Fruit of the Spirit - Love


 

The “fruit” of the Holy Spirit refers to the godly attributes of those who “walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16). The true manifestation of the Holy Spirit at work in the believer’s life is that the believer become increasingly more like Christ, in character and action.

Even with the fruit of the Spirit, life would be perilous and disappointing if something drastic were not done to the rival (old nature). If the “two natures” were to be kept in balance, ever at war with each other, life would be precarious indeed. Our victory would be intermittent at best, and guilt and condemnation would cling to daily life and conduct. But something decisive is done about the flesh. They that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and lust thereof. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2).

This obviously does not mean that Christians who live and walk by the Spirit no longer live in bodies nor feel impulses and desires. God does not destroy in redemption what He made in creation. But there is in grace provision for settling the question of priorities and mastery. To be minded toward the flesh is death, but to be minded toward the Spirit is life and peace. As for as one’s will to cater to that which hinders spiritual victory is concerned, there is a crucifixion that destroys the carnal, delivers the human, and enthrones the spiritual. Christian ethics are the outworking of an indwelling Presence, not the imposing of a higher legalism.

We must remember that in the moral as in the natural order, there is no substitute for fruit. Works cannot accomplish much toward producing a tree or its fruit. “Only God can make a tree.” What cannot be produced in the realm of human works is perfectly possible and natural in the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is described in nine terms that cover the range of ethical and spiritual values that make for the fulfillment of both the individual and of society and that please God. As the works of the flesh clearly indicate unsuitability of act and attitude for the Kingdom of God, these graces manifest the presence and power of the Spirit in the life and reveal that one is already a part of the Kingdom. My dear friend, this is the heritage of the sons and daughters of promise by faith.

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