"... the other eight graces reveal the richness of that love."
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” Galatians 5:22-23
The fruit of the Spirit is a “singular plurality” or we might say a “collective singular.” These descriptions are apparent contradictions like “jumbo shrimp.” But they exist.
The plurality of the Nine Graces
“The fruit of the Spirit is love.” Love is from agape which is an act of the will. It is unconditional love—the love with which Christ loves us. It is a love that does right even when you’re wronged. I said this to a husband when dealing with him and his wife over some marital issues. He said, “It can’t mean that!” I said “It does!” But this shows that it is a supernatural love. It is not natural for us to do right even when we’re wronged. It is the fruit of the Spirit.
Joy is not the same as earthly happiness that exists merely on the soul level. Rather, it is the fruit of the Spirit. It is that supernatural joy God imparts to His abiding saints from the deepest part of their being—the Spirit. The joy of the Lord is your strength even when you are in the midst of difficult circumstances.
Peace that passes all understanding. Peace that keeps you calm in the midst of the storm. Again, this is supernatural. How many doctors and nurses have been baffled at the peace a saint of God evidences when being told bad news?
Longsuffering is the opposite of “short-suffering”! Again, this is the fruit of the Spirit. It is supernatural. And on and on we could go: gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.
Temperance is Spirit-energized self-control. It is not just self-control. Some in the world have that. It is truly the fruit of the Spirit. It is Spirit-enabled self-control. So if you have a lack of character, then there is hope through walking in the Spirit and accessing Spirit-energized self-control.
Nine beautiful graces unfold the fruit of the Spirit. Personally, since God is love, I believe the fruit of the Spirit is love, and the other eight graces reveal the richness of that love. Either way, we see the plurality involved.
The Singularity of the Fruit
Often I hear people refer to the fruits of the Spirit. Yet the text says “fruit,” not “fruits.” Therefore, all of the graces are simultaneously manifested when you are walking in the Spirit. The Spirit imparts the character of Jesus—and He is consistent.
If you think you have several graces down, but you need to work on several others—you don’t have any of them. What you think you have are fakes. When you access Jesus by faith, the Spirit imparts the full life of Jesus. This is the fruit of the spirit of Jesus. He is consistent.
Imitation fruit may look real on a table, but if you take a bite, it’s not the same as the real thing. The Christian life is not a matter of imitation—unsaved moralists can do that—it is a matter of impartation. As you abide in Christ, the Spirit imparts the character of Christ to you and through you.
After addressing this truth in a meeting, a pastor friend told me his wife said on the way home, “So, it’s all or nothing!” Another lady testified in a meeting she thought she had some of the graces but needed to work on the others, but had come to realize she didn’t really have any of them far too much of the time. This is a startling realization, but it is the beginning of the path to walking in the Spirit and accessing the fruit of the Spirit.
John Van Gelderen
About This Blog
Hello, I’m John Van Gelderen. I am an evangelist and the president of Revival Focus Ministries, an organization for the cause of revival in hearts, homes, churches, and beyond, and for evangelizing. This blog is focused on experiencing Jesus. I believe in order to really live, you must access and experience the very life of Jesus Christ.