Galatians 5:19-23

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

This morning we will continue with this short pause in our devotions in the book of Ephesians to see what other parts of the Bible have to say about our spiritual growth (That is our sanctification, the process which God takes us through as He develops within us the character of Jesus). Specifically, we are going to see what the topic of the assurance of salvation has to do with our spiritual growth.

We don’t often hear those two themes spoken of together. I think that is unfortunate because when an individual has the assurance that they belong to Jesus then that only strengthens their spiritual maturity. That is because being confident of our salvation becomes a strong motivation towards holy living. When we are sure that Jesus calls us His own how can our love for him do anything but increase. Knowing that He loves us makes us want to keep His commandments and this helps us to grow in holiness.

This is becoming a repeating circle because, when we grow in holiness then so does our confidence grow. This, in turn, strengthens our love for Jesus which then motivates us to keep His commandments. This truth is affirmed in passages such as John 14:15-17 where the Holy Spirit is sent to strengthen our ability to love and keep His commandments as a result of our love for Jesus and keeping His commandments. However, the opposite is also true as it tells us in 1 John 2:4, Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.

We know that our assurance is in Christ. We are confident of the truth of His life, death, and resurrection which show us His complete trustworthiness to save those who trust Him. But, who of us, if we are honest, has not struggled with the question of, how can we know for sure that our faith is genuine or that we have real trust in Jesus to save us?

Well, you can know for sure. And here is how…If you can find any indication in your heart that you love Jesus as He is revealed to you in the Bible, then you can be sure that you have the necessary trust, even if it is very, very, small and weak.

And I can be sure of what I am saying to you because in Romans 3:11 it says, there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. You see, unbelievers hate God and run from Him therefore, if you feel any affection, no matter how weak it feels at times, towards the Saviour it is because He is calling you. Hallelujah.

 

If you feel true love for the Saviour, then it should be observable. James 2:26 teach us that, As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. The true believer will demonstrate the mercy of God towards the repentant sinner as we serve the church and the world in His love. As Galatians 2:15-16 reminds us when it says, “We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles 16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.”, we know that such works will not earn us salvation. But what our works, our good deeds, done out of love for the saviour, show is that our faith is living and genuine.

 

          Another thing these good deeds do is reveal to us that the Holy Spirit is at work within us. We are called to bear fruit (this fruit is not the lives of those who are saved through our witness). The fruit we are to bear is listed in today’s passage. Over time this fruit increases in our lives even though now it may be barely noticeable. As we progress in holiness and become mature in the faith we will become more and more like Christ Jesus in our character.

 

Think About: The Bible is very clear that we can never achieve sinless perfection in this life. That is what it teaches us in 1 John 1:8-9 which says, If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. This means that, on this side of glory, we will never be able to show the fruit of the Spirit flawlessly, without mistakes. However, there is a big difference between people who do not show the fruit ever and those who demonstrate it even if irregularly.

The difference is between those who do not care at all about the work of the Holy Spirit and those who want to bear fruit. Today be encouraged in knowing that, if you are displaying spiritual fruit in any way. Then you belong to Jesus. Now, you are responsible for building upon that truth with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in you.