(The Fruit of the Spirit)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23
The previous chapter explained some key elements about the way of a Christian, where it was shown that Scripture exhorts us to continually “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” and to “fight the good fight of faith.” A healthy component of both of those is understanding what it means to “walk by the Spirit” and what that looks like as manifest in the life of a Christian. This is often referred to as living in the Spirit (as opposed to living in the flesh) where we “walk by faith, not by sight.” This chapter only scratches the surface, for entire books have been written on just this subject; but I want to highlight a few areas so you can start to understand that you are no longer living by the flesh or by your own willpower, but by the Spirit of God who abides in you.
BORN AGAIN OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD
Let us review briefly what happened when we were born again. It was at that time that you became a child of God, as you were reborn of the Spirit of God, instead of flesh. You received a new nature – you are a “new creature” in Christ. It was at that time also that the Spirit of God began to abide (live) in you, and you in He (through Christ).
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” – John 3:6-8
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” – Galatians 2:20
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.” – John 15:4
If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you… – John 15:7
Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him… – Colossians 2:6
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. – Romans 8:1-17
Scripture refers to this as being “sealed” with the Holy Spirit. This is symbolically described as having a “mark” placed on your forehead, and this mark identifies you as now being a child of God. King David writes about this in Psalm 23: “You have anointed my head with oil”; and Revelation 7:3 says: “sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.” These verses are speaking symbolically of being marked as belonging to Christ, being sealed by the Holy Spirit, for those having accepted Christ by being born again of the Spirit and who are following Him in mind, body and spirit. Note that this is not a literal mark placed on your forehead as some falsely teach.
We are also “walking by faith, not by sight,” and not by our own power, might or strength, but by the Spirit of God:
Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— or we walk by faith, not by sight— we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. – 2 Corinthians 5:6-8
Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” – John 20:29
“‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.” – Zechariah 4:6
The same Spirit of power that raised Jesus from the dead now lives in you. Always remember that! There is much that could be written about the Holy Spirit, enough to fill an entire book (or two). The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity – He is not a force or an “it.” He feels, thinks, acts, and is fully God. The Holy Spirit is also described as:
- The Eternal Spirit,
- The Spirit of Christ,
- The Spirit of Life,
- The Spirit of Promise,
- The Spirit of Judgment and Fire (Burning), and
- The Oil of Gladness
KEEP SEEKING THE THINGS ABOVE
We are to “be like Christ,” emulating Him in all things, following in His examples. Following Christ takes committed selfless action (obedience), not just idle words of profession. Following Christ also means denying oneself (dying to self) and seeking God’s will, instead of your own will. The apostle Paul describes this as putting on your new self:
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. – Colossians 3:1-17
Also, as a child of God living in the Spirit, we are to “Set your mind on the things above [heavenly things], not on the things that are on earth [this material world].” We are no longer to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed, seeking the things that are above, for our citizenship is now in heaven, not on earth. This is also called living a “Spirit filled” life. Don’t worry if all of this doesn’t make sense to you at this time, what’s important is that you start emulating Christ through obedience to His commands, as a “doer” of the word instead of merely a “hearer” of the word. As you continue along the path of obedience, you will find that things become clearer to you.
We are called to be a light to the world, pointing the way to Jesus and eternal salvation. We are to live our lives so that others see our good works so that the Father in Heaven is glorified. We are to obey God, rather than man. We are not to be dominated any longer by desires of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and in continued pursuit of fame, fortune and power. It is written:
But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. – 1 Timothy 6:9-10
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” – Matthew 6:24
And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” – Luke 12:16-21
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21
Additionally, part of seeking the things above is also described as “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” This means to start discarding sinful, fleshly, worldly, selfish thoughts, and dismiss them through the power of Christ; banish them from your mind when they occur. Over time, this gets easier to do, although spiritual attacks will continue throughout your life; always remember we are in a spiritual war (see The Armor of God chapter).
In summary, you are moving from a life of worldly, selfish and fleshly pursuits, to a life of heavenly, unselfish, giving/loving pursuits, and desiring to be more like Christ each and every day. You are now battling the forces of darkness, not walking under their command or power any longer. Even when you now see others partaking in worldly, fleshly and carnal activities (or crude jokes, parties filled with lustful activities, etc.), you do not partake of them. You are called to a higher standard now:
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:1-2
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:9-21
This higher standard means that we emulate Christ (“be perfect”) in all things, and we no longer utilize the ways of the world, which typically includes things such as: lying, cheating, stealing, using false measures or dishonest scales, weapons of war, violence, etc. We are to follow the example Christ set for us, even when doing so goes against the ways and wisdom of this world, and even when it is difficult.
THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
Some expect to get a warm, fuzzy feeling when they are born again, but at least for me, there was no “feeling”; frankly, I didn’t feel any different than I had before – it was just an intellectual and emotional decision to commit my life to Christ, in response to hearing (and then believing) the gospel message of truth. However, a born-again Christian should begin to notice changes in both their thoughts and behavior. It is by watching for these signs of a changed you, that you know He is indeed working in, and through, you now with His Spirit. I do see such changes in my own life.
So, as you begin to walk with Christ, with Him abiding in you and you in He, your thoughts and behavior/actions should start to exhibit characteristics of the “fruit of the spirit,” which include:
- Kindness (and compassion),
- Forgiveness (forgiving others as you were also forgiven!),
- Not judging others,
- Not gossiping, etc.
Contrast the above list with the things that God hates (fruit of the flesh):
There are six things which the Lord hates,
Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him:
Haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
And hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that run rapidly to evil,
A false witness who utters lies,
And one who spreads strife among brothers. – Proverbs 6:16-19
While you received a new nature when you were born again, you also still have your old (fleshly) nature as well. The two now live together, in a constant struggle, a battle – the flesh actually wars against the spirit! You will see this constant struggle between the “natural man” (the old fleshly self) and the new “spiritual man” even after you are born again:
“Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” – Matthew 26:41
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please…
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. – Galatians 5:16-17, 22-25
Now I confess to you that it is much easier to write this chapter than to change one’s behavior – it is very hard at times to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, even after one is born again. But others around you should start to see visible changes in your behavior, attitude, moods and actions now that you have been born-again. I’m certainly not where I’d like to be in many areas, but I press forward each and every day, waking towards Christ. It takes deliberate attention and discipline to be walking with Christ, combined with reading and meditating on His Word every single day (along with a solid prayer life). Make sure your new self is steering clear of the carnal and base behavior of the unsaved man. You are now living for (and in) Christ and He in you; you are not to continue living as a heathen does. This topic is discussed further in the Changing Your Worldly Habits chapter.
It is by the strength of Christ, not your own will power, that you will be able to do this. Remember that Christ redeemed you, purchased you from the dead, and gave you new life in Him. You will soon see that you have new desires, not for the fame, fortune and power of this world, but for the things of Christ. Christ promises to “give you the desires of your heart.” It is an amazing transition to watch happen in yourself; the Psalmist speaks to this very thing:
Do not fret because of evildoers,
Be not envious toward wrongdoers.
For they will wither quickly like the grass
And fade like the green herb.
Trust in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
And your judgment as the noonday. – Psalm 37:1-6
You won’t always see changes happening all at once; they occur with hard work and perseverance over the life of a Christian as you continue to walk with Christ and mature in Christ. Others around you, however, should start to see that you are indeed a changed person, now living for Christ. If there are no visible changes which others can clearly see, that is a huge red flag that your commitment to Christ may not where it needs to be. And know this – others around you are watching your newly born-again life very, very closely, and they will continue to do so, especially those who do not yet know Christ themselves. They are looking for any sign whatsoever of hypocrisy in you, or that you are not genuine in your profession of faith. Be mindful that your life is now a living testimony to others, which either glorifies Christ or embarrasses Him. It is written that we are “ambassadors for Christ,” members of “a royal priesthood,” and we are to be a witness to others, told to “let your light shine before men…and glorify your Father [God]”:
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. – 2 Corinthians 5:20
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. – 1 Peter 2:9-10
“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16
It is also written that let your “‘Yes, [be] yes’ or ‘No, [be] no’.” So be true to your word, acting with integrity and being honest in all matters, dependable to do what you say you will do, just like God. Walk worthy of your God and King. Your witness through your behavior and actions often speaks louder than anything else you do, even louder than things you say.
Speaking further to changes in personality that result from living in the Spirit, the biggest changes for me were that I became (gradually):
- More tolerant/patient (although this has been an extreme test for me),
- Less vulgar of speech and writing (not participating in “coarse jesting” – nor repeating dirty/crude jokes nor laughing at them with others any longer),
- Without anxiety (calmer and more peaceful as I trusted in the Lord, instead of other men or myself), and
- Less judgmental of others (now having seen my own wretched sinful nature and behavior, but even further – seeing how unbelievably kind, compassionate, merciful, slow to anger and full of grace and lovingkindness the Lord has been with me). A side note here though: correcting and rebuking others for their false teachings and doctrine is not being “judgmental” – it’s called telling the truth. I owe it to you to identify false teachings, for they are harming the glory of Christ and causing many to fall and stumble or come up short of eternal life!
Now don’t get me wrong, I still mess up horribly at times. But even then, I just get back up, and commit myself to do better next time and let His Spirit continue molding me for the better, for it is written: “His lovingkindness and compassions never fail, they are new every morning.” So, no matter what – keep going, pressing into Christ even harder every single day when you need to.
