KINDNESS IS THE APPROACH TO GRACE

The Fruit of the HOLY SPIRIT

Podcast Episode: The Fruit of the HOLY SPIRIT – KINDNESS #4

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, AND SELF-CONTROL. There is no law against these things.” [Galatians 5:22-23 NLT]

Podcast – Kindness #4
The Manifestation of the HOLY SPIRIT is on FIRE!

Kind women and kind men make a kind world.

In Proverbs 11:16-17 NLT says, “A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth. 17  Your kindness will reward you, but your cruelty will destroy you.”

Pair on being kind or cruel. Honor supports kind women as money supports ruthless men (strong – KJV). Merciful – loyal and faithful man (Hebrews khesedh), as opposed to the cruel. Such benefit themselves by doing good to others (Proverbs 24:5), while the cruel injure themselves as well as others.

In Proverbs 24:5 NLT says, “The wise are mightier than the strong, and those with knowledge grow stronger and stronger.

A wise man is strong – Wise planning is more productive than ineffective labor (Proverbs 11:14; 21:22; Ecclesiastes 9:16, 18).

Made alive with our Lord Jesus Christ

In Ephesians 2:1-10 NLT says, “1 Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil – the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. 3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. 4 But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For He raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of His grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all He has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. 8 God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”

This verse 1 is a continuation of Ephesians 1:19-23, which speaks of the resurrection power imparted to Christ’s body, the church. These believers once were dead and doomed before they met Christ. This refers not only to eventual physical death or to the sinners’ ultimate eternal state; it also refers to a very real “death” in this life. People who are spiritually dead have no communication with God. These people are physically alive, but their sins have rendered them spiritually unresponsive, alienated from God, and thus incapable of experiencing the full life that God could give them.

In verses 2-3, sin reveals spiritual death but is acted out by people who are physically alive. Before the believers came to Christ, they used to live in their sins. They could not and did not follow God. Paul described three marks of unbelievers:

  • They lived like the rest of the world, referring to the world’s accepted, but immoral, lifestyles and godless motives. People who live like the world that is full of sin cannot also follow our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 12:2; Galatians 1:4).
  • They obeyed Satan. The passage focuses on Satan’s reality as an evil power with a certain amount of control in the world. The Bible pictures Satan as ruling an evil spiritual kingdom – the demons and those who are against Christ. He is the mighty prince of the power of the air referring to the space around the earth, and thus, this is Satan’s sphere of influence. Though Satan’s influence is great among unbelievers, his power is limited because he is a defeated enemy. He cannot separate believers from the love of God. Satan is also called the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. People who have not surrendered to God or decided to obey are energized by the power of evil. The force of the evil spirit is seen in those who actively disobey God both in faith and action (2 Thessalonians 1:8). These people live in constant rebellion and opposition to God.

  • They followed the passions and desires of their evil nature. All of us (Jews and Gentiles alike) were at one time separated from God because of disobedience, born with an evil nature. That nature puts us under God’s anger. When we become Born-Again Christian believers, our sinful nature still exists. But when we submit our lives to the Holy Spirit, He transforms us and our sinful natures. This is a supernatural process. We must never underestimate the power of our sinful nature, and we must never attempt to subdue it in our own strength. God provides for victory over sin – He sends the Holy Spirit to live in us and give us power. But our ability to restrain the desires of the sinful nature depends on how much we’re willing to depend on God and His mercy (Ephesians 2:4-5).

The first three verses of this chapter present a hopeless humanity – trapped in sin, under Satan’s power, unable to save itself. Then follow the small but glorious words but God. Behind those two words lies a cosmic plan so huge in scope and so vast in love that the human mind cannot fully comprehend it – all we can do is humbly receive it. Instead of leaving sinful humanity to live worthless and hopeless lives ending only in death, God acted on behalf of humanity because He is so rich in mercy. As God is rich in kindness (Ephesians 1:7), so He is rich in mercy. The word “rich” indicates the bountiful nature of God’s mercy – beyond our comprehension, an inexhaustible storehouse. What is “mercy”? It is an attribute of God, sometimes called “lovingkindness” or “compassion.” This word describes the outworking of God’s love toward people and is shown in His lovingkindness toward us even though we do not deserve it (Psalm 51:1; Jeremiah 9:24; Hosea 2:19; Jonah 4:2).

