Transformed into God’s Image
A Christian, according to scripture, is someone who has the spirit of God within them. So, how is it that the spirit reveals God’s nature within a Christian? What is the evidence of the transformation that begins to take place when someone is baptized and receives the Holy Spirit? When John the Baptist was fulfilling his commission, God gave him a sign to show that Jesus was the Messiah, one who was filled with God’s spirit. But there is no such sign for most Christians. We must look elsewhere for evidence of the spirit at work within us.
Peter provided a clue when he told the believers of his day to “observe your good works.” The Christian was to be easily identified by their actions and their honourable conduct. John gave the parable of the vine and the owner of the vineyard to expand upon this idea. The branches that produced good fruit would be pruned, so they could produce fruit of greater quantity and quality. But of course, only the branches that remained attached to the vine could produce fruit. In like manner a Christian’s fruits are produced through a steadfast relationship with Christ and the Spirit of God. Jesus understood that even he could do nothing of any lasting worth apart from God’s spirit. But with God’s spirit good fruit would be produced.
The disciples of Jesus were charged with the responsibility of being witnesses on Christ’s behalf, in order to give glory to God. But this was not an easy task! Paul understood the ongoing internal battle that was waged by those who were overcoming their human mindset and its weakness. In order to give glory to God believers had to first overcome the rotten fruits: immorality, lust, drug use, hostility, jealousy, and selfishness. Then through the power of the spirit of God they could begin to exhibit the fruit of the spirit. They would grow over a lifetime and be a testimony to the fact that the spirit reveals God’s nature. Why? Because God’s spirit in their lives would transform them to be ever more like their spiritual Father.
Fruit of the Spirit Reveals God’s Nature
Christ’s witnesses would embrace God’s moral preferences — agape — godly love. They would have the joy that comes from God’s grace and favour. And the peace that comes from faith in Christ. who is able to bring them to perfection. As teachers of God’s ways they would have the patience to continually exhort and encourage others. They would exercise compassion and kindness in pragmatic ways to meet the needs of those that God had called them to serve. And they would do this consistently with self-control being motivated by God’s goodness and faith. These things would be the evidence of the fruit of God’s spirit within them.
Are We Christians?
So are we Christians? We are, if we are waging that internal battle against our human desires through the power of God’s spirit. And, if we are putting on the mind of Christ, so we can live a life that honours him. We are God’s witnesses if we are being transformed by the spirit of God to accomplish his will. And, we are producing the fruit that reveals God’s nature within us!
Learn more about the spirit of God in your life:
Searching for the Spirit — Series
Fruit of the Spirit: Sermon Series