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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 14 - Verse 17
Verse 17. The Spirit of truth. He is thus called here because he would teach them the truth, or would guide them into all truth, Joh 16:13. He would keep them from all error, and teach them the truth, which, either by writing or preaching, they were to communicate to others.
The world. The term world is often used to denote all who are entirely under the influence of the things of this world —pride, ambition, and pleasure; all who are not Christians, and especially all who are addicted to gross vices and pursuits, 1 Co 1:21; 11:32; Joh 12:31; 2 Co 4:4.
Cannot receive. Cannot admit as a teacher or comforter, or cannot receive in his offices of enlightening and purifying. The reason why they could not do this is immediately added.
Because it seeth him not. The men of the world are under the influence of the senses. They walk by sight, and not by faith. Hence what they cannot perceive by their senses, what does not gratify their sight, or taste, or feeling, makes no impression on them. As they cannot see the operations of the Spirit (Joh 3:8), they judge that all that is said of his influence is delusive, and hence they cannot receive him. They have an erroneous mode of judging of what is for the welfare of man.
Neither knoweth him. To know, in the Scriptures, often means more than the act of the mind in simply understanding a thing. It denotes every act or emotion of the mind that is requisite in receiving the proper impression of a truth. Hence it often includes the idea of approbation, of love, of cordial feeling, Ps 1:6; Ps 37:18; 138:6; Na 1:7; 2 Ti 2:19.
In this place it means the approbation of the heart; and as the people of the world do not approve of or desire the aid of the Spirit, so it is said they cannot receive him. They have no love for him, and they reject him. Men often consider his work in the conversion of sinners and in revivals as delusion. They love the world so much that they cannot understand his work or embrace him.
He dwelleth in you. The Spirit dwells in Christians by his sacred influences. There is no personal union, no physical indwelling, for God is essentially present in one place as much as in another; but he works in us repentance, peace, joy, meekness, &c. He teaches us, guides us, and comforts us. See Barnes "Ga 5:22-24".
Thus he is said to dwell in us when we are made pure, peaceable, holy, humble; when we become like him, and cherish his sacred influences. The word "dwelleth" means to remain with them. Jesus was to be taken away, but the Spirit would remain. It is also implied that they would know his presence, and have assurance that they were under his guidance. This was true of the apostles as inspired men, and it is true of all Christians that by ascertaining that they have the graces of the Spirits—joy, peace, long-suffering, &c.—they know that they are the children of God, 1 Jo 3:24; 5:10.
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