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The Fruit of the Spirit

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And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
(Philippians 1:9-11 ESV)

Once a person believes in Jesus for the forgiveness of his sins, that person is no longer viewed by God as a sinner. From that point forward God views that person as His own righteous son or daughter because God transfers his sins to Jesus and transfers Jesus’ righteous standing before God to him. At the moment of salvation a person’s standing before God is permanently altered.

But that does not mean that we instantly become the people God commands us to be. We still live in fleshly bodies tainted by sin. We still live in a deeply sinful world with all its enticements. All that has changed is that we are no longer going to face the penalty of our sin (eternal separation from God, which is called hell). We still live in the presence of sin and are still affected by the power of sin. Becoming what God wants us to become is an eternal process that begins at the moment we believe.

From that point forward, as we grow in knowledge of God and gain discernment by reading His word (the Bible), the Holy Spirit will gradually fill us with the righteousness of Jesus. A branch is permanently connected to a vine. But the vine does not produce fruit. It is the branches that produce the fruit because they are continuously fed by the vine. So, too, will adopted children of God bear fruit in this life by being permanently connected to Jesus [John 15:1-6] as they are fed by God’s nutrition (the Bible).

God tells us some of the “fruit” that the Holy Spirit will produce in us in Galatians 5:20-22. Notice that the first fruit of is love. It all starts with love. Love has to come first before any of the other “fruits” can appear.

None of these characteristics happen instantaneously. Just like it takes time for a tree to produce fruit, so too will it take time for a person to bear spiritual fruit. How much time it takes is directly proportional to how strongly that person abides in Christ. The more time a person spends with God the more work the Holy Spirit can do in his life.

Finally, when we allow the Holy Spirit to produce such righteous living in us God is glorified. The goal of our lives is to live for God and bring Him praise. When we are filled with overflowing love, our lives will demonstrate His love to all those around us, bringing Him glory and honor.

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.

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