Knowing Others Through the Fruit of the Spirit: Discernment, Judgment, and Protection

Fruit Of The Spirit Understanding the fruit of the spirit is the only way to know others. Sometimes when Christians address sin such as non-scriptural divorce and homosexuality they are accused of being non-loving and judgmental.


Such statements are only used by those that are unstable, Scripturally ignorant, rebellious, deceived, or those living in sin. Identifying sin and scriptural error are not judging or being judgmental. To judge means to render a decision, form an opinion, and make a determination based on knowledge. People make decisions and determinations every day. They judge what they will wear, say, and do, for example. They are cautious when first meeting strangers and know from experience not everyone is trustworthy. To throw caution to the wind is not wise. Let’s review a few Scriptures regarding judgment and the fruit of the spirit.


The Apostle John taught to try the spirits. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)

There is the Holy Spirit, human spirits, and demonic spirits. Spirits are judged according to what they say and how they act. Our measurement for the truth is the written Word of God, the Bible. According to the Thayer Greek Lexicon, “try” is the Greek word dokimazō meaning:

1.) To test, examine, prove, and scrutinize.

2.) To see whether a thing is genuine or not.

3.) To recognize as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy.

To ignore, condone, and justify sin and sinful behavior is not biblical. To expect a Christian to overlook sin because “God will judge” is wrong. Your leader has the responsibility to feed the sheep and protect the flock from wolves, dogs, goats, foxes, false prophets, evil workers, and the deceived. (Matthew 7:15; Acts 20:29; Philippians 3:2; Matthew 25:32; 2 Timothy 4:14)


Jesus taught us to know people by their fruits.

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits, ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:15-23).


Scripture speaks of the fruit of the spirit. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law" (Galatians 5:22-23).

According to Jesus, the only way to know what’s inside a person is to know them by their fruits. In other words, to know a person requires looking at the fruit of their actions and life. Some trees bear fruit quickly others take more time. The only way to know a person is through fruit inspection.

Again, this requires sound scriptural judgment and examination. Jesus used the word “beware” meaning to use extreme caution because some are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Wolves devour sheep. To protect you Christ taught to look for righteous fruit because “a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” For someone, anyone, to tell you not to judge protects wolves and puts you in extreme danger.{module Spiritual Discernment Strategies Value Kit}


Here are some common sayings used to stop Christians from addressing sin and sinful behavior:

“God is the judge.”

“Christians are the only ones that kill their wounded.”

“The spiritual are called to restore.”

Let’s examine these sayings.

“God is the judge.”

Yes, God is the judge and only He can make the final decision of one’s’ salvation. As already said however you are called to “try the spirits” and “know them by their fruits.” There are many scriptures requiring you to discern between good and evil, and truth and deception. Scripture says, for example, “Prove all things, hold fast to that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

To deflect life-giving correction by saying God is the judge does a disservice to the very ones that need to hear the scriptural truth. God said, “ Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful” (Psalm 1:1). When someone tells you that God is the judge, they are guarding sinners.

“Christians are the only ones that kill their wounded.”

This is a religious, humanistic, and unbiblical saying that is found nowhere in Scripture. The assumption is the “wounded” has the right to continue in sin without correction. It also tries to bind the person that wants to share scriptural truth necessary to set a person free. Speaking the truth in love to one that is living in sin, deception, and error is not killing the wounded. It is an expression of love.

“The spiritual are called to restore.”

Scripture says, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted” (Galatians 6:10). When a Brother or Sister falls through sin, there is a pattern for scriptural restoration. That pattern, however, requires repentance. To restore the unrepentant is not biblical. Without repentance of sin, there is no foundation for reconciliation and restoration. It is godly sorrow that leads to repentance. Scripture says, “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death” (2 Corinthians 7:10).

Again, to judge means to render a decision, form an opinion, and make a determination based on knowledge. Identifying sin and scriptural error are not judging or being judgmental. To “try the spirits” and “to known them by their fruits” is the biblical approach for determining those that are truly “in the faith.” Next time someone tells you not to judge when addressing sin or sinful behavior remember this scripture, "But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man" 1 Corinthians 2:15).

Your partner,

(c) Apostle Jonas Clark








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