Faith and Fruit
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Gal. 5:22–23).- Galatians 5:19–23
One thing that is sometimes neglected in the discussion of spiritual growth is the fact that the assurance of our salvation contributes mightily to our maturity. If we have a proper understanding of assurance, it becomes an impetus for holy living. When we know that we belong to Jesus, our love for Him motivates us to obey His commands and thus we increasingly display the reality of salvation.
In the final analysis, any assurance we have of salvation is grounded in the person and work of Christ. By His life, death, resurrection, and intercession, He has demonstrated His full ability to save His people. We are justified because of His righteousness, and so the confidence we have in our salvation is not ultimately a confidence that we have in ourselves but a confidence that we have in the Savior.
Despite this fact, an important existential question remains. If true faith is the instrument by which the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, how do we know that we have true faith? How do we know that we are not only professing faith but also possessing it?
There are several evidences of true faith. One of the most important is whether or not we have love for Christ at all in our hearts. If we look at our hearts and find that we love Jesus, no matter how small that affection may seem at times, then we have an evidence of the presence of saving faith in our lives.
True love for Christ, and true faith in Him, is demonstrated publicly. James 2:14–26 makes it clear that those with true faith perform works of mercy and love to the church and to the world. These works are in no way meritorious and do not contribute to our justification. Nevertheless, our works demonstrate that we have a true, living faith. They show that we truly believe.
These works are an inevitable and necessary result of true faith. They evidence the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts to create good fruit. This fruit, as listed in today’s passage, is demonstrated in our lives over time as we progress in our spiritual growth. As we look at our lives we should find that though we are not yet perfectly sanctified, we are growing in all of these areas. A truly regenerate heart will evidence all such things as we grow to maturity. And over the next few days we will discuss some of this fruit in greater detail.
No single Christian has every gift of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:1–11). However, this is not true of the fruit. All of us must be growing in our expression of each. Take some time to look at your life and see if you are exhibiting them. Ask the Holy Spirit to work in your life to produce the fruit of the Spirit.
Passages for Further Study