The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit Series
He Shall Glorify Me: A Study of the Holy Spirit’s Exaltation of Christ
Wed, 14 Apr 2010 - 10:55 AM CST
By A.D. Millard
The most developed and comprehensive teaching of Jesus on the Holy Spirit on record is found in John 14–16. He spoke to the disciples of His successor, the Holy Spirit, to whom He referred as “another Comforter” (one called alongside to help). An overview of His words reveals many significant things about the person and work of the Holy Spirit, but none more prominent than the words describing the Spirit’s exaltation of Christ. A Christological frame of reference is immediately apparent in an analysis of the work of the Holy Spirit in John 14–16:
In relationship to Christ: The Holy Spirit’s work of testifying (15:26) and glorifying (16:14) concerns the person of Christ.
In relationship to believers: The Holy Spirit’s work of teaching (14:26), guiding (16:13), showing (16:13,15), and bringing to remembrance (14:26) concerns Christ and His kingdom.
In relationship to the world: The Holy Spirit’s work of reproving of sin, righteousness, and judgment (16:8) concerns Christ and His claims.
It is evident that in the triad of personalities with whom the Holy Spirit is concerned the Person of Christ is primary and His office work to each of the human elements is in relation to the Kingdom and claims of Christ. In this context we examine the topic of the Holy Spirit’s exaltation of Christ.
The word translated “exalt” in the New Testament is based on the Greek word hupsoo, which conveys the idea of elevation or lifting. It is used both in reference to Christ’s crucifixion (John 3:14; 8:28; 12:32,34) and His resurrection (Acts 2:33; Acts 5:31 and Philippians 2:9). When the Bible uses the word in relation to men it is usually in connection with attitudes of pride and humility (compare Luke 1:52; Matthew 23:12; James 1:9).
The act of exaltation of Christ attributed to the Holy Spirit is most directly expressed by the word glorify. “He shall glorify me” (John 16:14). The same word is used to express Christ’s exaltation of the Father and the Father’s exaltation of the Son (John 17:4,5). It is consistently used with reference to God and thus calls for special study as it is used with reference to Christ. It essentially conveys the idea of exhibiting excellence or revealing what is inherently present in the character of the person to whom it is ascribed. In Hebrew it is kabod — a word etymologically rooted in the word for “weight,” denoting substance measured by its weightiness. Doxa is one of the several words in the Greek New Testament carrying the fundamental idea of displaying or revealing that which constitutes distinctive excellence.1
Closely connected with the idea of revealing is the idea of praise in the word doxa. Hence our “doxology” in Christian hymnody commences appropriately with “Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.” It is noteworthy too, that the revelation of Jesus as the Lamb upon the throne in heaven brings forth the doxology of the redeemed in praise: “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing” (Revelation 5:12).
Hence the Holy Spirit’s work in revealing Christ is closely related to glorifying Him. In turn, a human recipient of the revelation of Jesus cannot but glorify Him.
The Holy Spirit’s Glorification of the Person of Christ
Andrew Murray points out with keen insight that there is a twofold glorifying of the Son. One is by the Father, the other is by the Holy Spirit. By the Father He is glorified in God Himself (John 17:5); by the Holy Spirit in us. Jesus spoke of both in John’s Gospel. Concerning His glorification in heaven, Jesus said, “Father, the hour is come … glorify thou me with thine own self” (John 17:1,5). Concerning His glorification in the earth, He said, “The Spirit shall glorify me” (John 16:14). Just as Jesus had come to reveal and so glorify the Father, so the Holy Spirit has come to reveal and so glorify the Son: (1) “He shall testify of me” (15:26) and (2) “He shall glorify me” (16:14). The Holy Spirit’s glorification of Jesus is past, present, and future:
A. The Holy Spirit glorified Christ in His earthly life. George S. Hendry, in The Holy Spirit in Christian Theology, points out that in the New Testament the Holy Spirit is mentioned at the decisive points in the life and ministry of Jesus: at His conception, His baptism, His temptation, His first preaching, His casting out of demons, and even at His death and resurrection.2 The Holy Spirit is the creative and sanctifying agent in the miraculous conception and birth of Jesus (Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:35). At Jesus’ baptism, the Spirit descended upon Him, anointing Him for His work as Prophet, Priest, and King.3 In Jesus’ ministry, the Holy Spirit continually testified to His divinity. In His death on the Cross, Hebrews 9:14 reveals it was “through the eternal Spirit” that He “offered Himself without spot to God.” His resurrection was accomplished through the quickening agency of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:11), and His ascension is inseparably connected with the outpouring of the Spirit: “If I go not away, the Comforter will not come” (John 16:7). Thus, the Holy Spirit was ever-present, working in behalf of, anointing, and glorifying Christ throughout His earthly life and ministry.
