“It Is to Your Advantage That I Go Away”

Have you thought about that phrase uttered from the mouth of the greatest miracle worker ever lived? Imagine that you lived three years with the man who raised dead people, touched lepers, healed the lame, blind, deaf, and mute, and cast out demons, and he told you that it is to your advantage that he leaves the scene!  To the disciples, this must have been a shocking statement!  I thought I’d provide an excerpt from Sinclair Ferguson as he addresses this passage.

Ferguson writes:

“Christ has become ‘life-giving Spirit.’  Having the Spirit is the equivalent, indeed the very mode, of having the incarnate, obedient, crucified, resurrected and exalted Christ indwelling us so that we are united to him as he is united to the Father.  It is in this sense that John sees the difference that Pentecost signals in the ministry of the Spirit.  Now, as the bond of union to God, the Spirit indwells all who believe as the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ.  This is a development of epochal proportions.  The Spirit who was present and active at Christ’s conception as the head of the new creation, by whom he was anointed at baptism (John 1:32-34), who directed him throughout his temptations (Matt. 4:1), empowered him in his miracles (Luke 11:20), energized him in his sacrifice (Heb. 9:14), and vindicated him in his resurrection (1 Tim. 3:16; Rom. 1:4), now indwells disciples in this specific identity.  This is the meaning of our Lord’s words, otherwise impossible to comprehend: ‘It is for your good that I am going away’ (John 16:7).”

– Sinclair B. Ferguson, The Holy Spirit. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1996, 71-72.

Ferguson then goes on to quote from Abraham Kuyper, as he argued that “what a redeemed soul needs is human holiness.”  While researching this passage, I noticed that Kuyper’s book, The Work of the Holy Spirit, is available online both at CCEL and at Google Books.  The cool thing about it being on Google Books is that the chapters and index are all hyperlinked, so it is easy to peruse.  Both versions can be downloaded as a PDF document as well.

Explore posts in the same categories: Excerpts, Holy Spirit

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