One of the most remarkable statements of the Bible appears in Christ’s words to his disciples: “It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you” (John 16:7). How could it possibly be “expedient”—that is, to our advantage—for the Lord Jesus Christ to leave us? Christ must highly value the ministry of “the Spirit of truth” (14:16–17). If we treasure Christ as the only Mediator between God and man (v. 6; 1 Tim. 2:5), then we will treasure the work of the Holy Spirit.
Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) said, “The Holy Spirit, in his indwelling, his influences and fruits, is the sum of all grace, holiness, comfort and joy, or in one word, of all the spiritual good Christ purchased for men in this world: and is also the sum of all perfection, glory and eternal joy, that he purchased for them in another world.”
However, these difficulties should not turn us aside from the great task of studying the Spirit’s work and the application of redemption. The task is worthy of our highest effort. Instead, the difficulties should stir us up to take on this great work with determination, careful thinking, perseverance, submission to God’s Word, and constant prayer for the Spirit to illuminate our minds (Ps. 119:18; Eph. 1:17–18). We need the work of the Holy Spirit if we are going to successfully study the Holy Spirit. Pause now, before you read further, and pray for the Holy Spirit to lead you into all truth by his Word.
Reformed Systematic Theology, Volume 3
Joel R. Beeke