“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
“While many Christians suppose their spiritual growth is monitored on some sort of heavenly growth-chart, we only grow as we become more and more convinced of God’s holiness and the absence of true holiness in our own lives, mortifying sin and living obediently Coram Deo, before the face of God, for the glory of God on account of God the Son in whom we died and in whom we have been raised to abundant life.” Pastor Burk Parsons
As a young believer in Christ, people informed me about the importance of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Later, as a Bible college student and then a seminarian, I observed many discussions, in and out of the classroom, regarding the gifts of the Holy Spirit. However, I rarely encountered discussions regarding the Fruits of the Spirit and their importance in the mortification of sin. While I have seen tests and examinations about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and which ones you may possess, I don’t believe I have ever encountered a test on the aforementioned fruits. I wonder why this is so?
The Scriptures tell us that no believer possesses all of the gifts of the Spirit (I Corinthians 12) but each believer is to evidence and demonstrate the fruits. The fruits found in Galatians 5:22-23 have much more to do with spiritual maturity than the gifts. It is only as the Fruits of the Spirit are prevalent in the one’s use of the Gifts of the Spirit that the believer glorifies the LORD. For the next several days, we will examine each of the fruits found in Galatians 5:22-23 and how they factor into our pursuit of the mortification of sin.
To begin with, it is important to understand the immediate context that Galatians 5:22-23 is found. Galatians 5:22 begins with conjunction of contrast “but.” It is necessary for us to know what Galatians 5:22-23 stands in contrast. That is found in Galatians 5:16-21.
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 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.”
To walk by the Spirit is another way of saying to live obediently before God. It is a daily lifestyle and not a weekly adrenaline rush from Sunday to Sunday. It is a continual quest that God commands each believer to pursue. It is not optional.
Also, the desires of the flesh are in conflict with the desires of the Spirit. The Scriptures say that they are opposed to each other. In other words, they are hostile to each other. They are not compatible.
To walk in the Spirit is in contrast to gratifying the desires of the flesh. We will examine what these desires actually are when next we meet.
May the LORD’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!