What does it mean for God to abide in us and us in Him? What is the purpose of the Holy Spirit and how does it fit in as part of the Triune God?
22 Judas (not Iscariot) *said to Him, “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered and said to him, “ If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me. 25 “These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”
In the original text, the word used in verse 26 for “the Helper” is a legal term. It is used to indicate your counsel, “one who pleads another’s cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defense, legal assistant, an advocate.” This intrigues me since I have heard and used the analogy of Jesus being the judge and jury of our lives and as a result of our belief in Him, He also bears the punishment for us. Now we learn He is also our counselor. It’s like we have The Law sitting in the prosecutor’s seat and everyone else in the courtroom is replaced by God.
I believe this is the passage where we get our definition of the Holy Spirit. We learn here about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which Peter will preach about on the Day of Pentecost. I can imagine the confusion and wonder in the room as Jesus said these things. He had talked before about abiding in Him, abiding in God, knowing Him and knowing God, but this is the first time He talked about the Holy Spirit.
We also see here the unity of Jesus the Son and God the Father. In 23, Jesus says “we will come…” indicating their unity with the Spirit. This is another example of the Triune God, God’s relationship with Himself. We get to experience a relationship with Him because of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus says “He will teach you all things,” that refers to the Spirit’s gift of discernment inside us. Like a legal counsel, we get to consult with Him and ask for help, guidance, comfort, and support.
Before Christ’s death, God’s presence resided in the Holy of Holies. It was the innermost chamber of the temple. It was shielded by a veil and only someone purified by blood sacrifice and ordained to follow through with the ritual could enter to see the glory of God. In the Levitical Priesthood, it was an esteemed honor to be the one to enter the Holy of Holies and perform the ritual they had to perform in there every year. Additionally, a person was only able to do it once in their lifetime. Once Christ was crucified, we read that the veil was torn. This represented the end of the divide between God and man. Instead of abiding in the Holy of Holies, God now abides in us, those of us that will have Him.
Certainly, it can be difficult to accept and understand this in its fullness. I sometimes wonder to myself why God would want to do such a thing, especially since I’m certainly not worthy of it. The answer is simple; He loves us. He loves us so much that He wants an intimate relationship with us.