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The Fruit of the Spirit and Sanctification

Jun 29, 2018 12:21 AM EDT

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. - Galatians 5:16-18

1) Christians should not live according to the fleshly desires.

In the passage, we see that if we continue walking with the Holy Spirit (περιπατειτε), we do not fulfill the desires of the body (v. 16). We have both the desires of the flesh and the desires of the Holy Spirit. However, the fleshly desires against the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit also desires against the body (v. 17). No matter how perfectly holy you are, there is never such a stage that the greed of the flesh has completely disappeared and cannot lift its head again.

Therefore, we must recognize this double-sidedness. In principle, we have died with the old self who lived in sin. And empirically, when we surrender to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we experience the power of this holiness.

The phrase "killed the old self on the cross" (Romans 6:6; Gal. 5:24) is a precise description of the present state of the power of sanctification, but empirically, our free will continually fails to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit; in this case, the Holy Spirit's ability to 'kill sin' cannot be realized in our souls. But if our will is consistently given only for the guidance of the Holy Spirit entirely, the desires of sin and the flesh and the demands of the law are as dead in us.

2) We must live a life bearing the fruit of the Spirit in the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

When we live a life that follows the guidance of the Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit (καρπος; singular) appears in our soul and personality. The fruit of the Spirit grows in one Spirit, which is the character of the spirit of Christ. Therefore, it is not necessary to make plural expression of fruits (Gal. 5:22-23).

Likewise, when we live by following the guidance of the Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit does not come out differently. There is no such happening as some fruits come out but some fruits do not at all. When we live with one Spirit, all of these qualities, which are the nature of the Spirit, naturally appear in our personality. However, depending on the person's circumstances, certain fruits may become particularly prominent.

In Gal. 5:24 which says "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires", whereas the crucified expression elsewhere in the Bible is mostly passive, here it is active (εσταυρωσαν). This decisively instructs us to actively confess and utilize the passive truth that the old self was crucified with Jesus. Anyone can do the work of the flesh, or choose to bear the fruit of the Spirit. The problem is the believer's own decision; this statement urges the confession of faith of believer who will not be shaken in temptation.

3) Through the fruitful life of the Holy Spirit, we become more and more like Jesus Christ personally.

The following common characteristics can be found in several lessons of life in the Holy Spirit that appear in Galatians 5;

The four verbs of (περιπατειτε), guided (αγεσθε), alive (ζωμεν), and (στοιχωμεν) which appear in the verse-Walk in the Spirit (walk, v. 16), if you are led by the Spirit (be led, v. 18), If we live in the Spirit (live, v. 25), let us also walk in the Spirit (walk, v. 25)-are all in their present form.

This shows that living with the Holy Spirit cannot be sustained by any single experience, by the immersion experience of prayer, or by the secular life isolated from the world for a period of time. Instead, it demonstrates that life that follows the guidance of the Holy Spirit is a reverence in everyday life.

When living a life of obedience to the Lord, there is no need to worry if the beautiful character of the Christian appears. Because all these fruits are the Lord's character, when we live according to His guidance, He makes His character fruitful in our personality. This is in a personal sense to resemble Jesus Christ.

A life of self-obedience by any moral or ethical norms, practices, and rules will only lead to a life that is inflated with ego. But when we obey our whole being before the Lord, and walk with Him only by the guidance of the Holy Spirit every moment, the Lord's personality will appear as the 'scent of Christ' in every moment of our lives.

*Let's pray together.

1. Let us pray that we may follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit rather than falling into the temptation of sin in our daily lives.

2. Let us pray to become more like Jesus Christ each day in the life of the fruit of the Spirit.