And lastly, the commonly held idea that some Christians are priests and the rest of us should follow those priests is not biblical. Every born-again believer is a priest in and for Christ! That’s why it’s all the more important for you to not remain as a baby Christian, but to mature, so you can help and guide others, and also set a good example of what a Spirit led life looks like.
A CHRISTIAN TRUSTS THE LORD
A Christian must completely trust in the Lord 100% at all times and in all things – in times of good and in times of peril. This is a vitally important subject. I explain further in The Peace of God chapter that a lack of trust in the Lord manifests itself as anxiety in the life of a Christian. Scripture tells us that that He will never leave, forget or forsake you, that He promises to change you into His likeness. He sees and knows all things, and He has already been victorious over all things. We further read that nothing can separate us from the love of God – nothing on earth, under the earth, or in the heavens above, neither man nor spirit nor Satan or his demons. Scripture also tells us that His word will never fail, so we live in His assurance – the assurance of things to come that we read about in Scripture.
Much can be learned about trusting in God by studying how the patriarchs of the faith behaved (e.g., Noah, Abraham, Daniel, Job, etc.) and how they trusted in God. Many of them never even lived to see the complete fulfilment of God’s promises to them, yet they still trusted in Him completely! I encourage you to review their strength of faith and continued devotion to the Lord, even in (especially in) times of extreme trial or persecution (i.e., the flood, lion’s den, bondage in Egypt, severe physical affliction, personal loss, loss of loved ones, etc.), even when they knew they would be facing death for their faith. The book of Daniel shows how he (along with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) handled himself in the face of certain death and is very inspiring to me.
A CHRISTIAN IS ALWAYS THANKFUL
And finally, a Christian should exhibit an attitude of true praise, gratefulness and thanksgiving to the Lord (and should do so under all circumstances, good or bad), for you have been redeemed from death to life! What a wonderful gift to receive, wholly undeserved, and we should all be forever mindful and grateful, daily thanking the Lord, no matter what comes our way. A Christian is also a cheerful giver, according to their own heart. I hope that this chapter has given you a good jumpstart on living in the Spirit.
Let us continue on the path to eternal salvation, as we discuss the subject of obedience next, realizing that it is only by living in the Spirit, and by abiding in Christ and He in you, that you can be an obedient child of God.
FALSE TEACHING(S) YOU WILL ENCOUNTER:
- Once Saved Always Saved
- A Christian No Longer Sins
- Bizarre Interpretations of the “Mark of The Beast”
For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. – Romans 7:14-25
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. – 2 Corinthians 4:16
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world…but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. – 1 John 2:1-2, 5-6
Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. – 1 John 2:15-17
“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” – Matthew 7:1-3
But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another. We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. – 1 Thessalonians 5:12-24
Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. – Ephesians 4:1-6
So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. – Ephesians 4:17-32
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting [dirty/crude/sexually suggestive joking, etc.], which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them. – Ephesians 5:1-11
Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. – Ephesians 5:15-21
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification. – Romans 6:12-19
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:8-9
Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5
Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed. – 2 Corinthians 9:6-8
Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. – Hebrews 13:15-16
Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. – 2 Peter 1:1-8
But being full of the Holy Spirit, he [Stephen] gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God…They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep. – Acts 7:55, 59-60
For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. – Colossians 1:9-14
The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. – 2 Timothy 2:24-26
Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you; but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.
The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 4:1-11
Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation”— giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be discredited, but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true; as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death, as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things. – 2 Corinthians 6:2b-10
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. – 2 Corinthians 7:1
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. – Acts 13:52
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart exults,
And with my song I shall thank Him. – Psalm 28:7
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust!”
For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways.
They will bear you up in their hands,
That you do not strike your foot against a stone. – Psalm 91:2, 11-12
The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22-23
This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. – 1 John 1:5-10 [Note: These verses apply to those who are born again, as we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ our Mediator, whereby if we sin (not willfully or deliberately in a continuing lifestyle choice), we can repent and He is faithful and just to forgive us. I’m including the verse here for completeness, but this is something you will do on an ongoing basis in your Christian walk, until death. See the “A Christian No Longer Sins” false teaching.]
We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. – 1 John 4:16
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. – Ephesians 6:18-20
“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” – John 4:23-24
Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. – 1 John 2:28
“Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not make false vows, but shall fulfill your vows to the Lord.’ But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.” – Matthew 5:33-37
Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:13-16
Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.
And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. – 1 Peter 2:1-5
Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.
Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.
Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.
For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. – 1 Peter 2:11-25
To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. – 1 Peter 3:8-9
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. – 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
…however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.
Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. – Philippians 3:16-21
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” – John 15:1-5
Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. – 2 Timothy 2:3-5
This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. – James 1:19-21