Christ said in Matthew 9:13 and 12:7 “But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy not sacrifice” Jesus is quoting Hosea 6:6 “For I desire mercy not sacrifice and acknowledgment of GOD rather than burnt offerings.” I somehow feel I understood what Jesus is trying to say. You will learn why GOD actually desires fruit more than gifts, the process of bearing fruits and life lessons and warning from Biblical characters from whom GOD rejected gifts due to failure of fruit production. With this I would also recommend you to read BookIII Chapter 25-26 from the Confessions of Saint Augustine which will help you to understand GOD preferring Fruits over the Gifts.
This statement of Jesus clearly favors Fruits over Gifts
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:22-23)
The above passage must warn us about the use of gifts of Spirit does not mean Christians are spiritual because “Call and Gifts of God are irrevocable.” Romans11:29. Matthew 7:15-21 is another great passage for Gifts vs Fruits which can be summarized “The spiritually gifted person lacking fruits becomes nothing more than wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
By this time we as Christians are somehow familiar with Gifts of the Spirit explained by self-claimed apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 12 and Fruits of Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 although Peter has explained about them in his letters too. Ancient non-Christian Chinese scholar Confucious explains about five of the virtues as fruits of Spirit to lead good lives.
Even Demons have gifts but they lack fruit of righteousness
Satan along with demons and humans are all bestowed with gifts and calling with purpose. We might be wondered by miracles, teaching and great signs being performed by unrighteous, hypocrites, worldly and demonic people, which is natural because everyone has been gifted. But what they lack is the fruit of righteousness. That’s why it’s no wonder for the existence of false religion in the world.
GOD rejected sacrifice without fruit of obedience and love
Let us remember 1 Samuel 15 when GOD regrets for appointing King Saul to rule Israel because he disobeyed GOD by securing fat lambs, calve, goats and sheep flock to sacrifice by not killing Amalekite King Agag. GOD lamented “Saul has turned away from me.”
Then 1 Samuel 15: 22 reveals epic life lesson for all the mankind while decreeing GOD’s judgement to Saul, “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as obeying GOD? To obey is better than sacrifice and to heed is better than fat of rams.”
Even before this firing incident, Saul had disobeyed GOD by sacrificing in 1 Samuel 13 where he was said that his rule will be only for temporary. Hence Saul was forewarned of his sacrificing habits lacking fruit of obedience that was fatal leading evil spirit possession and death. And even after evil spirit possessed Saul never stopped prophesying in 1 Samuel 18:10, 19:23-24. People were confused asking, “Is Saul also among prophets.”Yes he prophesied but had no fruit.
So Saul was gifted and called person but he lacked fruit so he perished. It was the same with disobedient Cain and Balaam who sacrificed without fruit of obedience and love.
The process of bearing fruit
Jesus has clearly explained the process of bearing fruits in parable of sowing seeds in Matthew 13, Mark 4 and Luke 8 that could not be understood unless explained. The seed sown in rocky land, human pathways and thorny bushes suffered and remained fruitless except the fruitful seeds sown in fertile soil. Thanks to his 12 Apostles who asked the explanations to understand the difficult parable and Jesus explains the reasons for fruitful seed in fertile soil in combination of Matthew, Mark and Luke, “ But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone with noble hearts who hears the word and understands it, retains it by persevering to produce 30,60,100 fold fruits.”
A person must have noble heart to read and hear GOD’s WORD by understanding with spiritual revelations to grow in faith. They must store read, heard and understood WORDs in their mind, spirit and soul by persevering to obey it amid various test, trials, tribulations and worldly care. After all this has taken places slowly the person will start bearing the fruits of WORD (Spirit).
James1:1-18 tells the test of faith with trials produces rewarding Godly character out of WORD reminding us that GOD will never change his minds regarding our call and gifts.
To understand more on Gifts vs Fruits on the basis of the revelations I recommend you to read 1 Corinthans 13 Fruit of LOVE which Paul exalts above gifts of Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12.
Finally let this be your memory verse “Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account” Phillipians 4:17 KJV “Not that I seek the matanah(gift), but I seek the pri(fruit) increasing to your account” Phillipians 4:17 OJB
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