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The Doctrine of Christ - Contents
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    LESSON SIXTY-SIX The Office and Work of the Comforter

    1. The Comforter makes known Christ to the world, and is his true vicar.. Romans 8:9, 10. (In this scripture the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, and Christ are used in such a way as to show that the presence of one involves the presence of the others.) John 16:14; Acts 16:7; 1 Corinthians 15:45; 2 Corinthians 3:17; 4:10, 11; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 3:16, 17; Philippians 1:19.TDOC 187.1

    2. The Comforter transforms our characters, and bears witness that we are the children of God. 2 Corinthians 3:18; Colossians 1:27; Acts 5:32; John 15:26; Romans 8:16; 1 John 5:7.TDOC 187.2

    3. The Comforter convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. John 16:7-11.TDOC 187.3

    4. The Comforter is the Spirit of truth, the teacher of truth. John 15:26; 4:26; 1 John 5:7; John 16:13, 14.TDOC 187.4

    5. The Comforter, the Holy Spirit, is the director of the church. Acts 13:14; 6:6-10; 10:17-20, 44-48; 15:28.TDOC 187.5

    6. The Comforter, the Holy Spirit, seals believers. Ephesians 1:13; 4:30; Revelation 7:3.TDOC 187.6


    The Spirit shows Christ to us

    “The office of the Spirit is to take of Christ and show unto us.”TDOC 187.7

    “He is with us to make Christ known to us, and it will never do for us to think so meanly of his capacity as to doubt that he can make him known to us so that he shall be to us the chief among ten thousand, the one altogether lovely.”TDOC 187.8

    The desired gift

    “The gift of the Holy Ghost to others is not a gift whereby they originate the knowledge of new truths, but a gift whereby they recognize and apprehend the old unchanging mystery, still receiving afresh the one revelation of Christ, ever approaching, never surpassing the comprehensive but immovable boundaries of the faith once delivered to the saints. This is the gift, the only gift, which we desire for our church and for ourselves; for it is one which makes the written word a living word, which fills a church with joy, and seals a soul for glory.”TDOC 187.9

    Father, Son, and Spirit

    “To know the Father we must know the Son: to know Christ we must know the Spirit.”TDOC 188.1

    The function of the Spirit

    “The meaning of Christ’s manifestation is the essential thing for men to understand. In manifesting himself he has revealed the Father. He has in his own person shown what a divine nature is; and therefore in order to his glorification all that is required is that light be shed upon what he has done and been, and that the eyes of men be opened to see him and his work. The recognition of Christ and of God in him is the blessedness of the human race; and to bring this about is the function of the Spirit.”TDOC 188.2

    The gift of the Indwelling Christ

    “Without the Holy Ghost we have no Christ. Christ, with all his infinite resources, with all his love, all his glory, is brought nigh to the individual believer and made a part of his being by the gift of the indwelling Christ. The Spirit of God and the truth of God are not to be divorced. Without the Spirit there is no saving truth for us; without the truth there is no Holy Ghost for us. The truth and our own natures are in necessary and violent enmity, without the conciliating Spirit. The truth lives and our own nature lives when the life-giving Spirit comes to us in the Word. Our own spirit is not a divine spirit of truth until permeated by the divine Spirit.”TDOC 188.3

    The mission of the Comforter

    “The world, which knows not what sin really is, knows not what true righteousness is. Men imagine an external morality will suffice, and desire not the righteousness of God. Hence, when the perfectly righteous One came to his own, his own received him not: they condemned the Holy One of God as a malefactor; but he, rejected of men, ascended to the Father, and there presented his own spotless obedience to the scrutiny of infinite justice and infinite love. The world saw him no more; but the Great Surety having paid man’s debt on the cross, appears in heaven for man, our sinless advocate and mediator, the man Christ Jesus. His mission of the Comforter proved the acceptance of his mighty work. This likewise resulted in the saving conviction of some, the condemning conviction of others. Thus, as the divine Spirit in convincing of sin does not stop short at any sinful acts, but goes down to and exposes the very germ and source of sin, which is unbelief, so in convincing of righteousness he does not stop short at any works of the law, which can never justify the sinner before God, but rises up to and exhibits the only justifying righteousness, even that which is of God by faith, and which is the only spring of acceptable and evangelical holiness.”TDOC 188.4

