Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
Have you ever attended a Sunday morning worship service and witnessed someone who came forward and asked to be baptized and be a member of the Church? I have many times. Each time is just as exciting and refreshing to me as the others. My heart is always encouraged to see one of God’s little children obey the commands of the Gospel and come home to the Lord’s Church. To see one of God’s little sheep show forth the fruit of grace in their lives by walking in obedience to the Lord’s Word is a precious blessing that I have been blessed to see many times. Question: Is this the only way a child of God shows forth the fruit of the Spirit in their lives? The answer, according to our study verse is no.
In the verses just before our study verses, the Apostle Paul tells us about the “works of the flesh.” The “works of the flesh” are those things that declare the sinful nature which we, all the children of Adam and Eve, have. Notice those are “works”, plural, and not work, singular. The reason? The flesh nature is manifested in more than one way. We manifest the nature of sin in different ways. Just because you’ve never robbed, caused strife, or murdered, it doesn’t mean you are without the sinful nature. The sinful nature is manifested in many ways.
The nature of God, which is within every born again child of God, is manifested differently as well. I love seeing children of God join the Church and I will encourage children of God to be baptized and be part of the Lord’s visible Kingdom as long as I have breath. But if a person does not join the Church, that does not mean they are not a child of God. They very well could be manifesting the nature of Christ in a different way.
One of the nine manner of fruit mentioned in our study verse is “goodness.” The Bible teaches us in multiple places that man, without God in him/her, does not do good. Psalm 14:1-3, Psalm 53:1-3, Ecclesiastes 7:7:20, 1 Kings 8:46 and Romans 3:9-12 declares unto us plainly that, without God in them, “there is none that doeth good, no not one:…” Question: If we see goodness in someone’s life, where did the desire and works of good come from. Not from the sinful nature inherited from Adam and Eve (our parents), I will assure you. The desire and works come from God being in us. If we see “goodness” we are seeing the grace of God.
Just for consideration, let us consider that one would have to hear, believe and obey the Gospel in order to be a child of God. A study of history will reveal that a much less percentage of human beings who have lived and will live on earth hear the Gospel than those who don’t. The Bible teaches us clearly that more will be in heaven, than in hell. By examining this discussion, it is mathematically impossible for it to be true that only those who hear, believe and obey the Gospel will be in heaven. The truth: Heaven is a big place. Jesus told us this truth in John 14:1-3. The Bible teaches us that God’s children are the “many” (Hebrews 9:28; Romans 5:19), which teaches me the most of the people on earth are children of God. What a message of hope! The message that Jesus preached. The message that Paul preached. The message that I love to hear preached. The message that gives hope to a sinner like me, Salvation is by Grace and Grace alone. And if we see any of the nine manner of fruit in a person, it is evidence that God is in them. Amen!