Journal Jn 14 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever (even the Spirit of Truth whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with and will be in you… (John 14:14-17)
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to remembrance all that I have said to you… (John 14:26)
Observation: Is there any subject more controversial than the doctrine of the Holy Spirit?
Analysis: The key word in this passage is simple but gets passed over a ton in lieu of analyzing and arguing. The key word is: Ask.
In order to bring the subject to a close, most folks try to interpret the passage to take the mystery out. “This bothers me; I don’t understand.” “That’s ok,” says some so-called leader in the church, “this means this and that means that, and see? Mystery solved!”
But the mystery isn’t solved. In fact, in a lot of cases the so-called “answer” skews the text here and further on just to make it worse.
I look at the first two references (v14): “If you ask anything in my name I will do.” And then, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” To me, this sounds like two sides of the same coin and I cannot separate them from each other. If I ask anything, then it is under the condition of keeping his commandments. Before asking, I have an obligation to pursue. Ok, not quite but it is directional.
However, this directional implication has a hiccup in it: I am weak and tend toward disobedience more than obedience. I am writing right here and am having a hard time focusing without having my mind go off into sinful paths. It happens and it probably happens to everyone (according to the Scriptures—1st Peter 5:9b).
Therefore, I ask for help to Jesus (who is glad to answer that prayer) and I continue to push into obeying Him.
But where does my Help come from? It comes from the Father giving the Helper, the Holy Spirit, the implication being that the Holy Spirit comes from, what? Me asking.
So, the inference is:
- Ask Jesus anything, He will give.
- Ask for things that correspond to obeying His Commands, because that’s what we do when we love Jesus,
- Disobedience comes way easier than obedience, therefore we need Help.
- Help comes from the Holy Spirit, which must be asked for.
There are some bible teachers that say (using computer language), “The Holy Spirit is an autoload function when saved; when Jesus is asked into my heart, the Holy Spirit is right there, along for the ride.”
I can’t address that, don’t know if it is right or wrong. I do know that in this section of Scripture the key word remains, ASK.
If I don’t ask, am I presuming on God? I think so. I think it is very evident I am certainly not dependent on God; my exercised presumption is independence in full bloom action.
Prayer: Father, may I take Your Word as it says, no embellishment, but not taking anything out of Whole Bible context. There are too many claiming Your Name that cherry pick “power passages” and don’t consider them against the full Gospel.
May what I wrote today cause thinking and prayer; a prayer that is a sweet aroma to You.