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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Fruit Is Change, #2
And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. (I Thessalonians 1:10—NIV)
To be saved means to be rescued from something. From what are we to be rescued? First of all, from experiencing wrath in the Day of the Lord.
But far more significantly, we are rescued from hate, misery, anxiety, impatience, cruelty, bad behavior, treachery, harshness, and lack of self-control.
I don't think any Christian would disagree with me on this point. All Christians subscribe to the value of the fruit of the Spirit. What they would maintain is that we are saved (go to Heaven) by faith in Christ whether or not we bear the fruit of the Spirit.
What may be new to us is the thought that apart from such change of behavior there is no Kingdom of God, no salvation, no eternal life.
The change from hate to love, from misery to joy, from anxiety to peace is what salvation is; what the Kingdom of God is; what eternal life is.
We are not changed in personality so we can go to Heaven. We are changed in personality so we can have fellowship with God.
When the Lord Jesus returns He is going to establish His Kingdom on the earth. We all understand this (I hope!). When the Lord is governing on the earth we want to be with Him, don't we? But to be with the Lord we must be changed in personality. The Lord will not have fellowship with unrighteousness.
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? (II Corinthians 6:14—NIV)
Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14—NIV)
We do not have fellowship with God except as we walk in the light of His Presence and will.
I guess our Christian attitude toward the fruit of the Spirit has been that it is something that should be borne by every believer and is a nice thing to have happen to us. The truth is, apart from fruit there is no salvation, no Kingdom of God.
We see Christians who are not changed in personality for many years—churches that do not change for many years. Adultery still abounds. Thievery still abounds. Lying still abounds. Gossip, envy, hatred, division continue without change.
What would we say about this? They are saved because they believe in Jesus?—because they name the Name of Jesus? They are going to Heaven by grace? They all will go up in the "rapture" and then become obedient followers of the Lamb?
The truth is, they have no eternal life. They have not inherited the Kingdom of God. They are not saved because they have not been delivered from the adamic nature.
But won't they go to Heaven? Heaven is not the issue. Fellowship with the Lord is the issue.
The Scripture says the Lord will not have fellowship with the wicked. "Depart from Me, you who work wickedness!" He exclaims. "Whether or not you have worked miracles in My Name does not matter in the slightest. I will have no wicked people around me."
Can you picture the Lord saying this to members of the Christian churches—the gossipers, the slanderers, the covetous, the spiteful?
To be continued.