Today's Foundations Devotional: Is fruit evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit?
But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each
one individually just as He wills.
(1 Corinthians 12:11)
Those who claim that speaking with tongues is not necessarily the evidence of having received the baptism in the Holy Spirit are obliged by logic to suggest some alternative evidence by which we may know, according to Scripture, that a person has received the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
One such alternative evidence which is commonly proposed is that of spiritual fruit. The suggestion is that unless a person demonstrates in his life the fruit of the Holy Spirit in a full way, that person cannot be considered to have received the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
The complete list of the fruit of the Holy Spirit is given by Paul in Galatians 5:22-23.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
This and other passages make it plain that the primary fruit of the Spirit out of which all the rest develop is love. Only a foolish, shallow-minded Christian would ever deny that spiritual fruit in general, and love in particular, are of supreme importance in the life of every Christian. This does not mean, however, that spiritual fruit is the scriptural evidence of having received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. In fact, this test of spiritual fruit must be rejected as contrary to Scripture on two main grounds: 1) it is not the test which the apostles themselves applied; 2) it overlooks the clear, scriptural distinction between a gift and fruit.
Let us consider first the test which the apostles applied in their own experience. When the 120 disciples on the day of Pentecost received the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the outward evidence of speaking with other tongues, Peter did not wait several weeks or months to see whether this experience would produce in his life and in the lives of the other disciples a much greater measure of spiritual fruit than they had previously enjoyed. On the contrary, he stood up the very same hour and said without any doubts or qualifications:
But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: “And it shall come to pass in the last days,” says God, “that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh” (Acts 2:16-17).
What evidence did Peter have for making this statement? Nothing but the fact that they all began to speak with other tongues. No further evidence besides this was required.
Dear Father, thank You for Your continuous work in my life. Thank
You for every new day that is full of Your love and power for me.
Let the fruit of Your Spirit - with love in the first place - in all its
different shades and aspects, become visible in my life. Amen