Monday, January 3, 2011

The 9 Fruits: Part 1

The 9 Fruits
Part I

Galatians 5:19a The acts of the flesh are obvious...
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Love! Joy! Peace!  They sounds so new age when they are said alone, but the Holy Spirit did not leave
them standing alone and Paul, mindful of that, sets these words as a counter to the warning he stated
about the flesh. The works of the flesh are bondage to sin, Paul warns but to know someone of the Spirit
of God, you need to know what kind of actions will be characteristic of such a person. We will examine
these characteristics in parts.

Part I. Love

It is important to realize that Paul was not talking about these in the vacuum of the World, or in the
way the world perceives these words. Paul was talking about them in the context of Christians filled
with the Holy Spirit. People who by name and action belong to the Lord Jesus Christ and do not follow
the ways of the flesh. Paul previously stated what those people are characterized by and their fate as
well. No. Paul indeed was talking here and giving us insight into the heart and character of a True
Christian.

Love: Greek word, agape (ah-gah-pay). In the Greek New Testament text there are 3 words used for LOVE. Philos, eros, and agape. There is a 4 word, Stego, which is not used in the Biblical text, but in Greek
contemporary writings.
Phileo means 'brotherly-type love'. We get our word for the Pennsylvania city of Philadelphia directly
from this word. The City of Brotherly Love.
Eros, you can well imagine the direct English translation of the meaning of this word.  From it we
derive 'erotic' love and lust.
Stegos, likewise we have Stag. No, not the deer, but one of the more archaic meanings, like in Stag
Party..a social gathering of men only.

'Agape' most Christians have heard about. It means love in a selfless and self sacrificial way. It is
love that is unconditionally given. Love that is always given and never taken. It is the very love that
Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter..."Love is patient, love is kind. It does not
envy, it does not boast, it is not proud..." It is the love the we, as humans can not hope to exhibit
apart from the spirit of God, for as John said, 1 John 4:8 "Whoever does not love does not know God,
because God is love."

Do not be mistaken. There are many types of 'love' in this world, but there is only one type of love
that will spearate us from the rest and this is the love of God. Without this characteristic, God would
not be God and we would not be Christians. So you realize how important these characteristics are? Do
not throw them aside lightly.

I leave you to ponder the words of Paul to the Corinthians. 1 Corinthains 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Blessings All!

--El