Scriptures

The Fruit Of The Spirit Is Peace

Introduction

Before one can understand

‘the fruit of the Spirit,’

one must understand the context of Galatians 5 where ‘the fruit of the Spirit’ is revealed. In this chapter, Paul exhorts Christians not to allow their liberty to degenerate into a

‘yoke of bondage.’

Some individuals in the Galatian church had ‘fallen from grace’ because they sought to be ‘justified by the law.’ The Judaizing teachers were binding the old law upon the church and, by such, had hindered some in obeying the truth, Galatians 5:7. These false teachers of Judaism were troubling the church, Galatians 5:12.

However, as Christians, we have been called to liberty, liberty from the old law, from sin, and from the bondage of sin. Thus, Paul exhorts, ‘do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh,’ Galatians 5:13.

One reason we ought not to use our liberty as a license to sin is because ‘we walk in the Spirit,’ Galatians 5:16. To ‘walk in the Spirit’ means to walk according to the Spirit’s teaching through His sword ‘which is the word of God,’ Ephesians 6:17.

This is the same as being ‘led by the Spirit,’ Galatians 5:18, and it is the opposite of walking after the flesh. The Spirit and the flesh are at odds, Galatians 5:17. They are in constant conflict. They are opposed to one another.

To further illustrate this conflict, Paul contrasts ‘the works of the flesh,’ Galatians 5:19-21 with ‘the fruit of the Spirit,’ Galatians 5:22-23. In verse 16 of Galatians 5, Paul commands, ‘Walk in the Spirit.’ Let’s be sure, there are certain results of walking in the Spirit. There is the benefit of not fulfilling the lust of the flesh, Galatians 5:16.

The same thought is declared by David in Psalm 119:11,

‘I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.’

When we engraft God’s Word upon our hearts, it will protect us against the fiery darts of Satan. Jesus knew this lesson when He was tempted of the devil, Matthew 4. Jesus guarded Himself from each temptation by the Word of God. He answered the tempter’s temptation with

‘it is written,’ Matthew 4:4+7+10

Also, if we ‘walk in the Spirit’, we are ‘not under the law,’ Galatians 5:18. ‘The law’ in this verse is the Mosaic Law. Earlier in this chapter, we are told Christ is become of no effect unto those who justify themselves by ‘the law,’ Galatians 5:4. To return to the Mosaic law is to abandon the law of Christ and is to fall from grace. Some believe this means we are not under any law.

However, we are under ‘the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus’ which frees us from ‘the law of sin and death,’ Romans 8:2. We are to ‘fulfil the law of Christ’ by bearing one another’s burdens, Galatians 6:2. And, we are to look into ‘the perfect law of liberty.’ James 1:25.

Also, consider this, since

‘sin is the transgression of the law,’ 1 John 3:4

to say we aren’t under law is to say we haven’t nor cannot sin. Clearly, we are under law, the law of Christ, but we are not under ‘the law’, the Law of Moses. Further, ‘the fruit of the Spirit’ results from walking in the Spirit.

Again, when we engraft God’s Word upon our hearts, ‘the fruit of the Spirit’ will be seen within us. The qualities of ‘love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance’ will characterise us. The Spirit will produce these qualities within us by the Word He has inspired.

‘The fruit of the Spirit’ is the produce of the Spirit

In other words, it is the product that is produced by the Spirit’s influence. ‘The fruit of the Spirit’ isn’t a Christian nor the fruit of a Christian which some have mistakenly taught. In fact, the fruit of a Christian is more than just a Christian.

It is true that in the natural world, mankind, animals, and plants produce after their kind. Christians should also produce after their kind, and in this sense, the fruit of a Christian is another Christian.

However, Christians produce other fruit besides Christians. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught,

‘Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.’ Matthew 7:20

Within the context, Jesus is speaking concerning false teachers who come ‘in sheep’s clothing’ but inwardly are ‘ravening wolves,’ Matthew 7:15.

To illustrate how we can know a false teacher, He taught a good tree produces good fruit, whereas an evil tree produces evil fruit.

Is the only fruit of a false teacher, other false teachers? Of course not! False teachers cause division, false hope, and disillusionment to only name a few. So, it is with Christians. Christians should evangelise, but there are other fruits which they should bear, and one such fruit is the fruit of the Spirit.

