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Fruit of which spirit?

(All scripture is from the American Standard Version unless otherwise stated. I have
chosen this version for the reason many reject it – its literalness. It helps me to better
understand the original intent)

Recently, I have observed from the sidelines an on-line discussion of the work
of the Holy Spirit, specifically His indwelling. One brother stated with much
candor: “ . . . if the Bible hadn't told that I got the gift of the HS, when I was
immersed into Christ, it wouldn't have occurred to me that I had, or that it was
even possible. There is nothing in my personal experience that verifies it, that
could not as easily been explained by coincidence, or endorphins. Since the
scriptures promise the indwelling Spirit, I believe I have it.”
This perfectly describes my feelings for as long as I can remember – beginning
in 1948 when I was baptized. During the next 30 or so years I found myself
looking back over the past few/many days/weeks/months looking for evidence of
any activity of the Holy Spirit. I found nothing I could directly attribute to Him. On
the other hand, I occasionally found evidence of Christ’s spirit/mind (read mind-set
or attitude) in me as Paul promised in Phil 2:1-8:
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of
love, if there is any fellowship of the spirit, if any affection and compassion, make
my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in
spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but
with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do
not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of
others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who,
although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing
to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being
made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled
Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
I make no attempt to discuss the fullness of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. You
who know me would laugh at any such attempt, knowing my limitations. While I
am interested in the “indwelling” nature of the Holy Spirit: what, when, how; I fully
understand my inadequacies; therefore, I am unable to even discuss these with
any intelligence. I can, however, share the results of my study into the relationship
of fruit bearing to the work of the Holy Spirit. What follows is an attempt to
communicate my thoughts.
There is one passage that nearly always comes up in any discussion of the
indwelling of the Holy Spirit – Galatians 5:22 – in which Paul provides a “laundry
list” of fruits of (a/the) spirit. In order for you to understand my understanding, I
must share my overall thinking/ understanding of the Christian’s life and work.
Of first importance is the absolute requirement of fruit bearing. As Tex Williams
said in Athens, Greece, during the 1975 Mediterranean Lectureships: “If God
hadn’t intended for Christians to bear fruit, we would build our church buildings
with a hole in the roof over the baptistery so He could call us home immediately
following our baptism.” While Tex’s emphasis is on evangelism and its results –
converts – I apply this to life-style and its result – love for God as demonstrated in
love for mankind.
Fruit bearing was clearly in the minds of John the Baptizer, as well. His words
rang out throughout Judea:
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism,
he said unto them, Ye offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to
come? Bring forth therefore fruit worthy of repentance: and think not to say
within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is
able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And even now the axe
lieth at the root of the trees: every tree therefore that bringeth not forth good fruit
is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Matt 3:7-10
It seems fair to say that John expected these Jews to bear some sort of post-
repentance fruit. These Jews needed to behave in ways that evidenced their
repentance. Failure to produce this fruit is deadly, to be sure (might the absence
of fruit indicate no repentance?).
Jesus, likewise, placed much emphasis upon fruit-bearing:
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are
ravening wolves. By their fruits ye shall know them. Do [men] gather grapes of
thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but
the corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit,
neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth
good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Therefore by their fruits ye shall
know them. Matthew 7:15-20
Whatever the fruit is, it is the product of a good or corrupt tree. Since the
corrupt tree is identified as the “false prophet,” and the evil fruit, their life-style, we
are probably safe in identifying the good tree as a “true prophet,” whose good fruit
is his life-style. [Note: the prophet’s teaching is not what determines the
falseness or trueness of the prophet.]
Again, Jesus says in John 15:1-17
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that
beareth not fruit, he taketh it away: and every [branch] that beareth fruit, he
cleanseth it, that it may bear more fruit. Already ye are clean because of the word
which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot
bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; so neither can ye, except ye abide in
me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the
same beareth much fruit: for apart from me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not
in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and they gather them, and cast
them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in
you, ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father
glorified, that ye bear much fruit; and [so] shall ye be my disciples. Even as the
Father hath loved me, I also have loved you: abide ye in my love. If ye keep my
commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's
commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that
my joy may be in you, and [that] your joy may be made full. This is my
commandment, that ye love one another, even as I have loved you. Greater love
hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my
friends, if ye do the things which I command you. No longer do I call you servants;
for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for
all things that I heard from my Father, I have made known unto you. Ye did not
choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that ye should go and bear fruit,
and [that] your fruit should abide: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in
my name, he may give it you. These things I command you, that ye may love one
another.
Here Jesus places his entire emphasis on the actions of the one abiding in the
vine. Fruit bearing seems to be the responsibility of the tree/vine – Christian.
Turning now to Paul, we can find the clearest view of humanity in general and
Christians in particular. Paul, in much of his writing, seems to be trying to get his
readers to understand their selves – before, during and after their conversion.
Lets turn to his writings to see if this is the case.
We will begin with Rom 6:17-23 –
But thanks be to God, that, whereas ye were servants of sin, ye became obedient
from the heart to that form of teaching whereunto ye were delivered; and being
made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner
