Tuesday in the Last Week of Ordinary Time

Galatians 5:22, 24

But the Fruit of the Spirit

In contrast to the works of the flesh, Paul now lists the fruit of the Spirit.  These are virtues that Christians should be cultivating on a daily and yearly basis as they grow in the grace of our Lord.  When we are born of the flesh, we have a sinful nature out of which we act.  When we are reborn of the Spirit, we are given a new nature out of which we act.  So as with the rotten fruit of our natural sinful nature, these fruits should be a “natural” production as they derive from that new nature, which are then cultivated through behavior.  For the Christian, new nature and nurture go together; similarly for the unbeliever, old nature and degeneration go together as well.  And so the fruits of the Spirit are precisely that—fruits—born of saving faith.

It is only natural that “love” would be the first fruit Paul mentions, for upon saving faith it is poured out into the hearts of believers (Romans 5:5).  The New Testament defines love according to our Lord’s work on the cross, for no greater love has a man than this (John 15:13).  And those who love the Lord keep his commandments (John 14:15).  Thus, love is not so much a feeling (though that is not excluded) but an action rooted in service to God and neighbor.  “Joy” is love’s expression.  Love rejoices “in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2), and in the knowledge of being known by God and resting in his daily presence.  “Peace” is love’s result in our reconciliation with God made possible by grace through justifying faith in Christ Jesus (Romans 5:1).  Peace manifests itself in a life that is the polar opposite of the works of the flesh such as rivalries, dissensions, and divisions.  Peacemakers seek to unite, but even then under the banner of the cross and the truth of the gospel (Bruce, NIGTC, 251-53).

These first three—love, joy, and peace—form the founding triad of the spiritual fruits, which are all grounded in the first—love.  But love itself is grounded in saving faith as we are birthed anew of the Spirit that we may produce these fruits.  None of these fruits are man’s production; they elude the best of men.  But through the indwelling Spirit, even we can produce them.  This is how we “crucify the flesh with its passions and desires,” by focusing not on sin, or works of the flesh, but by setting our minds on those things which are above (Colossians 3:1-4).  So let love, joy, and peace be close to us, and let us make them our constant companions.  For in doing so, we prove that we are not like those of the world tossed about by every favorable or unfavorable wind, but people founded on the Rock who continue to produce fruit unto eternal life.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

Leave a Reply