The threefold ministry of the Holy Spirit
In the sermon (chapter) “The Sanctuary Unlocks the Mystery of the Gospel” we have seen the three steps to the Father in the ministry of Jesus—Jesus “the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6). We have also seen how John 14:6 corresponds to the three places of the sanctuary—the court, the holy place and the most holy place.
In the like manner the work of the Holy Spirit in the plan of salvation goes hand-in-hand with the ministry of Jesus. The Lord Himself has told us that the ministry of the Holy Spirit would be in three distinct areas.
John 16:7, 8, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment”
Sin, righteousness and judgment are connected with the work in the sanctuary in the court, the holy place and the most holy place. In the court the offering for sin is brought—that is the first step in the plan of salvation. Justification, or forgiveness, is granted to the repenting sinner, freely and fully. Then in the holy place the process of sanctification, or living a righteous life begins—through the table of bread (the studying and obeying the word of God), through the altar of incense (connecting to God through prayer), and through the candlesticks (witnessing or sharing the light of truth to others). Finally in the most holy place the process of glorification begins, where God’s people are judged worthy of eternal life. The law in the most holy place is the standard by which God judges His people.
The Holy Spirit does not work independent of Jesus. He is the divine Associate to our Lord. The Master Himself said,
John 6:13, 14, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.”
Yes, the Holy Spirit will “not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak”. And with whom is the Holy Spirit closely connected? With two people—Jesus and man. Jesus said, “For he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.” He is the channel through which Christ connects to us.
Some Christians believe it was the Father, who was active in the Old Testament, and then it was the Son who was active in the redemption of the human race two thousand years back, and from then on it is the active ministry of the Holy Spirit that has began. But the Sanctuary and the entire Bible does not reveal such a doctrine at all. All the Three of them work in unison—one connected to the other—in the great plan of salvation, from the beginning to the end.
So as Jesus’ ministry of salvation on behalf of man is seen in the three distinct places of the Sanctuary, the parallel work of the Holy Spirit goes on as well, as His work is not a different work from that of Jesus’.