Praise ye the LORD! May the love of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you and in you! Alleluia!
"((B))rethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
"But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would." (Galatians 5:13-17.)
After Paul gave that exhortation, he listed out many of the "works of the flesh". In addition to several other works, Paul also listed "hatred" (hostility, opposition), "variance" (quarrel, wrangling), "emulations" (jealousy, malice, indignation), "seditions" (disunion, twice-positioned), "heresies" (choice [taken by oneself], party, disunion), and "envyings" (ill-will, jealousy).
In the verses that follow that listing, Paul then says that the "fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance ((which means self-control))". (Galatians 5:22-23b.) Notice that the first "Fruit of the Spirit" is love. Hence Paul's message comes full circle. After all, "Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." (Romans 13:10.) And not only so, but Paul exhorted "Let love be without dissimulation ((which means, Let love be without hypocrisy))." (Romans 12:9a.)
But if many in the Body of Christ are manifesting the "works of the flesh" as some of which was just listed heretofore, how can they be "walking in the Spirit" and manifesting the "Fruit of the Spirit" of which the first Fruit is love? Thus, if that be love at all, is that not love WITH "dissimulation", that is, is that not love WITH hypocrisy?
O how I would that that be not so. Wherefore by love, the "works of the flesh" being manifest by those who would that they not so walk must now be herein revealed. How else can those know their sin and repent thereof? Indeed, I only follow that which Jesus instructed in Matthew 18:15-17:
"Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican."
It is with so great a sorrow that I must tell you that there are so many with whom this is needful for me to do. Yet it is not otherwise possible to do so individually. Hence is this revealed herewith, not for shame but for an opportunity of repentance unto forgiveness. And not only so, but also as an example in instruction when a brother trespass against another.
© April 4, 1996, The Standard Bearer
P.O. Box 765, O.O.B., ME 04064