Galatians 4-6 Reaping the Fruits of the Spirit

Psalm 144:1-15 Blessing the God Who Blesses
Ps 144:1 Of David “Blessed be Yahweh, my rock, who teaches my hands to war, and my fingers to battle: 2 my hesed/faithful love (HCSB), my fortress, my high tower, my deliverer, my shield, and he in whom I take refuge; who subdues my people under me. 3 Yahweh, what is man, that you care for him? Or the son of man, that you think of him? 4 Man is like a breath. His days are like a shadow that passes away. 5 Part your heavens, Yahweh, and come down. Touch the mountains, and they will smoke. 6 Throw out lightning, and scatter them. Send out your arrows, and rout them. 7 Stretch out your hand from above, rescue me, and deliver me out of great waters, out of the hands of foreigners; 8 whose mouths speak deceit, Whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.
9 I will sing a new song to you, God. On a ten-stringed lyre, I will sing praises to you. 10 You are he who gives salvation to kings, who rescues David, his servant, from the deadly sword. 11 Rescue me, and deliver me out of the hands of foreigners, whose mouths speak deceit, whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood. 12 Then our sons will be like well-nurtured plants, our daughters like pillars carved to adorn a palace. 13 Our barns are full, filled with all kinds of provision. Our sheep bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our fields. 14 Our oxen will pull heavy loads. There is no breaking in, and no going away, and no outcry in our streets. 15 Blessed are the people who are in such a situation. Blessed are the people whose God is Yahweh."

Observations: 144:1-15 We bless God, because He blesses us. David praises God for His covenantal loyalty/hesed in protecting him, and making him victorious over his enemies. He wonders why the eternal God would take notice of man and care for him. The answer is in the song: so those whom God cares for can praise and glorify Him, increasing His reputation in the eyes of others, so they will trust and glorify Him. When endangered by deceitful liars, he calls on God to rescue and deliver him, so he can enjoy the blessedness of being prospered and protected by God. Productive sons, gorgeous daughters, financial security, and social peace are just some of the blessings for those whom God teaches and cares for.
Application: Call for God's help and start composing your song of praise, for that is one of the reasons He blesses you.
Prayer: God You are so gracious in caring for me; thanks! May I be quick to learn whatever You want to teach me, faithful to depend upon You for my needs, and careful to praise You for Your daily blessings, so others can enjoy You as well.

TMS Isaiah 53:6 The Suffering Servant Saves Sheep
Isa 53:6 “5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.

6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

11 He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.“

Observations: 53:6 This is the key chapter in the OT prophesying the death of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus. This passage can only be referring to Him. It can't be Israel, since they had to die for their own sin. See comments in Isaiah 53 for more. Jesus died in our place, satisfying the death penalty of sin which we incurred by our going astray from God. Isaiah 59:2 is another good verse to know: “2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.” Sin is independence from God which causes separation, and loss of relationship.
Don't miss the conclusion of chapter 53. Verses 11-12 not only point to a resurrection, but also the reward God gives for His service.
Application: You have the choice of dying for your rebellion against and independence from God, or accepting Jesus as God's provision for your sin. A person would have to be more stupid and stubborn than a recalcitrant sheep to reject God's gift.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thanks for suffering and dying for my sin, so I can live; may I use the life You've provided for Your glory. Amen.

Galatians 4-6 The last half of the book should make it abundantly clear that the issue Paul is addressing is how believers in Christ should acquire the righteousness required for reward or inheritance in the future "Kingdom that comes from God." It isn't by embracing the ritual of the Jewish law, but rather the royal law of Christ, loving one's neighbor as oneself. This will entail dying to the temporal self-centered deeds of the flesh, and drawing on the power of the Holy Spirit to develop the other-centered fruit of love (in all its complements). Those who follow the external ritual will find that Christ doesn't profit them in terms of future reward. Those who become conformed to the image of Christ by crucifying themselves will reap reward as a result of what they've sown. Remember that Paul uses the word justification to describe the righteousness that results from forgiveness, and yields freedom from the lake of fire;  and also the righteousness that results from faithful obedience, and yields reward. There is a rather lengthy post under chapter five, but if you want to avoid a crop failure and reap abundantly, it's worth putting in the work to master it.

