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Living Fruit or Dead Fruit?

The apostle draws out the contrast of the works of the flesh and the fruits of the Spirit.


“Now the works of the flesh are manifest”—there was no difficulty to discern them—“adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.” Thus you have human corruption and human violence. You have idolatry and witchcraft brought in, and on the other hand, seditions and heresies, which refer to the party-spirit that might be at work even under a christian profession. A child of God might slip into any of these evil things for a time; but there is a solemn sentence pronounced upon them—“Of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in times past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” He warns them now, as he had while he was with them, “that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Whatever the difficulty may be, let us never doubt, but most firmly receive it as from God, that Christ is the power of God to every one that believes. He is the power of God not merely to justification, but to salvation; and salvation, while it includes justification, goes far beyond it, because it takes in all the course of a christian man till he is actually in the resurrection-state along with Christ. This is the meaning of the verse, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”—not your own forgiveness, but your own salvation. It is said to those who were already forgiven. Thus, salvation, in the sense spoken of there, implies the whole conflict with the power of evil we are passing through. We know that we have to do with the common enemy; but God is at work in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. We know the deep concern and regard which God feels for us, as committed to this conflict. We are fighting under His orders—doing His will in that thing as well as in others. So far is God from leaving us in any way, that He assures our soul He is pledged to see us through to the end; but He will have a solemn sense of the war with Satan in which we are engaged.


Then we have, on the other side, “the fruit of the Spirit is love.” He begins with love—that which is of God, and flows directly from God, and which is the knowledge of God’s character more than any other thing. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.” Such are the first and weightiest effects produced by God’s love. Then he gets down to what would more particularly deal with one another: “meekness, temperance,” because these suppose the bridle put upon the evil nature—the self-control which the Holy Ghost works in the soul for the Lord’s sake, as evidently being set in this world to be an epistle of Christ, so that we should not give a false character to Him whose name we bear. But all these are the fruits of the Spirit; and he adds, “against such there is no law.” When did law ever produce these? So the law will never condemn those who walk in these things; as he says to the Roman saints, chapter 13, speaking of governors and rulers, “Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same; for he is the minister of God to thee for good.” So here, “against such there is no law.” If you are producing these fruits of the Spirit, there is no condemnation against them.


Kelly, W. (n.d.). Lectures on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians: Lectures (W. Kelly, Trans.; pp. 153–154). G. Morrish; Scott & Allan. (Public Domain)

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