If a non-Christian person produces all the fruits of the holy spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23, does he/she have the holy spirit?

Forgive the uncharitable response to the above question, but while the query is likely sincere it is also specious. Why? Because it asks for human minds to deliver an expert opinion on a subject that is, as the saying goes, “way above their pay grade.”

We are told in confidence, and with confidence, that the Holy Spirit bears fruit among Christians, as a blessing. The blessing pertains to the individual whose fruits are holy. Now let us encounter someone who says nothing about Christ, Salvation, forgiveness or grace – we presume a’ priori that the individual either isn’t Christian, or at least is disguising the possibility. Further, postulate that the effect this person is having on the world looks exactly like holy fruits.

But, holy fruits draw people to Christ. That is the definition of “bearing fruit,” at least as laid out in the parable of the sower – from the English Standard Version, Matthew 13:8 – “Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

In short, doing charitable works, volunteering at homeless shelters, feeding the hungry, giving to Doctors Without Borders, and a thousand other recognizably “good” deeds are fruitful, but in no way connect to “the fruits of the holy spirit.”

Other holy fruits are bonhomie, charity, etc. as one relates to others – but in a non-Christian context, it’s easier to think of the parable of the talents where the poor fellow given only one talent doesn’t invest it at all, but buries it in the ground until the master returns. One of the master’s salient points is, “Don’t you know that I reap where I do not sow?” To me this means that GOD brings good (i.e. reaps) from all kinds of acts, many of which are only ancillary to the perfection of the world He made.

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