Galatians 4 Born Free
4:1 But I say that so long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a bondservant, though he is lord of all; 2 but is under guardians and stewards until the day appointed by the father. 3 So we also, when we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental principles of the world. 4 But when the fulness of the time came, God sent out his Son, born to a woman, born under the law, 5 that he might redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because you are children, God sent out the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, "Abba," Father! 7 So you are no longer a bondservant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
8 However at that time, not knowing God, you were in bondage to those who by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, why do you turn back again to the weak and miserable elemental principles, to which you desire to be in bondage all over again? 10 You observe days, months, seasons, and years. 11 I am afraid for you, that I might have wasted my labor for you.
12 I beg you, brothers, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You did me no wrong, 13 but you know that because of weakness of the flesh I preached the Good News to you the first time. 14 That which was a temptation to you in my flesh, you didn’t despise nor reject; but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. 15 What was the blessing you enjoyed? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me. 16 So then, have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?
17 They zealously seek you in no good way. No, they desire to alienate you, that you may seek them. 18 But it is always good to be zealous in a good cause, and not only when I am present with you.
19 My little children, of whom I am again in travail until Christ is formed in you— 20 but I could wish to be present with you now, and to change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.
21 Tell me, you that desire to be under the law, don’t you listen to the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the handmaid, and one by the free woman. 23 However, the son by the handmaid was born according to the flesh, but the son by the free woman was born through promise. 24 These things contain an allegory, for these are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children to bondage, which is Hagar. 25 For this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answers to the Jerusalem that exists now, for she is in bondage with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, which is the mother of us all. 27 For it is written, "Rejoice, you barren who don’t bear. Break forth and shout, you that don’t travail. For more are the children of the desolate than of her who has a husband." 28 Now we, brothers, as Isaac was, are children of promise. 29 But as then, he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. 30 However what does the Scripture say? "Throw out the handmaid and her son, for the son of the handmaid will not inherit with the son of the free woman." 31 So then, brothers, we are not children of a handmaid, but of the free woman.

Observations: 4:1-7 Continuing on the theme of the law as a guardian from the end of chapter 3, Paul references the cultural practice of adoption, which underscores that Paul is not talking about forgiveness, but reward. A child was under the control of slaves until they reached the age when their father would formally recognize them as his heir. Applying the principle to the spiritual life, the Galatians were under the constraints of the “elemental principles” or Jewish law (verse 9 identifies them as such ) until the times came (were fulfilled) when God sent His son, born under the law to a woman, that He might redeem those under the law, so that they might (note the subjunctive/conditional tense) receive the adoption of sons (heirship).
4:8-11 Paul reflects on the time before they became believers and were in bondage to observing days, months, seasonal festivals, and sabbath years, all part of the Jewish religious law (what made them distinctly Jewish). He fears that if they go back to observing those customs, he will have labored in vain on them (because they will fail to progress to the maturity of Christlikeness (4:19). In other epistles Paul viewed the maturity of those he served as the basis for his own reward (Phil 2:16; 1Thess 3:5).
4:12-20 Paul labors like a woman in childbirth seeking to have Christ's character formed in the Galatians. Paul appeals to his previous relationship with them to help them turn from allegiance to those who are trying to turn them from Paul to themselves (those who build their worth and value at the expense of others as they do the devil's work).
4:21-31 Paul contrasts the law and the earthly Jerusalem with the heavenly Jerusalem using an allegory of Sarah (Abe's initially barren wife) with Hagar (her slave/handmaid). See Genesis 16. Ishmael was born into bondage by “fleshly” means, while Isaac was born into freedom by “spiritual” means, the promise of God. Believers in Jesus are born from above (born “again” in John 3 can be correctly translated as born “from above”). As Isaac the free child of promise was persecuted by Ishmael the fleshly child of bondage, so the law-advocating Jewish believers persecute the “free-born” Gentiles and freedom-practicing Jews, trying to subject them to the bonds of the law as a means of obtaining the righteousness God requires for blessing in the kingdom. That righteousness is not a present possession of his audience but, Paul will tell them how to get it in the next chapter. Paul's advice to the Galatians is the same as that of Sarah to Abe in Genesis 21:10, which was confirmed by God two verses later. Toss 'em out! It should be obvious the issue is that of inheritance in the kingdom that comes from God (5:21), not forgiveness and escape from the lake of fire.

