22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22–23, NKJV)
Christians are called by the gospel to “walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16, 25), to be “led by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:18), to “live in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25), and to bear the “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23). This is not a mystical, magical, miraculous control of one’s life by the Holy Spirit. It results from the deliberate choice to live under the control of the Spirit of God – to live by faith – by obeying the gospel we have heard from Him (Galatians 2:20; 3:1-2). Note that we are to bear the “fruit” of the Spirit, not the “fruits” of the Spirit. This fruit, while singular, is collective, with each part of the fruit bearing distinct attributes of God. Each part of this fruit must be carefully understood to develop properly. The fruit of the Spirit does not grow accidentally. Is it present in your life? His fruit will only grow and ripen in us with regular watering, nurturing, pruning and shaping of our lives by the Spirit-given word (Ephesians 5:18; Colossians 3:16).
11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. (Matthew 3:11–12, NKJV)
John explained the Messiah’s work as he prepared the way before Him (Matthew 3:3). In a scathing condemnation of the self-righteous hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Sadducees, John warned them that Christ would execute judgment against sinners. They needed true repentance to flee the approaching wrath, not reliance on their physical heritage (Matthew 3:7-10). The Christ would bring a baptism of fire upon sinners. This fire burns the “trees” that bear evil fruit (Matthew 3:10). It is the “unquenchable fire” of Matthew 3:12, that overwhelms the wicked. Jesus promised, and baptized His apostles with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5, 8. 2:1-4). He has promised an overwhelming, eternal destruction upon the wicked (Mark 9:43-48). Judgment Day is real, and eternity is forever. Therefore, “fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28; Hebrews 9:27). You do not want to experience the Lord’s baptism of fire!
For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:13, NKJV)
There is much disagreement and misunderstanding about the work of the Holy Spirit in salvation. This verse will remove some of that misunderstanding – if we will allow it. The Holy Spirit guided the apostles into “all truth” (the gospel), which they preached to the world (Jno. 16:13; Mk. 16:15). This Spirit-given truth calls upon every sinner to believe, repent and be baptized to be saved (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38, 41). Thus, by the direction of the Holy Spirit, all Christians have been baptized into “one body” (the church, Acts 2:41, 47). Based upon this truth, Paul makes a plea for all the members of the church to work together in unity. He notes that one Spirit has directed our baptism in water (by the gospel He revealed), and by doing so, every Christian is a member of the body (church) of Christ. We have all drunk of the spiritual blessings given us by “one Spirit.” The Holy Spirit gives a wonderful gift to all who have been saved – spiritual refreshing and “an inheritance among all those who are sanctified by faith” (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 26:18). Because there is “one body” (the church) and “one baptism” (water), Christians must keep the unity of the Spirit, and not be divided (Eph. 4:3-5).
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” (Galatians 5:25–26, NKJV)
Christians live in the Spirit, having escaped the condemnation of sin in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1-2). We walk in the Spirit, being led by the Spirit of God (Gal. 5:18). This divine guidance is not random or miraculous. Neither is it subjective or unique to each person. The Spirit leads us all by the word of the gospel He has revealed, confirmed and inspired (Eph. 5:17-18; Col. 3:16). Living by His truth, we bear the fruit of the Spirit and spurn the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-23). Today’s passage specifically charges us not to have false pride that looks down on others (conceit). It commands us not to be provocative, challenging and inciting strife. Neither are we to be envious of each other, resentful of another person’s advantages. Envy retards prevents thankfulness of heart. Conceit overvalues self and eliminates empathy for others. Stirring up strife causes turmoil and division. Make it a point to walk in the Spirit, following His teaching and bearing His fruit. By doing so we will refuse to bear sin’s rotten fruit.
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. (John 16:7–11, NKJV)
The Holy Spirit is “the Helper” Jesus promised to send to His apostles, who would “guide them into all truth” (Jno. 16:13). Jesus kept His promise on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 1:4-5, 8; 2:1-4). By the preaching of the apostles, the Holy Spirit began convicting the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment. By their word, the Spirit of God convicted the audience of their sin (“Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart,” Acts 2:37). He convinced them how to become servants of righteousness (“repent,…and be baptized,” Acts 2:38). And, he convinced them of judgment (“save yourselves,” Acts 2:40, ESV). The Holy Spirit continues to convict the world by the inspired message of the apostles, and by it, to save those who believe (1 Cor. 1:21).
“Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus;” (Acts 1:16, NKJV)
The Holy Spirit inspired the Holy Scriptures, and by them He speaks to us today. Do not expect the Spirit of God to speak to you through some “better felt than told” experience. The Holy Spirit will not give you an impulse of the heart apart from the Scriptures to convince you to follow the Lord. He speaks to us all in exactly the same way, by means of the words He put in the mouths of the prophets (2 Pet. 1:21). By these words the Holy Spirit speaks, convicting “the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (Jno. 16:8). Listen to what the Spirit is saying to you. Read the Scriptures, gain understanding, and follow His will.
15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:15–18, NKJV)
Having just exhorted Christians to “walk as children of light”, the apostle states several necessary things: “walk circumspectly”, “redeem the time”, “understand what the will of the Lord is” and “be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:8-10, 15-18). These are commandments, not mere suggestions. Without obeying them one cannot walk as a child of light. The question arises, how does a person obey the command to be “filled with the Spirit”? How do you do that? The answer is revealed in Colossians 3:16 (which corresponds to Eph. 5:18-19): “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord”. To be “filled with the Spirit” means to let “the word of Christ dwell in you richly”. The Holy Spirit helps the Christian walk as a child of light by means of the Scriptures, the word of Christ He revealed and inspired. There is no relationship with the Spirit of God where the word of God is absent from your heart and life. Be filled with the Spirit of God by being filled with the word of God.