of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye presented your members
[as] servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity, even so now present
your members [as] servants to righteousness unto sanctification. For when ye
were servants of sin, ye were free in regard of righteousness. What fruit then had
ye at that time in the things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those
things is death. But now being made free from sin and become servants to God, ye
have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end eternal life. For the wages of sin
is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Paul is concerned with what master one serves (is enslaved to). The lost are
enslaved to sin while the saved are enslaved both to God and sin (Rom 7:25).
Being enslaved to sin precludes any form of righteousness; yea, it relieves the one
so enslaved from any “righteous” expectation. Yes, there may be certain
“righteous” behaviors in the life of one lost, but the enslavement to sin negates
any “eternal” benefit of that behavior. The “fruit” of one enslaved to sin becomes
“shame” after enslavement to God. Now, one’s fruit is “unto righteousness.” The
behavior (fruit) might be the same (the source of which is now God) or, more
certainly, the behavior is different (coming from a different/new source – God).
Again, Paul clearly expects fruit to be borne by the one enslaved.
The passage that best discloses Paul’s view of humanity is Rom 7:1-8:11:
Or are ye ignorant, brethren (for I speak to men who know the law), that the law
hath dominion over a man for so long time as he liveth? For the woman that hath
a husband is bound by law to the husband while he liveth; but if the husband die,
she is discharged from the law of the husband. So then if, while the husband liveth,
she be joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if the husband
die, she is free from the law, so that she is no adulteress, though she be joined to
another man. Wherefore, my brethren, ye also were made dead to the law through
the body of Christ; that ye should be joined to another, [even] to him who was
raised from the dead, that we might bring forth fruit unto God. For when we were
in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were through the law, wrought in our
members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we have been discharged from
the law, having died to that wherein we were held; so that we serve in newness of
the spirit, and not in oldness of the letter. What shall we say then? Is the law sin?
God forbid. Howbeit, I had not known sin, except through the law: for I had not
known coveting, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet: but sin, finding
occasion, wrought in me through the commandment all manner of coveting: for
apart from the law sin [is] dead. And I was alive apart from the law once: but
when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died; and the commandment,
which [was] unto life, this I found [to be] unto death: for sin, finding occasion,
through the commandment beguiled me, and through it slew me. So that the law is
holy, and the commandment holy, and righteous, and good. Did then that which is
good become death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might be shown to be sin,
by working death to me through that which is good; -- that through the
commandment sin might become exceeding sinful. For we know that the law is
spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I know not: for not
what I would, that do I practise; but what I hate, that I do. But if what I would not,
that I do, I consent unto the law that it is good. So now it is no more I that do it,
but sin which dwelleth in me. For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth
no good thing: for to will is present with me, but to do that which is good [is] not.
For the good which I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I
practise. But if what I would not, that I do, it is no more I that do it, but sin which
dwelleth in me. I find then the law, that, to me who would do good, evil is present.
For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see a different law in
my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity
under the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! who shall
deliver me out of the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our
Lord. So then I of myself with the mind, indeed, serve the law of God; but with
the flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation to them that
are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free
from the law of sin and of death. For what the law could not do, in that it was
weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh
and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the ordinance of the law might be
fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit. For they that are
after the flesh mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the spirit the
things of the spirit. For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the spirit is
life and peace: because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not
subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be: and they that are in the flesh
cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh but in the spirit, if so be that the
spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the spirit of Christ, he is
none of his. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit
is life because of righteousness. But if the spirit of him that raised up Jesus from
the dead dwelleth in you, he that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall give
life also to your mortal bodies through his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
Let’s first note that Paul expects fruit to be the product of the one joined to
Christ: that ye should be joined to another, [even] to him who was raised from the dead,
that we might bring forth fruit unto God. There is no mention here to any external
force that produces the fruit. As he moves further into this passage, Paul
discloses his view of humanity – being made up of two separate but equally
(pardon me, Law & Order) important parts: the flesh/body that is Adamic in
nature (see Rom 5:12ff) and the mind/spirit that is Godly in nature. For Paul,
whatever evil man does, is a product of his body/flesh (Adamness) while the good
is a product of his mind/spirit (Godness). Paul continually makes this contrast
throughout his writings. Note Paul’s bottom line – while he (read you and me)
serves sin and death with his flesh/body, he serves God and righteousness with
his mind/spirit, the end result of which is “no condemnation” because such a one is
“in Christ Jesus.”
It is my understanding from Paul, that all humanity consists of a body/flesh and
a mind/spirit. Each of these “halves” exerts varying degrees of influence in each
of our lives. Before conversion, the body/flesh is in complete control. Oh, I might
have behaved at times for what appeared to be the good of others, in reality, I
acted as I did for my benefit – your praise or my own self-satisfaction. Following
my new birth, I began a life of repentance – the conversion from the mind of the
flesh to the mind of Christ (again, see Phil 2). This is a life-long struggle for
supremacy over my life, a struggle between my Adamic nature (my flesh/body)
and my Godly nature (my mind/spirit). The old song, “None of Self and All of
Thee” fits each of us perfectly:

O, the bitter pain and sorrow


That a time could ever be,
When I proudly said to Jesus,
“All of self, and none of Thee.”
Yet He found Me; I beheld Him
Bleeding on the accursed tree,
And my wistful heart said faintly,
“Some of self, and some of Thee.”

Day by day His tender mercy


Healing, helping full and free,
Brought me lower while I whispered,
“Less of self, and more of Thee.”

Higher than the highest heavens,


Deeper than the deepest sea,
Lord, Thy love at last has conquered,
“None of self, and all of Thee.”

Theodore Monod (1874)

We now come to the passage in question:


Gal 5:13-26 For ye, brethren, were called for freedom; only [use] not your
freedom for an occasion to the flesh, but through love be servants one to another.
For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, [even] in this: Thou shalt love thy
neighbor as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not
consumed one of another. But I say, walk by the spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the
lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the
flesh; for these are contrary the one to the other; that ye may not do the things
that ye would. But if ye are led by the spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the
works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]: fornication, uncleanness,
lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions,
divisions, parties, envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I
forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they who practise such things shall
not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace,
longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control; against
such there is no law. And they that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh
with the passions and the lusts thereof. If we live by the spirit, by the spirit let us
also walk. Let us not become vainglorious, provoking one another, envying one
another.
Here, Paul continues with the contrast between our two natures—our flesh/body
and our mind/spirit—just as he did in the Romans passage (7:1-8:11). Each of us
need to know/remember that the original New Testament documents were written
in ALL CAPS in a format that had NO spaces between words and NO punctuation.
Making sense of Paul, or any other NT writer, requires a total understanding of the
original language. Since there is no one with that knowledge, Bible scholars make
their best guess in many instances, at all times being influenced by their personal
bias. One such instance is how to understand the Greek pneuma. This word is
variously translated life, spirit, wind. Translators try to know the meaning from the
context, something we all need to do in English, as well. The translator’s bias is
clearly seen in his handling of pneuma. If he is convinced that the context
requires one to understand that the Holy Spirit is meant, he will write it with a
capital “S.” When he believes that some other spirit is meant, he writes it with a
lower case “s.” OK, that’s fair. But, the reader needs to realize that the absence
or presence of the capital “S” is not indicative of the original meaning. The bottom
line is that each of us is responsible, not only for the fruits borne, but for
understanding scripture. I believe that a proper understanding of this passage
demands a lower case “s” in EVERY instance. Neither this nor Rom 7:1-8:11 is a
Holy Spirit passage.
Here are some of the lesser known translations of Gal 5:22. The more popular
ones are consistent, as well, with the capital “S” (Alexander Campbell, in his
translation, The Living Oracles, uses the capital) –
Contemporary English Version -- God's Spirit makes us loving, happy,
peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful,
The New Living Translation -- But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives,
he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness,
Easy-to-Read / New Century Version -- But the spirit gives love, joy,
peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Goodspeed -- But what the spirit produces is love, joy, peace ,
Amplified New Testament – But the fruit of the (Holy) Spirit, [the work which
His presence within accomplishes] – is love, joy,
The Message (Peterson’s paraphrase) – But what happens when we live God’s
way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an
orchard – things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity.
In each of the above, the translator’s understanding is clear. He understands
that fruits of righteousness can only come from the work of the Holy Spirit, while
John, Jesus, Paul (and other NT writers) understand the fruit to be the product of
the human spirit under the control of and in concert with the love of God (His spirit;
attitude; mind-set).
As we continue with Paul, we find him, again, contrasting the two natures of
man using dark and light in Ephesians 5:3-21
But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be named
among you, as becometh saints; nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, or jesting,
