The Christian is exactly the same with any other man physically/biologically (in flesh and blood). But, spiritually, he is different because he has the Spirit of God. It is not every man that has the privilege of having the Spirit of God. Peter said that the Holy Spirit is the gift for those who repent and are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38). And Paul declares that “if any one does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” (Rom. 8: 9b).
The presence of the Holy Spirit in a Christian shows in the fruit of the Holy Spirit which he bears and in his temperance and control of the sinful nature/life (Rom. 8:9). Here lies the difference between the Christian and non-Christian. Jesus seeks to point out this difference when he rebuked his disciples (sons of thunder) for not knowing “the manner of spirit they are of” (Luke 9:55 NKJV or margin of some other versions). They were trying to call down fire from heaven against their enemies as Elijah did. But the Spirit of Christ should make the difference between them and others.
Gal. 5:16-26 enjoins the Christian to demonstrate the difference of having the Spirit by living by the Spirit. When he lives by the Spirit, he will not gratify the desires of the flesh which are acts of the sinful nature and in conflict with the life of the Spirit. These acts are obvious and listed (Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries and the like). The Christian should rather reflect the Spirit he has in a life of the fruit of the Spirit which is given in nine components (Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control). Paul sees human effort and natural life as works of the flesh, but the Christian life as the “fruit” or product of the Spirit. The fruit describes the motives, attitudes and lifestyle of Jesus Christ.
The conclusion: “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
The Ven. Dr Princewill Onyinyechukwu Ireoba
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.