Forthright Magazine

Peace, longsuffering, kindness and goodness

Any good fruit is comprised of multiple parts. An apple has peel, flesh, stem and seeds, each with its own unique characteristics. The fruit of the Spirit also has many parts as well. All of those parts have unique characteristics. Paul described it in his letter to the Galatian churches.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

They are all a product of a Christian allowing the Spirit, through the power of the word, to permeate his being. Time should find these growing in the follower of Christ.

Inward peace is one part of the Spirit’s fruit. Outward circumstances cannot long unsettle God’s children because his peace is guarding their hearts (Philippians 4:6-7; Isaiah 26:3). Jesus gave His life to justify those who came to Him for salvation. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

Jesus told his disciples, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

God demonstrated longsuffering toward man because he did not want to see him lost. That is why Jesus has not come back to reunite with his own. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Christians need to follow the Father’s example for the same reason. Our love for the lost must suffer long and be kind (1 Corinthians 13:4). Maintaining unity in the church means that each follower of Christ should be long tempered. Paul said,

“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to have a walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:12).

Kindness describes a sweetness of demeanor which causes one to be a ready servant of others. Paul told the Ephesian brethren, “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

Jesus demonstrated kindness in all his relations with the twelve. Particularly powerful was his readiness to take up the towel and basin and wash their feet, including those of Judas the betrayer, just hours before his betrayal (John 13:1-17). Brotherly kindness is one of the essential virtues in the life of one who would “never stumble” (2 Peter 1:5-11).

The word translated “goodness” carries a “sense of ‘(moral) uprightness of heart’” (Stephen D. Renn, Expository Dictionary of Bible Words 444). It arises from a readiness to serve others. Paul expressed his confidence that the Roman Christians had this trait. “Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another” (Romans 15:14).

He told the Galatian brethren, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:9-10).

Each of these parts of the fruit of the Spirit makes the church a special place. We already noted Paul’s words regarding every element of the fruit.“Against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:23).


Gary C. Hampton
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