which are not befitting: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know of a surety,
that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath
any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no man deceive you with
empty words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the sons
of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them; For ye were once
darkness, but are now light in the Lord: walk as children of light (for the fruit of
the light is in all goodness and righteousness and truth), proving what is well-
pleasing unto the Lord; and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of
darkness, but rather even reprove them; for the things which are done by them in
secret it is a shame even to speak of. But all things when they are reproved are
made manifest by the light: for everything that is made manifest is light.
Wherefore [he] saith, Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and
Christ shall shine upon thee. Look therefore carefully how ye walk, not as unwise,
but as wise; redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not
foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunken with wine,
wherein is riot, but be filled with the spirit; speaking one to another in psalms
and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the
Lord; giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to
God, even the Father; subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ.
Notice the verbs Paul uses: walk, proving, have not fellowship, reprove, be not
foolish, speak, give thanks, subject yourselves. These are the behaviors of one
whose spirit/mind is in agreement with God/Christ. That comes from
understanding the will of the Lord. Contrary to Calvin and his descendents, it is
within the ability of man to hear and understand and follow God’s will. This is a
classic example of the influence of Calvin on the Restoration Movement.
Col 1:1-29 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, and
Timothy our brother, To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ [that are] at
Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
We give thanks to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for
you, having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have
toward all the saints, because of the hope which is laid up for you in the heavens,
whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, which is come
unto you; even as it is also in all the world bearing fruit and increasing, as [it
doth] in you also, since the day ye heard and knew the grace of God in truth;
even as ye learned of Epaphras our beloved fellow-servant, who is a faithful
minister of Christ on our behalf, who also declared unto us your love in the spirit.
For this cause we also, since the day we heard [it], do not cease to pray and make
request for you, that ye may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all
spiritual wisdom and understanding, to walk worthily of the Lord unto all
pleasing, bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of
God; strengthened with all power, according to the might of his glory, unto all
patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks unto the Father, who made us
meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; who delivered us out
of the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love;
in whom we have our redemption, the forgiveness of our sins: who is the image of
the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him were all things created,
in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether
thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created
through him, and unto him; and he is before all things, and in him all things
consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the
firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it
was the good pleasure [of the Father] that in him should all the fulness dwell; and
through him to reconcile all things unto himself, having made peace through the
blood of his cross; through him, [I say], whether things upon the earth, or things
in the heavens. And you, being in time past alienated and enemies in your mind in
your evil works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death,
to present you holy and without blemish and unreproveable before him: if so be
that ye continue in the faith, grounded and stedfast, and not moved away from
the hope of the gospel which ye heard, which was preached in all creation under
heaven; whereof I Paul was made a minister. Now I rejoice in my sufferings for
your sake, and fill up on my part that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ in
my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church; whereof I was made a minister,
according to the dispensation of God which was given me to you-ward, to fulfil the
word of God, [even] the mystery which hath been hid for ages and generations:
but now hath it been manifested to his saints, to whom God was pleased to make
known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which
