Come to the altar today. Pray for the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit in your life and those closest to you. Ask Him to move you outside of what is normal, to help you live and serve in ways that would stretch you to your full potential. When you pray think about how He empowers our living, inspires our praying and enables our serving by filling our lives with His presence and glory.

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

 Galatians 5:22 & 23 describes the “fruit” or character of the Holy Spirit. Take a few minutes today and meditate on these verses while holding the list in front of you. Thank the Holy Spirit for the previous development of His character in your life. Trust the Holy Spirit to help you look at your current circumstances and think about what “fruit” or character is needed for the season you are in.

Being open to the Holy Spirit’s direction and then embracing His power to change us from glory to glory is described in the Bible as the process of sanctification. Sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit that 1) sets us apart from the world and 2) enables to live holy lives. The Holy Spirit enables to live both for and as Christ. 

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 

As we make more and more room for the Spirit to work in our lives, He begins molding and making us into the image or form of the Lord Jesus Christ by transforming us with ever-increasing glory. His purpose is to change us into the image of Christ or into true “Christians.” His ministry not only separates us from our old way of life but separates us to the progressive realization of whom and what we are to become in Christ Jesus through His power. 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 

But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:4-7 

There is a great debate going on in Evangelical Christianity today. The debate has to do with whether or not Christ followers should expect and be expected to see change in their lives. These verses explain the view Paul shared after years and years of ministry. Along with the word “justified by His grace,” Paul uses such terms as, reconciled, regeneration and renewing. I believe Paul is explaining the steps taken by the Holy Spirit to justify AND sanctify us.

By being justified, we are reconciled to God. Once far from God in sin we have been brought near by the blood of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:9-10) We have been accepted because 1) the price has been paid in full and 2) we accept the price Jesus paid on the cross in our stead. In other words, we have been redeemed and purchased by the most valuable of commodities, the blood of Jesus Christ. The payment of His shed blood and our willingness to accept His payment for our sin has reconciled us back to God.

Once reconciled, the indwelling Holy Spirit continually facilitates our ability to live in continual and progressive regeneration and renewal (being changed from glory to glory). The Greek word for regeneration is paliggenesia. Paliggenesia means new birth, reproduction, renewal, recreation, and regeneration. The word speaks to the renovation or continual regeneration of a Christ follower. It is the production of a new life consecrated to God, a radical change of mind for the better.

The word paliggenesia is often used to describe the restoration of a person or thing to their or its original or pristine state. This renovation, renewal and restoration of our lives can only occur as the Christ follower submits to and makes room for the ministry of the Holy Spirit. As the Holy Spirit fills the room that we have opened up to Him, a definite moral change begins to take place.

This change involves a definite break from the ruling power and love of and for sin, so that the believer is no longer ruled or dominated by sin and no longer loves to sin. Paul says, “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus….For sin will have no dominion over you” (Romans 6:11, 14). Christ followers have been “set free from sin” (Romans 6:18). In this context, to be dead to sin or to be set free from sin involves the power to overcome acts or patterns of sinful behavior in one’s life.

The purpose of our redemption, reconciliation and regeneration is so we can overcome any and every sin in our lives and to be filled to overflowing with the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. He enables us to live holy and upright lives. Why is this so important?

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11 

 For the LORD is righteous, he loves justice; upright men will see his face. Psalm 11:7

From these verses you can see that the promises of God given to those who desire God with their whole heart, who seek to walk uprightly and live righteously, are some of the greatest in all of the Bible. God hates sin. He loves, looks after and is endeared to the righteous. Our own righteousness is not attractive to God. In fact, it is but filthy rags. But, His righteousness flooding our lives, enabling us to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul and spirit, gives us confidence to come boldly to the throne of grace. In our boldness, we ask without fear for what we have need of and for the assistance to do His great will. The power of the Holy Spirit that empowers us to live righteously emboldens us to believe the promises of God are now, yes and amen!

I pray that you will open your heart to the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying power today. I can promise you as the Psalmist said, if you will delight yourself in the Lord…He will give you the desires of your heart!        (Psalm 37:4)  

God bless you today! 

Robert

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