Joseph Prince (August-04-2021) Daily Devotional: Good Fruit Is Produced Under Grace
But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. – 2 Corinthians 11:3
There is something I would like you to be cognizant of today. The enemy, although he has been defeated at the cross, is a cunning adversary. He gets people to depart from the simplicity of the gospel into works because he knows that many believers are sincere in wanting to please God.
He knows that they have an enthusiasm or zeal for God. But he also knows that man has something called pride. So what does he do? He takes advantage of their pride and misdirects their zeal by using the law. He tells them, “You want to get right with God and please Him? Then here are His laws to obey and obey perfectly.”
In the book of Romans, Paul talks about this misguided zeal, which was prevalent among his Jewish brethren:
Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law.
—Romans 10:1–3 NLT
The same thing is still happening today. Many believers, in their zeal for God or their pride, are trying to please God and become righteous through trying to keep the law. They don’t understand that God makes an individual righteous solely by grace through faith. They reject God’s way and cling to what they think makes them righteous—their obedience to God’s laws.
Yet the irony of it all is that in trying to keep God’s laws to be righteous, people produce works of the flesh such as adultery, fornication, hatred, heresies, and drunkenness (Gal. 5:18–21). Why? Because “the strength of sin is the law” (1 Cor. 15:56). The law arouses or stirs up the sinful passions within our flesh (Rom. 7:5).
Galatians 5:22–23 lists the fruit of the Spirit as “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” Notice that Paul mentions the fruit of the Spirit only in the fifth chapter. In the first four chapters, he talks about grace, contrasting it with the law and contending earnestly for justification by faith, because the Galatian Christians were going back under the law. Paul was essentially bringing them back under pure grace, before talking to them about the fruit of the Spirit.
Can you see how the fruit of being under grace is the fruit of the Spirit? Notice also how Paul calls it the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. What’s the difference between “works” and “fruit”? Works are a result of self-effort that comes from being under the heavy demands of the law. Fruit is a result of life! Just as a tree will naturally produce good fruit when it is well watered and receiving the right amount of sunlight, so a Christian will produce good fruit without self-effort when he or she is well watered by the word of His grace and exposed to the sunshine of God’s love.
Beloved, if you want to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, make sure you are hearing the unadulterated grace of our Lord Jesus that reminds you you are justified by faith in the Lamb Who died for you. This will help you to build your life upon the solid Rock of Christ and the firm foundation of His finished work. Contend earnestly to hear and to live by the real gospel, by grace through faith. It will usher you into the promised land, for the gospel is the power of God unto your salvation in every area of your life.