In God’s New Testament economy the Spirit has the attribute of reality (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13). Reality is the all-inclusive attribute of the Spirit of God, for it includes the Father, Christ the Son, and all the divine items and entities. The Spirit is the reality of Christ and of the divine revelation. Hence, the Spirit is the reality (1 John 5:6). The Holy Spirit is the all-inclusive reality. Reality, therefore, is one of the most marvelous attributes of the Spirit.
Apart from the Spirit of reality, in our experience we cannot have the Trinity or any of the divine attributes. These would be nothing more than terms to us. The reality of the Triune God and of all His attributes is the Spirit of reality.
As the Spirit of reality, the Spirit is the reality of God and of the Son. The Spirit is the reality of every divine thing, and, as such, He is the reality of eternal life. Eventually, because the Spirit is the reality, He is God, the Son, and eternal life. Without the Spirit of reality, eternal life would be empty, vain. Therefore, the Spirit is the reality of God, the Son, eternal life, and every divine matter. This is the reason He is called the Spirit of reality.
When the Lord Jesus was on earth, reality had not yet entered into man. The reality was present, for Christ Himself is reality (John 14:6). But this reality was only among the disciples; it had not come into them. Therefore, the Lord told the disciples that it was expedient for them that He go away (John 16:7). The purpose of His going was for Him to have a change in form, a change from the form of the flesh to the form of the Spirit. As soon as this change had been accomplished, His reality would become the reality of the Spirit, and the Spirit would become the Spirit of reality. Then this Spirit of reality would come to abide in the disciples. The Lord Jesus said in John 14:17, “Even the Spirit of reality, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him; but you know Him, because He abides with you and shall be in you.” Because the Spirit of reality has come into us, reality now abides in us.
The last attribute of the Spirit revealed in the New Testament is power. Luke 4:14 says, “Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee.” The power of the Spirit here is economical, for it is power for ministry. The Spirit in verse 14 is the Holy Spirit who descended upon the Lord Jesus at the time of His baptism for the accomplishment of His ministry. Before the Holy Spirit in power descended upon Him, He already had the Holy Spirit within Him essentially for His living. Therefore, the Lord Jesus had the Holy Spirit both essentially as life for His living and economically as power for His ministry.
In Romans 15:13 Paul speaks of the believers abounding “in hope in the power of the Holy Spirit.” Here the power of the Holy Spirit is not economical but essential. The believers’ abounding in hope is not a work; it is an aspect of their living. For this aspect of the living of the believers, the power of the Holy Spirit is needed essentially.
Acts 1:8 is another verse that speaks of the economical power of the Spirit: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” To receive power is to be baptized in the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5) for the fulfillment of the promise of the Father (v. 4). The Holy Spirit was breathed into the disciples on the day of Christ’s resurrection (John 20:22) to be the Spirit of life to them essentially. The same Holy Spirit came upon the disciples on the day of Pentecost to be the Spirit of power economically. Both essentially and economically the Spirit has the attribute of power. According to Acts 1:8, through the power of the Spirit, which truly is an excellency of the Spirit, we may be Christ’s witnesses to the remotest part of the earth.
(Conclusion of the New Testament, The (Msgs. 079-098), Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)