Alistair Begg on the Fruit of the Spirit

by WCTS

“The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.” – C.S. Lewis

This is a helpful quote as we seek to live each day in step with the Spirit, rather than gratifying the desires of the flesh (Gal. 5:16). Instead of our lives being marked by impurity, idolatry, and jealousy, we bear the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This is not ornamentation; it is fruit. These characteristics are not attached externally. They are produced by grace and provide evidence of the transforming power of the Spirit. This is a beautiful portrait of a holy, Godly, Christ-like life. There is nothing drab or austere about the work of the Spirit in the process of sanctification.

“The work which His goodness began,
the arm of His strength will complete;
His promise is Yea and Amen,
and never was forfeited yet.
Things future, nor things that are now,
nor all things below or above,
Can make Him His purpose forgo,
or sever my soul from His love.”
– Augustus M. Toplady, A Debtor to Mercy Alone

The apple trees behind our home produce fruit in a manner that is quiet, unhurried and unspectacular. Similarly, the work of grace in our lives is largely slow and steady and when we are tempted to think that ‘nothing is happening,’ we remind ourselves that God is committed to bringing to completion the work that His goodness has begun (Phil.1:6). This truth is told in the lyric of a really good old hymn titled A Debtor to Mercy Alone.

Our program series, which begins mid-month, provides a closer look at the fruit of the Spirit. As a church family, we were greatly challenged and encouraged by this study and I trust and pray that you will find it to be equally beneficial. I was really helped by Jerry Bridges’ book on this subject and so we are offering it as our second resource this month. Here is another addition to your ever-growing Truth For Life library! As you can tell, we are very committed to providing good books that have lasting value.

As of this morning, we begin our first full week in our new building. It was a strange sensation to see all our belongings moved out of Parkside, which has been our TFL home for more than 20 years. However, we have only moved a matter of 400 yards and will continue to have reasons to shuttle back and forth. The new space is an occasion for expressing our gratitude to you for supporting us so generously in this venture. We are keen to see all that God has in store for us and we seek to walk in humility before Him.

I routinely mark my days with songs and hymns and here is what I have been singing to myself during this transition:

How good is the God we adore,
Our faithful, unchangeable Friend;
His love is as great as His pow’r
And knows neither measure nor end.

‘Tis Jesus, the first and the last,
Whose Spirit will guide us safe home;
We’ll praise Him for all that is past
And trust Him for all that’s to come.

(You can hear this hymn sung by The Scottish Festival Singers at truthforlife.org/adore)

We rejoice in the words of Paul at the end of Romans 11: “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things…”