Fruit of the Spirit

David Thomas Jr.

Galations 5:19-23

"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."
Some interpret fruit of the spirit to good qualities we receive if we have the gift of the Holy Spirit, but this is not true. Paul describes what the Holy Spirit gifts are such as speaking in tongues and prophesies in other chapters. Fruit of the spirit refers to the good things we get from the spirit whether it is the spirit inspired word or the teachings of the apostles who taught with the power of the Holy Spirit. These good qualities must be something we develope when we read or hear the truth from spirit inspired teachings.
In Ephesians 5:8-9 the fruit of the spirit is compared to walking in light. "For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light. (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
Lets first look as some of the terms that are described as the works of the flesh. Adultery, fornication, and uncleanness are self-explanatory. Lasciviousness is the next term. It means lewd whether this is in action of language. Next comes idolatry, witchcraft, and hatred. After that comes variance. Variance refers to creating dissension and disputes. Emulations refers to ambitious or envious rivalries. We are not to be excessive with our worldly ambitions and rivalries. The next works of the flesh we are to avoid are wrath and strife. Seditions refers to the incitement of resistance or insurrection against lawful authority. The final works of the flesh include heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, and revellings. Therefore, as we can see the list of works of the flesh include just about every bad trait we can have.
I would now like to describe each of these qualities called the fruit of the spirit. Again these include love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. Meekness and gentleness will be described together.

Love

The first fruit of the Spirit that is mentioned is love. The word love in the list of fruit of the Spirit is the well known Greek word agape. The only word in the Bible translated charity means love. It is the word found in the two greatest commandments. In Romans 5:8 it is the ultimate expression of love from God. "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." In 1 John 4:9-11 we read that since God loved us we ought to love one another as well, "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another."
In 1 Corinthians 13 we read that the powers given through the Holy Spirit only remain until the Word of God is complete. After the Holy Spirit power is removed only faith, hope, and charity remain. We read in 1 Corinthians 13:13 "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of
these [is] charity."

Joy

The second of the fruit of the spirit qualities is joy. We are to have joy because we can look forward to a future kingdom. Phillipians 1:25 reads, "And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith"
Our faith should be stong enough that we have joy when looking forward to the kingdom. We are to always rejoice in God and his son. Phillipians 4:4 reads, "Rejoice in the Lord alway: [and] again I say, Rejoice." We should rejoice in the hope we have. Romans 5:2 reads, "By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."
No one can take this joy from us. Jesus knew that the disciples would be sorrowful at his death. But Jesus told them he would see them again. They should have joy in this, and no one can take this joy from them. John 16:22 reads, "And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you."
Our joy should be evident to all. It is an unspeakable joy because we believe completely. 1Pe 1:8 reads, "Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see [him] not, yet believing, ye rejoice with
joy unspeakable and full of glory:"

If we truly believe, God will fill us with joy and peace. Romans 15:13 reads, "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit."

Peace

The third fruit of the spirit is peace. In the New Testament it often refers to peace of mind one feels because he or she knows the truth and feels at peace when confronted with lifes problems. In Phillipians 4:7 we read, "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
This peace passes all understanding because it is beyond the comprehension of the unbeliever. The unbeliever cannot feel that peace of mind when he or she has no understanding beyond what we have in this life. Jesus indicates the same thing in John 14:27. This verse reads, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
Jesus says my peace is not as the world giveth. It is something only his followers can feel. Peace of course can refer to being at peace with each other as well. It is the opposite of variance which refers to dissention and disputes. We are to strive to be different from other people. We must work out our differences and refrain from disputes or dissention.

Long-suffering

The fourth fruit of the spirit is long-suffering. From Unger's Bible dictionary, the term long-suffering refers to patience when dealing with people rather than when dealing with things. We should be patient in waiting for the return of Christ, but it does not appear that this fruit of the spirit is referring to this. Longsuffering refers to patience when dealing with people and the traits they have that may upset us or test our patience. We are to be patient with our brethren and sisters and our neighbours. We should not immediately get upset with other people if we disagree with them. This can be seen with 2 Peter 3:9, "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." God is patient with us as people hoping that none will perish and all would come to repentance.

Goodness

The sixth fruit of the spirit is goodness. The word goodness doesn't appear often especially in the New Testament. Most of the time it refers to kindness it appears. In some translations goodness is translated lovingkindness at times. Another verse where it is found is Romans 15:14, "And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another." Goodness contrasts with emulations and hatred with the works of the flesh. Emulations refers to ambitious or envious rivalries. We should look out for the well-being of our fellow brethren and sisters and all of our neighbours. If a brother or sister is in need we should be there to help.

Faith

The seventh fruit of the spirit is faith. The word faith needs very little explanation. The word occurs only twice in our English version of the Old Testament with the idea being expressed using other words such as trust. We are all familier with the definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

If we have faith we should worry less and have a peace of mind knowing that God will look after us. Mathew 6:28-30 reads, "And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, [shall he] not much more [clothe] you, O ye of little faith?"

In 1 Corinthians 15:17 - 20, We read that our faith is in vain if Christ didn't rise from the dead. "And if Christ be not raised, your faith [is] vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. The revised standard version has the following for 1 Corinthians 15:19, "If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied." We are to be pitied if we have faith looking forward to the kingdom when our faith is really in vain. But Paul says that Christ did rise from the dead, " But now is Christ risen from the dead, [and] become the firstfruits of them that slept." And why should we question Paul. Would he commit his life to preaching about Jesus if he lied and the light really didn't shine from heaven.

Again in 1 Corinthians 13:13 we read that after the powers of the Holy Spirit are removed and the Word of God is complete, only faith, hope, and charity will remain. 1Corinthians 13:13 reads, "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity." After the Holy Spirit powers left us and we couldn't witness the miracles, we were left with our hope and faith, and we were left with our love towards each other and our neighbour.

Gentleness and Meekness

The sixth and eight fruit of the spirit is gentleness and meekness. Meekness refers to humility. Col 3:12,13 refers to it as humbleness of mind. "Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye."
In Romans 12 :3, Paul says we should not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to, "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith."
In Ephesians 4:1,2 Paul says that to be lowly and meek is to walk worthy of our vocation. "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;" The same word translated meekness is translated gentleness with some translations at times. The word gentleness is similar.
It is obvious when studying the fruit of the spirit that dissentions and confrontation will not lead to the kingdom. Gentleness and peace will lead to the kingdom. We are to be different from worldly people who value competition and aggressiveness.

Temperance

The ninth fruit of the spirit is temperance. The word temperate means self-control. We need to avoid excess and show self-control when it comes to worldly pleasures. We read in 2 Peter 1:6, "And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness". We read in I Corinthians 9:25, "And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they [do it] to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible."
In conclusion, we should look at ourselves and see if we live our lives by the fruit of the spirit and not the works of the flesh. We should have joy in our belief and have a feeling of inner peace in the troubling times we live in. We should be meek and good people. We should try to prevent dissention instead of cause it. We should show kindness to our neighbour and to other brethren and sisters. We should be patient and longsuffering when dealing with other people. We should be filled with love for God and for our neighbour. Let us review these qualities as we partake of the emblems and consider if we need improvement.


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