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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Parnell

The Cosmic Undercurrent of Your Fruit (Galatians 5:22-23)

[But] the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, ²³gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. —Galatians 5:22-23

The depth behind Galatians 5:19–23 reaches well beyond certain character traits that we should and should not have. The presence of the Holy Spirit invades our present reality to point to a new world. And His aim in the lives of believers is to produce lifestyles that are fit for this new world.

As the Father has elected those who trust in Jesus, and Jesus has accomplished their redemption by his cross and resurrection, so the Spirit completes this work by empowering a new identity that will eventually result in the incorruptible (2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 John 3:2; 1 Corinthians 15:49). This is the salvation of a triune God whose work to save is an electing, reconciling, and perfecting work (Ephesians 1:3–14).

Another tip in the Galatians 5 passage that signifies a cosmic undercurrent comes in verse 21. After describing the works of the flesh, Paul concludes that “those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” The issue is now amplified. All the talk about vice is put into a different perspective. The way you live now signifies a greater, eternal reality. It manifests whether you are of the kingdom of God, or not.

Gordon Fee explains,

[F]or Paul there is an eschatological consummation of the kingdom of God that has already come [in the] present through Christ and the Spirit. The outcome for any individual is predicated on whether or not one is a Spirit person, having become so through faith in Christ Jesus. Thus for Paul, “inheriting” or “not inheriting” the kingdom, the final eschatological glory, is a matter of whether or not one is a believer (God’s Empowering Presence, p. 443).


For Reflection

  1. Are you a citizen of this coming new and better world?

  2. Do you have the Holy Spirit?

  3. Do you embrace the work Jesus Christ for sinners?

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