Since the fruit of the Spirit is the produce of the Spirit, then how does the Spirit produce the qualities of

‘love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance’

in Christians today? The Spirit influences Christians today by the Spirit inspired Word. Peter wrote,

‘For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.’ 2 Peter 1:21

It is this Word that will make us

‘wise for salvation,’ 2 Timothy 3:15

and

‘it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes,’ Romans 1:16

It provides us with

‘everything we need for a godly life,’ 2 Peter 1:3

Thus, nothing else is needed for it is all sufficient and will produce the right fruit.

In the parable of the sower, Jesus taught that a sower sowed seed by the way side, upon a rock, among thorns, and on good ground, Luke 8:5-8. Later, Jesus told us what the seed represents. He said,

‘The seed is the word of God,’ Luke 8:11

So, the Word was sown in the hearts of men, but sadly the hearts of some men were like the soil of the way side, the rock, and the thorny ground.

Thankfully, when the Word of God is sown in other men whose hearts are like the soil of the good ground, it

‘brings forth fruit with patience,’

that is with constant perseverance, Luke 8:15.

What is the fruit of the Spirit?

It is what the Word provides and produces in the good soil of a person’s heart.

Contrasted to the Spirit produced fruit, ‘the works of the flesh’ are ‘the unfruitful works of darkness,’ Ephesians 5:9+11. In other words, ‘the works of the flesh’ don’t yield a valuable or desirable fruit. The works of the flesh are the evil fruit of the evil tree. They bring forth no blessings and no real benefits.

Please take careful note that unlike the plural ‘acts of the flesh,’ ‘the fruit of the Spirit’ is singular. ‘Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance’ aren’t separate fruits but are characteristics or attributes of the singular ‘fruit of the Spirit.’

Besides these nine characteristics, Paul adds

‘all goodness and righteousness and truth’ in Ephesians 5:9

Thus, giving us a total of eleven attributes of the fruit of the Spirit all of which are virtues of the highest moral and spiritual qualities.

These qualities or characteristics will be manifested in the lives of those

‘who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit’, Romans 8:1+4 / Galatians 5:16

Like the ‘graces’ of 2 Peter 1, if ‘the fruit of the Spirit’

‘be in you, and abound, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ 2 Peter 1:8

In contrast, if they aren’t manifested in our lives, then we aren’t being ‘led of (or ‘by’) the Spirit,’ Galatians 5:18 / Romans 8:14. And again, like the ‘graces’ of 2 Peter 1:5-7, if they are lacking, then we are ‘near-sighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. 2 Peter 1:9. Thus, the proof of the tree is in the fruit.

Jesus said,

‘the tree is known by his fruit’, Matthew 12:33

And,

‘Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.’ Matthew 7:20

So, let us determine to always ‘walk after the Spirit’ by following His Word in order that we may manifest these marvellous traits, the fruit of the Spirit.

Peace

As we study the fruit of the Spirit, we need to be constantly reminded that it is a singular fruit with many characteristics. The fruit of the Spirit is described by Paul in Galatians 5:22-23 which says.

‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.’

In this part of our study, we are concerned with ‘peace,’ the third characteristic of the fruit of the Spirit.

From the very beginning of the Lord’s ministry, we learn about peace. In the Beatitudes, Jesus said,

‘blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God’, Matthew 5:9

This statement would have been shocking to the Jews of Jesus’ day because they were looking for a Messiah who would marshal a great army and lead them to world domination.

However, they, like the Premillennialists of our day, misunderstood the very nature of the Messiah and His kingdom. Isaiah prophesied the Messiah would be

‘the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end,’ Isaiah 9:6-7

In an earlier prophecy, Isaiah described the peaceable nature of the Messianic kingdom in that citizens of that kingdom will turn instruments of war into instruments of peace. Isaiah wrote,

‘They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.’ Isaiah 2:4

Further, Isaiah described the peaceful nature of the recipients of the Gospel, the citizens of the Messianic kingdom, the church. He wrote,

‘The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.’ Isaiah 11:6-8

In each example of Isaiah’s description, the animals are natural enemies, and, yet, they live in harmony. There are no signs of hostility nor enmity. Such peace can be found in the kingdom of God.

During Jesus’ ministry, he called twelve men to be His apostles. Within this group, there were those who would be enemies had they not been followers of Jesus. Matthew was a ‘publican’ or ‘tax collector’ for the Roman Empire, Matthew 10:3.

Simon was a Zealot, and a Zealot was opposed to paying taxes to the pagan emperor of Rome. Yet, despite their political differences, they were united soldiers and disciples of

‘the Prince of Peace.’ Isaiah 9:6

This, then, stands as a wonderful example of this peaceable nature of citizens of the kingdom as prophesied by Isaiah.

