THE FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT(Pt.3)

“For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush.”(Luke 6:44 NASB)

One day Jesus was walking with His disciples through an orchard and became hungry. Approaching a fig tree having no fruit He cursed it! Why? Because it was not producing what it was suppose to produce. It is the nature of a fig tree to produce figs; it is the nature of an apple tree to produce apples. You won’t find figs on an apple tree nor pears on a plumb tree. Why? Because every tree is known by what it produces. So it is true in the realm of the Spirit. Jesus taught that you can tell by the deeds of an individual which kingdom they belong: the kingdom of darkness or the kingdom of light.

A HEART FOR TRUTH

We are living in the most deceptive times of any age period. We are watching daily reports of when “Good is called evil and evil is called good”. Without a heart for truth and keen spiritual discernment we will not realize that a culture of deceit seeks to undermine the very message of the Good News of Jesus Christ. In many places the gospel is being twisted to make that which is not of God the norm. We must cry out for a heart for truth.

SETTING CAPTIVES FREE

Our Lord Jesus did not come into the world to condemn men but He came into the world to set the captives free. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” (John 3:16, 17, 19-21 NASB)

Setting captives free presumes that men are bound and need to be liberated from their prisons. John the beloved wrote, “Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. ” (1 John 3:7, 8, 10 NASB)

NOT THE LABEL BUT THE LIFE

The entire context of the apostle Paul’s words to the Galatian believers(C.f. Galatians 5) is what constitutes those walking in the freedom of the Spirit of God versus those who are walking in the deeds of the flesh. He starts off reminding them, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. “(Galatians 5:1 NASB). Apart from trusting in the saving grace of God found in Jesus Christ alone and trusting the Spirit to do His work inside…you are still in bondage. “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. (Galatians 5:16, 17 NASB)

NOT I BUT CHRIST

God’s fruit is manifest in my life when I do not do as I want but I do what God wants me to do. This means that I participate in God’s new work in my life in order that the fruit of the Spirit may be seen in me. “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:19-24 NASB) Notice the both the deeds of the flesh and the fruits of the Spirit are manifest…There is no mystery. Paul is contrasting the habit patterns of those who still traffic in sin and sinful behavior versus those who have laid the axe to the old root life of sin. They recognize in Jesus Christ that they are free(John 8:36);that they are now a new creation( 2 Cor.5:17) and want no part of the works of darkness anymore.

AMAZING GRACE

Earlier,in his letter to the Galatian believers, Paul testified of his own transformation. He went from one trusting in his own righteousness and religious performance to one shattered by the light and mercy of God’s saving and empowering grace. “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.” (Galatians 2:20, 21 NASB)

Grace steps in where all my sins(failure to meet God’s holy standard) and introduces me to,as Rich Mullin’s sang of ,”the furious love of God”. It is the grace of God by His Holy Spirit that works the fruit of the Spirit in me. Accepting His acceptance as I am in order that He make me what I ought to be is a deal frankly that is too good to pass up!

(c) Copyright 2013, Walter Fletcher Jr. All rights are reserved. This article may be shared without cost provided that it is not altered in anyway from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

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