"When the Comforter is come...He shall testify of Me: and you also shall bear witness" (John 15:26,27).
The effusion of the Holy Spirit upon believers is a natural sequence of Calvary. The incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity into humanity, His sinless life among men, His substitutionary death for sin, His resurrection from the dead, His ascension to the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens--all these wonderful workings of the divine love and wisdom were to the end that men should become partakers of the divine nature.
When the Comforter, who had been previously outbreathed by the risen Christ upon His disciples in the upper room, descended from heaven to dwell among men in the Lord's place, there was made possible the transmission of life from man to man through the living Word spoken by human lips. Each child of God becomes a potential witness, and in response to his testimony, dead souls are quickened into newness of life.
The Agent in this wonderful process of salvation is the Holy Spirit. Unseen to human vision, He animates the Word of God, and by means of it, as vital and incorruptible seed (1 Peter 1:23), the soul-winner becomes a spiritual father of souls.
As the Apostle to the Gentiles declared to his converts: "Though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have you not many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel" (1 Cor. 4:15).
The Holy Spirit was not incarnated into a human body and nature, as was the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit cannot be seen by the natural eye; He cannot be felt by the outward senses; He does not speak with audible voice. Yet His reality to the spirits of those who have yielded themselves to Him, and have received His indwelling, is not less vivid at times than was the physical presence of the Master.
He comforts, He teaches, He guides, He energizes, He reveals truth to the mind, He quickens the mortal body--in all of these offices seeking to manifest not Himself but the ascended Christ. As the heart of the believer is set on the glory of the Son, the Spirit is enabled to work with unhindered power in and through him.
Pentecost was a foretaste of what is yet to be revealed of heavenly fullness. Joel foresaw a worldwide downpour upon all flesh. Other prophets spoke of lesser showers upon those whose hearts thirsted for heavenly blessing, and foretold that through these as channels there should come "floods upon the dry ground," that is, on hearts round about that are unresponsive to the divine approach.
The world still waits for the coming fulfillment of Joel's prophetic forecast, but every member of the Church of Christ on earth is eligible for the fullness that Pentecost has already brought, and is personally responsible for the presentation of his being to God and the reception of the Holy Spirit into his life in Pentecostal outpouring.
It is because the mass of the professed children of God are in the position of the twelve disciples whom Paul met at Ephesus (Acts 19:3), that the church is so powerless to reach and bring to salvation the multitudes round about.
"When the Comforter is come," the Master said, "He shall testify of Me, and you also shall bear witness." There can be absolutely no effective witness bearing apart from the co-witnessing of the Holy Spirit. Spiritual fatherhood is impossible to the majority of Christians because of spiritual impotence, and spiritual impotence can alone be overcome through the inward energizing with divine life which it is the function of the Holy Spirit to supply.
From The Alliance Life, February 1, 1941. Used by permission.