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Lessons from Galatians Part 5b

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

Chapter 5:16-26 The fruit of the Spirit is love

Galatians 5;22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

As we study the fruit of the Spirit you will begin to see that we are really studying is the character of God. We must become Christ-like and therefore it is essential that we know what he is like, so we know what we are aiming at in our lives.

Jesus says ‘by their fruit shall ye know them’ referring to the character of the false prophets. We need to know what good fruit is like to be able to spot the false prophet. This is important in these last days of increasing deception. Or how about a marriage, business, or ministry partner or even a leader in the church. It is all about character.

The fruit of the Spirit in your life will draw those who are open to salvation to you and will cause those who hate God to hate you. Fruit in the natural sense contains seeds for reproduction. When an unbeliever tastes or sees the fruit in your life, a seed of love is sown in their hearts which God can bring to life; love reproducing love.

Galatians 5:16-18 the battle between the spirit and the flesh is dealt with in a separate teaching at

Galatians 5:19-21 These verses describe the life that we lived as unbelievers. Paul reminds the Church that those who habitually practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

22-23 The Greek word for fruit is karpos (also see John 15 1-8) is singular and therefore it is incorrect to refer to the fruits of the spirit. The idea conveyed by the expression ‘fruit’ is that of a blended whole and not nine separate items.

The blended whole is love… which expresses itself in numerous ways:

Love is Joy

Love is Peace

Love is Longsuffering

Love is Gentleness

Love is Goodness

Love is Faith and Faithfulness

Love is Meekness

Love is Temperance (self-control).

When white light shines through a raindrop (which acts as a prism) it is separated into red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. The colours in the rainbow merge so that it has hard to tell where one ends and another begins, so with the fruit of the spirit.

The love (akin to the white light) is shed abroad in our hearts (prism) by the Holy Spirit, and as it passes through us the love is split into its component parts such as joy, peace etc. The fruit produced over time is appropriate to the upcoming circumstances e.g. temperance or self-control under a season of temptation etc.

The fruit of the spirit is produced as the Holy spirit sheds the Love of Christ into our hearts (Romans 5:5). The Holy Spirit is reproducing the life of Christ in us. This process involves obedience both to the written word and to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

The Word and the Spirit work together.

God is love……and if this is true then God is joy, peace etc. these must must be part of his being.

John 15:1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.

2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.

4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire, and burned.

7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.

8 This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

Jesus is the vine; the Father is the gardener, and we are the branches. The Holy Spirit is the sap (liquid love that is pumped into hearts and through us) that causes leaves, flowers, and fruit to appear in our lives.

We can hinder this process by disobeying the word of God i.e. sins such as, selfishness, unforgiveness etc. which sins are like ligatures that stop the flow of love out to ourselves and others. Abiding in the vine (walking close to the Lord in obedience) allows a steady flow of the liquid love that produces the fruit of the spirit. Spiritual fruit as with natural fruit takes time to develop.

Some other thoughts about Love

We are born with the need to love and to be loved. That is why love is such a big seller of songs, books, and movies etc. There are distinct types of love as can be illustrated by the four Greek words for love [1].

1. phileo; the love of a friend or a brother.

2. storge; mother love (for her child).

3. eros; sexual love.

4. agape; the love of God.

The first three are types of human love and at best, are only pale reflections of agape love, the selfless love of God. When the believer is filled and moved by the love of God, then they can surpass the human loves [2].

[1] C S Lewis The four loves

[2] An example might be, if a young man or woman with Christian parents, is called to the mission field, the storge love of the parents might tempt them to dissuade their child. However, the agape love would overcome this and send them out with a blessing.

There is a lovely revealing use of the two different words used in scripture for love i.e. agapeo and phileo in John 21:15-17. Jesus asks Peter if he loves (using agapeo-selfless love) him twice, but Peter answers with phileo (friendly or brotherly love). Jesus then uses Peter’s phileo when he asks a third time. The message is that agape is willing to lay down its very life for God.

Agape (love) became the characteristic word of Christianity. The Holy Spirit brought new meaning to this word. Agape love is selfless and seeks to do good to all me but especially to our fellow believers. This agape love flows from God to us and through us, to our fellow man.


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