Application: Believers need to progress in their walk with God by becoming like Christ.

Prayer: God, thanks for making me one of Your sons; please guide me in fulfilling the purposes for which You gave me life. Amen.

Galatians 5 Free To Serve
5:1 Stand firm therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and don’t be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. 2 Behold, I, Paul, tell you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing. 3 Yes, I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4 You are alienated/severed from Christ, you who desire to be justified by the law. You have fallen away from grace. 5 For we, through the Spirit, out of (ek) faith wait for the hope of righteousness.
6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision amounts to anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith working through love. 7 You were running well! Who interfered with you that you should not obey the truth? 8 This persuasion is not from him who calls you. 9 A little yeast grows through the whole lump. 10 I have confidence toward you in the Lord that you will think no other way. But he who troubles you will bear his judgment, whoever he is. 11 But I, brothers, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been removed. 12 I wish that those who disturb you would cut themselves off.
13 For you, brothers, were called to freedom/liberty. Only don’t use your freedom to indulge the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 15 But if you bite and devour one another, be careful that you don’t consume one another. 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you won’t fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, that you may not do the things that you desire. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious, which are: adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousies, outbursts of anger, rivalries, divisions, heresies, 21 envyings, murders, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these; of which I forewarn you, even as I also forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let’s also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let’s not become conceited, provoking one another, and envying one another.

