by Arch Hoercher
What exactly is the “Fruit of the Spirit”? Galatians 5: 22-24 (NIV): But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” The first thing to notice is that the Apostle Paul wrote fruit and not fruits. Fruit is singular. All nine of these individual members are all connected and spring up from the one root.
Lets first look at the “one” root. In John 15:5-6 Jesus is speaking: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in Me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” Jesus Christ is the one vine which is in the one root. John 15:1 reads: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.” Here Jesus says that He is the true vine. Anytime Jesus uses the word “true”, it means that there is a “false” imitation. In other words, if there is a true vine there is also a false vine out in the world. It is a word of caution to let you know that all vines are not true and you must select the “true” vine. This verse also states that the Father is the gardener. The gardener (God, the Father) is the caretaker of the garden and in this case the vine. The gardener is responsible for cutting off the branches that do not bear fruit and pruning those which need to bear more fruit. Just so that you know, pruning can be painful, if you are one of the branches that is being pruned.
The “Fruit of the Spirit” is one fruit made up of multiple graces. It is a result of the Holy Spirit residing in you, but you must remain in the vine (Jesus Christ) to be able to produce the fruit. The Apostle Paul designates the results of the Holy Spirit residing in you as fruit – this is in strong contrast to the works of the flesh which are not worthy of being called fruit. It is not by accident that there are 9 aspects (or graces) of the one fruit. I like the word graces because they are given to the Christian free of charge. These 9 graces are divided into three groups of three. The number three in the Bible denotes that there is completeness. For example when we speak of God as being holy, we say “holy, holy, holy” three times to denote that God’s holiness is complete. There are three groups of three graces to denote that these graces are complete in the makeup of one fruit from the one vine and the one root. The first group of three describes the life of the Spirit in you; the second group of three is the same life in its manifestations to men; and the third group is that life in relation to the difficulties of the world and ourselves.