One of my favorite traditional Christian hymns is “Holy, Holy, Holy” (Reginald Heber, England, 1826), which begins:
“Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!”
For me, this brings back fond memories of my childhood church, sitting on the same pew with my family, Sunday after Sunday. I simply love this hymn – it includes vivid imagery packaged in beautiful poetry, all praising the holiness of God and the blessed Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit).
Although the Christian doctrine of the Trinity is well-known today, certainly it was not well-understood by the disciples before Pentecost. In John 16:5-15, Jesus provided to the disciples foundational instruction regarding the Holy Spirit, preparing them for the events to come:
5 “But now I am going away to the one who sent me, and not one of you is asking where I am going. 6 Instead, you grieve because of what I’ve told you. 7 But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come.
13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard.”
The word “Advocate” in verse 7 is frequently translated as: Helper, Counselor, Comforter, Companion or even Friend – this is the Holy Spirit. No surprise here…but God’s plan was and is perfect. The disciples had Jesus (in person) to teach them up until this point. Without Jesus’ physical presence, God knew the disciples would need someone else (the Holy Spirit) to teach and guide them. God also knew that the world would need the Holy Spirit to convict (bring awareness) regarding sin and convince regarding righteousness, and once convicted and convinced, conversions could occur.
I have been a believer for more than three decades, and it still amazes me that our holy, holy, holy God graciously sent his only his Son, Jesus so that we can join into a relationship with God as His sons and daughters. This family relationship is not intended to be idle or boring; rather it is expected to be dynamic and fruitful!
Every day, in relationship with God, His Holy Spirit is here to guide you and me – and yes, to keep convicting and keep convincing as well! Are we listening? Do we sense the Spirit’s leading? And more importantly, are we following?