Another example is found in Romans 14. In context, Paul is dealing with eating meats, that is meats which were clean or unclean according to Old Testament law. The church in Rome was composed of both Jews and Gentiles. According to the law, the Jews could only eat meats which were clean.

However, the Gentiles could eat any meat, clean or unclean. It made no difference to them. Of course, the old law was taken ‘out of the way’ and nailed to the cross, Colossians 2:14 / Romans 7:1-4, but because of conscience, many Jews couldn’t eat unclean meat.

Apparently, some Gentiles insisted on eating such meat even though it violated their brothers’ consciences. To solve the problem, Paul charges them to

‘follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another,’ Romans 14:19

Why?

Because

‘the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost,’ Romans 14:17

Rather than offending a fellow Christian, Christians ought to seek for peace in matters of conscience.

A casual glance into the New Testament reveals that peace is promised to the followers of God. Jesus said,

‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’ John 16:33

To some, however, this brings up a contradiction for Jesus also said,

‘Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword,’ Matthew 10:34

So, what does Jesus mean?

Within the pages of Scripture, there are three types of peace.

1. There is the absence of hostility or having no enmity. Generally, when people call for peace, this is what they mean. They are looking for a time when there will be no wars or no fighting.

2. The second type of peace is tranquillity which is freedom from disturbance or a calm feeling.

3. The final peace is reconciliation. When two persons who have been at odds with one another are brought together, they have peace or reconciliation.

Jesus said,

‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid,’ John 14:27

Notice in this statement, Jesus refers to two types of peace, the peace the world gives and the peace that He gives. The world seeks for peace, but what is meant is they seek for the absence of hostility, no enmity.

The peace that Jesus promises isn’t necessarily the absence of hostility, it is as Paul describes,

‘the peace of God, which passes all understanding,’ Philippians 4:7

The Christians in Philippi very much understood this peace because they saw it demonstrated in Paul and Silas when the Gospel was first preached in the city of Philippi. Paul and Silas were beaten and cast into prison.

Did they enjoy the world’s peace, the absence of hostility? Of course not, they had been beaten. Did they enjoy the peace of Christ? Yes, and that peace was demonstrated in their praying and singing praises unto God. Acts 16:22-25. Christ’s peace is tranquillity of mind, but it is more than just that. It is having peace with God.

By ‘peace with God,’ we mean harmony or reconciliation with God. In fact, the second type of peace, tranquillity of mind, stems from the third type of peace, reconciliation that is, being reconciled unto God.

The demonstration of such reconciliation is what ‘passes understanding.’ When a person obtains reconciliation or peace with God, he or she will have peace or tranquillity of mind, the peace that passes understanding.

From an earthly standpoint, what Paul and Silas did while in the Philippian jail rises above our thoughts. It doesn’t make earthly sense to rejoice in suffering, but this is what Paul and Silas did, and this is what Peter exhorts us to do.

‘But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.’ 1 Peter 4:13

How can I have the peace Jesus promised?

The short answer is by being reconciled to God. We are reconciled by or through the blood of the cross of Jesus, Colossians 1:20-22 / Ephesians 2:13-16.

We come into contact with the cleansing blood of Christ when we are obedient to the Gospel plan of salvation by believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, John 8:24, confessing that faith, Romans 10:9-10, repenting of our sins, Luke 13:3+5, and being baptised into His death, Romans 6:3-5.

Reconciliation, however, is more than just obedience to the Gospel. We must emulate the ‘God of Peace’ and the ‘Prince of Peace’. Paul wrote,

‘Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you,’ 2 Corinthians 13:11

We must also follow ‘the Gospel of peace’, Romans 10:15 / Ephesians 6:15 and live in the peaceable kingdom of the Lord. Let us, therefore, ‘seek peace, and pursue it,’ 1 Peter 3:11 so ‘the God of peace’ will be with us. Romans 15:33.

The fruit of the Spirit is made up of qualities to which all men should aspire. They are qualities that need no law, need no regulation, and need no restraint. They are godly qualities that issue from the foundational principle of love for God and for His creation. If these qualities are applied properly to our lives, they will build a good relationship with God, with family, and with friends.

Every godly person of the past was characterised by them, and every godly person of future will be characterised by them. Let us, therefore, strive in earnestness to possess the fruit of the Spirit which is

‘love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, righteousness, and truth’.

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

Romans 12:2

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