5:22-26–The Fruit of the Spirit and the Responsibility of Spirituality



These verses should never have been divided for they go together to form one complete thought.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance:  against such there is no Law.”
Literally:  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness faith, meekness, self-control.  Against such things there is not a law.”

        Works have their source in self, but fruit originates from the Holy Spirit.  While works displays what a person does, fruit displays what a man is; and while works may show the conduct of the person, fruit that reveals the character of the person.
        In these two verses Paul continues his exhortation to the Galatians that they not make their liberty from the law to be an excuse to live for the flesh. Instead he exhorts them to base their Christian lives as one motivated by divine love that comes from the indwelling Holy Spirit.

         “But the fruit of the Spirit”
         Literally:  “but the fruit of the Spirit”

“But” is a transitional word that introduces the subject of the “fruit of the Spirit” as a contrast to what has been said before and a total  antithesis to the works of the flesh

         FRUIT:  (karpos)–It is interesting that this Greek word is in the singular case.  Although Paul does refer to one fruit, he does follow it by mentioning nine virtues with it.
         Understand this:  the Spirit produces one fruit, NOT nine fruits.  But this one fruit does have nine facets or qualities. Understand that these fruits named are not our fruits, but of the Spirit in us. If we bear these fruits we show that we have the Spirit.  The first three: (love, joy, peace) comprise Christian habits of mind regarding human contact and interaction.  The second (long-suffering, gentleness, goodness), are qualities of man’s interaction with his neighbor; and the last (faith) displays the principles that guide (or should) the believer’s conduct of “meekness and temperance”. (v. 23).
          The works of the flesh are spoken of as many; but the fruit of the Spirit is spoken of as one; many works, but one fruit. If a believer is truly walking in the Spirit, he will possess all nine of these qualities.  Also understand that the source of this fruit bearing is not within the believer.  He is simply the channel through which that Christ, through the Spirit, can reproduce Himself.  Therefore, we may conclude that this fruit of Spirit is the character of Christ within the believer– that which the Holy Spirit produces in those who follow His guidance.

         “love, joy, peace, longsuffering gentleness, goodness, faith”
         Literally:  “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith”


    LOVE:  (agapê)-This word agapê is not a word that the Greeks commonly used in classical Greek.  In fact, the Greeks had four words for love:
1.   Philia (verbphileô)–This is the warm love which we feel for our nearest and dearest.  It can be used to describe brotherly love.   
      Such as in the name of the city Phil-adelphia (Brotherly Love).) It describes love from money, children, friends.
2.   Storgê– This describes that love between parents and children.
3.    Eros–This is the love between sexes, i.e., erotic love.  This word is never used in the N.T.
4.    Agapê–This means unconquerable benevolence.
       That whatever people may do to us to insult, injure or humiliate us, we will never seek anything else but their good.

         Agapê love is as much a state of mind as it is a state of heart, for it describes that deliberate effort (which we can only make with the help of God) to never seek to do anything but the best for others even for those who seek the worst for us.  Paul described this kind of love in I Cor. 13. 

        God is love (agapê)—I John 4:8)He loves both the saved and the unsaved (John 3:16).   He loves even though He knows the object of His love will not return that love (Luke 6:32, 35).  Likewise, the Spirit controlled believer will display this same character and type of (agapê)–love.  He will love as Christ loved at the cross (Eph. 5:2, 25), and this (agapê) love for Christ, and for other believers, will mark him as a real disciple (John 13:34-35; 14:15)
        Unlike philia love, agapê has a distinct moral significance, and is never applied to base inclinations.  Agapê is not passonate and sensual like eros, and is not as much sentiment as it is consideration.  Phileô love is used only 16 times in the N.T. while agapê is used over 800 times.  In the LXX (Greek translation of the O.T.) it is used only 19 times, but first comes into use in Christian writings.

JOY:  (chara)–Has a different connotation in the Bible than it does to us today. 

           Joy does not mean the absence of trials; for we read that Christ, “for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame”  (Heb. 12:2).  He did the will of God; therefore it brought him joy.  Likewise, the believer who abides in Christ will also have His joy (John 15:11), for he knows that God is always in control, working all things, “together for good to them that love God” (Rom, 8:28).
         This joy does not come from earthly things; rather, it has its foundation in God.  It is made possible by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17; I Thess. 1:6) and is not related to our circumstances.  Joy and happiness are not the same.  Happiness is related to some good momentary good fortune or enjoyment

PEACE:  (eirênê)–As the result of reconciliation with God.  This peace of God rules in the heart of a Spirit-controlled believer (Co. 1:15). 

