2 The Fruit of the Spirit: Galatians 5:22-26

Paul’s point in these verses is to emphasize the attributes that should be evident in a Christian if the Holy Spirit dwells within someone’s heart, as opposed to those attributes that are evident in an person who is not born from above.

Furthermore, according to McGee (1995):

Fruit is produced by the Lord Jesus using the Spirit of God in our lives. He wants to live His life through us. That is the reason I keep saying that you are not asked to live the Christian life. You are asked to let Him live through you.

2.1 On Verses 22-23a

The fruit of the Spirit should be manifested in the following characteristics:

  • Love

    The Greek word \(\alpha\gamma\alpha\pi\epsilon\), describes a type of love which is “self-sacrifitial,” devoted to someone… The love that is willing to serve others (MacArthur 2007). This type of love is what makes it possible for believers to commune and be at peace with one another. (See 1 Cor. 13:4-13).

  • Joy.

    According to MacArthur (2007), joy is the happiness produced by the divine, unchanging nature of the promises of God, and by Spiritual “realities.” Knowing that God and His elect have reconciled. Those of us who have walked with the Lord for any number of years have many stories to tell the world–stories about how unpleasant circumstances can be, and yet, we find joy in them supernaturally, by means of the Holy Spirit of God. This is because, “Joy is a gift from God, and as such, believers are not to manifacture it but to delight in the blessing they already possess.” (MacArthur 2007)

  • Peace.

    Peace is the calm feeling we experience when God, by His Grace, calls us into His family tand the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ makes this possible. (See Rom 5:1).) “Religion can never give this to you. Only Christ can give you deep-down peace.” (McGee 1995).

  • Longsuffering / Patience.

    This is defined as the ability and willingness to endure painful, “irritating,” circumstances, as well as injuries caused by others (MacArthur 2007). (See Eph. 5:2; Col. 3:12; 1 Tim. 1:15-16.)

  • Kindness.

    This refers to the tenderness manifested in someone when he or she treats others with respect and consideration. MacArthur (2007) cites biblical passages where this is modeled (e.g., Matt. 11:28-29; Matt. 19:13-14; 2 Tim. 2:24.)

  • Goodness.

    This word refers to the excellence in character shown through means of works of kindness. The key word is excellence; Jesus gives us insight on this in Mark 10:18. (There is an article on For an Answer . org, which explands more on the verse.) If we believe what our Lord said, then we know that goodness is a supernatural act from God, and we ovbiously cannot cause it to happen.

  • Faithfulness.

    It refers to being loyal and trustworthy [macarthur2007]. Our Lord shows us how to be faithful when He keeps the promises found in His Gospel (1 John. 1:9). We can also read about His faithfulness in the book of Job. And so, He wants us to show the faithfulness He examplifies in Scripture, since this is a distinguishing trait of those who belong to Christ Jesus.

  • Gentleness.

    This means we must show tenderness and consideration for others. Also, being submissive to God, seaking no revenge (MacArthur 2007).

  • Self control.

    This means we must not follow after impulses or unholy desires. We must stay sober at all times.

2.2 On verse 23B

“Against such things there is no law.” In other words, “When a Christian walks by the Spirit and manifests His fruit, he or she needs no external law to produce the attitudes and behavior that please God.” (MacArthur 2007).

2.3 On verses 24-25

“And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (V. 24). MacArthur (2007) says that the use of the word “crucified” refers to the inability of the flesh to have power over someone (the justification for this is found in Rom. 6:1-11; Rom. 7:14-25). Indeed, even if we have been walking in the Spirit for a long period of time, we deceive ourselves and do a disservice to Christ if we deny the reality of our imperfect walk with God in this life (1 John. 1:8-10).

“If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” In other words, we please God if we yield and submit to the guidance by the Blessed Holy Spirit.

2.4 On Verse 26

This verse is an exortation to avert our hearts from exagerating trust in oneself, and from covetousness. This was apparently occurring in Paul’s day (Longenecker et al., n.d.).

In conclusion, Paul, through the use of common argumentation of his day, emphasizes what a sanctified person must “look like” spiritually.