October 28th, 2020

The Spirit’s indwelling


By Submitted Article on August 15, 2020.

The sap

Third of four parts

Jacob M. Van Zyl

The Holy Spirit is likened to the oil of the olive tree, dripping into the lampstand (Zech. 4:1-6, 11-14).

The menorah in the Tabernacle was filled with special olive oil every day, enabling it to give endless light (Ex. 27:20-21), symbolizing that believers are the light of the world through the power of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 5:14-16).

The apostle Paul compared the Spirit to the sap of a tree that produces fruit (Gal. 5:22). We may assume that Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit when he said that the branches bear much fruit when they stay connected to the vine. Only then can the sap of the vine produce fruit on the branches.

Jesus spoke about the Holy Spirit several times that night before his crucifixion (John 14:15, 16, 26; 15:26; 16:7-15). It is logical to assume he referred to the Spirit when he spoke about the fruit-producing sap flowing to the branches.

The close unity between Christ and the Spirit is highlighted by the oneness of the vine and its sap. Jesus said, “The Spirit of truth É will guide you into all truth; for he will not speak on his own, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will tell you things to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you” (John 16:13-14).

Because Jesus emphasized that his disciples should love one another, it follows that the main fruit of the Spirit is love. The Greeks had three words for love: eros (erotic love), philia (friendship love), and agape (sacrificial love). Christ and the Spirit generates agape love.

The Spirit also gives power to testify: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes over you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the Earth” (Acts 1:8).

The Spirit strengthens the whole personality. He gives insight into truth (John 16:12); he gives joy (Gal. 5:22); he empowers the will (Acts 1:8, Rom. 8:26); and he improves self-esteem (John 1:12). The latter happens when the Spirit brings someone to faith in Christ (John 3:3-5, 1 Cor. 12:3, 12:13).

St. Paul said that the Spirit endows believers with special gifts to serve fellow believers. He compared the church to a body: it consists of many inter-dependent parts, each one serving the whole body with its unique function (1 Cor. 12).

Paul lists gifs of the Spirit several other places, too (Rom. 12). Any ability that can be used to the benefit of others can be seen as a gift from God. Most careers can be harnessed to pull a cart for the good of people and God’s kingdom.

The sap of the vine produces fruit.

Jacob Van Zyl of Lethbridge is a retired counsellor and the author of several faith-based books.

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