But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Last time we saw rebellion: The results of living by the flesh and its desires. Now we see redeemed: The fruit the Spirit. Earlier we saw that all of the actions that people engage in that result from this life by the “flesh” are acts that are self-centered and in rebellion against God. Now we see the opposite; the results of a life lived for God in humble service to His purpose.
Living our lives in relationship with Jesus are not lives lived in a legalistic quagmire of “do’s and don’ts.” It isn’t a life of “obligation” either holy or otherwise; it is a life of victorious freedom! It is a life of purpose, a purpose greater than any one of us… the greatest purpose in the entire universe, for it is the very Eternal Purpose of God Himself. No, it isn’t the kind of a purpose that will make you a big shot who will be remembered in the annals of human history. It isn’t the kind of purpose that will have streets named after you all over the country. No, it is a purpose that will take you back to the Garden of Eden with a chance to do it all over again, only this time you’ll get it right.
OK, fine, maybe you’re wondering what the heck I mean by that…
You know the story: God created Adam and Eve for fellowship with Him. They had direct access to God, they spoke with Him and walked through the garden, so we would say there was relationship between Man and God. God also gave them some things to do for Him. They tended the garden and had “dominion” over the earth. This ‘dominion” was a “God function,” kind of like a “mission” to run things as His stewards. Thus, we say that God gave them a purpose. Relationship with purpose is fellowship, God’s reason for creating humans. You also know that Adam and Eve rebelled against God when they listened to the serpent’s lie that eating the forbidden fruit would make them just like God.
Now, through Jesus Christ, this fellowship has been restored. First, He took away the sin problem by His death on the cross. Since sin was out of the way, it became possible to restore relationship between humans and God, and direct access was restored through the indwelling Holy Spirit, so once again we can speak directly with God. Jesus also gave us a purpose when He gave His commission to the church to “make disciples”. Relationship and purpose are fellowship, and thus through Christ, God’s original purpose for making humanity in the first place is restored. This is what Paul is talking about when he refers to life by the Spirit, and the fruits of that life are what he listed in this text.
Think about how amazing this is: Why wouldn’t we be filled with joy and peace and all the rest, when we are restored back to the original state for which we were created? Now, when you reflect on this, it is so much easier to understand why Paul reacted the way he did when he heard what was going on in the Galatian churches.