         It is that calm, quiet, and order, which take place in the justified soul, and pushes out the doubts, fears, alarms, and dreadful forebodings, which every true penitent feels, and must feel until the assurance of pardon brings peace and satisfaction to the mind.  Peace is the first sensible fruit of the pardon of sin.
         This means that in the midst of adversity or circumstances which ordinarily cause anxiety, that the believer enjoys that “peace of God which passeth all understanding (Phil. 4:7). 


LONGSUFFERING:  (makrothumia)–This word literally means, “wrath that is put far away.”  An inclination of mind disposing us to bear injuries patiently, and to forgive them readily: One work of the flesh shows a wrath that is near and inside (thumoiv. 20), but the Spirit-controlled believer will put distance between himself and this enemy.

This speaks of the steadfastness of the soul under provocation.  This enables a Christian to put up with people who try his patience (II Cor. 6:6).  It enables him to forgive and forbear other in Godly love (Col. 3:13); and it enables him to get past the habit of having a “short fuse.”  It has the idea of forbearance and patient endurance of wrong under ill-treatment, without anger or thought of revenge.

         GENTLENESS, or KINDNESS:  (chrêstotês)–This is simply grace in action–acts of kindness toward your enemies. 

         Longsuffering holds back vengeance while gentleness, in contrast, gives forth mercy. This displays longsuffering as a negative virtue, while gentleness is a positive virtue. This Greek word chrestotes is commonly translated as “goodness.”  This refers to a quality in a man who is ruled by and aims at what is good:  the quality of moral worth. 
         It is an interesting fact that old wine is called chrestos–or mild.  Christ’s yoke is called chrestos (Matt. 11:30), that is, it does not cause discomfort or irritation. 

    GOODNESS:  (agathôsunê)–This reveals the uprightness of a soul that hates evil and refrains from it., and is ready to do good.  This Greek word is unique to the Bible, and does not occur in secular Greek writings.  It is the widest word for goodness, and is defined as “virtue equipped at every point.”

        Only God is morally good (Mark 10:18; Rom. 3:12).  However. This goodness can be created within a believer so that he possesses a spiritual honesty of motive and conduct.  Paul uses this same word in Eph. 5:9; II Thess. 1:11; Rom. 15:14).  It is interesting that agathôsunê might, and could, rebuke and discipline, while chrêstotês can only help. 

        A Nineteenth Century writer once said that Jesus showed agathôsunê (goodness) when He cleansed the Temple and drove out those who had turned that building into a bazaar; but he showed chrêstotês (gentleness-goodness) when He was kind to the sinning woman who anointed his feet.  Christians need that kind of goodness which can be both kind and strong.


    FAITH: (pistis)–This Greek word is common in secular Greek for trustworthiness.  It is the characteristic of people who are reliable or trustworthy.

This is not faith in God for salvation, but good faith, or fidelity or loving trust toward men.  Faith believes God.  It simply takes Him at His word.  When a person believes God, he will be faithful to Him (Titus 2:10), and the more he believes God, the more he will be faithful to God. 

            MEEKNESS:  (prautês)–Aristotle defined this as the mid-point between excessive anger and excessive angerlessness; i.e., that quality of a person who is angry at the right time and never at the wrong time.  Another form of this word, (praus)–is used of an animal that has been tamed and brought under control.  Therefore, the word speaks of that self-control which Christ can give.

Meekness is not weakness; rather, it is power under control.  It is the opposite of insubordination.  Moses, Christ, and Paul were all called meek (Num. 12:3’ Matt. 11:29; I Cor. 4:21. 

    TEMPERANCE:  (egkrateia)–Contrary to popular belief, temperance does not refer to moderation in drink; rather it is synonymous with self-control (Acts 24:25; II Pet. 1:6).  To put it simply, it is mature stedfastness that is not easily influenced by the worl, the flesh and the devil.