God also acted on behalf of humanity because He loved us so very much. The Greek word for love, agape, is used. It means the selfless love that seeks the best for others. While God could have simply destroyed all people because of their sin, He chose instead to show mercy and love. While we once were dead because of our sins (Ephesians 2:1), God gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. That we have been given life means that we are “saved” (this phrase is repeated in Ephesians 2:8 and elaborated on there). When our Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead, so did all the members of His body by virtue of God’s uniting them with Christ. The only way spiritually dead people can have a relationship with God is to be made alive. And God is the only person who can accomplish that, which He did through His Son, Jesus Christ. Our Lord Jesus Christ defeated sin and death through His death and resurrection, thus offering spiritual life to those dead in sins.

The verb form have been saved refers to a past event (accomplished by our Lord Jesus Christ because of God’s special favor) with present and ongoing results. Born-Again Christian believers have already passed from death to life. Salvation is not something to be waited for but something that has already been delivered.

In verse 6, and in addition to being given life (Ephesians 2:5), Born-Again Christian believers are also raised from the dead. Christ was raised from death and left the tomb – an act accomplished by God’s power alone. Believers have also been “raised.” In addition to assurance of physical resurrection and glorification at the end of the age, believers participate in a new “resurrection” life from the moment they believe (see Colossians 2:12).

Finally, Born-Again Christian believers are seated with Him in the heavenly realms. Our Lord Jesus Christ has taken His seat at the right hand of the Father, indicating His finished work and His victory over sin. Our Lord Jesus Christ has been exalted by God’s great power (Ephesians 1:20). Christians have tended to see this seating with Christ as a future event, based on our Lord Jesus’ words in Matthew 19:28 and Luke 22:30 as well as other verses that point to our future reign with our Lord Jesus Christ (such as 2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 20:4; 22:5). Yet Ephesians teaches that we are seated with Christ now. We share with our Lord Jesus Christ in His victory now. This view of our present status should help us face our work and trials with greater hope! Born-Again Christian believers, as heirs of the Kingdom along with our Lord Jesus Christ, are spiritually exalted from the moment of salvation. We have a new citizenship – in heaven, no longer just on earth: The power that raised and exalted our Lord Jesus Christ also raised and exalted His people because we are one with Him. That same power works daily in believers, helping us live and work for God during our time in the world.

In verse 7, here is the final and definitive reason for God’s action on behalf of humanity, His reason for making us alive, raising us, and seating us along with His Son in the heavenly realms. God wants quite simply to point to us as examples of the incredible wealth of His favor and kindness. The Greek word for “point to” comes from legal terminology. God closes the case by presenting the astounding evidence of His church, His people. The church could only exist by God’s love; the fact of its existence, the fact that people have been offered salvation, reveals the abundance of God’s favor and kindness (see also Ephesians 1:7; 2:4). Again, this was accomplished only through Christ Jesus. Without our Lord Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, there would be no hope for a relationship with God.

Our salvation comes from God’s special favor alone. It was appropriated when people believed. However, lest anyone should think that belief is a necessary work that must be performed in order to receive salvation, Paul added that people can’t take credit for believing, for it too is a gift from God. Paul is firm that absolutely nothing is of our own doing – not salvation, not grace, not even the faith exercised to receive salvation. Instead, everything is the gift of God. Salvation does not come from our self-reliance or individualism but from God’s initiative. It is a gift to be thankfully accepted (see Romans 3:24-28; 1 Corinthians 1:29-31; Galatians 2:16).

