they must be separate from this type of people. There is no room in the lives of Christians to be associated with them. He says: “Therefore do not become partners with them; for you were once darkness, but you are now light in connection with the Lord. Go on walking as children of light, for the fruitage of the light consists of every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.” (Eph. 5:7-9) Right, decent, respectable living, that is goodness. Even in this evil, degenerate world it is a necessary fruitage of the spirit, says Paul.
17 Goodness is a quality that must be guarded, and certainly it must be the goal of one who is dedicating his life to Jehovah’s service. Before anyone can be called a Christian he must put away shameful conduct. If we are going to produce within ourselves the fruits of the spirit and qualify ourselves for living in God’s new world, then we certainly must have this fruitage of the spirit, goodness.
18. What are Paul’s words in defining faith, and how necessary does he show faith to be for a person?
18 “Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities though not beheld.” (Heb. 11:1) That is the way Paul defined faith. A Christian cannot be without faith, because “without faith it is impossible to win his good pleasure, for he that approaches God must believe that he is and that he becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him.” (Heb. 11:6) The disciple James showed his faith, and he pointed out that faith must be backed up with works. (Jas. 2:26) If one believes in Jehovah God, Christ Jesus and his kingdom, then he will prove his belief by what he says, by what he does, by the way he lives.
19. (a) What is closely allied with faith? (b) Who are examples of faith and works in action?
19 A man’s faith can die, or become weak. Many individuals who at one time believed in Jesus Christ as the Redeemer and Savior of mankind have fallen away. They have turned to evolution. They reject the Bible. And still, such people call themselves Christians and go to Christendom’s churches. James would say to them: “Thus, too, faith, if it does not have works, is dead in itself.” (Jas. 2:17) Faith is expressive. It makes proclamation. Paul said: “For with the heart one exercises faith for righteousness, but with the mouth one makes public declaration for salvation.” (Rom. 10:10) One’s faith becomes stronger when he uses his heart, mind and mouth in making a public declaration of his belief in God’s kingdom as man’s only hope. Jesus said: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for the purpose of a witness to all the nations, and then the accomplished end will come.” (Matt. 24:14) This is being done today not only by a remnant of the “little flock” who have faith and whom Jesus began gathering nineteen hundred years ago, but also by a “great crowd” of people from all nations who have the same kind of faith. Because of this faith on the part of the many Christian people great works have been done in these very troublesome days.
20. (a) How did Jesus show that mildness is not weakness? (b) What were Paul’s words in this connection?
20 Mildness is sometimes misunderstood for weakness. When one reads the life of Christ as told by the writers of the four Gospels he sees Jesus as a mild-tempered man. But be sure to read the 23rd chapter of Matthew and see Jesus as a forceful denouncer of wickedness. He was fearless. He had perfect love, and such love throws fear outside. With those who wanted to learn he was amiably gentle, tempered in his feelings and behavior toward all. Because of his mildness Jesus was able to teach people. He told them: “Become my disciples, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for your souls.” (Matt. 11:29) They put confidence in him. They did not become afraid when Jesus spoke plain truth, because he did it in love. They were ready to listen. Paul knew the value of mildness and said to Timothy: “A slave of the Lord does not need to fight.” Fighting is not the way to help one gain the truth. Paul went on to say: The Lord’s slave “needs to be tactful toward all, qualified to teach, keeping himself restrained under evil, instructing with mildness those not favorably disposed.” (2 Tim. 2:24, 25) The Word of God properly stated is what makes a person repent, not force.
21. (a) Has the history of the Catholic church shown it to be a mild-tempered organization, and why do you so answer? (b) How is true Christianity different in this respect?
21 What a different course the Roman Catholic Hierarchy, which still wields great power in the world today, took during the years of the Inquisition. That false religious body can never live down its history of torture, putting men and women on the rack, tearing their limbs out of their bodies, hanging persons by their thumbs. These inquisitors professing to be Christians—yes, priests, who arranged for Jews, Moors and “heretics” to suffer excruciating pain—certainly did not have a mild spirit. These religious leaders fought to drive people into the Roman Catholic Church. What have they accomplished by their wars and tortures? A world of peace and unity? No! False religion has been driving people away from God with its wars and crusades. Christianity will never be brought about by the use of carnal weapons. If anyone accepts the truth it will be because the minister is mild and patient toward those not favorably disposed toward the Bible message. Jesus used that method, and so did the apostles. True Christians today must use the same method. Mildness is a fruitage of God’s holy spirit, and its use brings lasting results in declaring God’s kingdom.