    Dealing with unbelief

    “The way to war with all other sins is to war with unbelief, for the life of every sin is hid in unbelief, and if you slay this last you slay all.”TDOC 188.5

    “The Holy Spirit convinces us of the sin of unbelief, by teaching us to recognize righteousness in Christ, not in ourselves. The great quarrel between the unbeliever and Christ is on this ground: the unbeliever says that he is righteous, and denies that Christ is. Unbelief in Christ is an affirmation of one’s own righteousness.”TDOC 189.1

    The work of the Spirit

    “The great office of the Spirit in the present economy is to communicate Christ to his church which is his body. And what is so truly essential of Christ as holiness? In him is no sin; whosoever abides in him sins not.”TDOC 189.2

    “What then is the office of the Holy Ghost, so far as we can interpret it, but that of communicating and applying the work of Christ to human hearts? If he convinces of sin, it is by exhibiting the gracious redemptive work of the Savior and showing men their guilt in not believing on him. If he witnesses to the penitent of his acceptance, it is by testifying of the atoning blood of Jesus in which that acceptance is grounded; if he regenerates and. sanctifies the heart, it is by communicating to it the life of the risen Lord.”TDOC 189.3

    “The indwelling of Christ in the human spirit-the whole process of sanctification, growing conformity to the divine image, increasing meekness for the inheritance of the saints in light-all this is by his [the Comforter’s] action.”TDOC 189.4

    An absolute used

    “We are baffled, bewildered, confounded, by our utter unfitness to convince men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come. Is it not that we fail to realize how absolute is our need of the mighty and manifest advent of the Spirit?”TDOC 189.5

    “In these days of skepticism and of an accommodated Bible, what thanks can we render to the God of all grace that he is pleased to pour out his Spirit in such a way on Christendom as to give authority to the awful truths of the final judgment, and thus by convincing men of the inevitable day of wrath, of the triumphant righteousness of, Christ, of that all-comprehending sin of unbelief, to dispose them to look unto the Crucified One whose blood cleanses from all sin!”TDOC 189.6

    Comfort, in the truth

    “The Comforter is called ‘the Spirit of truth.’ His work is to define and maintain the truth. He first dwells in the heart as the Spirit of truth, and thus he becomes the Comforter. There is comfort and peace in the truth, but no real peace or comfort can be found in falsehood.”-The Desire of Ages, 802.TDOC 189.7

    The advocate in the heart

    “The Holy Spirit is Christ’s advocate in the heart, pleading his cause, urging his claims, vindicating him from the unworthy representations made by that which is earthly in our nature. In order that we may be taught to see Christ glorious, it is necessary that the Spirit of God should liberate us from all those false ideas of glory which so universally obtain among men. If we are intent upon our own glory and pine inwardly for the admiration of men, if we desire to have our faults ignored and our virtues magnified by men, if we are cultivating a spirit of self complacency, it is impossible that we should advance in the knowledge of the glory of Christ. We must decrease that he may increase.”TDOC 189.8

    The means of constant victory

    “We do consider it possible that one may experience a great crisis in his spiritual life in which there is such a total self-surrender to God and such an infilling of the Holy Spirit, that he is freed from the bondage of sinful appetites and habits, and enabled to have constant victory over self, instead of suffering constant defeat.”TDOC 190.1

    An assuring conviction

    “This witness of the Spirit is the assuring conviction of the new birth and of the spiritual life which is wrought in the heart by the direct agency of the Holy Spirit of God.”TDOC 190.2

    A question answered

    “The question is, Shall the sinner’s pretensions be sustained, or shall the assertions of Christ be ratified? This question is answered by the outpouring of the Spirit of God. He makes known the righteousness of Christ, and the fact of his righteousness overwhelms with the deep confusion of a manifest and gigantic unrighteousness the miserable sinner who so long rejected the Savior.”TDOC 190.3

    A threefold work

    “The Comforter in every part of his threefold work glorifies Christ. In convincing of sin he convinces us of the sin of not believing on Christ. In convincing us of righteousness, he convinces us of the righteousness of Christ, of that righteousness which was made manifest in Christ going to the Father, and which he received to bestow on all such as should believe in him. And lastly, in convincing of judgment, he convinces us that the prince of the world was judged in the life and by the death of Christ. Thus throughout, Christ is glorified; and that which the Comforter shows to us relates in all its parts to the life and work of the incarnate Son of God.”TDOC 190.4

