The Fruit of the Spirit

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

Welcome to the first installment of the Lone Hill Church Blog. This first segment begins a study of the Fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23. In this segment we will offer only an introduction. The segments which follow will define each of the nine fruit in three groupings. Hope you will be blessed.

A Pastoral Challenge

The Fruit of the Spirit are the crown of the indwelling, sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. They reflect His work of conforming us to the image and likeness of Jesus. They are progressively developed in our lives in varying degrees, and they are opposed by the working of the fleshly sinful nature best characterized by a hard-hearted selfishness.

Here are some challenging questions for each of us. What would your life look like and be like if the Fruit of the Spirit were consistently being evidenced in your life? If you set about applying all effort, how would you go about mastering the fruit of the Spirit? Having grown in the grace and the knowledge of Christ so that you are consistently manifesting the fruit of the Spirit, how would you teach others to grow in that same way?

In an endeavor to address these questions in my own life I have begun by seeking to establish a Biblical definition of each of the fruit. I have purposed to particularly focus on one fruit each day and then evaluate and correct any failures and further enhance all successes. May I encourage and challenge you to join me!

Introduction

When Paul introduces these fruits in Galatians 5:22, he does not say fruits but fruit (singular), and many have taken this to mean that there is only one fruit love. The rest of the list is taken as love's characteristics or its attributes as we can see several of these used in this way in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Others point out that fruit in the singular can also be used in the plural. In other words, fruit can be used for fruits.Additionally, grammatically these verses read like a list of qualities of equal status.It is plain to see that there is an inner connectedness between love and all of the other qualities that are listed, and certainly if love is missing from any manifestation of any of the other qualities the essence of that quality is missed and the quality forfeit (cf. 1 Cor. 13:1-3). As you read the definitions and some of the other Scriptures where they are used you will also recognize that certain qualities are directly related to other qualities. In fact, we can see three groupings which Paul implicitly suggests by the order he gave his list. Note how closely love, joy, and peace are interdependent especially in their dependence upon love. Patience, kindness, and goodness are interrelated around kindness. Finally, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are also connected as core discipleship qualities. They flesh out the commitment needed by someone who would be a devoted follower of Jesus.The last insight is that all of these qualities are first displayed in God, the Father. They are then found in the example of Jesus to whom we are to be conformed. Lastly, they are supernatural in that they are to be wrought within us by the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit, though this is cooperatively accomplished as we are called to work out our salvation (Phil. 2:12) and to make every effort to supplement your faith (2 Pet. 1:5). Here is the critical insight. Until we experience these qualities in our own knowledge and fellowship with God, the Father, and see and taste their beauty in Jesus, it will be like attempting to paint a picture which we cannot see. It is through the work of the Spirit and His quickening of God's Word that we are enabled to experience these qualities coming from God to us (cf. Rom. 5:5), and then with this experience of having come to Jesus to drink deeply and often of His grace Scripture is fulfilled in us, Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water (Jn. 7:38). The next segment will define the first three fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, and peace.

The Fruit of the Spirit - Love, Joy, Peace

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Monday, 10 December 2018

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