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Bound to His Word

Filed Under: Luther's Devotions

The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father
will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring
all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto
you.

John 14: 26.

Note well this text, how Christ here binds the Holy Spirit
to his Word, and fixes his limit and measure, so that the Spirit
may not go further than his Word. He shall remind you of
everything which I have said, publishing it further through you.
Thereby he shows that in the future nothing else shall be taught
in all Christendom through the Holy Spirit than what the apostles
had heard from Christ, but which they did not understand
until the Holy Spirit had taught them. So the teaching may
always proceed from the mouth of Christ, then be transmitted
from one mouth to another, and yet always remain the Word

of Christ. The Holy Spirit is thus the schoolmaster who
teaches these things and brings them to remembrance.
It is shown here that this Word precedes, or must be spoken
beforehand, and afterwards the Holy Spirit works through the
Word. One must not reverse the order and dream of a Holy
Spirit who works without the Word and before the Word, but
one who comes with and through the Word and goes no further
than the Word goes. The example of the apostles shows also
how Christ rules his Church in her weakness; the Holy Spirit
does not dwell in Christians at all times, nor so soon as they
have heard the Word does he come with such power and effectiveness
as to enable them to believe it all and rightly to
understand and grasp it. Although the apostles are so far advanced
as to hear Christ's Word willingly and to have begun
to believe, yet even they cannot take these words of comfort to
heait until the Holy Spirit teaches them after the departure of
Christ.

So it is at present. We hear God's Word, which is in fact
the preaching of the Holy Spirit, who is at all. times present
with it, but it does not always reach the heart at once and is
accepted by faith; even in those who are moved by the Holy
Spirit and gladly receive the Word, it does not at once bear
fruit. Therefore it must come to this : in need and danger we
look about and sigh for comfort; then the Holy Spirit can perform
his office of teaching the heart and bringing to remembrance
the Word preached.

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