Hello Christians, Let’s Discuss: What Are the ‘Gifts’ and ‘Fruits’ of the Holy Spirit? And Who Should Have Them?
The Spiritual fruits (Gal 5:22-23)“But the Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. There is no law that says these things are wrong” (New Century Version)
“But the Fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (King James Version)
But the Spirit (not the man himself for there is nothing but evil that can flow out of man) produces the ‘fruit’ of love [note the singular use of the word fruit and also the replacement of the word ‘works’ (see verse 19) by the word ‘fruit’ emphasizing the gracious fruits that can’t be possible without the hand of God.....]
As emphasized by many scholars (John Calvin, John Gill, the pulpit commentary, and others), the singularity of the word fruit calls for all the above virtues to be one without any of them missing to fulfill righteousness (see Philippians 1:11).
What exactly is being said?
To understand these two verses, let us look at the immediate context (ie the verses or paragraphs surrounding the ones we are interested in). The immediate paragraphs (both below and above) reveal that Paul was trying to show the different workings of our lives or souls when under either Law (self-righteousness) or grace (Holy Spirit). The former yields nothing good but evil works (verse 19) and the latter yields nothing but good fruits (verses 22-23).
When we faithfully look up to the cross and the grace of God, the Spirit of God that dwells in us allows us to shine out. And this is true of everyone in Him (Jesus). Jesus is the vine and we are the branches and we can only yield fruits if we remain in Him (see John 15:1-17). These are (don’t mind about the plural now) fruits (representing growth and maturation) of and not just works of a dead man (Jude 12; Matthew 3:10)
Who should have the Fruit?Everyone that belongs to Christ. Listen, the fruit of love (love accomplishes all the rest; see verse Matthew 22:36-40; Galatians 5:14) is the only proof that we are in Christ and He is in us. It is the only true evident of the Holy Spirit working in us. Jesus says that if we love Him we obey His command (John 14:15). And obedience is not a way to loving Him but simply a fruit of His Spirit working in us (John 14:16; 1 John 5:3-5). The fruit (s) of Spirit are graciously born, grown, matured in us by the working Spirit of God in every believer.
No Spirit, no Fruit, and no believer!
Also Read: Faith Without Action Is Dead: What Does the Bible Mean?
No one can claim to love God yet he is full of hate (Love one another so that you can be seen as my followers, Jesus says), not even those prophesying or full of marvelous and exciting gifts. Let’s listen to Paul now (1 Corinthians 13:1-3);
“And now I will show you the best way of all. I may speak in different languages of people or even angels. But if I don’t have love, I am only a noisy bell or a crashing cymbal. I may have the gift of prophecy. I may understand all the secret things of God and have all the knowledge, and I may have faith so great I can move mountains. But even with all these things, if I don’t have love, then I am nothing. I may give away everything I have, and I may even give my body as an offering to be burned. But I gain nothing if I don’t have love” (NCV)
The Spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 27-31)“There are different Kinds of gifts, but they are all from same Spirit. There are different ways to serve but the same Lord to serve. And there are different ways that God works through people but the same God. God works in all of us in everything we do. Something from the Spirit can be seen in each person, for the common good..."
The gifts of the Spirit are also graciously given to us the believers according to His will and eternal knowledge and wisdom. They are important for our service among ourselves and the church and indeed to serve the purpose of God. Paul addresses the issue of spiritual gifts in many areas especially in this 1st letter to the Corinthians and his message is quiet clear;
Different people (believers) are differently blessed with different gifts by one God and to serve one God. It’s possible to have 1 gift, 2 gifts or even 3 if God wills so.
According to the above verses, each one of us has a way God works through him (even when none among people can see it). Paul warns; not all are prophets, not all are apostles, not all do miracles, not all have the gift to speak in different languages. But you should truly want to have the greater gifts…..(verses 29-31).
“But you should truly want to have the greater gifts”. Indeed that is our wish and desire always and yet the fact remains; not all of you but few can have them. And while this want or desire does not come true for all of us, Paul comforts us that there is something much better (not even greater like prophecy, apostleship, or teaching but greatest of all) than gifts and of which we all partake in Jesus Christ; love.
By the way, what are the greater gifts?
Look at verse 28 of 1 Corinthians 12; in the church, God has given place first to apostles, second to prophets, and third to teachers, and more and more. Why the first three are regarded the greater; because they aim at teaching and revealing God’s word or truth to other people which is important for strengthening, encouraging, and comforting others (14:3). Consider the whole chapter of 14.
Listen to John Calvin say something of 1 Corinthians 12:31;
“….Paul exhorts the Corinthians to esteem and desire those gifts especially, which are most conducive to edification. For this fault prevailed among them-that they aimed show, rather than usefulness. Hence prophecy was neglected, while languages sounded forth among them, with great show, indeed, but with little profit…”
Are we any different? How about if we replaced ‘them’ with ‘us’ in these Calvin’s words?
Most of the times, Christians are interested in creating excitement and a big pool of fans with show off of languages, predictions of the future, healing of diseases, and all sorts of miracles. But how many times or how much efforts do we invest in prophesying (to preach, sing or praise in understandable language as John Gill suggests) or revealing God’s word to others so they can be empowered, strengthened, comforted, and encouraged even in our absence? Paul is asking us to want to have greater gifts-those that are conducive to edification as Calvin resonates.
Who should have gifts?We already answered this. All Christians (believers) are blessed with different gifts though none has all of them. In other words, God has blessed each one of us with different gifts through which we lender our services to the church and the body of Christ. It is important to note that not all can have one gift but God graciously gives different gifts to different people according to His will and purpose (this should put on hold the current trends like; if people can’t speak tongues, then the spirit isn’t with them. If there are no miracles of healing and prophesying of future events, then Christ is not there).
ConclusionGod’s gifts and fruits are different. The Spiritual fruits or fruit is the true outflow of the Holy Spirit working in the life of a believer; it is love and all its ingredients (see 1 Corinthians 13:4-8; Galatians 5:22-23). The Spiritual gifts are the abilities that enable us to serve the church and purpose of God. The fruit is the greatest for gifts without graces are useless. And also our desire and practice of our gifts should be guided by love and thus revolve around helping others in the body of Christ and not necessarily about our personal enrichments and show offs.
Let’s borrow words of the pulpit commentary;
“By a ‘gift’ we understand something which enables us to do; by a ‘grace’ (or fruit), something which enables us to be. A gift is something, as it were, put into our hands, which can be used by us; a grace (fruit) is some change effected in our very natures, which makes us unquestionably better men and women. Graces have the power to work always while gifts are dependent on men’s will, and those wills are so often wholly self-ruled”
God Bless You
The Complete You Ministry