Fruit of the Word vs Fruits of the Spirit

When we say fruits from the New Testament, we often tend to identify them with the fruits of the Spirit mentioned by Paul.

fruits

Fruits by Paul

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

In summary, Paul is referring to the below as the fruits of the Spirit.

  1. Love
  2. Joy
  3. Peace
  4. Longsuffering
  5. Kindness
  6. Goodness
  7. Faithfulness
  8. Gentleness
  9. Self-control

The above is also summarized in his letter to Ephesians 5:9 as all goodness, righteousness, and truth.

While the fruits of the Spirit mentioned by Paul are absolutely required, they are not the same fruits mentioned by Christ.

Fruits by Christ

Luke 8:15 “But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.

The seed is the Word spoken by Jesus and bearing fruits represents obeying His teachings. Hence, the fruit taught by Christ can be called ‘fruit of the Word’.

John 15:2,4,7 “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  … Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. … If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

Again in John, we can see how bearing fruit is so important, that without it, Father takes us away from Christ and throw us in fire. Here too, bearing fruit is obedience to His Words which abides in us.

John 15:14-16 “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.

Further, in the same chapter, we can see Christ referring obedience to His words as bearing fruit when speaking to His disciples.

Matt 15:19 “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.

Matt 18:8-9 “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.

While Christ taught many things, His core message was to cleanse the inside of our hearts and zero tolerance towards sin.

Rev 22:11-12 “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.” And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.

While Christ taught many things, the fruit mentioned by Christ can be summarized as holiness in our hearts, and righteousness in our action.

Conclusion

Fruits of the Spirit is  term used only by Paul in his letters referring to the good attributes that will be evident if we walk in the Spirit. However, the fruits mentioned by Paul are very different from what Christ referred as fruits. The core message of Christ was to cleanse the inside of our hearts with zero tolerance towards sin which are from the seed, His Word or His teachings that bears into fruit by obeying them. Hence, it is inappropriate to substitute fruits of the Spirit in Christ’s teaching on fruits or vice versa.