NEW

Letter to the Editor: Response to the Last Editorial

Letter to the Editor Response to Last Edition’s Editorial Dear Editor, Thank you very much for your Christian charity and spirited editorial, Friday 8th October 2021, ( E.C. No.8090).  Also thanks are due to you for reprinting so much excellent reformed evangelical...

Letter to the Editor: The Murder of Sir David Amess

Murder of Sir David Amess Dear Editor, I grieve at the loss of a friend and former Party colleague Sir David Amess, MP who was murdered in an increasingly dangerous world. In the 70s I worked with David in the Young Conservatives before he became an MP and he was...

Reformation Sunday Advert

LETTER TO THE EDITOR:                        15 October 2021. My ‘Advert’ titled “Reformation Sunday 31 October” said, “The Church of England should still celebrate this 500th year since Martin Luther declared at the ‘Diet of Worms’ in 1521, “Here I stand. God help...

Leicester Diocese Illogical

Letter to the Editor Leicester Diocese Illogical   Sir, Leicester Diocese’s decision on 9 October to replace its traditional Parishes with ‘Minsters' is both spiritually and financially illogical.  The Church of England’s own growth report ‘From Anecdote to...

Barnabas Fund Reports: Turkey Escalates Airstrikes Against Christians in Syria & Iraq

Barnabas Fund Reports Turkey Escalating Airstrikes Against Christians and other Minorities in Syria and Iraq Turkey has escalated a supposedly anti-terrorist military campaign in Syria and Iraq which appears to be targeting Christians and other minorities. A spate of...

Should I Stay or Should I Go? Gospel-Driven Anglicanism Part 4

Should I Stay or Should I Go? By the Revd Dr Mark Pickles Part 4 Gedaliah is appointed governor and we read that Jeremiah purposely chooses to live amongst “those of the poorest of the land who had not been taken into exile in Babylon” (40:7). Things have taken a turn...

466th Anniversary of the Martyrdoms of Latimer & Ridley

466th Anniversary of the Martyrdoms of Latimer & Ridley Saturday, 16 October marked the 466th anniversary of the martyrdoms of Bishops Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley.   They were burned at the stake after being found guilty of heresy due to their refusal to...

Clive West Memorial Trust Lecture: John Yates III to Speak

Clive West Memorial Trust Lecture  Revd Dr John Yates III to Speak The annual Clive West Memorial Lecture will be held on Thursday, 11 November at 19:30 at St Nicholas’ Church, Lisburn Road in Belfast.  This year’s speaker is the Revd Dr John Yates III, Rector of Holy...

Book Review: Bleeding for Jesus

Bleeding for Jesus John Smyth and the cult of the Iwerne Camps Andrew Graystone Darton, Longman and Todd, 2021 (ISBN: 9781913657123, 250pp, £12.99) This book is the latest instalment of a long-running tragedy. It comes six years after the author was first made aware...

School Pupils Across the Country Memorise Passages from BCP for £1,000 Prize

School Pupils Across the Country  Memorise Book of Common Prayer Passages  £1,000 Prize for Winner By Tim Stanley Hundreds of school pupils across the country are busy this term studying prayers and readings from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer in a bid to win a prize...

Pilgrim’s Process by Peter Sanlon

We are all expected to change as we travel to the heavenly city. Many words are used in the Bible to describe the changes that pilgrims experience: sanctification (2 Thes.2:13) and mortification (Rom.8:13) are two. Images are used to give a sense of the change – being built up (Eph.4:16), putting on new clothes (Col.3:12), taking up one’s cross (Mk.8:34), casting aside hindrances (Heb.12:1).

One metaphor used to describe the change that occurs in us through the Christian life is that of the Holy Spirit ‘growing fruit’ in us (Gal.5:22).

Like many of the images God gives us in the Bible, the Spirit growing fruit in us is both simple and profound. It repays careful reflection. We have responsibility and must make effort to grow in godliness – after all we are told to ‘keep in step with the Spirit’ (Gal.6:25). However the image of fruit growing emphasises that it is the Holy Spirit who works within us to bring about change. He is the one who grows his fruit in our lives.

Fruit such as ‘love, joy, peace or patience’ are realities that God’s Spirit actively grows within his people. Pilgrims want to be sensitive and alert to how the Spirit is working in them – which parts of his fruit is he nurturing at this season? We need to accept that our own insight, strength and effort is inadequate. The Spirit grows his fruit.

While a list of virtues are given in Gal.6:22-23 – the image of ‘fruit’ is singular. It is the fruit of the Spirit – not fruits of the Spirit. This means that all parts of holiness are interconnected. Virtue is an organic unity called love. A Pharisee can be pleased to see evidence of virtue in one area of life, and let that justify overlooking failings elsewhere. Lack of concern for the whole of life evidences lack of the Spirit’s fruit. As John Flavel wrote, ‘He that is partial in mortification is hypocritical in profession.’

When we need more content for our fruit bowl, we can purchase it from a supermarket. Any kind of fruit, from anywhere in the world, is available in an instant. We are used to being able to acquire fruit speedily. But the image of the Spirit growing fruit in us suggests time, seasons, and patience. The gospel message can be understood in a moment; the gospel’s power takes time to have its way in us.

Theologian J.I. Packer summarised the Fruit of the Spirit as ‘Christlikeness of attitude and disposition.’ This rightly draws attention to the fact that the Spirit’s work in us pertains in the first instance to the deep, inner, secret places of the heart. ‘Patience’ is grown by the Spirit and felt in the initial, instinctive, emotional responses to a situation that ordinarily would frustrate. ‘Gentleness’ is not a lick of paint thrown over our behaviour – it flows from a rich fruit that is deep within our attitude. Such changes seem beyond us – and they are. But the Spirit grows his fruit.

Revd Dr Peter Sanlon is rector of Emmanuel Anglican Church, Tunbridge Wells: www.emmanuelanglican.uk

Previous

Next