The Fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-24)
Sabbath School Lesson 2017 Quarter 3 Lesson 12 Wednesday
Read Galatians 5:22,23:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
What are these? How do we assimilate them?
- What is the last fruit listed here? Self-control—what does this mean?
- What does this mean in light of certain religious experiences that claim the Spirit of God is present and people lose self-control?
- What does this mean for those who pray that they don’t want to be in control, so they ask God to take control?
If God has His way in our lives who ends up in control of our lives? We do—God heals us and restores us to His original design such that we are in governance of ourselves. Why? Because only free sentient beings are capable of genuine love and God ultimately is love and wants us to live in a universe where we experience genuine love.
Read first paragraph,
“The Ten Commandments are not an alternative to love; they help guide us in how we are to show love, both to God and to humankind. However much it might transcend the letter of the law, love is not in conflict with the law. The idea that love for God and love for our neighbor void the Ten Commandments makes about as much sense as saying that love for nature voids the law of gravity.”
- Can we understand the fullness of God’s love by obeying the commandments?
- Can the commandments be obeyed in ways that have no love at all?
- Can God’s law be fully understood written on stone? Why or why not?
- God’s law is a living law and can be fully understood only in living beings.
- What is the highest and fullest revelation of God’s law? Jesus!
- What about “The idea that love for God and love for our neighbor void the Ten Commandments makes about as much sense as saying that love for nature voids the law of gravity.”
What is the problem with their assertion? They are comparing a codified written description of a design law with an actual design law.
This occurs because they fail to understand the difference between design law and imposed law, and fail to understand the purpose of the 10 Commandments.
The lesson is correct that love does not void the 10 Commandments, but what does the law of love do in regard to the commandments?
It puts the commandments in their proper place, which is what? A diagnostic instrument and protective hedge that was added because of our need. The law was not given as a remedy to sin, or a list of behaviors to which we are to conform. The 10 Commandments are not the law upon which life is built, but a codified description of that law specifically written for fallen human beings.
Angels didn’t need a code to honor their parents, not commit adultery or warn about how sinful living would genetically alter them and pass down 3 and 4 generations. We fallen humans did.
Thus the Bible teaches:
What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.” Romans 7:7
8 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9 We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me. 1st Timothy 1:8-11
So, love does not void the law—but when God’s design law of love is written again on the heart, its purpose on stone is no longer needed.
Read last paragraph,
“The fact that Paul lists love as the first of the nine virtues is not accidental. He has already highlighted the central role of love in the Christian life in Galatians 5:6 and 13, and he includes it in his virtue lists elsewhere (2 Cor. 6:6, 1 Tim. 4:12, 6:11, and 2 Tim. 2:22). Whereas all the other virtues appear also in non-Christian sources, love is distinctly Christian. All this indicates that love should be seen not merely as one virtue among many but as the cardinal Christian virtue that is the key to all other virtues. Love is the preeminent fruit of the Spirit (1 Cor. 13:13, Rom. 5:5), and it should define the life and attitudes of every Christian (John 13:34, 35), however difficult at times it might be to show love.”
Why is love supreme? Because it is the principle upon which life is based!
Read 1st Corinthians 13 from The Remedy:
1 If I am gifted to speak the language of people and angels but do not have God’s love in my heart, I am only making meaningless noise, because I remain terminal and dying. 2 If I am gifted with prophetic insight and understand all mysteries and knowledge, and if I am trusted to move mountains but do not have God’s love in my heart, I am a fraud because I am still dying in sin and am nothing at all. 3 If I give away all my possessions to the poor and die as a martyr tied to a burning stake but don’t have God’s love in my heart, I am still unhealed and have gained nothing. 4 Love is the principle upon which life and health are built to operate, and when active in intelligent beings, love is patient and kind. Love gives in order to bless others and does not envy, boast, or promote self. 5 Love is not intrusive, rude, selfish, irritable, or hot-tempered. And love doesn’t hold grudges or keep a record of wrongs. 6 Love takes no pleasure in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love always protects, always heals, always restores, builds up, trusts, hopes, and perseveres. 8 Love originates in God and therefore will never stop and never fail. But one day, prophecies will cease, talking will be paused, and human knowledge will fade. 9 We are finite–knowing just a part of all truth, and prophecy is just a piece of a greater whole. 10 But when God restores the universe to His perfect design of love, all imperfection will disappear. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, bragging about myself; I thought like a child, focusing on the dos and don’ts, and I reasoned like a child. But when I grew up, I embraced God’s kingdom of love and put the childish ways behind me. 12 Our minds are so darkened by selfishness that we see God’s kingdom poorly, like a reflection in a cloudy mirror; but when he returns, we shall see perfectly–face to face! Right now I know only part of God’s reality; then–I will have all questions answered and fully know the truth, just as God fully knows me. 13 So these three endure: trust, hope and love; but the greatest of these is love.
Finally the bottom green section;
How much self-denial is involved in love? Can you love without self-denial? What does Jesus teach us about love and self-denial?
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