II. THE FRUIT OF CHRISTIAN VIRTUES
[According to the Bible and according to our experience, this life produces two categories of fruit. Second Peter 1 and Galatians 5 show the first category. The first category of fruit is the category of Christian virtues. Second Peter tells us that we all have been “allotted like precious faith’’ (1:1).] [God has allotted Himself to be our portion within us as our faith. Then if we are diligent to supply virtue to faith, knowledge to virtue, self-control to knowledge, endurance to self-control, godliness to endurance, and brotherly love to godliness, we will reach God Himself as the very substance of the divine love. The issue of faith as the seed of life growing within us to its full development is that God and we become one entity. Divinity is mingled with humanity to constitute us into God-men.
All of these virtues in 2 Peter 1 are a kind of fruit (2 Pet. 1:8). If we express these virtues day after day, this means that we are very fruitful. Day after day in our daily walk we should bear such fruit. Otherwise, people will not be able to see faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, brotherly love, or the divine love in us. Then we will be barren, unfruitful, in these virtues. If we live by taking Christ as our life, we will bear the fruit of Christian virtues day after day. The virtues in 2 Peter 1 are actually God’s attributes. God is faith, God is love, and God is all of our Christian virtues. God’s attributes, or characteristics, become our supply in different aspects. When these divine attributes are expressed through us and by us in our daily walk, they become our virtues. These Christian virtues have been filled up with God’s attributes. The divine attributes expressed in our human virtues are the Christian virtues, which are the fruit in our character.
Galatians 5 is another portion of the Word that tells us about this kind of fruit. Verse 16 says that we have to walk by the Spirit so that we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. The Spirit and the flesh are fighting against each other all day long. If we walk by the Spirit, we will bear the fruit of the Spirit, such as love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control (vv. 22-23). The fruit of the Spirit is also the divine virtues.
In Galatians 5 Paul talked from another angle about the same thing as Peter did. In 2 Peter the divine power, the life power, has given us all things relating to life and godliness (1:3). This divine power is just God Himself, the divine Being, the divine life. Every kind of life has its own power. God is divine, and His life is divine. He is almighty and all-powerful, and He is now within us as our life. Paul did not mention anything about the power of the divine life in Galatians 5, but he referred us to the very Holy Spirit. He said that it is by the Spirit that we can produce the fruit of Christian virtues.
On the one hand, the divine life as power gives us the energy to carry out all the beauties of the divine life, the virtues. On the other hand, it is the Holy Spirit by whom we can bear all the spiritual fruit. Actually, the Holy Spirit is the divine power. The Holy Spirit refers to a Person. The divine power is a kind of energy. The Person is the energy. We have to walk by the Holy Spirit as a Person. When we walk by this Person, He becomes our energy, the divine power. When we eat a good breakfast, this breakfast becomes the energy within us to energize us during the day, giving us the strength to do things. We Christians have a divine energy within us that energizes us all day long. This energy is actually a Person, the very Triune God consummated to be the all-inclusive Spirit within us. By this Person we can live a life full of virtues, which are the fruit that we bear every day.]
(Lesson Book, Level 4: Life—Knowing and Experiencing Life, Chapter 17, by Witness Lee)