Fruit of Righteousness
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
"Filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God." (Philippians 1:11, ESV)
1. Paul’s prayer finishes with the end result. That all the believers would be filled with the fruit of righteousness, that “fruit” being all of the character traits flowing from a right relationship with 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 5:22-23, ESV)
2. “Righteousness” means a right relationship with God as a result of justification from sin. Paul expounds on this in 3:9, where he says "and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith" (Philippians 3:9, ESV).
3. Being made right with God through Christ enables us to live rightly before him.
"But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you." (Philippians 3:7-15, ESV)
4. The phrase, “fruit (or harvest) of righteousness” (Prov 11:30; Amos 6:12; Isa 32:17; Heb 12:11; James 3:18) refers to the righteousness of God implanted in us, “through Jesus Christ” causing acts of practical righteousness to flow out of us.
"And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever." (Isaiah 32:17, ESV)
"And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace." (James 3:18, ESV)
"For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." (Hebrews 12:11, ESV)
5. No man is able to produce fruit by his own unaided efforts. They are fruits that come “through Jesus Christ,” for apart from him the disciple can do nothing (John 15:5) and the end result of the fruit produced is good.
"So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit." (Matthew 7:17-18, ESV)
6. The Christian Life is a supplied life, not a produced life. The Christian life must be supplied by the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We cannot manufacture, compose, or produce the Christian life for ourselves. (John 10:10; 15; Eph. 3:17-19; Phil 4:19).
"And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19, ESV)
"so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." (Ephesians 3:17-19, ESV)
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." (John 10:10, ESV)
7. Such infilling and the results revealed as “fruit” in people’s lives are always to the glory and praise of God. Believers’ lives ought to glorify and praise God, for it is by his grace alone that sinful human beings can obtain righteousness.
8. In fact, believers are "created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10, ESV).
9. God is the ultimate purpose of all. Everything that is mentioned must ultimately be to the glory and praise of God.
"To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen." (Philippians 4:20, ESV)
"For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen." (Romans 11:36, ESV)
10. The circle must be completed. Fruits descending from heaven must lift their fragrance back to heaven again. The chief end of man is “to glorify God and enjoy him forever” (cf. Matt. 5:16; John 15:8; 17:4).
"In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16, ESV)
"By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples." (John 15:8, ESV)
"I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do." (John 17:4, ESV)