Category Archives: Romans

The Fruit of the Spirit is Essential

The fruit of the Spirit is essential, not because it is a checklist unto salvation but because it is the inevitable byproduct of the Holy Spirit dwelling in you. We have a funny relationship with the word “essential” often relating it to what one must do to be saved. While there are essential components to our faith response to God, there is a lot more to the word than that.

The blood of Jesus being given for us was essential. We had nothing to do with that happening.

The Spirit indwelling the believer is an essential part of God sealing us for redemption. God gives the Spirit, we receive him.

Being a part of a community of faith is an essential aspect of our faith and transformation. Again, God even provides that.

But back to the fruit of the Holy Spirit. The fruit of the Holy Spirit should be a given in the life of the Christian because it is exactly what is produced when the Holy Spirit operates in our lives. Paul lists the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5 where he contrasts the fruit of the Spirit vs the acts of the flesh. He makes it very clear that the flesh and the Spirit work against each other and that you really cannot have it both ways, “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” (5:17). Paul elaborates on that in Romans 8 where he contrasts life by the Spirit or lived in line with the desires of the Spirit and life lived by the flesh.

Living by the Holy Spirit is an essential part of the Christian life and that means we do not “do whatever we want” but more and more live doing what the Spirit who is in us wants us to do. Obedience is a key part of this. The metaphor Paul uses to make this point in 1 Corinthians is the temple…that as Christians we have the Spirit dwelling in us, making us God’s holy temple. Therefore we are not to engage in sexual immorality, gratifying the sinful cravings of the flesh because that would desecrate the temple God has made us to be.There is a misconception that among some in churches of Christ that obedience doesn’t matter. This couldn’t be further from the truth. What is really disputed is the effect of obedience (whether or not it merits our salvation vs being the outgrowth of our salvation), not the need for or expectation that we actually be obedient to God.

Last point, we often look at the fruit of the Spirit from an individualistic perspective rather than from a communal perspective but Paul speaks in communal (plural) terms, not individualistic (singular) terms. So the fruit of the Spirit is not just about individual actions but about the corporate actions of the church body and what that body is producing. The Spirit is also forming us (not just me) into God’s holy temple. So the essential work of the Spirit is producing things in God’s people as a whole. If a congregation lacks these things they should pray for God to help them produce the kind of fruit that is consistent with the Spirit that is in them.

“[And the God]  who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” – Eph 3:20

Brief Review of a Not so Brief Book – Paul and the Faithfulness of God by N.T. Wright

I started this book months ago while on jury duty and finally finished it last week. I have a hard copy but decided to read this via the kindle app on my iphone 4S. That was brutal! I think I would have to read this book several times to really get out of it halfContinue Reading

Glimmers of God’s Perspective

Two years ago last month I got an email from my mother. She had forwarded an email from the church office back in Alabama that a dear friend had passed away. I was stunned. Sammy couldn’t have been much more than 40 years old. I checked my email later in the day and the strangestContinue Reading

Sermons on Worship and the Water of Life

Just posted two sermons from December. Living Water – A sermon based on Ezekiel 47 where Ezekiel witnesses water flowing out of the temple, down to the Dead Sea. Life grows out of the low places around the Dead Sea as the water nourishes places that had long been dead. Application – we also haveContinue Reading

Infant Baptism

I had slacked on my baptism series because this post has been a difficult one to publish. I really want to make sure I have my facts straight here and not stir things up based on faulty information. Infant baptism is practiced by a very high percentage of Christianity and it is important to understandContinue Reading

The Beauty of Baptism

Paul wrote in Romans 6:2-11 “We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raisedContinue Reading

Summaries of the New Testament Books

To follow up on this post summarizing the books of the Old Testament, here is the list for the New Testament. Here is this list in pdf. These are just quick helps to help people get a feel for these books and see how they connect with each other. Bible Study Helps – New TestamentContinue Reading

Living By Faith, Not By Exception

“So this guy is walking up to the baptistry…he has repented and made his confession before the congregation and just as he steps in the water he slips hits his head on the floor. He dies right before he is baptized. Is he saved?” The point normally being made with this type of question isContinue Reading

What is Your Most Encouraging Verse in the Bible?

What has been the most encouraging verse in the Bible to you? Here are some of my favorites: 1 Peter 1:3-4 – “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given usContinue Reading

Misconceptions About Our Contribution to our own Salvation

There are a lot of misconceptions floating around out there about our salvation and what is expected of us in the process. Two misconceptions fall on the extremes of the pendulum of what is required of us to be saved. On one side, you have the misconception that because salvation is a “free gift” thatContinue Reading

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