to the cross for us. Before his death he was comforting his Disciples and explaining what was to come:
“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” John 14:15-17
After his resurrection, Jesus took a seat at the right hand of God, advocating for us there. But he also promised that he would ask God to give us another advocate to help us and be with us forever – the Spirit of truth. This Spirit lives with us and in us when we love and obey Jesus.
The Holy Spirit was a mystery to me for a long time. A copy of C.H. Spurgeon’s 1859 sermon entitled Grieving the Holy Spirit inspired me to look at Scriptures on the subject. Soon after, a friend confessed that she was really confused about who or what the Holy Spirit is. I’m sharing my explanation below in hopes it helps anyone else who may be struggling with it too.
Who is the Holy Spirit?
When you place your faith in Christ, He places his Holy Spirit within you. It is a deposit, God’s gift to you, setting you apart as a child of God. God is a trinity – three in one – God the Father, God the Son (Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit. God manifest Himself as Jesus to redeem us, Jesus came to live among us in bodily form as a perfect example of who He is and how we should live. But, Jesus is God and without sin, while we are born sinful. Ever since sin entered the world through Adam and Eve, we became unable to live perfect, holy lives. Our fellowship with God was broken. Genesis 3 describes what happened. I love verse 8, when Adam and Eve heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day and God called to Adam, “Where are you?” God created us to love Him, to walk with Him in the garden as with our most loved and cherished friend. But when we were deceived and chose to disobey Him our relationship changed. We are now separated from a Holy God by our sin. He so loves and desires a deep relationship with us that He sent His very Son in the form of a man to live among us and lay down His life to bridge the gap between us. Jesus took on all that sin, bore the consequences that threatened to eternally separate us from our Holy God. When He died, establishing a path to eternity with God, He took on our sin that otherwise separated us from God and brought us together, creating access to the Father again. When He rose again, Jesus walked among the believers, the early church. In Acts 1, before ascending back to Heaven with God, He commanded the church to stay in Jerusalem and “wait for the gift my Father promised”. In verse 8 he explained, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, an in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
The followers of Jesus received the Holy Spirit as Jesus promised in Acts 2. God became flesh in Jesus, and became Spirit in the Holy Spirit. When you come to believe in Jesus, the Holy Spirit also begins dwelling within us. God first created us and directly walked among us. When sin broke that direct presence, God no longer walked among us. He became flesh in Jesus, died on the cross to restore our relationship with Him, and manifests Himself as a Spirit within us when we confess Jesus as Lord. His Spirit is what led us to believe and helps us understand His teachings, and restrains us from and/or convicts us of sin, and nudges us to make decisions that honor Him. His Spirit is what overwhelms us at times with joy and peace, and leads us to worship God. His Spirit within us leads us to use our gifts and talents in a way that honors God.
The Holy Spirit is our blessed instructor, leading us to truth, taking the things of Christ and applying them for us. He is our comforter when we fail or experience trials. He gives us power, strength and confidence in the midst of circumstances because we acknowledge we are a child of Christ. Whether you say God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit, they are the same, all three in one, just in different forms. The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit teaches us, prays for us when we don’t know how or what to pray, intercedes for us so that our prayers reach the ears of Christ and are presented to God.
It is by the Holy Spirit that we are sealed until the day of redemption, a pledge of our inheritance, conformation that we are truly a child of God. If we set our heart on anything that is evil, if we openly sin, if we neglect prayer or the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit will be grieved. He bears with us and nudges us to repent and return to righteous living. When you sin and find yourself miserable, void of joy, knowing you are out of fellowship with God and dabbling with the things of this world in way you should not, it is the Holy Spirit that you feel grieving inside you, letting you know something’s not right, drawing you back to right living with God. And when you hit your knees to confess and beg forgiveness, it is the Holy Spirit leading you there & filling you with such joy, knowing you are forgiven. That’s how lives are miraculously changed in an instant, addictions halted, lives turned around so drastically – the power of the Holy Spirit within.
Praise God that we such an advocate living with us and in us when we place our faith in Jesus!