B. The Holy Spirit glorified Christ at Pentecost. Hendry aptly observes that the Spirit’s outpouring stands as testimony of Jesus’ glorification.4 In John 7:39 it is explicitly stated, “This spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive; for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” By its nature the baptism of the Holy Spirit testifies to Jesus’ glorification in heaven. Simultaneously His glorification on earth is effected in and through the believer. Some have accused the Pentecostal movement of having a misplaced emphasis on the Spirit over that of Christ. The Scriptures testify to the opposite. The fact of the baptism with the Holy Spirit, administered by Jesus Himself (John 1:33), testifies to Jesus’ glorification, and no people can give greater acknowledgment of Jesus’ glorification than Spirit-baptized people. No people can give greater expression of His life, His grace, and His gifts than those who have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Within the temples of their bodies the Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus, making Him the object of their worship and adoration. “He shall glorify me.”
C. The Holy Spirit glorifies Christ through the Church. The history of the Early Church is told in the Book of Acts. The central figure of the Book of Acts is the resurrected Christ who continues His ministry (“to do and teach” Acts 1:1) through His Spirit-empowered Church. Myer Pearlman significantly said, “After the ascension, the Spirit became the Spirit of Christ in the sense of being imparted to others.”5 The repeated emphasis on the resurrection of Christ is the heart of the message of Acts: “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses” (Acts 2:32). “The Prince of life, whom God bath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses” (Acts 3:15). “Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you” (Acts 3:26). “They spake … and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead” (Acts 4:1,2). “Be it known unto you … that by the name of Jesus … whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole” (Acts 4:10). Hence a Pentecostal church continues the ministry of deliverance that Jesus began (Luke 4:18) and serves as the most demonstrable evidence of the resurrection of Christ. Attesting to the fact of Jesus’ resurrection and exaltation at the right hand of the Father in heaven is the Holy Spirit, working in and through Christ’s earthly body — the Church. “He shall testify of me” (John 15:26). “He shall glorify me” (John 16:14).
D. The Holy Spirit glorifies Christ in His Kingship. Christ’s glory is inseparably connected with His throne. It is in the presence of the “seven Spirits of God” that the revelation of Jesus in kingly splendor and glory takes place in heaven (Revelation 4:5–11). It is in the presence of the “seven Spirits of God” that the redeemed prostrate themselves before Him and sing a new song: “Thou art worthy to take the book … to open the seals … for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God” (Revelation 5:9,10).
In preparation for Christ’s coronation, the Spirit joins in concert with the Bride (the Church) in one last call to “whosoever will” before the marriage supper of the Lamb. Thus, the Spirit glorifies Jesus in calling and preparing His Church for His coronation as King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16).
The Holy Spirit’s Glorification of Christ in Believers
Jesus’ words about the Holy Spirit’s ministry to believers are words of pedagogy: “teach”(John 14:26), “guide”(16:13), “show” (16:13,15), and “bring to remembrance” (14:26). They imply that Spirit-filled people are to be Spirit-instructed people, disciplined by all that pedagogy implies. But the subject of the Spirit’s teaching is Christ and His Kingdom, relating to all three time tenses:
A. With reference to the past: “He shall … bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26). The Spirit’s teaching would be anchored in the things Jesus had already taught them. The revelation of the Spirit and the Word of God are never contrary one to the other. God’s Word is the frame of reference for the Spirit’s pedagogy.
