Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 4 Study # 9
June 9, 2013
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
1901 ASV Translation
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 meekness, self-control; against such there is no law.
24 And they that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts thereof.
25 If we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also walk.
26 Let us not become vainglorious, provoking one another, envying one another.
- I. The "Fruit" of the Spirit.
- A. Calling it "fruit".
- B. The organization of the "fruit".
- C. The characteristics of the "fruit" (singular).
- 1. In respect to the inner man.
- a. "Love"
- 1) The Authorized Version translators opted for "charity" multiple times (a word that now has absolutely false implications for "love"). Why they did this is beyond me. In 1 Corinthians "agape" is used by Paul 11 times and these translators opted for "charity" 9 times; whereas in 2 Corinthians "agape" is used 9 times and these translators never used "charity" as a translator's choice.
- 2) 1 John has the most uses of any book of the New Testament crammed into its five relatively short chapters.
- 3) The primary issue in "love" is the assignment of value to someone/something.
- a) This "assignment of value", because of the inescapable fact of complexity, is always an "assignment" in respect an entire "system of values" and is inevitably relative to some other person/thing in that same value-system.
- b) "Agape" is not only used for a particular "assignment of value in a "system of values" (as in "Jacob I have loved"), it is also very often used for the entire "system" (as in "the Love of God" or "the love of the world"). This means that it deals with "what is valuable" (the "system") and "what is valuable at this time in this setting" (the particularization of the details of the system in temporal settings). This is rooted in the fact that "what is valuable" will most often be in flux because of the plethora of people and things vying for a position in the system in given times and settings.
- c) One of the most significant realities about "agape" is its "relativity" in respect to the one exercising it. Biblically, "agape" is from God if there is no exaltation of the one exercising it over the actual eternal benefit to other persons, and it is from the world if the one exercising it is the one to seek to gain at another's expense. Since God, by definition, can not "gain" (it is impossible to improve upon absolute perfection), He does not even consider exalting Himself over others. And, technically, since He can not "lose" (it is impossible to detract from absolute perfection without destroying that perfection altogether), He does not "worry" about the losses. At this point, the Cross comes into play as an enormous mystery in that it posits a "form" of loss to God (Death allowed to take a place in the God of Life is pretty much impossible to figure out or explain). It is a gross error to "think" that the Cross was really "no big deal" even in light of the fact that "resurrection" pretty much makes "death" "no big deal". The Death of the Cross was an eternally "Big Deal" and, as such, is the definitive marker of the "agape" of God.
- 4) As the leading element of the list of the "fruit of the Spirit", "agape" signals the fact that Paul is dealing, at least initially, with "internal", and "most fundamental" issues. The goal for Paul is the generation of mature saints who know how to permit the Spirit of Jesus to produce the life of Jesus through a human being's body. To get to that goal, the most necessary issue is that of deciding what is valuable from an Eternal perspective.
- b. "Joy"
- c. "Peace"
- d. Theologically, "love", "joy", and "peace" all have settings in respect to the way God made man.
- e. Theologically, "love" is the epicenter of all: there is no joy where misplaced values dominate; and there is no peace when values lead to conflict.