“The next general work of the Holy Spirit seems to be that of John 16:14, ‘The Comforter shall glorify Me; for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you.’
The work of the Spirit is to glorify Christ. But what shall this Spirit do, that Christ may be glorified? ‘He shall,’ saith He, “take of Mine,”—ἐκ τοῦ ἐμοῦ λήψεται.
What these things are is declared in the next verse: ‘All things that the Father hath are Mine; therefore I said He shall take of Mine.’
It is not of the essence and essential properties of the Father and Son that our Saviour speaks; but of the grace which is communicated to us by them.
This Christ calls, ‘My things,’ being the fruit of His purchase and mediation: on which account He saith all His Father’s things are His; that is, the things that the Father, in His eternal love, hath provided to be dispensed in the blood of His Son,—all the fruits of election.
‘These,’ said He, ‘the Comforter shall receive; that is, they shall be committed unto Him to dispose for your good and advantage, to the end before proposed.’
So it follows, ἀναγγελεῖ,—’He shall show, or declare and make them known to you.’ Thus, then, is He a comforter.
He reveals to the souls of sinners the good things of the covenant of grace, which the Father hath provided, and the Son purchased.
He shows to us mercy, grace, forgiveness, righteousness, acceptation with God.
He letteth us know that these are the things of Christ, which He hath procured for us.
He shows them to us for our comfort and establishment.
These things, I say, He effectually declares to the souls of believers; and makes them know them for their own good;—know them as originally the things of the Father, prepared from eternity in His love and goodwill; as purchased for them by Christ, and laid up in store in the covenant of grace for their use.
Then is Christ magnified and glorified in their hearts; then they know what a Saviour and Redeemer He is.
A soul doth never glorify or honour Christ upon a discovery or sense of the eternal redemption He hath purchased for him, but it is in him a peculiar effect of the Holy Ghost as our comforter.
‘No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost,’ (1 Cor. 12:3).
He ‘sheds the love of God abroad in our hearts,’ (Rom. 5:5). That it is the love of God to us, not our love to God, which is here intended, the context is so clear as nothing can be added thereunto.
Now, the love of God is either of ordination or of acceptation,—the love of His purpose to do us good, or the love of acceptation and approbation with Him.
Both these are called the love of God frequently in Scripture, as I have declared. Now, how can these be shed abroad in our hearts?
Not in themselves, but in a sense of them,—in a spiritual apprehension of them. Ἐκκέχυται, is ‘shed abroad;’ the same word that is used concerning the Comforter being given us, (Titus 3:6).
God sheds Him abundantly, or pours Him on us; so He sheds abroad, or pours out the love of God in our hearts.
Not to insist on the expression, which is metaphorical, the business is, that the Comforter gives a sweet and plentiful evidence and persuasion of the love of God to us, such as the soul is taken, delighted, satiated withal.
This is His work, and He doth it effectually.
To give a poor sinful soul a comfortable persuasion, affecting it throughout, in all its faculties and affections, that God in Jesus Christ loves him, delights in him, is well-pleased with him, and hath thoughts of tenderness and kindness towards him; to give, I say, a soul an overflowing sense hereof, is an inexpressible mercy.
This we have in a peculiar manner by the Holy Ghost; it is His peculiar work.”
–John Owen, The Works of John Owen, Volume 2: Communion With God (ed. William H. Goold; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1850-53/1997), 2: 239-240.
“The love of Christ contains within itself the whole of wisdom” by John Calvin
“By those dimensions Paul means nothing else than the love of Christ, of which he speaks afterwards. The meaning is, that he who knows it fully and perfectly is in every respect a wise man.
As if he had said, “In whatever direction men may look, they will find nothing in the doctrine of salvation that does not bear some relation to this subject.”
The love of Christ contains within itself the whole of wisdom.
Almost all men are infected with the disease of desiring useless knowledge.
Therefore this admonition is very useful: what is necessary for us to know, and what the Lord desires us to contemplate, above and below, on the right hand and on the left, before and behind.
The love of Christ is held out to us as the subject which ought to occupy our daily and nightly meditations, and that which we ought to be wholly immersed in. (Ephesians 3:18-19)
He who holds to this alone has enough.
Beyond it there is nothing solid, nothing useful, nothing, in short, that is right or sound.
Go abroad in heaven and earth and sea, you will never go beyond this without overstepping the lawful bounds of wisdom.”
–John Calvin, Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians, Volume 11, Trans. T.H.L. Parker (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1965), 168-169. Calvin is commenting on Ephesians 3:18-19.
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