by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 4 Study # 12 June 30, 2013 Dayton, Texas (Download Audio)
(277)Thesis:The fruit of the Spirit for the sake of others is emphatically "good".
Introduction:So far we have seen that the Spirit of God was given to us in order to give us the experience of the Life of God: being Loved by God; having the Joy of the Life of God; and being at Peace with God. These three aspects of the fruit of the Spirit are fundamentally foundational in that they lay the groundwork for the rest of the elements that Paul sets forth. No one will bear the fruit of the Spirit who does not possess these aspects of His impact upon us.
This evening we are going to turn toward the impact the Spirit makes upon others when we are walking by His grace and power. There is a recognizable order and emphasis in the three characterizations that Paul identifies in our dealings with others. We are going to look into that order and emphasis this evening.
A. The NASB uses "patience" for whatever reason.
1. Of the 14 texts wherein this term is found in the New Testament, the Authorized Version translators used "patience" twice.
2. The NASB universally switched over to "patience" and does not use "longsuffering" at all.
B. The meaning of "longsuffering" involves the willingness to shut down the demands that are made by certain of our characteristics in favor of other of our characteristics.
1. Romans 9:22 is a clear illustration of this meaning.
a. The attributes of God are presented in competition with each other.
b. There is a deliberate choice made by God to shut down the demands of "Justice" (at least for a while) in order to accomplish what is considered to be a more important objective.
1) One of the notable issues involved is the "relativity" of "longsuffering" (how "long" is long?).
2) Another of the notable issues involved is the "potency" of the demand(s) made by the rejected attribute (it is call long "suffering" for a real reason).
2. 2 Peter 3:15 indicates that the Larger Plan is more important than the immediate present.
C. The clear implication is that we will be dealing with people who are responsible for our "suffering", whether intentionally or not.
1. It is this reality that simply must be at the root of our thinking about how the Holy Spirit wants to impact others through our bodies.
a. We are not said to be "longsuffering" when others are doing what we want.
b. The "levels" of "suffering" are outlined in Hebrews 11 and run a gamut from "mild" to "severe".
2. This does not automatically eliminate methods of responding to those who cause us to suffer that will stop the suffering, but it does introduce a brake upon the automatic inclination we have to do that.
D. The bottom line is that the Holy Spirit, when allowed to do so, will move us to submit to suffering more often than not in the light of a greater objective.
II. Gentleness (NASB "kindness").
A. This word retains the idea of "larger objectives" while inserting the idea of "preference".
1. Being "gentle" or "kind" invariably involves the idea of choosing how to treat others.
2. "Treating" others has to do with pursuing objectives (all actions imply objectives).
3. A comparison of Matthew 11:30 with Luke 5:39 shows that the issue is "preference".
B. The word is only used eight times in the New Testament but those settings involve choices being made to deliberately approach the objectives by means of doing beneficial things rather than hurtful or destructive things.
III. Goodness (both in the Authorized Version as well as the NASB).
A. This term has often been overlooked in its own right and made to be a synonym to gentleness.
B. That Paul makes it a separate description indicates that we ought to look further into the issues.
1. Trench says that it is the energizing element behind "kindness" and makes this distinction: "kindness" would have never cleansed the Temple; "goodness" would not not do that.
a. "Kindness" without "Goodness" would automatically degenerate into a tolerance of anything in the name of "hating to harm".
b. "Goodness", on the other hand, would not hesitate to "hate" evil and its impact, and do something about it.
c. Without "kindness", "goodness" might well escalate into "putting people to death to save their souls" (Inquisition style).
2. Thus, we need to understand that there have been some boundaries established for our "longsuffering" treatment of others: we need to be "kind" in the sense that we seek to bring benefit into the situation; but we need to also be "good" in the sense that we will sometimes use confrontational methods to bring that benefit into play.