Observations: 5:1-5 Drawing the conclusion from the slave-freeman illustration in chapter 4, Paul urges the believers to stand firm in freedom from the Jewish ceremonial and religious law and not go back to Judaism as the means of gaining reward worthy righteousness. Paul solemnly testifies that if anyone receives circumcision, Christ doesn't profit them (a frequent reward word In the gospels and epistles). That doesn't mean that circumcision undoes their forgiveness/justification or that they become unborn again, but that the profit or reward of living righteously won't be theirs. Not only would they be obliged to keep the whole law (and suffer for failing), but they would be alienated or severed (as in cut from the vine) from Christ (since that is not what He wants them to do – they wouldn't be seeking and doing His will), and they would have fallen from grace (no longer living by the grace/power of God headed to a good destination). Again, this doesn't mean that they become unforgiven, but they have moved themselves away from the power/grace that is in Christ to embrace legalism for their reward righteousness (the other meaning of justification). Those who stay free, and operate on the basis of faith in what Christ revealed (rather than ignoring it to follow the Jewish ritual), eagerly expect the hope of righteousness by means of the motivating power of the Holy Spirit. The hope of righteousness is not getting into heaven (we already have that) but is the hope of reward in the kingdom (see on Titus 2:13 blessed hope = appearing of the glory; 1Pt 1 the whole chapter). If you've never done a study on hope, this would be a good time to do so.
5:6-12 Once we're in union with Christ, what counts is not ritual or lack of ritual, but faith working or expressing itself in love. Paul notes that the Galatians had been doing well but those who serve the dark side interfered with the whole ritual thing to keep them from obeying the truth. Note that the issue for believers is not about accepting Christ, but about obeying Him, which is not automatic, but essential for reward. Some of Satan's agents even went so far as to say Paul preached circumcision (Satan is the father of lies). Paul says he's still being persecuted for not having Greeks become Jews. He also expresses his wish that those who advocate circumcision would “go the whole way and emasculate themselves” NIV.
5:13-18 This section starts with a verse you really should memorize. We should use the freedom we have in Christ to serve others liked Christ did, not indulge our desires as the pagans do. All the social requirements of the law are summed up in “love your neighbor as yourself.” God still cares about the law, because it reveals the righteousness (not ritual) He desires and rewards, which is why the Spirit writes it on the hearts of those who are participants in the New Covenant (or aspects of it).
Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death...4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.(covenantal blessings/rewards – see comments on Romans 8).
Therefore believers should serve, not bite and devour one another. If believers walk/live by the power/grace of the Holy Spirit (and don't grieve nor quench Him), they will not carry out the lusts of the flesh (desire for the temporal – see Rm 8). The Spirit and flesh are in opposition to each other (same as Paul said in Rm 8), so the Spirit keeps us from doing the things our flesh desires if we follow the leading/guiding of the Spirit. If a believer is following the revealed will of the Spirit (under the control of or led by the Spirit), they are not under the control of the law. It's one or the other; choose wisely.
5:19-26 Paul now enumerates the works produced by the flesh, which disqualify believers from blessing in the Messianic kingdom, with the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit, which is not contrary to the moral law of God, but is in fact the very kind of righteous behavior God rewards. It's about getting an inheritance in the Kingdom which comes from God (it's not heaven, see comments on the introduction to the NT in the Matthew post). The self-centered behaviors of the flesh are the antithesis of love (which is sacrificing oneself to do what is in another's best interest). The fruit of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us and leading us is other-centered behavior, the love which Paul commanded in the beginning of the chapter. Those who are in union with Christ have put to death (by the Spirit -Rom  8:13) the flesh with its desires and passions. See series on Deadly Desires on, as well as Romans 6, for how to kill your desire for the temporal before it kills you. Listen to the sermon on The Fruit of the Spirit that accompanies the following outline. One last point to note is verse 25. Since the life we have in Christ is produced by means of the Spirit, the life we live as Christians should also be produced, prompted, and controlled by the Spirit.

Application: Use your freedom in Christ to serve others, not yourself as you walk under the control of the Holy Spirit. Check off the items below which are evident in your life:

A. Walking by the Spirit Pleases God by Fruitful Victory over the Flesh (desire for Temporal: Power/Pleasure/Possessions) Romans 8:1,8

  1. Evil thoughts: incorrect actions are always preceded by incorrect thinking (dia logos almost always used negatively, frequently with doubt {Plan B} when we don’t want to accept the truth in front of us {God’s Plan A}) (Js 2:4 partiality for gain)
  2. Adulteries: sex with a married person violating one’s covenant of faithfulness and loyalty, because of a lack of a fulfilling relationship with God and one’s spouse; used metaphorically of seeking power (security/significance), pleasure and possessions outside one’s dependent relationship with God;
  3. Fornications: sex between unmarried people, seeking immediate/temporal gratification, arising from a lack of self-control and trust in God’s wisdom and strength, because of a lack of a fulfilling relationship with God 1Th 4:3 will of God; Col 3:5 mortify; 1Co5 6:18 flee. Used in Mt of unfaithfulness during the betrothal period (Jewish cultural practice) distinct from adultery. (See divorce outline)
  4. Murders: a desire to harm someone because of the way they make us feel (insecure/inadequate/embarrassed/guilty) and/or we perceive them to be standing in the way of what we think will make us temporally happy or at least feel better. (Mt 5:21-22)
  5. Thefts: taking something that is not rightfully ours which we believe in necessary for our happiness, doubting God’s wisdom and provision
  6. Covetousness: the desire to have something that is not rightfully ours resulting in neglect of our obligations before God and others Col 3:5
  7. Wickedness: desires and purposes contrary to God’s influenced by demons (Eph 6:12) from which God will turn us (Ac 3:26) as we submit to Him (Js 4:7)
  8. Deceit: an attempt to portray reality inaccurately so we can achieve our temporal goals, frequently by making ourselves look too good 1Pe 2:1
  9. Lewdness: acknowledging of no restraints (Lordship), the insolent doing of whatever one’s caprice may suggest to gratify desires. 1Pe 4:3
  10. Evil eye: a self-centered perspective on life (purpose) that colors both perception and actions Mt 6:21-23 Cf Lu 11:34
  11. Blasphemy: speech designed to harm the reputation of another for the sake of preserving or boosting one’s own worth 1Ti 6:4
  12. False witness: saying things that aren’t in accord with reality for the sake of temporal power, pleasure, or possessions. Eph 4:15,25
  13. Pride: an improper view of self, appearing superior to others (even God) resulting in a lack of submission and teachableness and eventual harm 2Ti 3:2;Js 4:6
  14. Foolishness: choosing the wrong (temporal) objectives or the wrong way of achieving them (opposite of wisdom, no Fear of the Lord) Eph 5:17
and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as…in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

