The Holy Spirit flowed through the pen of the apostle. He wanted the Church in Galatia to know that the fruit of the Spirit is love and that from that marvelous, wondrous and everlasting agape flows fruit that testifies of the goodness, grace and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. That testimony begins with unspeakable joy and peace beyond human understanding. Paul had used joy and peace in addition to righteousness in his letter to the Romans (Romans 14). The word translated “joy” is from the Greek word chara (khar-ah’) and literally speaks to the joy and gladness others receive from the Lord or from an occasion of joy. The root word of chara is chairo (khah’-ee-ro) meaning to rejoice, be glad, to rejoice exceedingly or to give one greeting or salute.
Added to such joy, wonderful joy is the peace that passes understanding. Using the Greek word eirene (i-ray’-nay), Paul chooses to such to declare that we who are “in the Spirit” can live in a state of spiritual and emotional tranquility. By using the word eirene Paul wants his readers to know that they have an exemption from the rage and havoc of war and the struggle that comes with it. Such peace comes with the promise of security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous). Thus, the peace experienced out of the Spirit’s love for us is the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation in Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is.
Paul’s next triad of fruit is patience, kindness and goodness. Wayne Field in his message on The Fruit of the Spirit: Signs of Life – the Marks of Vibrant Living says the key point for all of us today, especially when it comes to patience, kindness and goodness, is to remember this, it takes the power of God to produce the character of God. Whereas human patience, kindness and goodness have their limitations, God’s is unlimited – endless, infinite, boundless, immeasurable. You don’t need to “try harder” to be more patient or kind or good. If you want a higher patience – you need to plug into a higher power.
In other words, we need to be filled full of the Holy Spirit and manifesting His patience, kindness and goodness. The word translated patience in the New International Version is translated as “long-suffering” in the KJV and other versions. Long-suffering comes from the Greek word makrothumia (mak-roth-oo-mee’-ah). Makrothumia is a compound of two words (Makro and thumia). When they are put together the word means patience, endurance, constancy, steadfastness, perseverance, longsuffering and slowness in avenging wrongs.
Kindness (or gentleness in the KJV) is from the word chrestotes (khray-stot’-ace) and means moral goodness or integrity. As a fruit of the Spirit, kindness means to exude the quality of being honest and fair as well as to possess the state of being complete or whole by being full of God. Kindness also speaks to “being of the same kind.” It is a group of people that belong together or have some shared quality (like salvation).
Goodness is next. The English name Agatha comes from this Greek word (agathosune). The word means to have uprightness of heart and life and is from the Greek root agathos (ag-ath-os’) which means to be of a good constitution or nature, to be useful, pleasant, agreeable, joyful, excellent, upright and honorable.
Paul’s last triad concerning the fruit of the Spirit is faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Faithfulness here is the same as faith (KJV). In both instances the Greek word is: pistis (pis’-tis). In the Word of God, faithfulness is the conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervor born of faith and joined with the expectation of reward (Hebrews 11:6). Faith is having the conviction that God exists and is the creator and ruler of all things; He is the provider and One who bestows eternal salvation through Christ Jesus. With such comes the idea of fidelity and faithfulness or the character of one who can be relied on to follow through.
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for (Hebrews 11:1-2).
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
Gentleness (Meekness-KJV) is used twice by Paul in his letter to the Corinthians. His use of the word has to do with the correction he tried his best to give to the believers in his letters. In 1 Corinthians 4:21 he wrote, “What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?” And in 2 Corinthians 10:1 Paul said, “By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you.” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance describes gentleness as mildness and meekness. It means to have a mild disposition and a gentle of spirit.
Self-control is sometimes called temperance. Temperance (egkrateia) is an old Greek word from stemming from egkratês. It means to be one who is holding control of one’s self or having self-control (the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, especially his sensual appetites. This word is found in the New Testament only twice. It is used in this passage and in 2 Peter 1:6. Paul has a better list than the four cardinal virtues of the Greek Stoics (temperance, prudence, fortitude, justice), though they are included with better notes struck. Temperance is alike, but kindness is better than justice, long-suffering than fortitude, love than prudence.
The fruit of the Spirit is the result of agape. A life full of agape results in a person being able to manifest the character and grace of the Holy Spirit in practical ways. It is His fruit being manifested in, through and from our lives as we abide in the Vine (the Lord Jesus Christ) and are cared for and cultivated by the Husbandman (the Heavenly Father–read John 15:1-7).
Let us pray to be filled full and running over with the Spirit so that we might manifest the fruit of the Spirit to everyone around us. In doing so, Jesus will be lifted up and glorified. This will result in the Spirit drawing men to the Savior and enduing them with eternal life.
I love you,