We can’t take credit for our salvation (Ephesians 2:8), and it is not a reward for the good things we have done. In other words, people can do nothing to earn salvation, and a person’s faith itself also is not to be considered a “work” or grounds that anyone should boast.

People find it difficult to accept something so free, so willingly given, so available to anyone. We want to feel as though we did something, that we somehow earned our salvation by our merit. That was how the Judaizers (false teachers who said Christians had to obey all the Jewish laws) regarded their laws and why they tried to impose them on the Gentiles – there had to be a certain amount of law keeping and goodness on people’s part in order for them to receive salvation.

But Paul’s words are unmistakable – if salvation is by God’s grace and is accepted through faith, then it is “not a reward.” If salvation could be earned by good works, then people would, by nature, “boast” about their good works, compare the goodness of their works to others’ good works, and do good only to boast about it. Then, what would be “good enough” for salvation? But no one could ever be good enough to please a holy God. He casts aside all human effort and pride by offering salvation for free to all people by simple acceptance. People are given salvation on the grounds of God’s grace alone.

In our last verse 10 of the book of Ephesians chapter 2, but wait, there’s more. We are God’s masterpiece. Salvation is something only God can do – it is His powerful, creative work in us. People are re-created into new people, and those new people form a new creation – the church – our Home Fellowship Churches, too, included.

The verb created is used only of God – for only God can truly create. As He created the universe from nothing, so He creates new, alive, spiritual beings from the old, dead, sinful creatures we were (2 Corinthians 5:17). Then God forms believers into a unified body, His church (see Ephesians 2:15; 4:24; Colossians 3:10). In Christ Jesus emphasizes the source of this creation, as in Ephesians 2:6-7 – our Lord Jesus Christ has provided it.

People become Born-Again Christians through God’s undeserved favor (His grace), not as the result of any efforts, abilities, intelligent choices, personal characteristics, or acts of service. Out of gratitude for this free gift, however, Born-Again Christian believers will seek to do good things – to help and serve others with kindness, love, and gentleness. While no action or work we do can help us obtain salvation, God’s intention is that our salvation will result in acts of service. We are saved not merely for our own benefit but to serve our Lord Jesus Christ and build up the church [including our own fellowship which is a part of it] (Ephesians 4:12). This solves the so-called conflict between faith and works. Works do not produce salvation but are the evidence of salvation (see James 1:22; 2:14-26).

The Greek word translated do means “to walk about in.” We move ahead in this life of grace doing the good works that God planned for us long ago. The new life that God gives cannot help but express itself in good works. This does not necessarily mean that God has set up all the specific good works each person will do – although there would be no point arguing against the possibility of our omniscient God doing just that. Just as God planned salvation in our Lord Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world, so He planned that Born-Again Christian believers should do good to others (see 1 Timothy 6:18; Titus 2:7; 1 Peter 2:12).

Let me state this again. God is kind in giving us life and its fullness to enjoy; He is tolerant and patient as He bears our ingratitude and sin. He postpones punishment in order to give people time to turn from their sin (see 2 Peter 3:15).

So, let me remind ourselves again that God’s kindness is also meant to lead us to repentance, because all people need to repent!

If you are not sure that you are Born-Again Christian believer, please take a look of one of our ministries, “An Invitation To Meet Our Lord Jesus Christ” at https://homefellowshipchurches.org/an-invitation-to-meet-our-lord-jesus-christ/

Observation: What do these passages say to you?

Interpretation: What do these passages mean to you?

Application: How do the meaning of these passages apply to you or to your situation?

Suggested Prayer: Father God, we come into your presence in Jesus name, and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Thank you Lord Jesus Christ for Your agape love and for the Holy Spirit as our Helper and Comforter. We cling, yield, plug-in and tune-in to you Holy Spirit to help us to understand God’s Words, receive Your divine revelation, know the Truth, and obey them, in Jesus name, Amen!

God bless us, our families, and our loved ones!


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