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  • Chad Werkhoven

John 16:12-15 - The Truth Guide

The primary purpose of the Spirit is: to guide / tell / make known the truth to you.


John 16:12-15 (NIV)

12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”


Listen to passage & devotional:


Belgic Confession of Faith, Article 22 - Our Justification Through Faith in Christ

We believe that

for us to acquire the true knowledge of this great mystery

the Holy Spirit kindles in our hearts a true faith

that embraces Jesus Christ,

with all his merits,

and makes him its own,

and no longer looks for anything

apart from him.

For it must necessarily follow

that either all that is required for our salvation

is not in Christ or,

if all is in him,

then he who has Christ by faith

has his salvation entirely.


to say that Christ is not enough

but that something else is needed as well

is a most enormous blasphemy against God—

for it then would follow

that Jesus Christ is only half a Savior.



Today we return to that tension filled last night Jesus spent with His disciples before facing the cross. So much of John's gospel - from chapter 14-17 - is dedicated to what Jesus taught that night. These words are heavily laden with theology, so much so that we can only really chew on a couple of them at a time without being overwhelmed. So you can imagine what is was like for these disciples to hear this all for the first time, late at night, with all of the fear and trepidation caused by the plotting going on around them.

Jesus could sense this in them. He had more to tell them, but it was "much more than they could now bear." But taking a break wouldn't be a problem, Jesus said, even though this was the last opportunity He'd have to teach them with His own words. It wasn't a problem because the "Spirit of truth" was coming to "guide them into all truth."

We've looked before at the word that Jesus used to describe the Spirit that's so nuanced it's hard to translate: Paraklētos. Some translations go with Advocate, others use Comforter or Helper, and they're all right! The Holy Spirit is all of those things! But today's passage helps us see what the primary purpose of the Spirit is: to guide / tell / make known the truth to you.

A literal translation of the Greek word means one who comes alongside and calls out. This is exactly what the Holy Spirit - the Paraklētos - does as He kindles faith in your heart.

Dig Deeper

One of the things we'll see this week as we work through Article 22 of our Confession is that the primary reason you have faith and have come to know and understand the truth about the justification you've gained from Jesus' death, resurrection and ascension is because the Holy Spirit has made it known to you. It's not that you're smarter or more observant than other people; the reason you have faith is because it's been given to you.

But how does the Spirit do this, and how can you increase and grow this faith that you've been given? Certainly, our omnipotent God can do this any way He likes, and many people have been brought to believe suddenly and miraculously when the Holy Spirit unexpectedly showed up in their life. But these sort of 'Damascus road experiences,' like what happened to the Apostle Paul (Acts 9), don't happen often.

So even though the Spirit isn't limited in His abilities to make these truths known, most of the time He uses what have come to be called the ordinary means of grace: the preaching of the Word, the participation of the sacraments, and the discipline that comes from living in the fellowship of believers.

So this means that if you want to build and increase this faith you've been given (which the Bible often commands you to make every effort to do), you need to expose yourself to these elements often. Keep reading the Word every day, as you're doing right now, and regularly gather with the saints on the Lord's Day to hear these truths proclaimed.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who sent us the Spirit of truth;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will make it your habit to participate in the ordinary means of grace that the Spirit uses to build up your faith;



Read the New Testament in a year! Today: Luke 4


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