Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | December 5, 2018

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – “walk by the Spirit”

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 6:27-36.

“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.  Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.  Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.  If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?  For even sinners love those who love them.  If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you?  For even sinners do the same.  If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you?  Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount.  But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return;  and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High;  for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.  Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”  Luke 6:27-36.

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It is easy for us to think:  “OK, I will love my enemies.” and to feel satisfied and go on to the next Scripture or next thing on our mind.

But, we need to first realize that we do not even love our friends as we should, how can we so quickly without due thought think that we will love our enemies?!

By our natural condition of “Total Depravity”, Scripture teaches that we are more inclined to hate others than to love them.  We can hide or restrain such thoughts or actions, and there are other forces that will restrain such thoughts or actions.  But, for example, think how common it is to secretly feel joy at other’s misfortunes.  And, our natural condition does so much more.

“10 as it is written,

“THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;
11 THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS,
THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;
12 ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS;
THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD,
THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.
13 “THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN GRAVE,
WITH THEIR TONGUES THEY KEEP DECEIVING,”
“THE POISON OF ASPS IS UNDER THEIR LIPS”;
14 “WHOSE MOUTH IS FULL OF CURSING AND BITTERNESS”;
15 “THEIR FEET ARE SWIFT TO SHED BLOOD,
16 DESTRUCTION AND MISERY ARE IN THEIR PATHS,
17 AND THE PATH OF PEACE THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN.”
18 “THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES.”  Romans 3:10-18.

Moreover, as holy and righteous and good as this Scripture and other Law is, we cannot trust the Law to somehow make us love our enemies.  In other words, we cannot love our enemies and others as we should out of our sense of duty to this Scripture and the Law.  This Scripture and the Law cannot even cause us to take even what should be an easy first step of not coveting what belongs to others.  The problem is sin within us.

“But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind;  for apart from the Law sin is dead.  I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died;  and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me;  for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me.”  Romans 7:8-11.

But, there is hope!

Recognition of our “Total Depravity” and the inability of the Law to make us righteous drives us to Christ and the Holy Spirit Who bears the fruit of the Spirit including but not limited to love, goodness, kindness, and self-control that causes us to love our enemies and others as we should.  We walk by the Spirit. 

“Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.  For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.  But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.”  Romans 7:4-6.

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.  For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh;  for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.  Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are:  immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;  against such things there is no law.”  Galatians 5:16-23.


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