Gal 5:22-24 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”
In the nineteenth verse of this chapter, Paul has described the works (plural) of the flesh. We often hear verse twenty-two referred to as the fruits (also plural) of the Spirit. While this is common, it is not correct. Paul is not writing to us about a plurality of fruit where the Spirit is concerned.
The fruit of the Spirit is singular in nature. There are nine segments that come together to make the fruit of the Spirit. When we peel an orange there are several distinct segments, but we do not say we are eating oranges. We are only partaking of the segments of an orange; one singular fruit.
Note the definitive way in which Paul speaks of the fruit of the Spirit. He does not talk about what it ought to be. He does not tell us this is what God would like for our fruit to look like. He tells us, straightforwardly, that this is what the fruit of the Spirit is.
The fruit of the Spirit is love. According to Strong’s this is “love, that is, affection or benevolence; specifically (plural) a love feast: – (feast of) charity ([-ably]), dear, love.” The Greek word is “agape” and refers to an elevated state of love as opposed to the Greek word “agapao” which means “to love (in a social or moral sense): – (be-) love (-ed).” Love is listed first and all the other “segments” are connected to it. When we experience the love of God, joy (“calm delight” – Strong’s definition of the word translated as joy) is ours. There is no greater delight for the child of God than to be blessed to understand that God loves us.
Peace (Strong’s says the implication is “prosperity”), longsuffering (“patience”), gentleness (“excellence or usefulness”), goodness (“virtue”), faith (“reliance upon Christ for salvation”), meekness (“humility”), and temperance (“self-control”); these are all the fruit of the Spirit. When we are blessed to manifest any one of these attributes here in His kingdom, we are in possession of all these attributes. The fruit of the Spirit is produced by the Spirit and not as a result of anything that we have done. When we are blessed to bear the fruit of the Spirit, it is evidence that we are Christ’s.
Being Christ’s, we no longer need the schoolmaster of the law. There is no law that is opposed to or supersedes the fruit of the Spirit. Paul is giving assurance to us that we have, by His grace, been brought beyond a legal service. We have moved from a service of “because the law says so” to a service of “this is my heart’s desire.” As a result of the evidence that we are Christ’s, our carnal nature has been subdued (see Strong’s definition of “crucified” as used here). The influence and desire of our Adamic nature have been brought under subjection to Christ. We are free from the works of the flesh by the power of the fruit of the Spirit.
May we joyfully partake of the fruit produced by the Spirit knowing that there is no law that opposes it!