You can hear it from the Pulpit of countless churches now “If you are saved you must see the fruits of the spirit actualized in your life” with the implication that is must be clear, continuous and now. It is also heard as church lobby chit chat about whether so and so is a real believer since they haven’t been behaving very well. They are clearly not demonstrating the fruits of the Spirit in a proper (as the speaker sees it) ‘Christian’ manner or not consistently. You have surely heard this in one form or another, right? I have, and for reason that will become clear, it makes steam come out of my ears…
These scenarios naturally lead believers (especially new ones) to ask themselves whether they are truly saved, assuming that they occasionally do not behave as a the perfect believer or they do not at times overtly show the fruits of the spirit particularly prominently.
This is well and clearly addressed in the Canons of Dordt. Remember those? No? Well since they form the foundation and effect virtually all Reformed confessions, you should. However, let us not digress on that for now.
First Head of Doctrine: Divine Election and Reprobation
“Article of faith 12: The Assurance of Election
Assurance of this their eternal and unchangeable election to salvation is given to the chosen in due time, though by various stages and in differing measure. Such assurance comes not by inquisitive searching into the hidden and deep things of God, but by noticing within themselves, with spiritual joy and holy delight, the unmistakable fruits of election pointed out in God’s Word–such as a true faith in Christ, a childlike fear of God, a godly sorrow for their sins, a hunger and thirst for righteousness, and so on.”
And in Scripture we have (as one example of many) in Romans 10:9 ”if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved”
As the Canons imply, the fruits of Spirit do not even enter the equation as more than a side effect, a significant one admittedly, but not a determinant one for salvation.
You were saved by the Gospel message (Romans 10:9 and others). Your knowledge in your own heart of your belief in that message, and thereby belief in Christ, is salvation. All else is after the fact.
To preach otherwise is IMO to do the people of God a great dis-service and produce in those that might buy into it, unnecessary angst and worry. Hence the steam from my ears.