22. (a) To what extent does self-control govern a Christian’s life? (b) With what kind of people are those lacking self-control classified?
22 Self-control is hard for imperfect men to practice. Why make excuses? Try to exercise it. It is one of the fruits of the spirit. So it must be attainable. To have self-control means to be able to control oneself, one’s actions, words, eating and drinking habits, yes, one’s feelings. In Paul’s eyes one not able to have some self-control gets classified with a rather despicable crowd of people. Those having no self-control he classes with very disreputable individuals who the Bible says would be prevalent in the last days. In writing to Timothy he said: “But know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self-assuming, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, without gratitude, with no loving-kindness, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness.” (2 Tim. 3:1-3) Why be classed with such delinquents because of lack of self-control? Solomon wrote: “All his spirit is what a stupid one lets out, but he that is wise keeps it calm to the last.” (Prov. 29:11) If a Christian has no self-control, or loses what he has, how easy for him to slip back to the ways of the flesh and be disqualified so as not to inherit the blessings of God’s kingdom! How foolish, then, not to strive to produce this fruitage too, namely, self-control! One shows love if he has self-control.
23. To build ourselves up and to remain in God’s building work what must we do?
23 All these fruitages of the spirit Paul contrasts with the works of the flesh. A change must take place when a believer dedicates himself to do the will of God. No longer can he act as the world does, but “those who belong to Christ Jesus impale the flesh together with its passions and its desires.” (Gal. 5:24) There must be a change, a building up of the individual. “If we are living by spirit, let us go on walking orderly also by spirit. Let us not become egotistical, stirring up competition with one another, envying one another.” (Gal. 5:25, 26) Bringing forth the fruitage of the spirit qualifies one to be in Jehovah’s New World society. So ‘paying constant attention to yourself and to your teaching’ does something for you. You will save both yourself and those who listen to you.” (1 Tim. 4:16) Build yourself up by paying attention to your fruitage of the spirit, and at the same time help in making Jehovah’s New World society grow. Christians must be at unity with one another, showing oneness “like a flock in the pen, like a drove in the midst of its pasture.” Feed with Jehovah’s sheep and keep at unity, for “in the house of the righteous one there is an abundant store, but in the produce of the wicked one there is troublesomeness.”—Prov. 15:6.
Apply Your Hearts
1. What results from the free giving of God’s Word, and what reward does it bring?
WHEN one keeps the Word of God first in his mind then he is going to gather a good treasure. Working continually with the Word of God brings great gain and increases one’s treasure. No matter how much of this treasure one gives away, by word of mouth or the printed page, the treasure itself becomes greater. Moses was well aware of this fact. Just before the children of Israel were to cross the Jordan into the Promised Land he said to the Israelites under inspiration: “Apply your hearts to all the words that I am speaking in warning to you today. . . . For it is no valueless word for you, but it means your life, and by this word you may lengthen your days upon the soil to which you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of it.”—Deut. 32:45-47.
2. Where are the words of life found today, and what part does one’s heart play in bringing forth a good treasure?
2 Jehovah’s words carry valuable information, and, in fact, they are words of life. It means great wealth, a treasure, to heed them. The individual who applies his heart to all the words that Jehovah speaks is the individual who will be doing the will of God. He is the one that will bring forth good treasure during his life and he will be a blessing to other people. Jesus said: “A good man brings forth good out of the good treasure of his heart, . . . for out of the heart’s abundance his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45) How necessary, then, to apply our hearts to God’s Word so as to have this good treasure! This good treasure is the Word of God.
3, 4. (a) What miracle of Jesus shows the benefit of giving freely? (b) By constant giving what chance is there of our losing our treasure?
3 The marvelous thing about doing good to others is the fact that goodness always replenishes itself. As we let the truth in