The Fruit of the Holy Spirit

There is a difference between the gifts of the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit. One may have the gift of administration while another may have the gift of giving, teaching, or helps. But the fruit of the Spirit is to be manifest in every Christian’s life.


As Christians, we are called to walk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) – to manifest the fruit of the Spirit, and not the works of the flesh. “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh.”


In general, any time we see “flesh,” discussed in direct contrast to “spirit,” what is being discussed is not the difference between the physical body and the spirit, but the difference between the corrupt, fallen nature and the new, regenerate man. In John 3:6, Jesus said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” He was not talking about our physical bodies but about our fallen nature, which includes not only our bodies but also our minds and our wills and our hearts.


The works of the flesh are described in Galatians 5:19-21. Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Paul is not saying that if someone gets drunk once, he will not go to heaven. He is saying if such things define us, if they constitute a lifestyle, that is an indication that we are still unregenerate and will not be included in the kingdom of God.


“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). All the fruit we are called to bear imitates the very character of God. God is the author of joy, He is kind and gentle.

Gentleness is using less force than possible in a given situation.

Joy means that we are not to be grumblers but should learn to rejoice. The basic reason for our joy is our relationship with God, for we know that the redemption we have in Christ is never threatened by our losses. We might suffer all kinds of painful setbacks and afflictions, but those things should not rob us of the foundational joy we have in Christ.

Patience in God means He is not quick to anger. He is not hasty to judge. He is forbearing, and He gives people time to turn to Him.

Kindness is simply to be caring and considerate of others.


[Adapted from R.C. Sproul, Everyone’s a Theologian]