B. Fruit of the Spirit is the Result of Submitting to God’s work in us producing the Desiring & Doing of His good pleasure Phil 2:13

  1. Gal 5:22 Love is a decision to sacrifice yourself for another’s best interest (Jn 3:16);
  2. Joy is the resulting of choosing what is best (see series on Philippians) which implies a discernment of what is best from God’s perspective;
  3. Peace is an absence of anxiety and resultant contentment & security which comes from recognizing the sovereign promises and purposes of God in the events and irritations He permits in our lives; Isa 26:3-4
  4. Patience (long-suffering) is the ability to limit or inhibit our natural desires (esp revenge) in the process of persevering for a God-glorifying objective;
  5. Kindness is a usefulness to the Master sourced in integrity and expressed in a neighborliness toward others;
  6. Goodness is a capacity to do what’s in another’s best interest (Gal 6:10) arising from a purification of deadly desires, and an embracing of God’s value system;
  7. Faithfulness is a loyalty to God’s command and responsibilities for us, sourced in the fear of God and expressing itself in unwavering obedience;
  8. Gentleness/meekness is a humility that expresses itself in submissiveness to an offense without malice or desire for revenge;
  9. Self-control is virtue of power under control, gained from mastery of one’s passions and resulting in being able to exhibit a godly impulse (the sensual ones having been subdued). This trait is gained only as a result of a transformed value system (Rom 12) see TOYL values
Eph 5:2 walk in love, 8…Walk as children of light 9… fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth 10 finding out pleases the Lord 18 wisdom

Bonus: Those led by the Spirit develop transformed values w/ a victorious dependent sensitivity to God’s Guidance & Will

Gal 5:24 those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Rm 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Cf Gal 5:18
A. The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to produce in us the Mind of Christ & Will of God Rom 12:2 do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
B. Change of Values Rm 8:5…according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, those who live acc the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
C. Dependence Lk 22:42…not My will, but Yours, be done. Phil 1:19…deliverance thru…the supply of the Spirit 4:19 supply all need
D. Guidance Pr 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths Isa 48:17-19 says the LORD, your Redeemer, The Holy One of Israel: "I am the LORD your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go. 18 If only…

Prayer: God, I want to live to please You, doing what is right in Your sight; please guide me in crucifying my deadly desires, and help me bear fruit for your glory. Thanks. Amen.

Galatians 6 Reaping Reward
6:1 Brothers, even if a man is caught in some fault, you who are spiritual must restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; looking to yourself so that you also aren’t tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 3 For if a man thinks himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each man manifest/prove his own work, and then he will have cause for glory in himself and not in his neighbor. 5 For each man will bear his own burden. 6 But let him who is taught in the word share all good things with him who teaches.
7 Don’t be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption. But he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life/dominion of the Age. 9 Let us not be weary in doing good, for we will reap in due season, if we don’t give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let’s do what is good toward all men, and especially toward those who are of the household of the faith.
11 See with what large letters I write to you with my own hand. 12 As many as desire to look good in the flesh, they compel you to be circumcised; only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 For even they who receive circumcision don’t keep the law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised, that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But far be it from me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For in Christ Jesus neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 As many as walk by this rule, peace and mercy be on them, and on God’s Israel. 17 From now on, let no one cause me any trouble, for I bear the marks of the Lord Jesus branded on my body. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.

