Fruit of the Holy Spirit

A. NATURAL GOOD DEEDS

The fruit of the Spirit is to be distinguished from natural good behaviour and deeds which are common amongst all men and which in fact are the left-overs of God’s grace. If God were to withdraw his Spirit altogether from mankind, we would become like demons.

Isaiah saw this goodness of God operating in Israel, keeping it from total decay:

Except Jehovah of Hosts had left us a very small remnant, we would be as Sodom; we would be like Gomorrah. (Isa 1:9).

Worldly people can sometimes perform praiseworthy deeds while confessing Christians may fall into very un-Christlike behaviour, making it difficult to judge by people’s deeds alone whether they are connected to Christ or not. Non-Christians would find it appealing to be friendly and distribute gifts to people of their own race but would not so easily treat other races similarly. It is usually in the long run that the difference shows up clearly.

The true fruit of the Spirit is the Life of Christ flowing through a believer and increases in quality and quantity as time goes by and he is ingrafted more firmly into Christ. The Lord Jesus used the vine and its branches as an illustration of this principle. The Holy Spirit is the sap running from the roots up to the very tip of every branch, bringing forth bunches of grapes (Joh 15:1-8).

Some of the fruit of the Spirit is listed in Gal 5.

But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control; (Gal 5:22,23).

We will be taking a closer look at two of these fruits, namely love and faith.

B. LOVE

  1. God is love

We dealt with God’s love as one of his attributes in chapter 3 par E saying that God is the personification of love. 

  1. Love is the basis of the constitution of heaven

It fills every heavenly being. It is the way everyone there thinks and acts. They exist and live first of all, for God, then for others and then for themselves.

  1. The constitution of God’s new Kingdom is based on love

Every rule He makes for man is based on love, therefor his constitution for man is love expressed in rules – the epitome of love.

Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets. (Mat 22:37-40).

  1. The reason why people get saved is because God loves them even though they are sinners

But God commends His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8).

For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (Joh 3:16).

  1. Man’s new nature is one of love

The one who does not love has not known God. For God is love. (1 Jn 4:8).

And we have known and believed the love that God has in us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. (1 Jn 4:16).

And hope does not make us ashamed, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to us. (Rom 5:5).   

  1. Definition of love

Someone said that love is a benevolent disposition of mind towards our fellow-human beings, growing out of sincere and fervent devotion to God.  

  1. Love as depicted in 1 Cor 13
        • Verses 1, 2: Love is greater than the gifts of the Spirit . Having gifts of the Spirit such as tongues, prophesy, supernatural knowledge and faith to deal with momentous situations, but not exercising them from a heart of love (seeking the other person’s advantage) makes the carrier of the gifts to be as if he does not exist or like a brass gong making a lot of noise but having no heart for the listeners.  
        • Verse 3: Giving away your possessions and your life brings you no credit if your motive for doing so is not your love for the One/one for whom you are doing it.
        • Verses 4-7: Examples of how love behaves in certain circumstances. Exercising longsuffering: Going on and on, to endure when you are being wronged. Bearing provocation patiently. At school, in a marriage or at work, situations like these from which you cannot escape, often arise. Being friendly: To be friendly to all people and at all times, even those that treat you badly, even though you are hurting inside or sick, calls for a major sacrificing of one self. Not allowing jealousy in your life: Jealousy is to covet what another person has or to be angry or upset because of what others have. It is to always want to have more than what others have: more worldly posses-sions, more honour and acclamation from others. It is amazing what crimes have been committed because of jealousy. Cain murdered his brother Abel because God showed favour to him. Jesus was crucified by the Jewish religious leaders because they were jealous of the healings he performed, the dead He raised and the honour He received from the crowds. Husbands and wives can be jealous of one another. Church ministers can be very jealous of one another. When we love someone, we will be happy for his sake when God blesses him more than oneself, knowing that God will, at his own good time, also bless you abundantly. His store of blessings remains choc-a-block, no matter how much He bestows on man. Love does not boast. There is a saying “jackal praises his own tail”. Nebuchadnezzar was severely humbled by God when he praised himself for what God did through him (Dan 4:33). Even Christians can boast when giving testimony of what God did through them. Do you give testimony to glorify God? Love is not puffed up – walking with your nose in the air. Does not behave indecently, does not seek its own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil. Does not rejoice in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. We cannot comment on each of these but do reflect on them and let the Holy Spirit speak to your heart. Love quietly covers all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love will rather keep quiet about dark secrets in other people’s lives unless duty demands that it be made public. When it hears bad rumours about others it will rather believe that there is a misunder-standing or that there was a good reason for the person’s conduct and if it is confronted with proof of a person’s guilt, will hope that he will overcome it.
        • Verses 8 – 12: Love outlasts anything we experience in this life. Prophesies will all be fulfilled in this life and therefor come to an end. In life hereafter, knowledge will no longer be a desirable commodity for everyone will know everything they need to know. In every aspect of our lives we are limited like little children, compared to what we will be in life here-after but the love that God has poured into us by his Spirit will remain within us forever. Love is even greater than faith and hope, for in eternity there will be no further need for faith, nor for hope, but love will remain our lifestyle forever. 
  1. Love is the greatest motivational force.

Fear of punishment in hell is drives many people to search after salvation, but love for God and knowing that He dearly loves you, is a much stronger reason and motivation to live and even die for him. Love for mankind was his reason for leaving the luxury of heaven, coming to live amongst and dying for us on the cross.

 For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (Joh 3:16).

C. FAITH 

  1. Faith acquires

Faith is the arm and hand which man stretches forth to lay hold of the riches bought for him by the death of Christ.

  1. Eve fell from grace when her faith in God collapsed 

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. (Gen 3:4,5).

 Eve no longer believed in God but believed in the devil.

  1. Man gains both salvation and sanctification by faith

For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Eph 2:8,9).

Trust in Jehovah with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding. (Pro 3:5).

  1. Definition of faith

Faith is the leaning of the entire personality upon God.

  1. Nothing shall be impossible for the believer

 And Jesus said to them, Because of your unbelief. For truly I say to you, If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Move from here to there. And it shall move. And nothing shall be impossible to you. (Mat 17:20).

What you believe God for, must be in line with his will. You cannot use God, by faith to feed your greed.  

  1. Faith brings assurance of salvation

 By faith Enoch was translated so as not to see death, and he was not found, because God had translated him; for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. (Heb 11:5).   

  1. Without faith it is impossible to please God

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Heb 11:6).

  1. Faith glorifies God 

Jesus answered her, Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God? (Joh 11:40).  

  1. Faith in action

Hebrews chapter 11 gives many examples of what God did in and through people that had real faith in him. Do read through that chapter and meditate on it to increase your faith for faith comes by means of hearing (reading) God’s Word. 

C. JOY

Although joy is not specifically named as a fruit of the Spirit, it indeed is just that and it is very important for a Christian to practice the joy of the Spirit for it protects him against temptation and turns his life into a continual feast.

Then he said to them, Go eat the fat and drink the sweet, and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared. For this day is holy to our LORD. And do not be sorry, for the joy of Jehovah is your strength. (Neh 8:10).

All the days of the afflicted are evil, but gladness of heart is a continual feast. (Pro 15:15)

 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, Rejoice! (Php 4:4).

You have loved righteousness and hated iniquity, therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your fellows.” (Heb 1:9)

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