Sunday, January 25, 2009
THE SPIIRIT versus THE FLESH--5
--''THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIIT IS FAITH, MEEKNESS, TEMPERANCE.''--''The fruit of The Spirit is FAITH''--God has dealt every man a measure of natural faith. However, Saving Faith is His gift to His elect [Ephesians 2;8-9]. The Greek word here can be rendered as ''Faithfulness.'' WHERE DOES FAITHFULNESS COME FROM/ It is an attribute of God. God is faithful. ''Great is thy faithfulness'' [Lam.3;23]. Under the New Covenant this Faithful One has found a way of living in us to make His faithfulness a characteristic of His children. A man says, I'm so undependable; I disappoint myself and my friends.'' A worthy confession for ALL of us... We can all distrust ourselves. But the Holy Spirit in living us is a complete remedy. The Holy Spirit makes a man wholly dependable, in keeping engagements with promptness, in keeping promises, in meeting obligations, so that, staying on His side whhere He can work, we display His faithfulness in us, to the praise of the glory of His grace. ''THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS MEEKNESS.'' Meekness is the spirit of humility. Of Himself our Lord says,''I am meek and lowly of heart'' [Matthew 11;29]. Paul beseeches the proud Corinthians ''by the meekness and gentleness of Christ'' [2 Cor. 10;1]. Our Lord's earthly life was one long refusal of pride and self-seeking climaxing in the voluntary self-abasement of The Upper Room and The Cross. God seeks humility in His children; it is the cornerstone of Christian character. ''God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble'' [James 4;6]. Man is naturally proud. Pride is in his nature. Turning to James 4;5 we find the Spirit ''lusts'' against the proud, in His desire to make man humble. Left to himself, on Our Side of the cross, the self-effort will continually crop out in native pride. When we live on His Side the Spirit graciously takes all this native tendency in hand and produces a humble meekness that displaces pride. ''The fruit of the Spirit is Temperance''. Where does this temperance or self control come from/ Surely, we think, this is somethiing I must do for myself. But, no; thiis, too, is the Spirit's business. ''I'' would fail, so He has taken over even this. The Greek word has a prefix, EN, in. It means to be controlled by an inward strength, an inward mastery. it is an IN-control, in the realm of the spirit, where the Spirit does His work. IT DEALS WITH SELF DESIRES. Spirit-controlled you will be genuinely, inwardly self-controlled.