Observations: 6:1-6 Love expresses itself in serving another's needs, even when it gets messy. If someone is overtaken or entangled in a fault, the spiritual, Spirit-led believers must make judgments about the sin and person and seek to restore them. Those who say believers shouldn't judge each other and let people be strangled by their sin, know neither love nor the Scriptures. We are to bear each other's burdens (6:2) yet each must bear their own burden (6:5). The former refers to a heavy weight like a cannon, the latter to a load, like a backpack. No enabling or co-dependent relationships allowed (someone needs to be needed so they enable the sin of another). The goal is restoration (used of a net being mended, so it can be put back into service). We don't shoot our wounded, but sometimes we can't prevent them from shooting themselves in the foot (or shooting off their mouths at the wrong time). Each one should manifest, prove or demonstrate his own work and then he can have a basis for his own glory in his own work. The one who is taught in the word (not made to feel comfortable in one's sin) should share all good things with the one who teaches (please keep all bad things for yourself – unless you want to work on getting rid of them).
6:7-10 This is one of my favorite passages. NT believers can be deceived about things, especially their reward in the future Kingdom (cf 1Cor 6:9). Contrary to what Satan wants us to believe, how we live as believers makes an eternal difference in our happiness. We will reap what we sow. If we want strawberries, we can't be planting radishes. If our garden is full of radishes, we need to pull them up and plant strawberries. God isn't mocked; His justice requires that He gives us what we've sown. If we indulge our temporal desires for power (significance/success and security/safety), pleasure, or possessions we will reap destruction/loss (1Cor 3:15) and we'll find out too late to do anything about it. If on the other hand we submit to the will of the Spirit, doing what He wants, we will reap from the Spirit abundant life or dominion in the Messiah's coming kingdom. So don't grow weary in doing good (if you're doing good, you will be swimming against the flow) we will reap if we don't quit. So as you have opportunity do good to all, especially those who are of the household of faith. The priority is to your fellow believers. Random acts of kindness are nice if you're first obeying what God commanded. Now, is there any doubt that you will reap what you sow (see 2Cor 5:9-10 comments)?
6:11-18 Paul writes with his own handwriting, in large letters, since his eyesight wasn't the best. This could be a reference to the blinding vision, or his thorn in the flesh. In any event, the Judaizers desired to remove the persecution that had arisen from believers not keeping the law. Then they could boast that the Greeks had become proselytes, or they had “gained back” the “lapsed” Jews. Paul's ground for boasting was in the cross of Christ, not in Christ's death, but in the fact that Paul had, by his union with Christ (see Romans 6), had died to the world and its appeals. What matters for those in union with Christ is that they are a new creation, not an old circumcised or uncircumcised one. Paul pronounces a blessing on all who walk/live/obey the rule he has laid down. Peace is a covenantal blessing and mercy is the LXX translation of hesed, God's loyal covenantal love. He makes one final appeal for compliance on the basis of his union/fellowship in Christ's sufferings, and then closes with a prayer for the grace/power of the Lord Jesus, the Messiah to be with their spirit.

Application: You will reap what you sow, so plant what you'll be happy with for an eternity; and don't give up; sometimes you have to tend a patch of bare earth, for a long time: watering, protecting and pulling weeds, until new life appears, and then it might be years or caring, tending, staking, watering, and pruning before fruit appears, but if you've planted the word of the Spirit, it will produce an eternal crop.

Prayer: God, thanks that Your Spirit gives me the grace and strength I need to do Your will, and reap Your reward; don't let me quit. Amen.

