The Fruit of the Spirit

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“The Fruit of the Spirit”

The Signs of the Times 14, 47. December 7, 1888

E. J. Waggoner

If we compare the fruit of the Spirit with the result obtained by following the teachings of the Bible, we shall find that they are identical.

Paul says that all Scripture is

“profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Tim. 3:16-17.

So if a man will profit by the reproofs and instruction found in the word of God, he will be perfect, lacking in no good thing.

But a man cannot be more than perfect, and anything different from perfection is imperfection.

The fact that any belief or practice is not endorsed or sanctioned by the Bible, is sufficient to condemn it. If it is not found in the Bible, it is not a part of the outfit necessary to make a man perfect.

In Gal. 5:22, 23 we read,

Fruit of the Spirit

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.”

These fruits of the Spirit are the results which come from following the guidance of the Spirit. We will examine them in detail, and see if they differ in any particular from the word of God. The first thing mentioned is love.

Very many persons entirely mistake the Bible meaning of love.

With many it consists in a sort of good feeling, an indefinable condition, the principal feature of which is that the person feels happy and extremely well satisfied with himself. But the kind of love that the Bible brings to view does not depend solely on the emotions, but is very practical.

John says,

“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not grievous.” 1 John 5:3.

Again, “And this is love, that we walk after His commandments.” The keeping of the commandments is the test of love. Paul says, “Love is the fulfilling of the law.”

Who ever heard of a law being fulfilled by its violation?

Some persons think that they have so much love to God that He will accept it as a substitute for keeping the law; but we here learn that love is the keeping of the commandments. How a person can love God, and refuse to keep all His commandments, is a mystery that no one has ever been able to explain.

Those who make such a profession lay themselves liable to the charge in 1 John 2:4. We see, then, that the result of following the Holy Spirit is to keep the commandments. But this is the whole duty of man. Eccl. 12:13. And we shall find that while love is the keeping of the commandments, all the other things mentioned by Paul in Gal. 5:22-23, as the fruit of the Spirit, are the natural results of keeping the commandments. Joy and peace are mentioned next; and they attend the keeping of the law.

The psalmist says, “Great peace have they which love thy law.” Ps. 119:165. Again we read,

“O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.” Isa. 48:18.

Here, too, the Spirit and the word agree. Long-suffering and gentleness are given as part of the fruit of the Spirit. Paul says, in 1 Cor. 13:4, that charity (love), which we have seen is simply the keeping of the law, “suffereth long, and is kind.” He also says that it “vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up;” and as we have seen, meekness is a part of the fruit of the Spirit.

Goodness is also part of the fruit of the Spirit; Paul tells us that love “rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.” Again we read that “where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.” 2 Cor. 3:17.

But James says that the law of God is a “law of liberty.” Jas. 1:25; 2:12. And David says that those are at liberty who keep the law. Ps. 119:45. Here, again, we see perfect harmony.

Again Paul says,

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Rom. 8:14. John tells us that those whom God in His great love calls His sons, and who have a hope to see Him as he is, purify themselves. 1 John 3:1-3.

And Peter completes the chain of testimony by saying, “Seeing ye have purified our souls in obeying the truth,” and he adds that this purifying is done “through the Spirit.” 1 Peter 1:22.

But it is not necessary to multiply proofs. That there can be no inharmony between God’s word and his Spirit is so self-evident that no one who professes to be a Christian should presume to question it.

Indeed, the Bible is the work of the Holy Spirit itself. We read,

“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1:21.

May the Lord help us humbly to follow the leadings of the Spirit, that we may be guided “into all truth” (John 17:17), and finally share the promise of our Father to “see him as he is.” W.


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