Message of the Day: A Life of Virtue is A Spirit-Controlled Life
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23, NKJV)
Paul presents a contrast between “works of the flesh” (5:19) and “fruit of the Spirit” because he believes that fruit is simply produced by the nature of the tree, and for him, believers nature has been made new in Christ.
Paul could not understand how any human being would deliberately choose to risk his salvation by basing it on his or her own works rather than on the gracious mercy of Christ. Christ saves us – we do not save ourselves. It is the difference between freedom and slavery. But freedom in Christ does not mean license to continue in sin. Paul never fails to lay special stress on that. Those who follow the desires of the sinful nature cannot be saved (5:19-21) but those who seek the Lord will receive the fruits of the Spirit, which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (5:22-23).
Sooner or later Christians find that they do not always do the good that their consciences tell them to do, because the sinful human nature fights against God’s Spirit within them. The way they triumph over these wrong desires is not by putting themselves under the law, but by allowing God’s Spirit to direct their lives. Even if people put themselves under the law, rebellious human nature produces only those evils that the law forbids and that exclude people from God’s kingdom.
If on the other hand, Christians allow God’s Spirit to control them, their lives become full of the most pleasing virtues – the opposite of those things that the law forbids. Their lives should demonstrate the truth that their sinful nature has been crucified with Christ and has no further power over them. They are now controlled by God’s Spirit (5:18-26).
Christian character is produced by the Holy Spirit, not by the mere moral discipline of trying to live by the law. Paul makes it clear that justification by faith does not result in libertinism. The indwelling Holy Spirit produces Christian virtues in the believer’s life.
Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993.
MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.
The NKJV Bible
Zondervan NASB Study Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1999.
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