Digging Deeper

God in a nutshell: Right on schedule God sent His Son to redeem those under the curse of the law (due to their sin) so they might become His sons and heirs.

Build-a-Jesus: Jesus sets us free from sin to serve Him and our siblings in Christ. His character needs to be developed and displayed in those who believe Him, so they can serve in His kingdom.

Us in a nutshell: We need to use the freedom from sin and ritual that Christ has given us to serve Him in loving others in His family. If we sow to our desires, we will reap judgment; if we sow according to the desire and leading of the Holy Spirit, we will reap fruit for eternity.

Titus 3:4 contains two words that are manifestations of God, often translated “kindness and love” which while true of God, are not suited to the context, and lead the English reader astray from a beneficial application of the text.
Kindness (5544 χρηστοτης chrestotes) usually leads us to think of a sweet disposition that is nice to others.
Goodness would be a little better translation, but in Galatians 5:22, the “fruits” of the Spirit, elaborating on love, list kindness (#5544) and goodness (#19 αγαθωσυνη agathosune) next to each other, indicating that kindness is different enough from goodness to be listed separately,* as are longsuffering and self-control, etc. In the KJV the fruit #5544 chrestotes, is translated “gentleness,” which misses the real meaning even more than “kindness” does.

So how should we understand #5544 chrestotes?
5444 “usefulness” comes from #5543 “employed” (below). Neither is a demeanor word.
5543 “employed” is the root meaning of the base of “usefulness.” So what does being employed or useful have to do with “kindness”? There actually is a link, but it isn't that obvious in modern usage.

A person has to have something in order to share it with others (Eph 4:28). Romans 3:12 contrasts  #5544 chrestotes with “unprofitable” (#889 is the verb;  #888 is the adjective used of the unprofitable servant in Mt 25:30). Romans 3:12 is a quote of Psalm 14:1-3, describing the abominable practical atheist who doesn't seek after God, nor do anything that benefits anyone or anything other than their lusts. The rest of Romans 3 and Psalm 14:1-3 are pretty similar to the unprofitable behavior in Titus 3:3. Clearly when understood in context, chrestotes isn't about being kind vs unkind, but about being beneficial to or profiting others rather than indulging one's carnal desires.

Romans 11:22 contrasts God's goodness/kindness toward those who abide/continue in His beneficence
with His severity (which has the root idea of “cut” or sever) toward those who don't continue, and will be cut off like a tree, branch, or hand.

For reasons outlined above and below, I think we should resurrect a little used word: “beneficence,”  which is is a character trait that produces/causes benefit or something good for others. You're aware of “beneficial”, which leads most to think of benefit, or good for you, and that is closer in meaning. “Bene” is good. And “-fic” is a root meaning to “make, produce, or cause.”

Linked with “kindness/goodness/beneficence” in Titus 3:4 is “love” #5363 φιλανθρωπια philanthropia from which we get the English philanthropy. It is a combination of the word for philos (a word to define the bonds of affection in a family as in phil-adelphia=brotherly love), but instead of being confined to specific family members, it is expressed toward a large portion of humanity. It is used only one other time in the NT Scriptures:
Acts 28:2 And the barbarous people showed us no little philanthropia/kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold.
“Barbarous” is the Greek designation of an unmannerly non-Greek, ie, a barbarian (915 βαρβαρος barbaros). Here Luke portrays them as extending a concern for the well being of the shipwreck victims, something one would normally do for family members.

So both “beneficence” and “philanthropy” are the characteristics of God that He displayed in the salvation process of Titus 3:5-7, which should be reflected in the interactions of recipients of that grace toward others. Rather than being consumed and devouring with the “satisfactions” of their passions/lusts reflected in their taking pieces out of others, they should be benefiting others as specified in Titus 3:8-11, which would include the avoidance of unbeneficial/unprofitable behaviors in verse 9, and the commands that could be considered by cultural Christians to be “unloving” and “unkind” in verses 10-11.

Titus 3:8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men. 9 But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. 10 Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.

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