In January I preached a sermon, The Fruit of Life, on Galatians 5:16-26, and in that sermon I contended that the fruit of the Spirit is life and the nine virtues were adjectives describing that life. This reasoning was based on the fact that in Galatians 5:21 when Paul writes; Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God (NLT). So 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 those who follow Jesus.
It is also based on the fact that the word fruit in verse 22 is singular:
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)So Paul isn't talking about the various fruits the Spirit produces in our lives, but he is describing the ONE fruit that is produced in our lives. Now it is true that each of us will have these qualities to varying degrees as the Holy Spirit transforms our hearts and changes the direction of our lives, but each of them must be present if we have truly inherited the full abundant life God desires us to live.
Yesterday for my Bible reading I read through the book of Galatians and in chapter 6 I saw something that I missed before, but further validates my thinking. In verse 8 Paul writes; 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). According to the apostle Paul the harvest that we reap when we follow the Spirit is LIFE.
Why is this important? I think it is important because it reminds us that God is interested in us becoming a certain type of person and that transformation process depends on the Holy Spirit at work in our lives. We cannot manufacture eternal life, it is something that God must give to us through His spirit.