Living by Grace

Dedicated to providing guidance in daily living through the power of God's grace as experienced in our union with Christ.

Crucifixion of the Good

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Galatians 5:22-23a

The leader of a group Bible study opened a discussion by reading the “fruit of the Spirit” passage. He then asked, “If you had never become a Christian, do you think you would have had love in your heart?” Several of the group believed that they would have.

He asked the same question about each of the other eight fruits of the Spirit. In each case a few members of the group believed they would have possessed them.

The leader explained that the point of the exercise was to show that the flesh does some good things. The Holy Spirit, Who is not present in unbelievers, does not produce the “fruits of the Spirit” in unbelievers.

The leader of the group said, “There is a danger in our trusting in our natural virtues. If we think we have enough patience, for example, we might think we do not need the patience produced by the Holy Spirit.”

Following those thoughts, there was unanimous agreement in the group that the natural virtues they possessed were greatly limited.

For example, we have all known of young couples deeply in love who, after experiencing some of the pressures of married life, had little love for each other left. All of the other eight natural virtues have their limitations.

We understand, then, that when our flesh was crucified, any good qualities it produced were crucified, freeing us to be filled with the Holy Spirit-produced good qualities that have no limits.

A member of the aforementioned Bible study group testified that soon after his marriage, he discovered that his love was not adequate for a stable marriage. He knew that he must experience the crucifixion of his natural love in order that he might possess the unlimited love produced by the Holy Spirit.

We must all live out the crucified life if we are to possess the unlimited virtues produced by the Holy Spirit.