But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (ESV)
Opposite to the works of the flesh is the fruit of the Spirit. If the works of the flesh are characteristic of those who will not inherit the kingdom of God, then the fruit of the Spirit characterizes those who will. Also, the works of the flesh are, it may be said, natural to us. The fruit of the Spirit, however, is supernatural.
I. THE PRINCIPLES OF THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
It starts small like a mustard seed but eventually grows and grows until it becomes a mighty tree. But the process of growth is imperceptible even if the eventual fruits thereof are not. (Mark 4:26-29; 1 John 2:12-14)
It is impossible that a Christian will not bear this fruit. (Mark 4:8; Phil. 1:6; 2:13; Ezekiel 36:27)
It is supernaturally produced – the work of the Spirit in us. It is not a matter of willpower or natural temperament. (Matt. 23:25-28; Matt. 12:33; Ezekiel 36:25-27; Phil. 1:13)
It is “fruit” singular. Love is the preeminent virtue produced by the Spirit in us, but where love is the others will follow. (1 Pet. 1:15; Psalm 119:6)
Do we have the Spirit? Have we put our faith in Jesus Christ? Romans 8:9-10).
II. THE PARTS OF THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT (verse 22-23a)
Love (Romans 5:5; Gal. 5:14)
Joy (Philippians 4:4; 1 Thess. 1:6)
Peace (Isaiah 26:3; Philippians 4:6, 7)
Patience (James 1:2-4)
Kindness (1 Cor. 13:4-7; Eph. 4:32)
Goodness (Philippians 4:8)
Faithfulness (Prov. 3:3-4)
Gentleness (Matt. 11:29)
”Against such things there is no law.” (Gal. 5:23b)
Not only is the fruit of the Spirit not contrary to the law of God, the law cannot produce such wonderful fruit in our lives. But the Spirit can! This is another advantage of being justified by faith instead of trying to save yourself by keeping the law. Those who are justified by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone receive the Spirit who produces love in them, which is the fulfillment of the law. They end up keeping the law after all more and more truly than those who try to save themselves by law keeping — not in order to be sad but because they are saved.
III. THE PRODUCTION OF THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT (verse 24)
In order for the plant to grow and bear fruit, we must pull out the weeds.
A) Remember that you belong to Christ.
- Those who have and are led by the Spirit belong to Christ. (Rom. 8:9, 14, 16; 1 Cor. 6:19, 20)
- Those who belong to Christ are a new creation (2 For. 5:17) and have all the resources to live a holy life (2 Pet. 1:2, 3).
- Those who belong to Christ are destined for holiness (Eph. 1:4; 1 John 3:2,3)
B) Realize that in Christ you have crucified the flesh.
- This crucifixion is both final and progressive.
- It is final (Gal. 2:20; Rom. 6:1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11).
- It is progressive (Rom. 6:12-14; 8:12-13; 7:24-25; Rom. 10-11; 1 Cor. 15:54-57).
“The death of the flesh is the life of the Spirit.”