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The Perfect Example of the Fruit of the Spirit

Jesus Christ

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In this issue The Good News wraps up a series of articles on the fruit of the Holy Spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22-23 Galatians 5:22-23 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
American King James Version×
. What better example can we look to for showing the fruit of the Spirit in our lives than our ultimate example, Jesus Christ?

He perfectly exhibited all these wonderful traits of the Holy Spirit, not only during His entire earthly ministry, but also during His arrest, trial and crucifixion. Of course, Jesus was more than just a man—He was God in the flesh. As such, He showed His disciples what can be accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Showing the fruit of the Spirit by His life

The first fruit of the Holy Spirit listed in Galatians 5 is love. Jesus' entire ministry was characterized by love. And the greatest demonstration ever of that love was the sacrifice He made for all of us. Jesus, who was a divine Being with the Father (John 1:1 John 1:1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
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), sacrificed His heavenly power and glory to become a human being and subject Himself to painful humiliation, suffering and death for the sake of mankind (Philippians 2:5-11 Philippians 2:5-11 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took on him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross. 9 Why God also has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
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).

Jesus emphasized the fruit of love at His last meal—often referred to as “the last supper”—with the disciples. Notice His words: “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love … This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends” (John 15:9-13 John 15:9-13 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you: continue you in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. 11 These things have I spoken to you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. 12 This is my commandment, That you love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
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).

Of course, these weren't mere words to Him. Jesus did lay down His life for His friends, serving as the supreme example of love.

The second listed fruit of the Holy Spirit is joy. Christ was filled with joy at the prospect of “bringing many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:10 Hebrews 2:10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
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). Hebrews 12:2 Hebrews 12:2Looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
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further tells us that “Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,…for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising [disregarding] the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (emphasis added throughout).

Amazingly, just before He suffered, instead of thinking of His own upcoming cruel suffering, He reminded His disciples that His joy would “remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11 John 15:11These things have I spoken to you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
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). He told them that they would be sorrowful over His departure, but “your sorrow will be turned into joy,” and that “your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you” (John 16:20-22 John 16:20-22 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, That you shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and you shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. 21 A woman when she is in travail has sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembers no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. 22 And you now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man takes from you.
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).

This chapter concludes with Jesus reminding them that “in the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 John 16:33These things I have spoken to you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
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). And, after His resurrection, the first word Matthew records the resurrected Jesus as saying is “Rejoice!” (Matthew 28:9 Matthew 28:9And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.
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In spite of the terrible suffering Jesus endured for you and me, He counted it a joy to serve humanity by washing away our sins in His blood.

Jesus was also a man of peace, the next listed fruit. One of His very titles is the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6 Isaiah 9:6For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
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). He referred to this fruit of the Spirit at the last supper when He said: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27 John 14:27Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you: not as the world gives, give I to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
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). One of the first statements to His followers after the resurrection was “Peace to you” (Luke 24:36 Luke 24:36And as they thus spoke, Jesus himself stood in the middle of them, and said to them, Peace be to you.
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; John 20:19 John 20:19Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the middle, and said to them, Peace be to you.
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, 21).

And, in the coming Kingdom of God on earth, over which Christ will be King of Kings, there will be no end to the peace that will characterize His glorious reign (Isaiah 9:7 Isaiah 9:7Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from now on even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
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; Romans 14:17 Romans 14:17For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
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).

Exhibiting fruit throughout His ministry

The fourth fruit of the Holy Spirit as listed in Galatians 5 is longsuffering . As the Good News article on this characteristic points out, the Greek words translated “longsuffering” also encompass the meanings of patience and endurance.

Jesus exhibited this fruit throughout His earthly ministry. The apostle Paul described an aspect of the ministry of Jesus this way: “I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience” (1 Timothy 1:16 1 Timothy 1:16However, for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
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, New International Version). Even while suffering a painful death by crucifixion, Jesus exhibited the patient endurance to pray for those who were tormenting and killing Him (Luke 23:34 Luke 23:34Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
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).

Kindness, the next fruit on the list, was another hallmark of Jesus Christ's ministry. Paul noted this godly fruit as he wrote to Titus: “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared … according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:4-5 Titus 3:4-5 4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
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Christ's act of healing the ear of the high priest's servant Malchus even while being arrested is an incredible example of His kindness even under very difficult circumstances! Instead of worrying about Himself and His approaching pain, He reacted with kindness and compassion to Malchus' injury and immediately healed his ear, making the man whole again (Luke 22:51 Luke 22:51And Jesus answered and said, Suffer you thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him.
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).

