The Tabernacle Scroll

Issue 116

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” [Gal. 5:22, 23].

It is interesting that the bible, enumerating nine different desirable qualities or characteristics in the spiritual man, nevertheless describes them collectively as the fruit of the Spirit rather than fruits. I like to think of the importance of the distinction in this way. An apple tree may have hundreds of apples on it. Each apple is different from another (size, luster, markings, etc) However, every one of those apples comes from the same tree. In the same way, the Holy Spirit is the source of all fruit in our lives.

Though he is often referred to simply as ‘the Spirit’, the Scriptures call the Third Person of the Trinity ‘the Holy Spirit’. It is not without reason that he is called ‘holy’. The foremost reason has to do with his being. He is holy simply because He is God! There is another reason, and it has to do with his functions. One of His main works is to impart the holiness of God to us. He helps us to develop a Christ-like character within us, a character that is shown by the fruit enumerated earlier. This work is in accordance with God’s purpose for us (which is) that we “become mature, attaining the full measure of perfection found in Christ” (Eph. 4:13).

Now, there is a marked distinction between the Holy Spirit’s gifts and his fruit.

Firstly, the former are given by him, whereas the latter are developed in us by him.

Secondly, his gifts are divided amongst the believers whereas his fruit are expected of all believers. You may have a particular gift that no-one else (in the local body) has. And someone else may have a gift that you do not have. Because the Church is universal, his gifts are present in the church universally, though some gifts may be totally absent in a particular local congregation. This situation is in complete accord with his Sovereign will in the giving of gifts. However, the fruit of the Spirit are not so divided. Every Christian should be marked by all of the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is the expectation that God has for each and every Christian’s life. Take special note of this! It should be our guiding principle.

The process of bearing fruit in our lives requires work on our part. It has to do with the place that the word of God has in our lives, and so it is directly related to obedience. Then, there is Jesus’ command: ‘abide in me’. He uses the analogy of the vine and its branches and the necessity for regular pruning. (Jn. 15; 4, 5). There is no better way for the believer to be pruned than by studying and applying the word to his own heart. This is what leads to true holiness!



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