is Christ in you, the hope of glory: whom we proclaim, admonishing every man
and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in
Christ; whereunto I labor also, striving according to his working, which worketh
in me mightily.
This is a wonderful passage which indicates that it is through being exposed to
the good news (being taught) and understanding it that leads to a “worthy walk”
(fruit bearing?), that the Christian is being presented to God by Paul as mature
(telios, terribly translated “perfect”) in Christ.
In that beautiful sermon preached to a group of tired, terrified, troubled Jewish
Christians, known to us as Hebrews, the preacher says in chapter 12, verses 1
through 13:
Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of
witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let
us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author
and perfecter of [our] faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the
cross, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider him that hath endured such gainsaying of sinners against himself,
that ye wax not weary, fainting in your souls. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood,
striving against sin: and ye have forgotten the exhortation which reasoneth with
you as with sons, My son, regard not lightly the chastening of the Lord, Nor faint
when thou art reproved of him; For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, And
scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. It is for chastening that ye endure; God
dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is there whom [his] father chasteneth
not? But if ye are without chastening, whereof all have been made partakers, then
are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore, we had the fathers of our flesh to
chasten us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection
unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened [us]
as seemed good to them; but he for [our] profit, that [we] may be partakers of his
holiness. All chastening seemeth for the present to be not joyous but grievous;
yet afterward it yieldeth peaceable fruit unto them that have been exercised
thereby, [even the fruit] of righteousness. Wherefore lift up the hands that hang
down, and the palsied knees; and make straight paths for your feet, that that
which is lame be not turned out of the way, but rather be healed.
“Laying aside,” “running with patience,” “looking unto Jesus,” “waxing not
weary,” “regarding not lightly” are all actions of the spirit of man, motivated by
God’s grace/love/forgiveness/promises. The fruit of these Jewish Christians is the
product of their troubles (chastening); the fulfillment of the verbs – not some
mysterious working of the Holy Spirit.
James joins in the fray when he likens the works of the Christian to the fruit of
righteousness which is the product of wisdom --
James 3: 13-18 Who is wise and understanding among you? let him show by
his good life his works in meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter jealousy and
faction in your heart, glory not and lie not against the truth. This wisdom is not [a
wisdom] that cometh down from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where
jealousy and faction are, there is confusion and every vile deed. But the wisdom
that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full
of mercy and good fruits, without variance, without hypocrisy. And the fruit of
righteousness is sown in peace for them that make peace.
Well, Dan, if the Holy Spirit is not involved in the Christian’s fruit bearing, do you
mean that the Holy Spirit didn’t produce fruit? No. The Holy Spirit’s fruit is the
signs/miracles the first century Christians performed as confirmation of their
message. No, this is not the place for this discussion.
Whatever the Holy Spirit does today, producing fruit isn’t one of His endeavors.
However the Holy Spirit dwells within the Christian, the production of fruit is NOT
an evidence. I am not advancing the idea that man can “earn” or “deserve” his
relationship with God. “Fruit” is the evidence of having been
justified/sanctified/redeemed.
In God’s Holy Fire: the Nature and Function of Scripture, by Kenneth L.
Cukrowski, Mark W. Hamilton and James W. Thompson, Chapter One (p. 18),
Thompson is discussing the usefulness of scripture for teaching. He states, “The
knowledge of the entire Bible is a protection against dangerous half-truths and
Scriptures taken out of context.”
This is true, whatever one’s hobby or doctrine. Christendom is over-run with
faulty doctrines (eschatology, gender roles, worship, work of the Holy Spirit, to
name a few) that have caused much trouble – wars, divisions, animosity. Of
course, even the ability to quote the entire Bible is not necessarily a safeguard
against faulty exegesis. But is upon my study of both the Holy Spirit and
fruitbearing as found in ALL of scripture that the above is written.
Lord, protect us from ourselves as we try to know your will.

Dan Smith
Sparks, NV
22 May 2002