To Better Understand the Fruits of the Spirit


Many ministers and theologians over time have done extensive 
research and made comments regarding the text of our lesson today regarding the “Fruit of the Spirit” found in Galatians 5:22-23. I have included some of their comments below for your consideration and will make some final comments of my own following these quotes. 

“Paul does not say, ‘the works of the Spirit’ but uses the nobler word, ‘the fruit of the Spirit.’ The flesh spreads out in many directions with its evil works. The Spirit follows one direction, produces a unit – fruit.” (Lenski)

“The term ‘works’ has definite overtones in this letter. It   refers to what man can do, which has already been shown to be inadequate. The fruit of the Spirit, on the other hand, suggests that which is a natural product of the Spirit rather than of man, made possible by the living relationship between the Christian and God (cf. 2:20; John 15:1-17). The singular form stresses that these qualities are a unit, like a bunch of grapes instead of separate pieces of fruit, and also that they are all to be found in all Christians.” (Boice)

“The nine qualities Paul lists in verses 22-23 are not things which, if we try hard enough, we could simply do without help, without the Spirit. The point is that when the Spirit is at work they will begin to happen; new motivations will appear. This process does not bypass our thinking and willing. We have to set our minds and intentions to do them; it isn’t a matter of just relaxing and doing what comes naturally. The point is that when these qualities appear, they come like the fruit in an  orchard, not like the ornaments on a Christmas tree. They will truly be part of who we will have become.” (Wright)

While you may or may not agree with everything these people have said concerning the fruit of the Spirit, I think a couple of constants stand out. First, the fruit is NOT a set of works. I believe we all want to be more loving toward others, have more joy, be more patient, etc., but this is not a checklist to live by. Our Lord and Savior is NOT a list of qualities, but God in the flesh, Jesus Christ, who gave His life for us and died and rose in our place. Second, our relationship in Christ and being led by the Spirit is what produces this fruit, not our intentions or our attempt at trying harder. Obeying Christ and living by His standards will produce fruit by the Spirit, not me. I hope this article and our lesson today will help us better appreciate the Spirit’s intentional work within each of us.

~~Bill Daufen