D. Ellis Walker
He, the Holy Spirit, is a person, masculine in gender and singular in number. Jesus Christ recognized His masculinity and singularity, for in speaking of the Holy Spirit, He often used the singular personal pronouns, He and Him (John 14-16).
Christ promised the apostles that He, the Holy Spirit, should be their paraclete, which, according to the lexicographer, means that He was to be their monitor, instructor, guide, helper, supporter, and comforter. He was promised to the apostles, not to the world, for Jesus said that the world cannot receive Him, “for it beholdeth him not, neither knoweth him.” (Jn. 14:16-17 ASV). So it is foolish and absurd for anyone to contend that He operates immediately on the heart of the alien sinner in order to convert him.
Jesus told the apostles that the paraclete “shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you” (John 14:26 ASV). In another place, He said, “He shall bear witness of me” (John 15:26 ASV). Jesus promised the apostles that when He sent the paraclete to them that, “when he is come, will convict the world in respect of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” (John 16:8 ASV).
“Now,” says someone, “is this not the immediate influence of the Holy Spirit in the conversion of the alien?” No! And why do we say this? First, because Jesus emphatically said that the world could not receive Him, “for it neither beholdeth Him nor knoweth Him,” but that He should be with and in the apostles. Therefore the convicting of the world by the Holy Spirit was to be done in and through the apostles, not through the direct operation of the Holy Spirit. Second, because the alien cannot be convicted of both sin and righteousness at the same time. Third, because Jesus Himself explained what He meant (John 16:9-11 ASV)—the Holy Spirit through the apostles was to convict the world of sin, “because they believe not on me [Christ].” By proving that Jesus is the Christ of God, the world would be convicted of sin for rejecting Him. The paraclete was to convict the world “of righteousness, because I go to the Father, and ye behold me no more.” Convict the world of whose righteousness? The world’s? No. Christ’s. Why? For the simple reason that Christ was going to the Father and would not be on the earth to convict the world of His righteousness—especially his righteous claim of being God’s Son. The Holy Spirit, working through the apostles, would perform this necessary task.
He would also convict “of judgment, because the prince of this world hath been judged.” Is this hell fire and damnation? Certainly not! Jesus claimed to be the Christ, the Son of God, and the “prince of this world” pronounced Him an imposter. Hence, the paraclete, working in and through the apostles, would convict the world of the unlawfulness and untruthfulness of that wicked judgment. Finally, Jesus said of the Holy Spirit,
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth; for he shall not speak from himself; but what things soever he shall hear, these shall he speak; and he shall declare unto you the things that are to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall take of mine, and shall declare it unto you (John 16:13-14).
We have now learned that He, the Holy Spirit, is not only masculine in gender and singular in number, but that He was the apostles’ paraclete, and, as such, that He, through the apostles, vindicated and bore witness to the Divinity and Sonship of Jesus Christ, refreshed the apostles’ memory, taught them all things, and guided them into all truth.
It was so imperative that the apostles have the paralcete that Jesus said, “And behold, I send forth the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city, until ye be clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49 ASV). “He charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, said he, ye heard from me: for John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days hence” (Acts 1:4-5 ASV). If it was so necessary for the apostles to wait until they received the promise of the Holy Spirit, should it not be a topic of absorbing interest to examine the fulfillment of that promise—and much more so when you are cognizant of the fact that He was promised to the apostles alone as the paraclete, or Comforter?
Now, He, the Holy Spirit, the paraclete, was received by the apostles on the first Pentecost after the Lord’s resurrection (Acts 2). So great was the sound that heralded His coming that the multitudes rushed together in order, no doubt, to discover its cause, and they were confounded and amazed to see the apostles, uneducated Galileans, speaking in the languages of the foreign nations from which the visiting Jews had come.
Because some mockers attributed this wonderful manifestation to drunkenness, the paraclete, working through the apostle Peter, refuted the false charge upon the ground of its unreasonableness and by showing that the happenings of the day were in fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy. Then the paraclete, through the apostle Peter, vindicated the Lord Jesus Christ by proving conclusively that He was both Lord and Christ. First, by reminding the people that Jesus of Nazareth was “a man approved of God unto you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him in the midst of you, even as ye yourselves know” (Acts 2:22 ASV).
