In other words, "the Spirit of truth" will take up residence. Do we have God the Son and God the Father running around inside of us? No. The mind of God, the Spirit of God, is in us, residing in us. It has taken up residence, and therefore the Father is there, as well as the Son.
The apostles were literally seeing the Holy Spirit of God, the essence of God's mind, in the action, in the life, of a fellow human being—Jesus Christ. He was the literal Word of God. He was with them, teaching, leading, guiding them into truth. He was truth personified. His word is truth (John 17:17). His word is spirit (John 6:63). They could literally, directly, see Him and hear Him, the Son of God, which is why He said the Holy Spirit was with them. It, the essence of God's mind, was in Him. What they witnessed with their eyes and ears was being fed directly into their minds, becoming part of their experience.
The Spirit, the essence of God's mind, was on the verge of residing in them, but it was not yet firmly lodged in them where it would consistently manifest the characteristics of the God Family. This is why Luke 24:49 says, "Tarry in Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high." Power to do what? To submit to the will of God. He gave them the power to keep God's law in the spirit, not just its letter. Any human being with enough willpower can keep the law of God in the letter, but God must empower us to keep it in the spirit. We need more power than what we humanly have to keep God's law in the spirit. God is looking for people who will worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24), and He has empowered us to do that by His Spirit.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Holy Spirit and the Trinity (Part Five)
The Holy Spirit is the power of God—not a personage, entity, consciousness, or part of the Godhead or a trinity. The Bible speaks of the Spirit as the power or mind of God, the power of love and of a sound mind. It emanates from Him and thus can be said to be "poured out" (Titus 3:5-6), "breathed" (John 20:22), and used to "fill" (Acts 2:4) and "anoint" (Acts 10:38).
Martin G. Collins
The Holy Spirit
During Jesus' life on earth, the Holy Spirit was with the disciples. After the Holy Spirit came on Pentecost, the Spirit was within them as it had been in Christ. At this time, the disciples were born from above by the Holy Spirit, marking the beginning of the church of God.
Earl L. Henn (1934-1997)
Holy Days: Pentecost
This is a prophecy. When this was spoken, Jesus had not yet died, so He had not yet been resurrected and glorified. Thus, the Spirit was not yet given either. He shows another condition (in addition to the ones in John 7:37-39) for the giving of the Holy Spirit: "Keep My commandments."
Notice that the Spirit is described as being with and in. This clarifies the matter of coming to Christ. We have to be called and to respond. If we fail to do the latter, even though God's Spirit is "with" us—leading us to Christ—it will never be "in" us unless we respond and meet the conditions.
For the disciples at the time, the Spirit was with them—in Christ, teaching and guiding. However, a time was coming when it would be in them, literally. This did not occur until Pentecost, in Acts 2. So it is with us: The Spirit is with us before conversion, and it is by this means that God brings us to Christ.
If God did not do this miraculous work, the enmity against Him (Romans 8:7)—coupled with our spiritual confusion—would never permit the process of conversion even to start. Our calling is a tremendous act of mercy on God's part; it is a miraclethat we even respond. If it were not for that—for God's mercy in choosing us to be called—we would never make it off the starting block. God has to work a tremendous miracle even to get us to be willing to come to Christ and begin to learn.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part Twelve)
Note well the condition for receiving this gift: We must keep His commandments.
Jesus gives a specific reason for gifting us with the Holy Spirit: that God may be in and with us forever. His wording is important in this regard. The Holy Spirit is power to be directly in contact with the God Family, but in this case, His phrasing emphasizes that the Holy Spirit is a Person. Though God is Spirit, we must fully grasp that, in this spiritual family relationship, we are dealing with real, living Persons of awesome power, generosity, mercy, and kindness who are willing to deliver us fully into their Family. Verse 23 reveals that the Holy Spirit is the Father and the Son, not a third person in a so-called Trinity.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Fully Accepting God's Sovereignty (Part Four)
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing John 14:17:
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
1 John 4:15-17