A Brief Book Summary from Books At a Glance
by Steve West
Editor’s Note: Most of our readers will already be at least somewhat acquainted with John Owen (1616-1683), “the prince of Puritans,” but it is not likely that many have read him extensively. His works are not only voluminous – they are tightly packed and deeply considered. Owen is neither quick nor light reading!
Today we continue our year-long series of summaries of Owen’s famous works. We trust these will be of help in introducing and/or increasing your acquaintance with this giant Puritan theologian.
Summary, Part 4
Two Discourses Concerning the Holy Spirit and His Work
I. A Discourse on the Holy Spirit as Comforter
Chapters I & II
Although it is not ideal to speak of an “office” of the Spirit, our language is limited and it is an acceptable term. To have an office, there needs to be a special trust, mission, name, and work. All of these are found in the office of the Spirit as the church’s comforter. When Christ was leaving this earth, he told his disciples that he was entrusting this work to the Spirit. After completing his mediatorial, redemptive work on earth, Christ ascended to continue his mediation at the right hand of the Father, and he sent the Spirit to carry on the work in his disciples. It is in the Spirit that Christ is present with them and is their comforter. All of the graces and spiritual blessings the Spirit gives us for our comfort were purchased for us and come through Christ. The Spirit was entrusted with this work, and he was also specially commissioned for it and sent to earth to fulfill his mission. Christ calls the Spirit the parakletos. In the context of Christ’s discourse, it is clear that the Spirit is the comforter since he is sent to help us in our pains and sorrows. He gives us love and joy. He is also our advocate, not before God (only Jesus is that), but for us in the world. It was the Spirit who gave the apostles all the words and power they needed to speak in their defenses, and Spirit still gives Christ’s followers words and wisdom for testifying today. The Spirit is our advocate by giving us gifts and graces and opening up the powerful ministry of the word of God, by which the church is built-up, conviction brought to sinners, and the world convinced of righteousness. So the Spirit is in many ways the advocate of the church, but he is chiefly given as our comforter.
There are four general adjuncts to this office and work of the Spirit. The first is that of infinite condescension; there are mysteries in this dispensation that none can fathom. God’s holy and perfect Spirit lives in us and has intimate fellowship with us, uniting us to Christ. The second adjunct is his unspeakable love and compassion for us. He is the love of the Father and Son, and he sheds the love of God in our hearts, motivating us to love God in return. It is in showering us with the love of God that he is conspicuously our comforter. What the Spirit does is done out of infinite love, and his work is tender towards us. Sometimes he must use sharp remedies to heal us, but the design is health and comfort. Despite our resistance, he continues to work patiently for our best. Given how much he loves us, we must be very careful never to grieve him. . . .[To continue reading this summary, please see below....]
The remainder of this article is premium content. Become a member to continue reading.
Already have an account? Sign In