    The only effectual teacher

    The preaching of the word will be of no avail without the continual presence and aid of the Holy Spirit. This is the only effectual teacher of divine truth. Only when the truth is accompanied to the heart by the Spirit, will it quicken the conscience or transform the life. One might be able to present the letter of the word of God, he might be familiar with all its commands and promises; but unless the Holy Spirit sets home the truth, no souls will fall on the Rock and be broken. No amount of education, no advantages, however great, can make one a channel of light without the co-operation of the Spirit of God.”-The Desire of Ages, 803.TDOC 190.5

    “Jesus had opened before his disciples a vast tract of truth. But it was most difficult for them to keep his lessons distinct from the traditions and maxims of the scribes and Pharisees. They had been educated to accept the teaching of the rabbis as the voice of God, and it still held a power over their minds, and molded their sentiments. Earthly ideas, temporal things, still had a large place in their thoughts. They did not understand the spiritual nature of Christ’s kingdom, though he had so often explained it to them. Their minds had become confused. They did not comprehend the value of the scriptures Christ presented. Many of his lessons seemed almost lost upon them. Jesus saw that they did not lay hold of the real meaning of his words. He compassionately promised that the Holy Spirit should recall these sayings to their minds. And he had left unsaid many things that could not be comprehended by the disciples. These also would be opened to them by the Spirit. The Spirit was to quicken their understanding, that they might have an appreciation of heavenly things. ‘When he, the Spirit of truth, is come,’ said Jesus, ‘he will guide you into all truth.”-Id., 801, 802.TDOC 191.1

    “It is to be feared that there are very few who are not cutting themselves off from important discoveries of Christ’s glory by the habit of secret self-laudation, and by a desire for the applauding regards of men. There is not anything more utterly opposed to the mind of the Spirit. While these self-complacent thoughts prevail, the Spirit of God is vanquished. It is the mission of the Spirit to correct this error, and cause us to discover all glory in Christ, and count all things but loss for the excellence of the knowledge of him who gave himself for us.”TDOC 191.2

    The sin of sins

    “The sin of not believing on Christ is to be estimated by the character of Christ; the things that he suffered; the reason for which he suffered; his present exaltation; the glory of his mediatorial reign; his long-suffering toward the unbeliever; the disastrous influence of unbelief; the unspeakable blessing called down upon the world by faith. Rightly ponder any of these considerations, and the sin of unbelief will be seen to be infinite. And yet there is no sin that so lightly burdens the consciences of men as the sin of not having believed in Christ. Men condemn themselves bitterly for other sins for a lie, for instance, into which they may have been surprised; and yet there is not in their heart a whisper of self-reproach for having made Christ a liar. This is that one sin which gives all other sins a perpetuity of damning power.”TDOC 191.3

    The highest of all gifts

    “In describing to his disciples the office work of the Holy Spirit, Jesus sought to inspire them with the joy and hope that inspired his own heart. He rejoiced because of the abundant help he had provided for his church. The Holy Spirit was the highest of all gifts that he could solicit from his Father for the exaltation of his people. The Spirit was to be given as a regenerating agent, and without this the sacrifice of Christ would have been of no avail. The power of evil had been strengthening for centuries, and the submission of men to this satanic captivity was amazing. Sin could be resisted and overcome only through the mighty agency of the third person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fullness of divine power. It is the Spirit that makes effectual what has been wrought out by the world’s Redeemer. It is by the Spirit that the heart is made pure. Through the Spirit the believer becomes a partaker of the divine nature. Christ has given his Spirit as a divine power to overcome all hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil, and to impress his own character upon his church.”-The Desire of Ages, 800, 803.TDOC 191.4

    The only guide

    “Christ was the truth; and none but the Spirit of truth could guide them into anything like a worthy apprehension of his character and work, his sufferings, his death, his will, his help.”TDOC 192.1

    “In the guidance of the Holy Ghost we enjoy that which is fully equal to the guiding, comforting, and strengthening influence of the Lord Jesus as enjoyed by the apostles.”TDOC 192.2

    “We put on freedom just in the measure that we bring to the study of the word of God the sense of our absolute dependence upon the Spirit of God to guide us into the truth. Without his guidance it will prove a mere labyrinth to us. He that gave the truth gave the Spirit of truth.”TDOC 192.3

