Paul has just pointed out that we’re no longer under the law, but being led by the Spirit. He now sets up the stark contrast between the fruit of the Spirit and the “works of the flesh.” Before we jump into the list (that will be next week), we must understand the reality of our how we’re wired and how sin works. Until we do, we will unwittingly stumble into sin and wonder why we did the same thing again.

Fruit is produced, meaning the DNA of an apple tree is the determining factor in that tree producing apples. Now conditions have to be right too. Fertilize, water, sunlight. All are necessary. An early freeze can ruin an apple crop. But the tree produces apples simply because it’s an apple tree.

Paul calls sin “works of the flesh.” When we sin, we can’t blame anyone but ourselves. We did it. we got caught with our hands in the proverbial cookie jar. All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. (Romans 3:23). In Romans 6:23, Paul uses the metaphor of a payday to describe sin. The wages of sin is death. Sin is an awful boss with an even worse paycheck. Note how James describes sin.

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

James 1:14-15

James describes sin like conception which leads all the way to death. Sin begins with a desire, and once that desire is acted upon, sin is born. And sin grows. Like a cancer, sin mutates until it has destroyed the sinner. My dad used to say…

Sin will take you farther than you intended to go, keep you longer than you intended to stay, and cost you more than you intended to pay.

Before we can fully appreciate the work of the Spirit, we must embrace the reality of our sinful nature. The Spirit has his work cut out for him–he produces fruit in one whose mouth, mind, eyes and hands have been used to commit all kinds of awful sin. On Monday we’ll dive into the list of those sins…but before we do, pause to thank God for his work and ridding you of that sin.

Father, I thank you that you are exceedingly more powerful than the sin that longs to reign in my body to make me obey its desires. I thank you that no cancerous sin is too powerful for the healing Spirit. I thank you that greater is he who is in me than he who is in the world. I thank you that no temptation has seized me except that which is common to man and that you are faithful, not allowing me to be tempted beyond what I can stand but in every temptation making a way of escape so that I can stand up under it. Today I will live in light of your power over my sin.