What does Paraclete mean? How is the Holy Spirit our Paraclete?
In John 14:16-17 we read Jesus saying, "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 you and will be in you." "Helper" (advocate, counselor, or comforter in other translations) comes from the Greek word parakletos. This term referred to a person called alongside another. It includes the idea of one who comforts and assists.
In this context, we are told the Holy Spirit is the One who assists or comforts us forever. He does not come and then leave again. He will be with us for all time, from the time we believe through eternity future. Ephesians 1:13-14 notes the Holy Spirit is a deposit that guarantees our future redemption with the Lord: "In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory."
An interesting observation is also found in that John 14:16 refers to the Holy Spirit as "another Helper." This indicates that the Holy Spirit's role in the life of a believer now is similar to what Jesus provided to His disciples during their time together on earth. Jesus was their Paraclete or comforter who guided the disciples to live according to His ways. Though they were imperfect and sometimes disobeyed, Jesus came alongside them and assisted them in knowing and living His truth.
Another aspect of the Holy Spirit as our Paraclete is that He helps us live the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 lists this fruit as, "…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." When we live out the fruit of the Spirit we "walk by the Spirit" (Galatians 5:16), pleasing God and serving others.
Many observations can be made about the Holy Spirit as the Paraclete of the believer. He is personal, powerful, protects, and perseveres. The Spirit convicts, comforts, counsels, and calls us to holy living. As Romans 8:31 teaches, "If God is for us, who can be against us?"
Second Peter 1:3 affirms, "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence." We do not need to seek "more of God"; He already lives within us. We do not need to go "find God" as believers; He is already with us. We do not need to figure out if God cares about us; He is already with us, caring and guiding to keep us close to God and His ways.
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