The Provison For Victory Over Sin

D.L. Moody was to have a campaign in England. An elderly pastor protested, “Why do we need this ‘Mr. Moody’? He’s uneducated, inexperienced, etc. Who does he think he is anyway? Does he think he has a monopoly on the Holy Spirit?” A younger, wiser pastor rose and … More

Holy Spirit

The fruit of the Holy Spirit in this passage has to do with character (vv. 22-23). It is important that we distinguish the gift of the Holy Spirit which brings salvation (Acts 2:38) and the gifts of the Holy Spirit which have to do with service (I Cor. 12). In some Christian circles there is a tendency to neglect the fruits of the Spirit and overemphasize the gifts of the spirit. Building Christian character must take precedence over displaying special abilities. The characteristics that God wants in our lives are seen in the ninefold fruit of the Spirit.

Godward - The first three qualities express the Godward aspect of the Christian life. Paul begins with love because all of the other fruit is really an outgrowth of love. (Love and joy together produce peace - v. 22).

Manward - The next three expresses the manword aspect of the Christian life which includes  (longsuffering, kindness and goodness - v. 22). Human nature can never do this on its own; only the Holy Spirit can.

Selfward - The final three qualities (faithfulness, meekness and self control - vv. 22-23) are selfward. When the Holy Spirit produces fruit, God gets the glory and the Christian is not even conscious of his spirituality, but when the flesh is at work, the person is inwardly proud of himself and is pleased when others compliment him.

Paul contrasts the works of the flesh with the fruit of the spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is the spontaneous work of the Holy Spirit in us. The Holy Spirit produces these character traits that are found in the nature of Christ. We can’t obtain these by trying to get them our self and without his help. A machine will work and turn out a product but it can never manufacture fruit. Fruit can only come from something that is alive. The flesh produces “dead works” (Heb. 9:14) but the Holy Spirit produces “living fruit.” Fruit grows in soil fertilized by the word and watered by the Holy Spirit. A person who exhibits the “fruit of the Spirit” fulfills the law better than a person who observes the rituals but has little love in their heart (v. 23).

Application

Which of the above characteristics do I lack the most and want the Holy Spirit to produce in me?

Galatians 5:22-26 (English Standard Version)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »