Once upon a time there was a new grapevine. It was only two yeas old, and in its third year, it felt it was time to produce fruit. It knew it would have better fruit if the ground was fertilized. But try as it might, it was not able to fertilize the ground. It also knew that the extra growth on its branches would use up all the sap of the vine, and thus the fruit would be small. But try as it might, it was not able to trim away just one of these. Then it began to despair, for it knew that an unproductive vine would be thrown away. So it bought a book on self improvement. Meanwhile the farmer came down the row of vines with a sharp knife in his hand.
God has shown himself to us in three persons: the Father, the Son and the Spirit. The word Holy is added to Spirit to make sure we understand that he is not to be confused with any other spirit. So, all he does is pure, and he makes pure those he has entered. He enters the believer when the one who hears the message of who Jesus is and what he did for them on the cross puts their whole trust in him. The spirit does not enter you to be your companion. He does not live in you to help you do what you want to do. He is not a messenger that takes your prayer to God and then waits for the next one.
He is, rather, almighty God who lowers himself to enter you and stay with you forever. His entering joins you to God. His coming automatically makes you a possessor of all the benefits of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
He is the Spirit of Jesus Christ and he brings with him the character of Jesus. He also brings with him some spiritual ability that allows you to work in cooperation with all other believers in Jesus.
He comes as your boss and your strengthener. He channels the grace of God to you. He represents the lordship of Jesus Christ over you. Grace is God’s enabling. “But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you,” Acts 1:8.
He is not your servant, you are his servant and he is your Lord. The same goes for every group of believers. When a group of believers meet together they say they are a “church”. God says they are the members of his body. Having the Spirit living in each one, they are called the members of his body, a spiritual body joined together by the Spirit.
The leaders of a group are not in charge of that group. Leaders in the Bible are only servants and not bosses. They are to serve the needs of the members of the group. They are foot washers (John 13). The leaders of a group do not make the decisions for the group. They lead the group to make the decisions together as one body. In his body, all have the Spirit. This makes them all equal in status and authority (Galatians 3:26-28).
Just as believers have mistaken their role and have thought they were in charge of God’s people and God’s work, so too, the individual believer has thought the same. All have thought is was their job to overcome sin in their lives. This is something that only the Spirit of Christ can do. We call this working of the Spirit, the grace of God. Once we are humbled and fully dependent on him, then he can do his work. We cooperate by trusting him to do the work of changing us and growing us.
Consider John 15 to understanding this mystery. Beginning with verse one we see who does the work of maturing us. It is the farmer, the Father, who takes away what he does not want. He fertilizes the vine. Jesus as the vine is vitally connected to us, and if nothing hinders, his life flows through us. It is automatic. We automatically bear the fruit he produces. Our job is just one thing. To abide, to live from him and not from ourselves. What he does is acceptable. It is good fruit. What we do without him is not acceptable.