The Spirit-Filled Life, Gifts, and Fruit of the Spirit (“What we believe” that I wrote for my church)

We believe that believers should be walking day by day in the Spirit; being baptized in Him, listening to Him, and avoiding those things which would Grieve Him or Quench His work. We believe that all the Gifts of the Spirit are for today and the Spirit apportions to all believers different Gifts as He sovereignly wills. We believe that the Fruit of the Spirit will be displayed in all believers’ lives in varying proportions as we are progressively sanctified.

The Spirit-Filled Life: The Spirit filled life is our part in cooperation with the Spirit’s work of sanctification. We are to live a life filled with and led by the Spirit. In Eph. 5:18 Paul tells the Ephesians “do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit”. The word we translate “be filled” is the Greek word “πληρουσθε”[accent missing], this verb is a present tense imperative verb from the lemma “πληρόω” (I am filling); Wayne Grudem offers this translation to bring out the full sense of this word “Be continually being filled with the Holy Spirit”.[1] We are to be continually being filled with the Holy Spirit. Paul, writing to the Church in Rome, urges the brethren to; “present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”[2] Living the Spirit-Filled life, believers are to present their bodies to God as living sacrifices in the service of God; every aspect of a believer’s life is to be set-apart for God. The implication of this is that we are not to be conformed to the things of this world; as we become more like Christ (as we are Sanctified) we will desire God’s will more and more, which is those things that are acceptable and perfect before Him.[3] We are to be continually praying, “at all times” (Eph. 6:18)[4], in the Spirit. We are to be led by the Spirit (Rom. 8:14) and not continue in sin (Rom. 6:1-2); because we are dead to sin we are no longer to serve it (Romans 6:8-14). Because we are saved by God’s Grace, His unmerited love, based solely on our faith in Jesus Christ and have been set free from bondage to sin we are to be offering ourselves as instruments of righteousness to God(Rom. 6:13), in obedience to Him (v. 16); becoming slaves of righteousness resulting in Sanctification (Rom. 6:19). We are to walk in the same manner as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6) and walk in the Spirit not carrying out the desires of the flesh (we will not carry out the desires of the flesh if we are walking in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16-18)

). The Spirit is a person and can be grieved (Eph. 4:30) and insulted (Heb. 10:29), by walking in the Spirit we will not do these things because we will not live a life in bondage to sin.[5]

The Gifts of the Spirit are for Today: We believe that the gifts of the Spirit did not cease with the end of the apostolic age. We believe that the gifts of the Spirit were not given solely to authenticate the prophetic ministry of the Apostles but they were given for the entire ministry of the Church, both to each other (1 Cor. 12:7, 14:3-5), and to unbelievers (1 Cor. 14:22, Acts 2-3). In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul address a divisive Church in Corinth and teaches them that one Spirit gives to every believer (no one is left out, see 12:7) spiritual gifts, “distributing to each one individually just as He wills” (1 Cor. 12:11). There is a diversity of Gifts, by cross-referencing the various lists given (1 Cor. 7:7, 12:8-10, 28; Rom. 12:6-8; and Eph. 4:11) we can see that Paul was giving out examples and not providing an exhaustive list, and each believer has different gifts that are given for each to minister in different ways; as the body of Christ we all are gifted differently so as to perform different functions for the furthering of God’s kingdom (1 Cor. 12). We read of the Spirit giving gifts of people for different ministries in the Church (Eph. 4:11), and gifts to the believers in the Church for the ministries each of us perform (1 Cor. 12:8-10, Rom. 12:6-8). We are to earnestly desire the greater gifts[6] (1 Cor. 12:31).

            The Fruit of the Spirit: As we live a Spirit Filled life and are sanctified our lives will display more and more the fruit of the Spirit. In Galatians 5:22b-23 we read that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” We will never fully embody each of these characteristics, but as we are sanctified they will be displayed in our lives to different degrees. These will be characteristics that colour each of our lives, and there is no indication in Scripture that these fruit can be produced in their entirety in someone’s life apart from the work of the Spirit,[7] therefore they are significant signs of spiritual growth.

Erickson, Millard J, and L. Arnold Hustad. Introducing Christian doctrine. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2001.

Grudem, Wayne. Systematic theology : an introduction to biblical doctrine. Leicester; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press ; Zondervan, 1994.


[1] Wayne Grudem, Systematic theology : an introduction to biblical doctrine (Leicester; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press ; Zondervan, 1994), 781.

[2] All Scripture references, unless otherwise stated, are from the NASB.

[3] Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1985). The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Ro 12:1–2). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[4] Not at every moment of the day as in without ceasing, but in the sense of living a life continually in prayer; praying continually each day, not just once a month.

[5] Perfection is not attainable in this life, we will not be perfect until we are Glorified, but in living a Christian life we will not be in bondage to continual, habitual sin (1 John 3:9).

[6] Prophecy, etc.; see 1 Cor 12-13

[7] Millard J Erickson and L. Arnold Hustad, Introducing Christian doctrine (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2001), 280.

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