The Holy Spirit Persuades

All writers in Op Ed are here to inform and acknowledge issues of importance to our communities, however these writings represent the views and opinions of the authors and not necessarily of The Advertiser.  

Sigrid Fowler

​In John 14-16, Jesus prepares his disciples for the end oftheir life with him as they presently know it. He is emphatic:Though he is leaving and going to the Father, they will not be alone. He will ask the Father and the Father will send the Helper, the Holy Spirit, “in my name,” Jesus says. The Holy Spirit is called the “Spirit of Jesus” by both Luke and Paul (Acts 16: 7; Rom 8: 9; Gal 4: 6; Phil 1: 19). As Christians, we confess monotheism even as we worship God in three Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—mysteriously but manifestly both Three and One. Our trinitarian confession is fromexperience—both in our lives and in our knowledge of the Bible, which clearly indicates that God reveals himself to humans in three Persons. The Father and the Spirit are Persons as is the Son: one God.

​When I puzzle over the Trinity, I think of the primary colors—red, yellow, and blue. All are unperceived in white light unless that light passes through a prism, which bends it, revealing the full array of colors. All we need is an artist’s pallet to discover how all of them exist in the three—orange and all its shades from red and yellow, all the greens from yellow and blue, every shade of lavender, purple, orchid, mauve, and the rest when red and blue are mixed. Red isn’t yellow or blue. Blue isn’t yellow or red, and yellow, as well as the other primaries, isn’t made from another color. The analogy certainly isn’t perfect, but it works for me. Others compare the truth of the Trinity with the various identities one person may have—a father, but also a son and a husband, to name the various hats, as it were, a man can wear.

​We need not be put off by the difficulty of explainingwhat it means to confess monotheism while worshiping God in three Persons. I don’t come close to understanding how a small white tablet prescribed by my doctor can do something beneficial for my body; however, I don’t refuse to take themedication she’s prescribed because I’m not a biochemist. I also have no idea what’s going on when an airplane full of passengers, baggage, and fuel lifts off the ground and flies across the country. The physics and aerodynamics of all that is beyond me entirely, but I don’t refuse to engage in air travel because I don’t understand the details. To say we accept the Trinity based on faith and the evidence of Scripture is as it should be. There are plenty of familiar things we live and engage with that we can’t pretend to explain. At the same time, we think nothing of turning over our dollars and even our lives to every airline pilot and crew, for example, whotake us to some distant place!

​I’m guessing that we accept the fact of the Trinity because the Holy Spirit has acted in our lives in his role as teacher, advocate, and helper. Jesus said, “He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (John 14: 16 ~NKJV and references below). Jesus told his disciples, including us, something else about the Holy Spirit. He persuades: “When he [the Spirit] has come, he will convict the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment; of sin because they do not believe in me; of righteousness because I go to my Father and you see me no more; and of judgment because the ruler of this world is judged” (John 16: 8-11). That’s a lot of persuading, and every Christian is the beneficiary—as the world and the devil are not.

​One day, we understood, we perceived who Jesus is—the Christ, the Anointed One the Father sent to do for us what no one else could do. We opened our hearts to him because we were convicted of sin and also of judgement—the judgment Jesus took upon himself on our behalf. We were convinced too that his righteousness was a gift–even to us! We didn’t need to know that these were Paul’s words in the song from Gal 2: 20, “I’ve been crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live,yet not I but Christ liveth in me.” We also didn’t have to readin Romans 8, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Paul’s assertions would confirm these truths when we encountered them in the apostle’s letters, but we were convinced already. The Spirithad persuaded us of the rare and precious benefits of salvation. The Spirit’s focus is Jesus Christ. “He will glorify me for he will take of what is mine and declare it to you,” Jesus said (John 16: 14), and he didn’t leave us orphans!