Believers are, or should be, familiar with the Fruit of the Spirit, from Galatians 5, and the Beatitudes, from Matthew 5. Both are excellent examples for life in Messiah. But are they related, connected together, somehow?
[This concept is from something I read or heard some time back; don’t remember who or where. The bulk of this writing, however, is from my own study.]
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Paul, we can be sure, received this truth from the Holy Spirit Himself (the Holy Spirit is a personality, a member of the triune Godhead; He is not an “it” or a “force”. In fact, it is perhaps more personable to simply call Him “Holy Spirit,” without “the.” This gives Him a name, rather than a title.)
We know that Paul, later in his ministry for Yeshua (Jesus), met a few times with at least some of the original apostles and the first Messianic leaders in Jerusalem – Peter, Jacob (James) the half-brother of Yeshua, and John (Galatians 2:9); also the ekklesia (ek-klay-see’-ah, congregation) at Jerusalem, including the apostles and the elders (Acts 15:4). It is unlikely that Paul ever read any of the Gospels (if any were available yet during his life), except perhaps Luke, as Luke was a partner in ministry with Paul. We do know that Peter had read “all of Paul’s writings” (2 Peter 3:15-16).
We will also note that the name change from Saul to Paul in the book of Acts had nothing to do with his “conversion” (see below in this paragraph, and following paragraph). He did NOT change from Saul the angry Jewish Pharisee to Paul the happy Christian. Acts 13:9 tells us he was “Saul, who was also called Paul.” Sha’ul/Saul was his Hebraic birth name; yet being born a Roman citizen (Acts 22:28), he also had a Gentile Roman name. David Stern, in his Jewish New Testament Commentary, points out that Paul was his Roman name, and from this verse on (except for Acts 22:7 & 13, and 26:14, where he recounts his encounter with the Lord) he is called Paul, “undoubtably because his ministry was primarily among Gentiles.” When Paul traveled, he always met first with the Jewish believers in certain cities; many accepted his message, but a larger group did not. Much like today. Then he would turn to ministering to the Gentiles. The thing to remember is that Paul never repudiated his Jewishness; in fact, later in his ministry he called himself a Pharisee – (Acts 23:6b) “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.” The Pharisees believed that also. They just had trouble grasping Yeshua as Messiah; a lot of false messiahs had arisen during that era, and their “duty” was to inspect the teachings of each of them.
A believer should not be in the habit of mocking the Pharisees of Yeshua’s time, nor of calling someone a Pharisee in mockery of their beliefs or actions. The Jewish Talmud itself notes that there were seven types of Pharisees, six were mostly faithless and selfish to one degree or another; the seventh type was one who loved God. Saul/Paul was within the seventh group, especially following his acceptance of Yeshua/Jesus as his Messiah and Lord.
When Yeshua argued with the Pharisees, it was generally an “internal” debate, as He was desiring to straighten out some things that they had been getting wrong in their understanding and teaching of Torah. Many did hate Him, but there were others who chose to follow him, albeit in secret at first, such as Nicodemus, who was also a Pharisee. The Pharisees are the sect of Judaism who most carefully preserved the Tanakh, the Old Testament. A Jewish believer does not, probably should not, have a need to “convert” to Christianity. The root of Christianity is Messianic Judaism; Jewish believers in particular should remain Jewish while at the same time serving/worshiping Yeshua/Jesus as their Messiah and Lord. To believe otherwise, I’m sorry to say, smacks of anti-Semitism. Gentile believers can gain a world of wisdom when the New Testament is understood “through Hebrew eyes,” that is, when an understanding of the Hebraic roots is incorporated into Bible study.
That being said, here’s an example of how Holy Spirit works. The Galatians fruit (no “s,” not plural) of the Spirit lines up perfectly with the words of Yeshua in Matthew 5:3-11, commonly known as The Beatitudes.
Matthew 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Here we connect to the first fruit, love. “Poor in spirit” is the opposite of prideful. Where pride has been broken down, love can reign. Psalm 51:19(17) says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Being poor in spirit denotes utter spiritual destitution. When one has hit rock bottom, that is a starting point for love, the extremely caring love of God, to move in, often through the caring words and/or actions of a believer. When we are surrounded by His love, we can say, as David the Psalmist said, “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you” (Psalm 63:3).
Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” The JFB Commentary says that the mourning as spoken of in this verse “is that entire feeling which the sense of our spiritual poverty begets; and so the second beatitude is but the complement of the first.” The fruit here is joy. This is a comforting fruit. When one is comforted, physically, mentally, spiritually, by turning their mourning over to God, then one can realize a deep feeling of joy. Psalm 126:5 says, “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!”
Matthew 5:5 “Blessed are the gentle [the meek], for they shall inherit the earth.” Peace is the fruit for this verse. This verse is pretty much a quote of Psalm 37:11, “But the meek will inherit the land, and delight in abundant shalom.” A meek, or gentle, person is a mild, humble person, a person of peace. They exude peace wherever they go. As we will also seen down in Matthew 5:10, our Master Yeshua was a meek and gentle man. Paul says so in 1 Corinthians 10:1, “I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ….” Yeshua said of Himself in Matthew 11:29a, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart.” In John 14:27a, Yeshua told His disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.”
Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Patience is the fruit found here. Hunger and thirst develop over time to greater degrees. True holy righteousness is something that one is not given until one seeks for such. Sometimes our Lord will not release something good to us until we have been tested. Oswald Chambers said that “God gives us a vision, and then He takes us down to the valley to batter us into the shape of that vision… Every God-given vision will become real if we will only have patience… But don’t lose heart in the process. If you have ever had a vision from God, you may try as you will to be satisfied on a lower level, but God will never allow it” (My Utmost for His Highest, July 6). Ecclesiastes 7:8 (NASB): “The end of a matter is better than its beginning; patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit.” When our hunger and thirst for righteousness is completed through patience, then we will be satisfied.
Matthew 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” Kindness is the fruit connected here. Mercy is compassion, compassion is kindness. Those who have been broken and have become aware of their need for help, for a savior (Yeshua/Jesus), and have received mercy, compassion, and kindness from someone (hopefully in the name of the Lord), are the ones who then later on are very capable of giving great mercy, compassion, and kindness to others. Young’s Literal Translation words this verse as, “Happy the kind—because they shall find kindness.” The greatest benefit of kindness? Romans 2:4b states that “God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance.”
Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” We see the fruit of goodness here. Psalm 24:3-4: “Who may go up to the mountain of Adonai? Who can stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.” Matthew 5:8 echoes the praises of David in Psalm 23:6, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Goodness is equated with God; it has actually become a circumlocution, a substitution, for saying God: “For goodness’ sake!” In Exodus 33:18-19, in a conversation between Moses and God, we read, “Moses said, ‘Please show me your glory.’ And [God] said, ‘I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name “The LORD.” And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.’”
Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Faithfulness is our fruit companion to this verse. Only the faithfulness of standing by our God can cause a person to be a true peacemaker, one who seeks to promote true Godly peace among people. Psalm 34:12-14 asks us, “What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” Proverbs 16:6: “By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the LORD one turns away from evil.” Moses, while reciting/singing The Song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32, declared in verse 4 about God: “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.” His ways are just – He is the ultimate peacemaker.
Matthew 5:10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Gentleness is our fruit here. To be gentle does not mean to be weak. As we saw above in verse 5, our Lord was a gentle man, and yes, a gentleman. Following is an example of living this beatitude, as Yeshua is our prime example to follow. Isaiah 53:7: “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.” He could have called on all of the angels of heaven to rescue Himself, but He did not. Yeshua’s great-great-… grandfather David was a worshiper of God. During one of David’s times of worship, as related in 2 Samuel 22:36, which is also repeated as Psalm 18, he said these words to his Master, his God: “You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your gentleness made me great.” David endured much persecution for righteousness’ sake during his lifetime – from King Saul, to his own son Absalom, and much in-between – and yet he always worshiped, and he was made great by the gentleness of God.
Matthew 5:11“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.” Self-control is the final fruit for the final beatitude. Our Master Yeshua showed ultimate self-control as He was accused by His Jewish brethren in the kangaroo court of Caiaphas, when He was grilled by Pilate, when He was abused and horribly beaten by the Roman soldiers, when He was nailed to the cross. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” How could there be more self-control than that? 1 Peter 2:23 gives us another look at that amazing self-control: “When he [Yeshua] was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly [his heavenly Father].”
Matthew 5:12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Not an actual beatitude, but this verse sort of wraps up that section of the Sermon on the Mount. We can perhaps relate it to the line that wraps up the fruit of the Spirit, from Galatians 5:23b: “against such things there is no law.” Those who walk by the Spirit can rejoice and be glad (there’s no law against that), for our reward is great in [from] heaven; we too will receive persecution to one degree or another.
I like how The Message Bible words these two verses (Matthew 5:11-12): “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.”
The companion verses to Matthew 5:11-12 are found in Luke 6:22-23: “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.” Here, Yeshua tells us that whatever we have to go through, we are to “Rejoice… and leap for joy!” Have you ever considered leaping for joy when you are persecuted in His name? May Holy Spirit grace us to do so, for whatever many of us have faced so far in life may some day come in greater degrees, unless the Lord calls us home before such a time.
As we saw in the first beatitude above, in Matthew 5:3, “Poor in spirit” is the opposite of prideful. Where pride has been broken down, love can reign. Paul said that love is the greatest thing. From that, we should be able to conclude that humility is the key behavior in the beatitudes, being the opposite of pride. The beatitudes are not intended to be thought of as situations that occur in steps to a believer. In fact, a believer could experience each one, or several, at the same time.
Since Yeshua taught in the Hebrew language, or the related Aramaic, but not in Greek, the foundation of the Beatitudes is Hebraic thought. That is, His words are grounded on the rock of the Hebrew language of Torah and the teachings therein.
There are no verbs in the initial phrase of each beatitude in the Greek. In other words, to say, “Blessed are…” is actually grammatically incorrect, and is a translator’s addition, hoping to increase understanding. Also, each individual beatitude is NOT a conditional statement, but is rather a present reality, and should be read with exclamation marks. The Greek word translated “blessed” is mak-ar’-ee-os, which means, “supremely blest, fortunate, well off.” The Hebrew comparative word would be ash-ray, which means, “how happy!” Thus: “How happy the poor in spirit! How happy those who mourn! How happy the meek!” etc.
If we will live by the words of the beatitudes and the fruit of the Spirit, then we will walk by the Spirit, and we will be “happy, blessed,” and can rejoice in our day to day experiences of life. Strong’s definition for rejoice is, “to be full of ‘cheer.’” Got your leapin’ shoes on?