Fruits of Faith

 

Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. Matthew 7:20

 

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control: anything there you do not want? These are the fruits of the Spirit identified by Paul in Galatians 5:22-23. They all look good to me. How many of us actually live with them?

These are the “fruits of the Spirit.” They are not gifts. God has given each one of His children gifts but fruits of the Spirit are experienced based on our obedience to God and His Word.

Prior to these verses in Galatians 5, Paul addresses the fight we have between the desires of our flesh and the desires of the Spirit. When we succumb to the flesh, we will not experience the fruits of the Spirit but when we decide to follow the desires of the Spirit, God rewards us with these fruits of His Spirit.

This is how Paul begins the chapter: “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” The “yoke of slavery” he was talking about was the legalistic keeping of the law of circumcision that false prophets were claiming was a way of salvation.

Paul was declaring the freedom that Christ has delivered to us in His death on the cross, taking the punishment for our sin. There are few who still expect circumcision as a condition of salvation.

But now, how are we to live so that we can experience these fruits that are promised in the freedom Christ has provided? Obviously, a religious keeping of the law is not it. What is the obedience we are called to?

A faithful keeping of the law appears to be the answer. Look at Romans 3:28-31

“For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.”

If we have faith in the One Tue God, we will keep His law because we trust that this is what is good for us, and our neighbors. The fruits of the Spirit are a wonderful reward to experience. They also will influence how we deal with others. We will be better neighbors when they are ours.

If we are willing to obey God’s commands and keep His statutes, His Word promises blessing (Psalm 119:1), provision (Proverbs 3:16), humility, honor and life (Proverbs 22:4). All of these, and the fruits of the Spirit.

Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control. Will you and I be recognized by these fruits (Matthew 7:20)?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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