This word is used only here in the N.T. by Paul  He alones uses it to mean, “to have continency” (I Cor. 9:25).  The word means, “self-control; holding in hand” the passions and desires. Temperance denotes the self-rule which a man has over the evil desires of his nature. Our word temperance we use now in a much more limited sense, as referring mainly to abstinence from intoxicating drinks. But the word here used is employed in a much more extended signification. It includes the dominion over all evil desires and cravings,  and may denote continence, chastity, self-government, moderation in regard to all indulgences, as well as abstinence from intoxicating drinks. The sense here is, that the influences of the Holy Spirit on the heart make a man moderate in all indulgences; teach him to restrain his passions, and to govern himself; to control his evil propensities, and to subdue all inordinate affection. The Christian will not only abstain from intoxicating drinks, but from all exciting passions; he will be temperate in his manner of living, and in the government of his temper.


         “against such there is no law”
         Literally: “against such a things there is not a law”

         That is, there is no law to condemn those who display these virtues. These are not the things which are denounced by the Law. They who truly display these virtues are the true freemen; that is, free from the condemning sentence of the law, and free in the service of God.  Law condemns sin; and they who display such Spirit here referred to are free from being denounced by the Law.
         Those who bear these fruits find no Law interfering with them.  The Mosaic Law did not prohibit these expressions (or displays)of the inner self; rather, the Law was given to restrain the works of the flesh (I Tim. 1:8-10).  Although the Law never said, “Thou shalt not love” or “Thou shalt not be happy,” etc., the Law did not provide either the power, or motivation, to produce these virtues.  These can only become real to the believer as he yields himself to the Holy Spirit (see 2:20-21)–“I am crucified with Christ:  nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:  and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me”–(Gal. 2:20).
         Any believer, whose life reveals the above virtues, cannot be condemned by any law, for the whole purpose and design of the moral law of God is fulfilled in those who have the Spirit of God, producing in their hearts and lives the preceding fruits. Therefore, we must surmise from Paul’s summarizing there that the fruit of the Spirit is therefore the positive answer to the challenge of the legalist/Judaizers.  Paul is making his point that the Spirit-life is the real alternative to the restraint of law for when one is under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, there is no need for any legal restraints.  If one truly displays the afore mentioned virtues, then there would have been no need for either the condemnation or restraint of law.


The believer who is truly walking in the Spirit will recognize that he is a morally responsible person:  responsible to both God and man.  He will then be lawful, not lawless. And he will act out of love (v. 13).

VERSE 24:  He has crucified the Flesh.
“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts”

         “And they that are Christ’s”
         Literally:  “But the ones belonging to Christ”

This phrase is not the title of some select group of “super-Christians” who have obeyed the command to “walk in the Spirit” (v. 16); on the contrary, all believers are considered to be “belonging to Christ.”  He has purchased them with “a price” (I Cor. 6:20).  They that belong to Christ Jesus; being "led by (His) Spirit" (Ga 5:18).

         “have crucified the flesh”
         Literally:  “crucified the flesh”

         This is an interesting phrase for it is in the Greek aroist tense, which denotes a one time event that took place and can never be repeated.  We might say it as:  “have crucified the flesh once and for all.”  All believers have “crucified the flesh.”  Through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, all Christians are identified with Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection.  In Christ the believer has died to the penalty of sin (Positional Sanctification), and are being made free from the power of sin (Personal Sanctification).  In Rom. 6:6 Paul explains this , “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that hence-forth we should not serve sin.”
         Unfortunately, most believers are ignorant of this great truth, and as a result of their ignorance, they have not appropriated the victory of the lusts of the flesh that Christ has secured for them.  Until the believer grasps hold of this truth, that the old man has been placed on the cross with Christ, he will attempt to gain victory by self-efforts and legalistic rules and laws.  But no one can either change or control the flesh with laws and regulations.  Every believer must consciously put the flesh to death as Christ did at the cross.

         “with the affections and lusts”
         Literally:  “with {its} passions and the lusts.”

Understand this fact:  that the word “flesh” is not referring to the physical body; rather, it is referring to the sin principle.  This principle displays itself through the “affections and lusts.”  The word affections is from the Greek word pathêma, (which literally means, “a disposition, an impulse, a passion) and which refers to improper emotional desires and lusts is from the Greek word epithumia, (which literally means, “a craving, a desire, a longing, covetousness”) and refers to illicit mental drives. 