The force of the argument is this: You people saw that Christ had the approbation of God, for He performed great wonders, such as raising people from the dead. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to believe that God raised Him from the dead. Hence, the statement, “Whom God raised up, having loosed the pangs of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it” (Acts 2:24 ASV).
Second, the paraclete, through the apostle Peter, cited a prophecy from David concerning the Lord’s resurrection and showed that Christ’s resurrection and exaltation were the fulfillment of God’s oath to David, “that of the fruit of his loins he would set one upon his throne” (Acts 2:25-31 ASV).
Third, the paraclete, through the apostle Peter, said that the apostles were witnesses of Christ’s resurrection. “This Jesus did God raise up, whereof we all are witnesses” (Acts 2:32 ASV).
Fourth, Jesus Christ had received the promise of the Holy Spirit and had given Him to the apostles in such a way that there could not be any doubt about it. The Holy Spirit would not be connected with an imposter. Then, inasmuch as the people could see and hear the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, they accepted the fact of the Lord’s resurrection and exaltation, for it was confirmed by the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus He, the paraclete, convicted the world of sin for not believing that Jesus was the Christ of God; of the righteousness of Christ, and of the unrighteousness of the judgment that pronounced Christ an imposter.
Through Peter, He set forth the conditions of pardon to the alien sinner. The first condition of pardon is, “Let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified” (Acts 2:36 ASV). This simply means we must believe that Jesus is both Lord and Christ, for “faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1 ASV). Those who believed cried out, “Brethren, what shall we do?” In answer to that question, the paraclete guided Peter in replying, “Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
Now, inasmuch as He, the Holy Spirit, is masculine in gender, singular in number, and was the apostles’ paraclete, we must conclude that before an alien sinner can receive pardon for his sins he must believe as a result of testimony that Jesus is both Lord and Christ. “Repent ye, and be baptized…in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of sins.” “But,” says one, “what do masculine gender, singular number, and paraclete have to do with these items being indispensable to the pardon of the alien sinner? The masculine pronouns He and Him prove the Holy Spirit is a person. The pronouns are also singular in number. Therefore, He is one person. As the apostles’ paraclete, He guided them “into all the truth,” so He is absolutely truthful and certainly would not set forth conditions of pardon in a dozen contradictory ways. When you have one person who is absolutely truthful, you are not going to hear a score of conflicting ideas about the same question.
I wish members of “Ministerial Alliances” could see these truths about the Holy Spirit. They think that they have all got it, the Holy Spirit, and that it is guiding each one of them in his preaching. For instance, the Baptist preacher guided by it, the Holy Spirit, will not baptize any save penitent believers, while the Methodist preacher guided by it baptizes infants. Baptist and Methodist preachers say to one another, “You have it, the Holy Spirit, as well as we do.” Then the Baptist preachers preach that baptism is only immersion, while the Methodist preachers say only sprinkling or pouring is sufficient. Almost all of the Protestant preachers in a Ministerial Alliance will say to one another, “You have it, the Holy Spirit,” and then on Sunday morning will contradict each other in every conceivable way.
You may ask, “Do you mean to say that these preachers do not have it, the Holy Spirit?” Absolutely! Why? Because He is not it, the Holy Spirit. He is He, the Holy Spirit, masculine in gender and singular in number. Thus, because He is only one person and absolutely truthful He is certainly not behind all the contradictory ideas set forth by either Protestants or Catholics. If a Baptist, Methodist, or Presbyterian preacher preached as many different doctrines as are attributed to the Holy Spirit, it would ruin him. No one would have confidence in such a preacher, and the idea that the Holy Spirit does so is false!
Sinner, do you want to be saved? The Holy Spirit, through the apostle Peter, has shown you what to do. Believe that Jesus is both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36); “Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). If anyone tells you that you do not have to do any or all of these things, or that you may do something else, remember that He, the Holy Spirit, is absolutely truthful and would not teach a plan of salvation today that contradicts the one He gave on Pentecost in Acts two.