December 02, 2022
The aspen tree has an amazing property that is uncommon to other trees. Aspens grow in groves, often covering many acres. In that grove, the aspen trees grow from one single seed. One root system spreads out and up.
What looks like hundreds, perhaps thousands of individual trees is often one, united tree. Many manifestations, but one tree. It is why aspens are more impervious to fire because the root system underground is not destroyed. The common life keeps the whole tree growing, even when some individual trees above ground are damaged. An astounding and powerful unity.
The church of the Lord Jesus Christ, in all ages and in all locations, is one massive aspen, all united by the work and presence of the Holy Spirit.
THE SPIRIT’S WORK
It is essential for those of us who are believers in Jesus to realize our unity and how it is accomplished. Jesus’ final prayer in John 17 was a plea to the Father that we would see and experience this. He wanted us to understand that the work of the Spirit in our salvation joins us in a way that could happen by no other means.
For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:12-13)
The Holy Spirit, at salvation, places us in one body and comes to indwell each of us, giving us one common spiritual Life.
ONE SPIRIT PLACES US IN ONE BODY
The Spirit of God is the agent of our salvation. In the miracle of spiritual birth, we are “baptized into one body,” which is accomplished “by one Spirit.” That body is the body of Christ, of which Christ is the head. And the word “baptism” means “immersion; to be placed under or placed into.”
The Spirit is the one who places all believers, at all times, in all places, into the singular body of Christ. The Spirit placed Paul and Peter into this Body; and Martin Luther and Calvin, Wesley and Whitefield, Amy Carmichael and Corrie Ten Boom, Elizabeth Elliott and Joni Eareckson Tada, and YOU! Every true believer has had this immersion (of which water baptism is the outward symbol and testimony). And we are all united into one body (which is the true church, the body of Christ).
ONE SPIRIT INDWELLS US
Also, the Spirit of God is placed within each of us individually at our salvation. In the greatest of all miracles, God has chosen, by His own Spirit, to make His home in us. This is what transforms us and gives us power and spiritual life. “We were all made to drink of one Spirit,” Pauls says. The Spirit in us fills us, leads us, teaches us, empowers us, comforts us, etc. “Christ in you the hope of glory,” Paul said (Galatians 1:27). His presence is what gives us the joy of experiencing the glory of God!
If you have had the privilege of encountering believers from other countries, you instantly understand this phenomenon. In a supernatural way, even if you cannot speak the same language, when you meet another person who has been placed in the body of Christ and in whom the Spirit resides, there is an instant, tangible unity. It’s because we have been joined at the deepest level. There is a common Life. The Spirit in you speaks to the Spirit in them.
This spiritual uniting and Presence connects us in a way that could not happen organizationally. The church—throughout the ages and across nations—is not an organization made by human hands, but an organism joined by a common Life. The blessed Holy Spirit is the agent and the Presence, helping us experience a unity with other believers far beyond what we even know with our own biological families.
Without the Spirit, we would never have been united to Christ and each other. Without the Spirit, we would not have the life and power of God within us. And without the Spirit, the church could not possibly accomplish the work the Father desires us to do in building His kingdom.
Pause right now and read that last paragraph. Think of all the ramifications of the Spirit’s miraculous work in us and the unity we could not have enjoyed by any other means. And give Him thanks!
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A changed life.
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