Galatians 5:22-23 is the passage of Scripture that is often called “The Fruits of the Spirit.” I would like to suggest that there are not “fruits of the Spirit,” rather there is the fruit of the Spirit. The apostle Paul created a list of adjectives that describe the type of life the Holy Spirit creates in us. This passage is a description of what the full life Jesus promised his disciples looks like.
There are three reasons why I believe the fruit of the Spirit is life.
- Galatians 5:21; Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God (NLT). This comes at the end of a passage describing the works of the flesh. Paul makes it clear that when our lives are described by the works of the flesh, then we are not living the true and eternal life God has promised to us. Therefore we will not be part of God’s eternal kingdom.
- Galatians 5:22; But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! (NLT) The Greek word for fruit is καρπóς, and it is singular. Paul is not talking about many different pieces of fruit, but one fruit.
- Galatians 6:8; Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit (NLT). Paul didn’t say that we will harvest a bunch of different fruit, but he did write that we will harvest LIFE when we follow the Holy Spirit.
It is important to remember that we will have these qualities in varying degrees as the Holy Spirit transforms our hearts, and as the direction of our lives changes. Yet, each of these qualities must be present for us to truly experience the full and abundant life God desires us to live. I believe that is one reason of the reasons why it is important for us to be part of the Body of Christ. Within his body each of these qualities are better seen than within the life of one individual Christian.
Why is it important to emphasize life as the fruit of the Spirit?
I think it is important because we need to commit to learn the original intent of Scripture. It isn’t always easy to understand Scripture since we live in a different time and in a different culture, but it is worth the effort to try.
I also think it is important to emphasize life as the fruit of the Spirit because it reminds us that the great gift that God gives to Christians is new life. A life that is filled with love and with peace and with faithfulness. This new life only comes through the Holy Spirit, who enables us to love, to experience peace, and to be faithful.
New life is the central promise of the New Testament, and it is this new life that is described in Galatians 5:22, 23.