The Holy Spirit - Chapter Three

Last page of R.A. Torrey's notebook,
written by his wife after his death.

God dearly loves us yet our sinful actions can grieve Him. God deserves our best, not whatever energy is left over when all our desires are accomplished. I know of no thought that will help us more than this to lead a holy life and to walk softly in the presence of the holy One.

How often a young man or woman is kept back from yielding to the temptations that surround young life by the thought that if (s)he should yield to the temptation that now assails, his praying mother might hear of it and would be grieved by it beyond expression.

How often some young man or woman has had a hand upon the door of some place of sin that (s)he is about to enter and the thought has come, “If I should enter there, my mother might hear of it and it would nearly kill her,” and (s)he has turned back from that door and gone away to lead a pure life, that (s)he might not grieve mother.

But there is One who is holier than any mother, One who is more sensitive against sin than the purest woman who ever walked this earth, and who loves us as even no mother ever loved, and this One dwells in our hearts, if we are really Christians, and He sees every act we do by day or under cover of the night. He hears every word we utter in public or in private; He sees every thought we entertain, He beholds every fancy and imagination that is permitted even a momentary lodging in our mind and if there is anything unholy, impure, selfish, mean, petty, unkind, harsh, unjust, or in anywise evil in act or word or thought or fancy, He is grieved by it.

If we will allow those words, “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God,” to sink into our hearts and become the motto of our lives, they will keep us from many a sin. How often some thought or fancy has knocked for an entrance into my own mind and was about to find entertainment when the thought has come, “The Holy Spirit sees that thought and will be grieved by it” and that thought has gone. R.A. Torrey teaches on The Person and Work of The Holy Spirit.

II. Many acts that only a Person can perform are ascribed to the Holy Spirit.

If we deny the personality of the Holy Spirit, many passages of Scripture become meaningless and absurd. For example, we read in 1 Cor. 2:10, “But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” This passage sets before us the Holy Spirit, not merely as an illumination whereby we are enabled to grasp the deep things of God, but a Person who Himself searches the deep things of God and then reveals to us the precious discoveries which He has made.

We read in Revelation 2:7, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” Here the Holy Spirit is set before us, not merely as an impersonal enlightenment that comes to our mind but a Person who speaks and out of the depths of His own wisdom, whispers into the ear of His listening servant the precious truth of God.

In Galatians 4:6 we read, “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” Here the Holy Spirit is represented as crying out in the heart of the individual believer. Not merely a Divine influence producing in our own hearts the assurance of our sonship but one who cries out in our hearts, who bears witness together with our spirit that we are sons of God. (See also Romans 8:16.)

The Holy Spirit is also represented in the Scripture as one who prays. We read in Romans 8:26, R. V., “And in like manner the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity; for we know not how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” It is plain from this passage that the Holy Spirit is not merely an influence that moves us to pray, not merely an illumination that teaches us how to pray, but a Person who Himself prays in and through us.

There is wondrous comfort in the thought that every true believer has two Divine Persons praying for him, Jesus Christ the Son who was once upon this earth, who knows all about our temptations, who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities and who is now ascended to the right hand of the Father and in that place of authority and power ever lives to make intercession for us (Heb. 8:25; 1 John 2:1); and another Person, just as Divine as He, who walks by our side each day, who dwells in the innermost depths of our being and knows our needs, even as we do not know them ourselves, and from these depths makes intercession to the Father for us. The position of the believer is indeed one of perfect security with these two Divine Persons praying for him.

We read again in John 15:26, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me.” Here the Holy Spirit is set before us as a Person who gives His testimony to Jesus Christ, not merely as an illumination that enables the believer to testify of Christ, but a Person who Himself testifies; and a clear distinction is drawn in this and the following verse between the testimony of the Holy Spirit and the testimony of the believer to whom He has borne His witness, for we read in the next verse, “And ye also shall bear witness because ye have been with Me from the beginning.” John 15:27. So there are two witnesses, the Holy Spirit bearing witness to the believer and the believer bearing witness to the world.

The Holy Spirit is also spoken of as a teacher. We read in John 14:26, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

And in a similar way, we read in John 16: 12-14, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you.”

And in the Old Testament, Nehemiah 9:20, “Thou gavest also Thy good Spirit to instruct them.” In all these passages it is perfectly clear that the Holy Spirit is not a mere illumination that enables us to apprehend the truth but a Person who comes to us to teach us day by day the truth of God.

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This page updated May 30, 2018

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