Sunday, October 29
Jesus is talking to his disciples just before his crucifixion. He told them (John 14:16) that he would send the Holy Spirit to dwell in them “forever.” Does this mean that the Holy Spirit will remain in us throughout eternity? This is a new thought for me, so I set out to do some research. I found that most English versions use the word “forever.” I found one exception; Young’s Literal Translation. It renders it “to the age.” The Greek word has a breadth of meaning that leaves the question unresolved. It can mean eternity, but it can also mean a long duration of time. I also found no other passages that suggest an eternal indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The idea of the Holy Spirit living in us after we get to heaven is neither confirmed nor supported in Scripture—other than the word “forever” in John 14:16. And I would expect a more detailed explanation if that were the meaning. Considering the Holy Spirit’s ministry of convicting of sin, illuminating the Word of God, encouraging right conduct and perseverance, and the “sealing” of the saints, it all has to do with this present life. There seems to be no sound reason for the Holy Spirit to continue indwelling us after we arrive in heaven. Feel free to disagree with me; I doubt if my arguments are beyond dispute. And, either way, the issue is not crucial.