The Result of Walking by the Spirit - Fruit
by Gordie Coffin
God conveys truth in His Word through the self-evident principle of agriculture. Agriculture is one of God’s gifts to mankind from the beginning. In fact, God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it before the fall of mankind (Gen 2:15). Because of agriculture’s universality, it is an effective vehicle to communicate truth.
One of the more frightening agrarian examples presented in the Bible comes during the Sermon on the Mount. During Jesus’ closing remarks, He warns of false prophets who come in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. He then gives an explanation on how to identify false prophets:
You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit (Matt 7:16-18).
Fruit is synonymous with how one behaves. In the case of false prophets, their lives are characterized by sinful rebellion against God (i.e., bad fruit). Therefore, the goal for the believer is to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord (i.e., good fruit).
In Galatians, Paul provides a list of nine practical outcomes of the Holy Spirit’s work in the believer’s life. These are referred to as the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). The fruit of the Spirit are visible expressions of the Holy Spirit’s power working inwardly. The ability to bear good fruit does not come from our efforts, but from God’s. When the sinner repents of his sin and puts his faith in Jesus Christ, his sins are forgiven, and he is justified before God. He is now a new creature and has new desires to please the Lord (2 Cor 5:17). These desires are fueled when the believer lives under the influence of the Spirit and His ministry in communicating the mind of God through His Word (1 Cor 2:10-13).
The character of fruit is evidence of the character of the power producing it. Our sin and feeble attempts to please God result in bad fruit. To produce good fruit, we must humbly accept God’s free gift of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. We are then able to “walk by the Spirit” and produce fruit that is pleasing to the Lord.