Stay in Christ
The great writer Mark Twain wrote an interesting story. He said that one day when the king and queen of a distant land brought home their newborn little prince from the royal hospital, their carriage collided with the cart of a poor beggar. In the humble vehicle, the poor man brought his wife and newborn baby from the midwife's home to his home. In the confusion of the incident, the two couples accidentally exchanged the babies, and so the little prince got into the beggar's house to be raised by him and his wife.
When the baby grew up into a boy, he was forced to go out into the streets and beg for food. Without knowing it, it was actually his own streets on which he begged, since it belonged to his real father, the king. Day in and day out he went to the castle and looked through the iron fence at the little boy who was playing there and said to himself: "If only I were a prince". Of course he was a prince! But he was aware of this fact The boy lived a life of poverty because he didn't know who he really was, just because he didn't know who his father was.
But this also applies to many Christians! It's so easy to go through life without knowing your own identity. Some of us have never really taken the time to find out "who they belong to". Since the day we were born spiritually, we are now sons and daughters of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! We are royal heirs. How sad when you consider that we often live in self-imposed spiritual poverty and withhold the wealth of God's wonderful grace. This wealth is there, whether we knowingly enjoy it or not. Many believers are, to some extent, "unbelievers" when it comes to taking God's word when he tells us who we are in Jesus.
The moment we came to believe, God gave us everything we need to live a Christian life. Jesus promised to send his disciples a "helper". "But when the comforter [helper] whom I will send you from the Father will come, the Spirit of Truth that comes from the Father, he will testify of me. And you are also my witnesses, because you have been with me from the beginning » (John 15,26: 27).
Jesus spoke to his disciples about the secret of a converted spiritual life: «I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever stays in me and I in him bears much fruit; because without me you can do nothing » (John 15,5). Our staying in Christ, his staying in us and the coming of the Holy Spirit are closely related. We cannot really stay in Christ without walking in the Spirit. If there is no walking, there is no staying. Staying means that something is always there. Our Christian life began with a once and for all dedication of our life to Christ. We live this obligation day by day.
The word "helper" (Greek Parakletos) means "set aside to help". It refers to someone who comes to help in court. Both Jesus and the Holy Spirit teach the truth, stay with the disciples, and bear witness. The helper is not only essentially like Jesus, he also acts like Jesus. The Holy Spirit is the constant presence of Jesus in us believers.
The Paracletus is the direct connection between Jesus and his disciples in every generation. The comforter, encourager or helper remains or lives in all believers. He leads us into the truth of the world of God. Jesus said: «But when the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you to all Truth. Because he will not speak of himself; but what he will hear, he will speak, and what is in the future, he will announce to you » (John 16,13). He always points us to Christ. «He will glorify me; for he will take it from mine and proclaim it to you. Everything the father has is mine. That is why I said: He will take it from mine and proclaim it to you » (John 16,14: 15). The Holy Spirit never glorifies itself. It does not seek its own glory. He only wants to glorify Christ and God the Father. Any religious movement that glorifies the Spirit instead of Christ is not in line with Jesus' teachings about the Holy Spirit.
What the Holy Ghost teaches will always be in full agreement with Jesus. He will in no way contradict or share anything that our Redeemer has taught. The Holy Spirit is always Christ-centered. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are always in complete agreement.
Entry into the kingdom of God does not succeed because of our best efforts, but requires a completely different life. We have to be born spiritually. It is a new beginning, a new birth. It is free from the old life. It is the work of the Holy Spirit in us. Neither by our own strength nor by our own intelligence can we have a right relationship with God. We enter God's family when the Spirit of God fundamentally renews us. Without that, there is no Christianity. The Holy Spirit helps to spiritual life. It does not start with a desperate human attempt to create it yourself. It has nothing to do with own merit. We do not torment ourselves with it. We can not earn God's favor. What a privilege to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. We simply state what God has already done in Christ. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth and He came to reveal Jesus as the way, the truth and the life. We are wonderfully blessed! God is for us, with us and works through us.
by Santiago Lange