Read - John 16v7-11
Message - Scott Woodburn
This week in the covenant of redemption we have heard about the Father's choosing of the elect and the Son's death for the sins of God's elect. This covenant was made in eternity past between the three persons of the Trinity. So what is the Holy Spirit's role?
Amazingly Jesus tells us that it is to our advantage that He has gone to heaven. For if Jesus had not returned to glory then the Spirit, called the Helper, would not come (v7). But thankfully the Spirit has come and He continues to play a very specific and vital role in the covenant of redemption.
Before we detail the Spirit's activity, let me ask you, how were you saved? Did you turn your life around and run to Jesus? Did an excellent preacher one day share the Gospel in a new way that finally convinced you of your need of Christ? What was it? He rarely gets the credit and it is often overlooked but if anyone has been saved, the Spirit has been at work.
Jesus speaks in today's passage about how the Spirit works in a convicting way. He is sent to convict the world of sin and righteousness and judgement (v8). Without the Spirit's convicting ministry, none of these topics would be front and centre of our minds. In Psalm 14, David writes that there are none who do good and none who seek after God. David isn't writing here about the really, really bad people. He speaks generally of all of humanity. If left to their own devices not a single person would turn to God.
Suddenly we realise again the magnificence of Christmas. The birth of Christ showed clearly that God was taking the initiative, He was stepping into history, He was seeking us out even when we were dead in sin. So if anyone turns to Jesus it is because the Spirit has worked miraculously in that individual's heart. The Spirit causes that person to be born again. They have moved from death to life and have been given new hearts. They have been convicted of their need of Christ and repent of their many sins. Then with new strength in their legs they run to Jesus and find rest and so, in glorious fashion, the three persons of the Trinity work in perfect unity to redeem the elect.
If you have been saved, this is not of you or your works, you have nothing that gives you room to boast. Instead the covenant of redemption teaches us that the Father chooses us, the Son is bruised for us and the Spirit renews us and produces fruit in us. Again, this wasn't a last minute and rushed plan. God wasn't responding to the "accident" of the cross as some see it. God wasn't on the back foot because Satan spoiled the real plan which would have seen Jesus as King of an earthly kingdom. In eternity past, our God made a promise to save us. It wasn't left to chance and it wasn't dependent upon us. It involved the Father's choice, the Son's sacrifice and the Spirit's call. Truly salvation belongs to our Triune God!
Q44 What doth the preface to the ten commandments teach us? The preface to the ten commandments teacheth us, that because God is the Lord, and our God, and Redeemer, therefore we are bound to keep all his commandments.