    “Without the Spirit of truth our memories will remain unacquainted with the words of Jesus. But before the Spirit thus makes the chambers of memory redolent with the fragrance of the things of Christ, he subdues the affections and guides the will.”TDOC 192.4

    “What magnificent revelations may we not expect from such a teacher! What sublime views of Christ must those be that the Spirit himself entertains! How far doubtless do they transcend our highest conceptions of him who is fairer than the sons of men!”TDOC 192.5

    A blessed truth

    “Language could not be more express as to the great and blessed truth that, under the dispensation of the Spirit, Jesus comes nearer to his people, and makes more intimate and enriching communications to them, than was possible in the days when He dwelt upon the earth.”TDOC 192.6

    The key to the prophecies

    “Other things being equal, the man who has enjoyed the richest and fullest experience of the operations of the Spirit in his own heart will be most competent to interpret the prophecies to his fellow men.TDOC 192.7

    These prophecies were originally given by the medium of holy men of old, the holiest of their generation, who spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, and the key to them will be placed by the same Spirit in the hands of Lim who yields himself heartily, fearlessly, and unflinchingly to the guidance of the Spirit.”TDOC 193.1

    A special gift

    “And when He had said this, he breathed on them, and said unto them, Receive you the Holy Ghost; ‘whosesoever sins you remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins you retain, they are retained.’ ‘The Holy Spirit was not yet fully manifested; for Christ had not yet been glorified. The more abundant impartation of the Spirit did not take place till after Christ’s ascension. Not until this was received could the disciples fulfill the commission to preach the gospel to the world. But the Spirit was now given for a special purpose. Before the disciples could fulfill their official duties in connection with the church, Christ breathed his Spirit upon them. He was committing to them a most sacred trust, and he desired to impress them with the fact that without the Holy Spirit this work could not be accomplished.”TDOC 193.2

    -The Desire of Ages, 964.TDOC 193.3

    The presiding Spirit

    “In the simple story of the primitive mission, as recorded in the thirteenth of Acts, we see how every step in the enterprise was originated and directed by the presiding Spirit. We observe this:TDOC 193.4

    “1. In the selection of missionaries: ‘The Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.’ 13:2.TDOC 193.5

    “2. In their thrusting forth into the field: So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia.’ 13:4.TDOC 193.6

    “3. In empowering them to speak: ‘Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Ghost, said.’ 13:9.TDOC 193.7

    “4. In sustaining them in persecution: ‘And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Ghost.’ 13:52.TDOC 193.8

    “5. In setting the divine seal upon their ministry among the Gentiles: ‘And God, which knows the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us.’ 15:8.TDOC 193.9

    “6. In counseling in difficult questions of missionary policy: ‘It seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us.’ 15:28.TDOC 193.10

    7. In restraining the missionaries from entering into fields not yet appointed by the Lord: They were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the gospel in Asia.... They assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.” 16:6, 7.TDOC 193.11

    “Very striking is this record of the ever present, unfailing, and minute direction of the Holy Ghost in all the steps of this divine enterprise.”TDOC 193.12

    All gifts in the one Gift

    Thus we have had the endowment of the Spirit presented to us under three aspects-sealing, filling, and anointing-all of which terms, so far as we can understand, signify the same thing the gift of the Holy Ghost appropriated through faith. Each of these terms is connected with some special divine endowment-the seal with assurance and consecration; the filling with power; and the anointing with knowledge. All these gifts are wrapped up in the one gift in which they are included, and without whom we are excluded from their possession.”TDOC 194.1

    The pledge of purchase

    “The allusion to the seal as a pledge of purchase would be peculiarly intelligible to the Ephesians, for Ephesus was a maritime city, and an extensive trade in timber was carried on there by the shipmasters of the neighboring ports. The method of purchase was this: The merchant, after selecting his timber, stamped it with his own signet, which was an acknowledged sign of ownership. He often did not carry on his possession at the time; it was left in the harbor with other floats of timber; but it was chosen, bought, and stamped; and in due time the merchant sent a trusty agent with the signet, who, finding that timber which bore a corresponding impress, claimed and brought it away for the master’s use. Thus the Holy Spirit impresses on the soul now the image of Jesus Christ; and this is the sure pledge of the everlasting inheritance.”TDOC 194.2

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