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Fruit vs. the Gifts of the Holy Spirit: What’s the Difference?

The primary difference between the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit is found in the purpose of each gift and fruit, and the way in which we receive them. The fruit of the Spirit is God’s divine character manifesting through us, while the gifts of the Spirit are God’s divine power operating through us.

Both are a manifestation of His Spirit operating in our lives but they each have different purposes and different ways in which we receive them.

Purpose of the Fruit & How we receive it

We receive the fruit of the Spirit by becoming a new creation in Christ, by repenting of our sins, believing in the Lord Jesus, and obeying Him by getting baptized.

When we do this we become “born-again” and God’s Spirit comes into us (John 3:3-5 & 1 Corinthians 6:19), gives us a new heart, and begins to write His law on our hearts (Ezekiel 11:19 & Jeremiah 31:33).

We are no longer born into Adam and the old nature that is corrupted with lust, but now we are born of Christ with a brand new nature that is recreated according to His likeness (Colossians 3:9-10).

Once this takes place, we are free to bear the fruits of the Spirit, and not bear the lusts of the flesh. Before, it was impossible to consistently be fulfilling love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control without a fleshly manifestation interrupting.

But what was impossible according to the flesh is now possible with God, so long as we continue in fellowship with Him and live by faith. (Related article: How to Develop/Grow/Bear/Cultivate/Have the Fruit of the Spirit).

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Now the purpose of the fruit of the Spirit is to consume the believer with the virtues of Heaven to replace the sinful nature of fallen man. [Related article: What is the Purpose of the Fruits of the Spirit? (Explained)].

Every fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5 is a character trait of the Spirit of God. That is why they are called “the fruit of the Spirit.” So when the fruits begin to take place in our lives it simply means that Holy Spirit is allowed to manifest Himself through us. In other words, it is His work in us bearing the fruit, all we simply do is yield to Him through relationship and faith.

This process is what the Bible calls “sanctification,” and sanctification is a big word for “the process of God making us holy.”

We have to remember that God made us to be holy when He first created us in the Garden of Eden. That’s why we were created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27). So when we repent and come to Christ, He begins to bring us back to that original intention that He always had since the beginning – that we would look like Him.

And the Father does this through the Holy Spirit who lives inside of us.

So, in short, the purpose of the fruit of the Spirit is to manifest in our lives so that we are able to bear the image of God to the world around us. However, this can only take place as we yield to Him through fellowship.

Purpose of the Gifts & How we receive them

We receive the gifts of the Spirit by receiving the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a separate experience from salvation that is meant to endue the Believer with the power to be a witness. And this is done by Jesus completing immersing (baptizing) the believer into the Holy Spirit.

Jesus revealed to the apostles, after He rose from the grave, the purpose of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. He said,

“John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now…But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:5 & 8)

Notice Jesus said that we would receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon us. And in the very next chapter, the apostles revealed that this same experience that Jesus was talking about wasn’t just for the apostles but for everyone who believes and follows the Lord (Acts 2:38-39).

So what is this power that Jesus was referring to?

Well, it was the power to heal the sick, cast out demons, raise the dead, prophecy, receive words of knowledge and wisdom, etc.

How do I know this?

Because in the Gospels when Jesus gave His disciples power to be a witness for Him they received these abilities.

“And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.(Matthew 10:1)

“After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go…“And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.'” (Luke 10:1 & 9)

So now that He has risen from the grave why would it be any different? Especially since we know that He is the same for all eternity and since we also know that He commissioned us to go and be witnesses, and perform signs wonders, and miracles in His name.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).

“And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. (Mark 16:17-18)

We have been given the same commission as the 12 and the 70, with the same power to do so!

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The purpose of the gifts of the Spirit are not meant to be badges of honor we wear at our prayer meetings, they are simply the tools for the job.

We all have the same commission – preach the Gospel and make disciples. And we all have received the same power to do so – the Holy Spirit resting upon us ready to confirm the word that we preach (Mark 16:20).

[Some more articles on the Gifts of the Spirit: Are The Gifts Of The Holy Spirit For Today? (Objections Answered), Are the Gifts of the Holy Spirit for Everyone? (Explained), When Do We Receive the Gifts of the Holy Spirit? (Explained)].

How do they correspond with one another?

The primary similarity between the fruits of the Spirit and the Gifts of the Spirit is that they are both a manifestation of the Spirit of God who is within us, and they both require our yielding to Him to allow them to manifest in our lives.

As mentioned previously, the fruit in Galatians 5:22-23 is called the “fruit of the Spirit” because they are simply a manifestation of who He is.

Similarly, the gifts of the Spirit are called the “manifestation of the Spirit” in 1 Corinthians 12:7.

So both the fruits and the gifts are a representation of who He is, and the operation of His Spirit through us.

And both require us to be constantly yielding to Him to allow Him to have His way through us. The more we yield, the more He manifests Himself. This is the primary way that they correspond with one another.

I hope you enjoyed the article and that it assisted you in your walk with God.

If you want to read more about the fruit of the Spirit, you can do so by clicking on one of the titles below.

What are the 9 Fruits of the Spirit? (and their Meanings) 

How to Receive the Fruit of the Spirit (+ Why they’re Important)

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