In Communion with God, John Owen wrote:
The Holy Spirit enables believers to obey cheerfully, willingly and patiently to the end. In a word, in all that concerns us in this life and in all our expectation of another life, we will always stand in need of the comfort and strength of the Holy Spirit.
Without the comfort and strength of the Holy Spirit, we will either despise afflictions or collapse under them and God’s purpose in sending them to us will be defeated.
Without the comfort and strength of the Holy Spirit, sin will either harden us so that we treat it with contempt, or else cast us into despair and so we neglect the gracious means that God has graciously provided us with to defeat it.Without the comfort and strength of the Holy Spirit, prosperity will make us worldly and sensual in finding contentment in these things and so weaken us for the day of trial.
Without the comfort and strength of the Holy Spirit, the comforts of our loved ones will separate us from God and the loss of them will turn our hearts to stone.
Without the comfort and strength of the Holy Spirit, the poverty of the church will overwhelm us and the prosperity of the church will not concern us.
Without the comfort and strength of the Holy spirit, we shall not have wisdom in our work, nor peace in any condition, nor strength for any duty, nor success in trial. Nor will we have joy and comfort in life, nor light in death.
How sad, then, is the condition of those who know nothing of the Spirit as Comforter.
The Holy Spirit comforts us by communicating to us and acquainting us with and persuading us of the eternal and unchangeable love of the Father. Christ assured the disciples of this. He said “The Father himself loves you” (John 16:27).
A soul may say “the world hates me, but my Father loves me for the sake of Christ His Son. Men despise me as a hypocrite, but my Father loves me as a child. I am poor in this world, but I have a rich inheritance in the love of my Father. I mourn in secret under the power of my lusts and sins where no eyes see me, but the Father sees me clothed in the righteousness of Christ and he is full of compassion.
With this sense of his love, which is better than life, I rejoice in tribulation, glory in affliction, and triumph as a conqueror. Though I am killed all day long, yet all my sorrows have a depth that can be fathomed and my trials have bounds which can be reached. But the breadth, depth, and height of the love of the Father, who can measure that?”
The Holy Spirit comforts us by communicating to us and acquainting us with the grace of Christ. He brings to us the fruits he has purchased and shows us how desirable Christ is.
The Holy Spirit glorifies Christ by revealing his excellencies and his desirableness to believers. He reveals to believers that in Christ there is pardon of sin and deliverance from the curse and wrath to come. He shows them also that in Christ they are justified and adopted and are heirs to the numberless privileges accompanying the hope of glory given to them.
The Holy Spirit comforts us because of his infinite love and willingness to help us in our utter weakness and helplessness. He knew what we were, what we would do and how we would deal with him. He knew we would grieve him and provoke him. He knew we would quench his activities in us and defile his dwelling place, and still he becomes our Comforter.
Lack of due consideration of this great love of the Holy Spirit weakens all the principles of our obedience. Did this knowledge abide in our hearts, how highly we would value the work of the Holy Spirit as Comforter. As we value the love of Christ in laying down his life for our salvation, so we must value the work of the Holy Spirit as our Comforter.
Yet how do we behave towards him? Are we not irritated, obstinate, and unthankful? Do we not grieve, vex, and provoke him? Yet in his love, he continues to do us good. Let us, then, by faith, meditate on this love of the Holy Spirit. He does this for us because he loves us and would have fellowship with us.