VERSE 25:  He Walks in the Spirit
“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit”

         “If we live in the Spirit”
         Literally: “If we live in {the} Spirit”

This might be rendered as  “in view of the fact that we living in (or “by”) the Spirit;” or,  “seeing that we live in (or “by”) the Spirit,” or, “since we live in (or “by”) the Spirit.”  Any of these renderings would be apropos.  Paul is telling these Galatians that since (or in view of the fact) that they are indeed raised from the dead, and are alive to God, by the operation of his Spirit; if the Spirit lives in them, if the Holy Spirit of grace is really the principle of their lives; then:  “walk in (live in; participate in) the Spirit.”

         “let us also walk in the Spirit”
         Literally:   “let also walk in {the} Spirit.”

         “Then walk in (live in; participate in) the Spirit.”  Since Paul has put this in the present subjunctive tense, a proper and literal rendering might read, “Let us also go on walking by the Spirit.”  Make your living by the help and guidance of the Spirit; or, let yourselves live and act under the conduct and guidance, under the direction and influence, of the Holy Spirit; or to put it simply,  “do the works of the Spirit.”  This “walk” must be continuous.  We are to never take a vacation from serving the Lord.  The child of God needs to only obey the direction of the Spirit and he will have victory of the lusts of the flesh.
         The life of the believer is different from those who are under the domination of the flesh; but the practical application of this new life is not automatic, but is a constant learning and yielding process.  It requires perseverance, just as a child who is learning to walk needs persistence.

VERSE 26:  He Is a Blessing to the other Saints
“Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another”

         “Let us not be desirous of vain glory”
         Literally:  Let us not become vain-glorious”

         Legalism inevitably places “self” at the center of all religious activity.  A good example of this is the Pharisees, who personified legalism.  They gave, prayed and fasted, not to please God, but to have the glory of men (Matt. 6:2).  Paul is not saying that these Galatians are desirous of vain-glory; rather, he is warning them that if they continue on the path of the Judaizers and legalism, they will become vain-glorious. 
         The Greek word that is rendered as “vain glorious,” is kenodoxia, which literally means, “conceit, boastful.”  This is the only time that this word is used in the N.T.  The root word, kenos, literally means “that which is empty,” or, “that which has no real substance.”  A more literally rendering of the Greek here would say, “Let us not become vainglorious (conceited, boastful) people.”  Unfortunately, there is and may be in all men, a desire of applause and just commendation; but the true believer, who is walking in the Spirit, will combat such desires of self-gratification. 

         “provoking one another,”        
         Literally:  “provoking one another”

Regarding “provoking;”  A legalist will attempt to make himself look good by “provoking” them; by making others look bad.  He challenges (provokes) others to contests just to make them lose and himself the winner.   Paul uses this Greek word (prokaloumenoi), which is here rendered as “provoking,” only here in the N.T.  The word literally means, “to call forth,” or “to challenge.”  He who professes to seek the honor that comes from God, should not be desirous of vain glory; likewise,  he who desires to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, should not provoke another.

         “envying one another”
         Literally:  “envying one another”

         Here Paul is emphasizing that the actions of the flesh should always be resisted.  “Envying one another” shows that they are begrudging others of spiritual triumphs, instead of rejoicing in what God is doing in the lives of others.  Such people are never satisfied with anything less than first place; and thinking of themselves.  Such people have torn local assemblies apart.  It is possible that this might have been one cause of the difficulties existing in the churches of Galatia, and Paul is anxious to wholly check and remove it. The Jews prided themselves on their birth; and men are everywhere prone to over-value the supposed advantages of birth and blood.
         If Christians in general would content themselves with the honor that comes from God; if they would stop paying attention to the provocations to their fellow Christians; if they would stop envying those on whom either God or man bestows honors or advantages; we should soon have a happier and more perfect state of the Christian Church than we now see. Many a local church would be saved from feudings and dissensions.   True Christianity requires us to esteem each other better than ourselves, or in honor to prefer one another.  Our evil desires are nailed to the cross, but they are not yet dead; we must therefore live under the influence of the ever blessed Spirit; and if we do so, we certainly will have no ground for boasting or despising others.  It is ours under the divine guidance to cultivate love and peace, and flee from all pride and envy.


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