B. With reference to the present: “He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). “He shall testify of me” (John 15:26). The Holy Spirit bears witness to the truth regarding Jesus Christ. R.A. Torrey has put it so well: “It is only through the testimony of the Holy Spirit that men ever come to a true knowledge of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:3). No one magnifies Christ as the Holy Spirit. We shall never understand Christ nor see His glory until the Holy Spirit interprets Him to us. The mere listening to sermons, the mere study of the Word even, will never give you to see ‘the things of Christ.’ The Holy Spirit must show you. The Holy Spirit’s most intense desire is to reveal Jesus Christ to men. Let Him do it. Christ is so different when the Spirit glorifies Him by taking ‘the things of Christ and showing them unto us.’ ”6
It is important to note the Spirit’s affinity and relationship to truth. Men today are seeking religious experience without truth, but the Holy Spirit guides no one into experience apart from a foundation of revealed truth. Jesus said true worship is in spirit and in truth (John 4:23).
Moreover, in honoring Christ the Holy Spirit brings forth fruit in believers in Christlike graces of character (Romans 14:17). R.A. Torrey has expressed this fact with real spiritual insight:
“All real beauty of character, all real Christlikeness in us, is the Holy Spirit’s work, it is His fruit. He bears it, not we. … Settle it clearly and forever that the flesh can never bear this fruit, that you can never attain these things by your own effort, that they are ‘the fruit of the Spirit.’ ”7
C. With reference to the future: His teaching ministry concerns “things to come.” Spirit-instructed people are prophetically alert people. One of the noteworthy characteristics about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the turn of this century was the accompanying emphasis upon the imminent return of Christ. Often it is recorded that in prophetic utterance the Spirit spoke of the nearness of the end wherever the Spirit was outpoured. In spiritual pedagogy this is a scriptural emphasis: “He shall show you things to come” (within the framework of the revealed prophetic Word of God, which exalts Jesus as soon-coming King).
The Holy Spirit’s Glorification of Christ in Relation to the World
“He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8). The Holy Spirit honors Christ negatively as well as positively.8 He produces conviction upon the unsaved concerning the claims of Christ in relation to:
A. Sin. Sin fundamentally consists in refusing to accept the divine provision of salvation. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to convict the world of sin, “because they believe not on me,” Jesus said (John 16:9). It is in reference to Christ’s claims that the Holy Spirit exercises convicting power over the unsaved.
B. Righteousness. Through Christ, God reveals His standards of righteousness, and in Him sinners stand righteous before God. It is in reference to the righteousness of Christ that the Holy Spirit produces conviction upon the unsaved.
C. Judgment to come. Those who reject Christ and do Him dishonor must share the judgment of God upon the “prince of this world,” who is to be judged (John 16:11). It is in reference to Christ’s claims that the Holy Spirit invokes conviction as to men’s eternal destinies.
Whether to the Church or to the world, the Holy Spirit has no message but that of Jesus Christ. His exaltation of Jesus was not only in reference to the person of Christ, but it is seen in His revelation of Christ to men. To the Church He is revealing Christ in new beauty and new glory. To the world He is revealing sin, righteousness, and judgment in their relation to Jesus Christ.
1. Everett F. Harrison, Baker’s Dictionary of Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1960), 236.
2. George S. Hendry, The Holy Spirit in Christian Theology (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1956), 19.
3. Myer Pearlman, Knowing the Doctrines of the Bible (Springfield, Mo.: Gospel Publishing House, 1937), 283.
4. Hendry, loc. cit.
5. Pearlman, loc. cit.
6. R.A. Torrey, What the Bible Teaches (New York: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1933), 246.
7. Ibid., 253.
8. G. Campbell Morgan, Living Messages of the Books of the Bible (New York: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1912), 159.