But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. (Romans 6:21)
Paul is asking this rhetorical question in the majestic section of “The Wages of Sin.” What has sin profited you? What fruit, then, has sin produced?
I’m a lover of art. I saw Caravaggio’s Bacchus in the Uffizi some years ago. Caravaggio’s Bacchus is a decadent painting, becoming more so as one gazes at it. Bacchus was the Roman god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual ecstasy, fertility and so on. Dionysus was the parallel Greek god. Here he is:
How is it decadent, one asks? We see the heavy-lidded youth, the Bacchus, reposing against his dirty sheets, with his own covering having slipped off, exposing his fleshy upper torso. He fingers the opening suggestively. His face appears ruddy, from outdoor farm work in the vineyards, or perhaps more to the point, the florid blush of too much wine. On close inspection, the bowl of fruit shows its over-ripeness. The pears are bruised and browning. The figs are burst and oozing. The peaches are in obvious decay.
Decay, rot, decomposition is the theme of the entire portrait. And anyway, it’s a false god.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Does sin bring the fruit of love?
Does sin bring the fruit of peace?
Does sin bring the fruit of patience?
Does sin bring the fruit of kindness?
Does sin bring the fruit of goodness?
Does sin bring the fruit of faithfulness?
Does sin bring the fruit of gentleness?
Does sin bring the fruit of self-control?
Can you think of any sin which brings any of the good fruit of the Spirit? Does jealousy bring love? Does bitterness bring self-control? Does gossip bring kindness? Does adultery bring peace?
Or does sin’s fruit bring decay, rot, and decomposition? The fruit of love only grows brighter as it ripens. The fruit of sin brings festering putrefaction, flies, and disease. Eventually, death.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23).
Flee from that sin, sister. Resist it, slay it. God has given us His Spirit to aid us in this, and the free gift of eternal life is ours so we can enjoy His Holy self forever.