Rotten or Fresh Fruit?

I had one of those “ouch, Jesus” moments this week. You know when you get to that place of self-righteousness and then God shows you just how far you are from well in the heart.

This week has been spent reflecting on Galatians. There is never enough time to study Galatians. You can simply never do it justice with Paul throwing theological punishes left, right, and centre. But if all you take away from this book is that those of us in Christ are no longer slaves to the Law (working for salvation), but are free, and sons of God, then you have nailed the book on its head!

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.  (Galatians 5:1).

Paul was furious that the Galatian churches had turned back to trying to work for their salvation. Judaisers had arisen proclaiming that faith in Jesus alone was not enough for salvation, circumcision was also needed. Never do we see Paul as angry as when someone is trying to add to the message of the free gift of grace for salvation. He essentially says to the Judaisers: “Why cut only a little off? Chop it all off!” Paul makes it clear: faith in Jesus is all that is required for salvation. This is the Gospel of Grace.

But does living under grace mean that we can do whatever we want? Paul hardly addresses grace abuse because he felt that anyone who had a true revelation of grace would not consider abusing it.

Doesn’t God want us to do good works? Yes, He does. BUT they are not required to earn salvation. Rather, once free from the Law (earning salvation) and from slavery to sin, we are called on to good works in Christ.

So what does this look like?

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21).

Contrasting with:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23).

As I mentioned at the start, this week I was big-time convicted. I was walking in opposition to Christ’s commands:

“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” (Luke 6:41-42).

For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:43-45).

It is so easy to fall in to the trap of arrogance, believing you are in the right. But even when we are in the right, Christ calls us to a higher standard. It is humbling to look upon your actions and see that you are NOT being patient, NOT being loving, NOT seeking peace, NOT being kind, NOT preferring others, and NOT loving your neighbour as yourself.

Christ calls us to a higher standard. He calls us to the highest standard. He calls us to love, just as He loved us. How did He love us? He laid down His life so that we might live.

I felt injured this week and unjustly dealt with. But it wasn’t true. It is scary how wrong and narrow minded our perceptions can be.

You have been set free from sin so that you can walk in accordance with the Spirit.
This week I challenge you to ask God for a revelation of your heart.
This week I challenge you to ask God to produce a plentiful crop of the fruits of the Spirit in your life.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

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