Living in the Spirit (Part 4) – Fruit of the Holy Spirit
Why am I writing a series of devotions about Holy Spirit? I’m convicted, for that matter, deeply convicted that I need to write a series of devotions about Holy Spirit. Some of my motivation comes from teachings and practices that invoke the name of Holy Spirit but are inconsistent with the Bible. Holy Spirit often gets credit or blame for things that land outside of God’s will and His Word and, for that matter, beyond or inconsistent with the described nature and responsibility of Holy Spirit. Instead of dealing with the false claims and misunderstandings about Holy Spirit, we will deal with what is true and substantiated in the Bible.
Before proceeding, if you’d like to read the previous posts, click the following links: Living in the Spirit (Part 1) — Holy Spirit is God Living in the Spirit (Part 2) – Holy Spirit is a Person Living in the Spirit (Part 3) – Function of the Holy Spirit
As we’ve previously established, Holy Spirit is God and co-equal, co-eternal with Father and Son. To be clear, God is one, in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We call this the Trinity or Triune God Head. Further, we’ve also discussed why we count Holy Spirit as a person and His function in the Godhead. Now that we’ve recognized the deity and personage and function of Holy Spirit, we will examine the fruit of Holy Spirit.
Now, before we identify and discuss the fruit of the Spirit, let’s start with making ourselves aware of the contrasting works of the flesh from Paul’s epistle to the churches in Galatia.
GAL 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
First, Paul states the above list of sins are the works of the flesh. Please notice that works is plural. Thus, any one of these in the list, in and of themselves, is a sin. You may have a problem with one or two of them but, nevertheless, each one, independently, is of the flesh or sin nature. Second, Paul marks the sins in this list as evident. In other words, he is saying that this list of sins shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Third, Paul is clearly identifying these sins as incompatible with Christian attitudes and behaviors. Furthermore, if you commit these sins, continually and habitually, you are NOT a Christian.
Now that we understand what works of the flesh are, let’s identify and discuss the fruit of the Spirit.
GAL 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
First, Paul identifies a list of characteristics that identify the fruit of the Spirit. Don’t overlook the fact that the word fruit is singular. As such, the Spirit produces all of these characteristics in the Christian living by faith and obedience to Christ. If you routinely exhibit one or two, even three, of these characteristics then it may be the result of self-effort but not the power of the Spirit. That’s right, the power of Holy Spirit brings forth the entire basket of fruit. Please be aware, what the Spirit can do in you is impossible for you to imitate through your will and desire. If you look at this list and it seems impossible for you to exhibit the entire fruit basket of characteristics, be assured that it is impossible for you. However, it is entirely possible for Holy Spirit. Likewise, if we live by the Spirit our life will exude characteristics that are aligned and consistent with the Spirit.
You may still be digesting what the Bible says about Holy Spirit. As you do, allow me to encourage you to come to grips with the deity, personage, function and fruit of Holy Spirit. The details may be confusing mainly due to a lot of false teaching and delusional application in our world, however, as the evidence establishes, Holy Spirit is, first and foremost, God, as well, a person with a distinct personality with a defined function producing recognizable fruit. There are a lot of false claims, but instead of dealing with the false claims and misunderstandings about Holy Spirit, we will continue to focus on what is true and substantiated in the Bible. After all, Holy Spirit often gets credit or blame for things that land outside of God’s will and His Word and, for that matter, inconsistent with the described nature and responsibility of Holy Spirit.
Next week: Living in the Spirit (Part 5) – Empowerment of Holy Spirit
A Work in Progress,