Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Superfruit of the Spirit

Recently at my home church, we've been studying the "Fruit of the Spirit," as it is laid out in Galatians 5:22-23 - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We've been learning how Christ is the perfect example of all of these attributes, and how our lives will bear this good fruit in an authentic way when we abide in Him, and submit ourselves to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

In my personal Bible study time, I've been doing a word study, with the term "grace." I decided I wanted to really understand this word on a deeper and richer level than ever before. I could tell you what grace is not. Grace is not an afterthought, and it is not a free pass. And I could tell you the definition of grace - getting something good that we don't deserve. But I want to become more knowledgeable and more passionate about what grace is - its essence and significance. 

In the Old Testament, it seems like grace is something that is asked for, found, and bestowed. (Yes! There is amazing grace in the Old Testament!) In John 1, grace is embodied in Jesus himself. In Acts, grace is the evidence of the powerful work of the Holy Spirit in the evangelists and early believers.

But this week, I was reading the mentions of grace in Romans 5, and it hit me: Grace is the Superfruit of the Spirit! Check this out:

"But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death,so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

In the "health and nutrition" realm, basically all fruit is good for you in some way. But some fruits are labeled "superfruits," because they are abundant with many really great things your body needs, like antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals... things that will help you live a longer, stronger, healthier, happier life. You may not even realize that some of your favorite fruits are considered superfruits - like apples and bananas! 

With that in mind, I realized that even though "grace" is not listed in the famous Fruit of the Spirit list, it is all over that list! Grace happens through and because of love, it brings joy and peace, it is so often synonymous with patience and kindness, it is given out of goodness and gentleness, it is a discipline that is produced from faithfulness and self-control. 

It is so powerful that it conquers the curse of sin! It is the key to salvation! It is a gift that God freely and abundantly gives to us. It fills us and empowers us to do amazing things. It is meant to overflow from our lives to others, in our speech, attitudes, and actions. 

When we bear the fruit of grace in our lives, it is the greatest, most powerful testimony of salvation, redemption, and transformation that others can see. And it is so crazy, so supernatural, that it cannot be credited to anyone or anything but Jesus. 

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