Goodness and good news

The next fruit of the Holy Spirit listed is goodness. When Peter summarized the ministry of Jesus, the ministry of which he was an actual witness, he stated: “Jesus of Nazareth … went about doing good” (Acts 10:38 Acts 10:38How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
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). And Jesus, regarding His supreme sacrifice, referred to Himself as the good Shepherd who “gives His life for the sheep” (John 10:11 John 10:11I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.
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).

His message is referred to in dozens of references as “the gospel,” a term meaning good news. Indeed, the entire ministry and sacrifice of Jesus Christ is the greatest example of God's goodness toward humanity.

The next fruit is faith or faithfulness . Jesus had total trust and confidence in God the Father, and He was Himself faithful to the responsibility the Father gave to Him. Even as He stated that He was in anguish due to His impending crucifixion, He resolved to stay with the plan of redemption to the very end. He summarized His mission in John 12:27 John 12:27Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I to this hour.
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: “For this purpose I came to this hour.” He continues to serve His Church today as “a merciful and faithful High Priest” (Hebrews 2:17 Hebrews 2:17Why in all things it behooved him to be made like to his brothers, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
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).

Gentleness is listed next. The Greek work is praus, with a basic meaning of gentle, humble and meek. Jesus declared that He was “gentle and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29 Matthew 11:29Take my yoke on you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest to your souls.
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). Toward the end of His ministry, He came to Jerusalem on a donkey, fulfilling Zechariah's prophecy that the King would come “gentle and riding on a donkey” (Matthew 21:5 Matthew 21:5Tell you the daughter of Sion, Behold, your King comes to you, meek, and sitting on an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
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, New International Version). However, gentleness does not mean weakness, as some assume. Jesus was anything but weak.

The last fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5 is self-control, the ability to control one's behavior. Jesus, as the One to whom the Father committed judgment (John 5:22 John 5:22For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son:
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), could have called down enormous power at any time against His enemies. But instead He exercised self-control throughout His ministry.

One example of this is found in Matthew 26:53-54 Matthew 26:53-54 53 Think you that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?
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. When Peter was trying to take things into his own hands, Christ reminded Peter that if He wished, He could call in “more than twelve legions of angels”—tens of thousands—to deal with those who were abusing Him. Instead, He stayed true to His calling, exercised godly self-control and allowed Himself to be arrested and crucified.

We should show the same fruit

Jesus Christ not only exemplified all the fruit of the Holy Spirit throughout His ministry, but He has made it possible for us to produce the same spiritual fruit as well. As His true followers, He expects us to abide in Him and bear much fruit (John 15:4 John 15:4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me.
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, 8). Indeed, through the Holy Spirit, Jesus will live His godly way of life through us if we are yielded to Him (Galatians 2:20 Galatians 2:20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
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).

Following His example, the converted children of God will be manifesting the fruit of the Spirit—not only now in this life, but also forever in the soon-coming Kingdom of God! GN

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    Comments

  • kohog

    It’s important to distinguish between ‘knowing about’ God and ‘knowing Him’, ‘being known of Him.’

    We all are aware of the dire warning Jesus gives us in Matthew 7:22,23 that reveals what is important to God when it comes to His relationship with the saints.

    Having said that, we realize that there’s something even greater than what many call ‘the great commission’ and that is ‘seeking FIRST the kingdom of God and HIS righteousness. In light of Mt. 7:22,23 I would like to suggest that Mt 6:33 is an even more important goal for God’s people. I’m not suggesting it should REPLACE sharing one’s faith with the unsaved but let’s face it, God’s always desired quality over quantity so if He’s worked more of Himself into a witness then that witness will be more effective than one who barely knows Him.

    Also, Jesus said we were to seek the kingdom of God FIRST. So I ask, is there anything before first? Nope, first is first; there is nothing before it.

    In Jn 15:5 Jesus gives us a clue as to how we can search for and obtain what He wants us to have - ‘I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.’

    This statement from our Lord most certainly does away with the theory one can just study, learn and obtain. I’m one of those who believe we’re instantly ‘justified’ through faith but that sanctification/righteousness must be worked into us through the ministry of the Holy Spirit over our lifetime as we give Him opportunity. His life cannot be ‘learned’ or handed from one to another. It’s the implantation of His Life within us that replaces the ‘I’; it’s ‘becoming one with Him,’ or ‘marriage.’

    During this ‘time of metamorphosis,’ God’s not teaching us something we can take & run with, like for example a college would teach a vocation to a student and then he’s on his own. Rather He’s leading us to the cross so we can die (in one area of our life at a time.) The more we die the more of Himself He can express through us. We suffer, we give up all but we gain Him. Only by ‘ABIDING’ in Him will this ever be accomplished.

    The fruit is Him, His nature worked into & expressed through us. The works we do may never be done in this lifetime but likely in the 1000 yrs to come when He reigns through His saints. Without prepared sons (Rev 19:7) the sons of Rom 8:19 can never manifest.

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