We’ve been looking at the names of God and how his names help us understand him better. Last week we saw how God the Son was an, ‘Advocate’. I explained that this means Jesus is like a lawyer mediating between two warring parties – us as sinners and God the Father as the righteous judge. As our lawyer, Jesus made a settlement with his own blood.
But the Holy Spirit is also called ‘an Advocate’ too (using the same Greek word as used for Christ). In John’s Gospel we read: ‘If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor [Advocate] to 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).
So the Holy Spirit is also on our legal team as another lawyer. But if Jesus has reached a settlement with God the Father as our advocate/lawyer, what does the Holy Spirit do?
One thing the Holy Spirit does is give us legal advice. Jesus says this in the following verses of John’s Gospel: ‘If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you’ (John 14:23-26).
If we love Jesus, we are called to obey his teaching. But Jesus taught a lot of laws and often the laws are rather broad and we need to know how to apply them to our modern situations. For example, Jesus said nothing about obeying road rules.
So what do we do? We get a lawyer to give us legal advice about the laws of Christ in order to live by them. Just as we might ask a human lawyer for legal advice before doing something, so we ask the Holy Spirit to be our legal counselor as we live our lives. Paul also teaches this role of the Holy Spirit: ‘”No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”-but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment: (1 Cor. 2:9-16)
So is the Holy Spirit your advocate too? Or are you still living your life without legal advice from God? Beware the consequences. Ask God for his Spirit now. Joel Radford