Dave started a new series on the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ this morning, speaking from Gal 5:13-23. Recently, we have been looking at the baptism of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit, but to ensure balance, we need to look also at the fruit of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit takes up residence in a person when they are saved, working within to transform us (see 2 Cor 3:18), with the baptism of the Spirit an experience subsequent to conversion which is available to all believers, giving an infilling of power to enable believers to witness to Christ (see Acts 1:8). In 1 Cor 12-14, Paul develops teaching on the gifts of the Spirit but also reminds us that love is the greatest way; we have to maintain a balance between the gifts and the fruit of the Spirit.
In the book of Galatians, Paul writes to people who thought that it was necessary to follow the Jewish law in order to be saved. Paul reminds the Galatians of the freedom Christ has purchased (Gal 5:1), but also reminds them not to use this freedom to indulge the sinful nature (Gal 5:13). Freedom comes from Christ, but the fruit of the Spirit can only grow as we abide in Christ (John 15:5, Phil 1:11). Paul reminds us that the sinful nature has been crucified with Christ (Gal 2:20) and we no longer have any 0bligation to live on the treadmill of obligation. Instead, unobtrusive growth comes from our relationship with Christ, whereas the gifts of the Spirit are often received through the laying on of hands (eg Acts 19:6).
The development of holiness is essential if we are to see the fruit 0f the Spirit develop in our lives. Holiness is a two-way process: God imparts holiness to us, but holiness is also our choice, choosing to live a life that is pleasing to Christ. Spiritual fruit does not necessarily look as visible as the spiritual gifts, but the quiet influence of holiness and godliness is powerful. We should also note that whilst the fruit of the Spirit may be manifested in different ways (through love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, patience and self-control), there is only one fruit, just as there is only one God.