Monday, 11 February 2013

E100 Bible Reading Challenge: Letters to the Early Church: The Fruit of the Spirit (82)

Galatians 5:16—6:10

Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another.

My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ. For if those who are nothing think they are something, they deceive themselves. All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbour’s work, will become a cause for pride. For all must carry their own loads.

Those who are taught the word must share in all good things with their teacher.

Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith. 

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Two Lists

With God’s help, we can develop a godly character.

In contrast to the sinful nature (5.19-21), Paul offers a list of the “fruit of the Spirit” (5.22, 23); traits we should cultivate in our lives. But removing the “weeds” and cultivating the “fruit” in our lives is tough work, so Paul suggests two sources of help. The first is fellow believers (6.1-5); Christian friends who can help restore the broken parts of our lives (6.1-5). The second is the Holy Spirit. Paul tells us to “live by the Spirit” (5.16), to be “led by the Spirit” (5.18) and to “keep in step with
the Spirit” (5.25).


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