The Holy Spirit: Work of the Comforter
The work of the Comforter is clear and simple. He begins the church. He begins Christianity as a vital force in the believer's soul. He links him in organic union with a living, risen Head. He forms within Him the Christ, the hope of glory. He testifies of Christ. He glorifies Christ. He brings to remembrance the words of Christ. He feeds the soul with the truth of Christ. He guides us into all the truth of Christ. He shows us the things of Christ. He so subordinates Himself to the will and personality of Christ that He becomes the other very self of Christ. But he goes above and beyond all this: not only does He come to put a new nature in the soul, He comes to manifest the very presence of Christ in the soul; to make Christ dwell in His personality in the soul; so that Christ shall be up yonder in His glorified body as He was in vision above the ladder which Jacob saw, and yet here in the soul, an invisible presence, as Jacob felt and found Him by Bethel's stony pillow. Yea, His work in, us is to make Christ as real to us as though He walked flesh-veiled by our side. To so continue His presence to us that the gap may be filled between the open grave and the exalted throne; between the risen Master and the man in the glory. To so continue that presence that Christ Himself shall minister to our need, as though we looked Him in the face, felt the sympathy of His shining tears, and caught the touch of His guiding hand. To so continue Christ in us that Christ shall give us His faith. His peace, His joy, His hope, His power: until when we walk, we may walk by His faith, be calm in His peace, be glad in His joy, be encouraged in His hope, and strong in His power. For, if we will be obedient, the Comforter will give us the very power of Christ, power for the mind; so that we may see the wondrous things which Christ Himself has inspired in the matchless Book. He will give us power, power for our bodies, so that we may not faint, nor grow weary in His service. If we will let Him, the Comforter will so keep the communication unbroken with yonder heaven that Jesus Himself shall come down invisibly and walk with us the weary way; and we shall feel no pain or sorrow or weakness where He leads.
Oh! the wonder, the joy of it, and the unspeakable glory! The Holy Spirit here! here to continue the presence of Christ to us, to make us conscious of Him, to fill us with Him till our hearts shall be as a Holy of Holies; so that we may enter in, even here, into the secret of His presence, and be glad with a great gladness.
Thus the work of the Comforter in relation to us is subjective, in us and for us. We occupy the attitude of recipients, not of those who act, but of those who are acted upon. The Comforter will bring us into the place of power, no doubt, but power is not the objective of His work; it is peace, joy, companionship, increasing companionship. It is Jesus Himself with us, all the centuries blotted out, all the past history gone between Judea and this hour. Jesus with us, talking with us, feeding us, and every day revealing Himself to us.
Such, indeed, is the work of the Comforter, that Comforter who comes as the breath of the risen Christ into every heart that believes on Him; and at the moment, the instant of belief.
A person filled with the breath of Christ! What a definition that is for a Christian; and what a suggestion of infinite comfort, of abiding peace.
—Isaac M. Haldeman, How to Study the Bible, excerpt from Chapter 3: An Address on the Holy Spirit.