A Study of Galatians 5:22-26
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. [Gal 5:22-26]
Now we come to what the Spirit produces. When the works of the flesh were described, they were not listed as if to say “If you do not do these, you will not be walking in the flesh”, so here with the fruit of the Spirit. Paul is not giving instruction with the fruit of the Spirit specified as “start showing love, joy, peace, etc., and you will be walking in the Spirit”. It is really, that when we operate in the flesh, this is what we will accomplish, and if we walk in the Spirit, this is the fruit that we will bare. Notice that Paul states that “against such there is no law”. The law put demands on the flesh that it could not meet, and it put prohibitions on the flesh that excited the flesh against it.
For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. [Rom 7:5]
But walking in the Spirit, the production of the fruit of the Spirit is such that the law has nothing against it, and no law is against it. So is the Christian who is not under law but under grace “antinomian”? Not at all in any way! We walk in a sphere that the law has no jurisdiction, and that if the law had jurisdiction, would find no fault.
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [Him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. [Rom 6:6]
Positionally, and by way of God’s declaration, our “old man”, Adam, and the old nature that is ours by virtue of being children of Adam, is crucified with Christ by virtue of our being reckoned in Christ. Our job is to recognize that it is so. This is one of those cases where we go with “thus saith the Lord”, rather than by what we see and feel:
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. [Rom 6:11]
Our other job is to walk in that fact that we have appropriated by faith:
And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
The flesh is here on the cross. In chapter 2, we learned that I, the “ego” is on the cross.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me. [Gal 2:20]
The flesh wants to please the ego, the affections, and the lusts. The Spirit produces fruit that is supernatural in character. We must be careful that when we teach the fruit of the Spirit that we are not teaching a behavioral code. We are speaking of what the Spirit produces, because it is the Spirit. The old man is dead, and any life that is in us is because of Christ.
For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And [that] He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again. [2Co 5:14-15]
Now many might object and say that this is all a bunch of nonsense and doublespeak. The truth is that Adam is positionally dead, just as we are positionally raised up together with Christ, and seated with Him in the heavenlies. (Eph 2:6) Again, our job here is to not to make it so, but to reckon it so. There will come a time when what we are positionally in Christ will become our reality as well.
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. [1Co 15:50-54]
For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself. [Phl 3:20-21]
We shall be changed! Now we walk by faith, not by sight (2Co 5:7), and we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. [Gal 5:5]
Paul starts another statement saying that “if we live in the Spirit”, as a way of implying that we do. It is much like a father saying to his grown up son, “if you are an adult, act like it.” He is not saying it as a matter of doubt, but as a challenge to “act our age”. We are to walk in the sphere in which we are alive.
This chapter ends with this statement:
Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
Desiring vain glory is the opposite of the truth that I am crucified with Christ. Provoking and envying one another are works of the flesh. Putting ourselves under law voluntarily (God has not placed under law) excites the flesh to fulfill its nature, so as I stated in a previous lesson, is it any wonder that in context of warnings against legalism, Paul states:
But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. [Gal 5:15]
Brothers and Sisters, we are redeemed by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and called into liberty in Him. Take hold by faith of that which God says about who you are, and walk accordingly. Trust Him for the results, for He wants you to bear much fruit.
Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ: [Phl 1:6]
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [His] good pleasure. [Phl 2:13]