None of us are strangers to the words of Galatians 5:22-23, where we’ve read countless times, these words;
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
Volumes have been written and read concerning these words and hundreds of thousands of sermons have given where men have tried to either explain these words or in the worst case scenario, they’ve used these words to supposedly correct some seemingly wayward brother or sister.
Thousands of books have been written on love, joy, peace and many others have been “inked” concerning the attributes of kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.
But, I don’t recall ever having seen a book detailing the last 6 words of this verse and more than that, I don’t know that I’ve ever heard any one who’s quoted this particular verse that has included these last few words in their recitation of it. The irony is that those people who will not quote the last 6 words are the very same people who’ll proclaim the need for reading scripture in context.
I have some thoughts as to why most people won’t make mention of these words, but that is not the reason for this article. I have one singular thought though and that’s what I want to discuss with you today.
First of all, there is, as with all scripture, a “key” hidden here that will unlock the door of our understanding. I know I’m on solid ground when I say this because it wasn’t me who said anything about a key in the first place and especially when it comes to spiritual matters. It was Jesus Christ who first talked about those keys in Matthew 16:19.
Once that key is given, the door of understanding opens before us and we enter into a realm, a place, a literal kingdom that is much larger than we can possibly imagine. Rest assured that although volumes have been written, can be written and perhaps should be, it starts with the “key.” Still, if those volumes, written and yet to be written, do not hand you the key, all they have done is handed you a book.
Allow me a brief parable and then I’ll “hand you the key” for this verse.
My house is of considerable size; its true dimensions don’t matter. Inside of my house there are all the usual rooms and they have their specific purpose. Inside there are furnishings of different shapes, sizes and function. Inside my house I have my prized possessions; a laptop, my library and my golf clubs.
Now, I’ve just left home to go into town to tend to some business and I return home. Though all that pertains to me is just on the other side of this door; what do I need to make all of those things accessible to me? I need a key. I need the smallest thing in hand to open for me the much larger realm in which I spend most of my time. Without a key, even my very own home is a place I cannot enter into. Without that key, I will not be able to spend any time in my own home. Until I have the key, then I have no choice but to live outside of it.
The analogy stops there for most of us, because, if you’re like the rest of us; you have made several copies of your house keys. But, don’t make the mistake of thinking that there are several copies of the key that Jesus is speaking of. When I tell you what the key is, then you’ll understand what I am saying.
So, here’s the key, the smallest item necessary to unlock the door which will allow you to enter into a realm of considerable size.
The key is the word “of.” That’s it. The key word, we call them, isn’t “fruit” and it isn’t even “Spirit.” When I say this I do not mean that those things and that person are not “key” to our understanding. But what I am referring to is not the words, but the definition of those words. Not that the Spirit can be defined, but fruit can and is defined and more often than not it is defined in a way that isn’t altogether true, which would make it altogether false.
Admittedly for years I read this verse and I would do the same thing I’d done for years. I would assume I knew what each word meant and applying my definition to each word I would piece together a more complete picture. What do I mean?
For years we’ve all been told something along the lines of, “if you’re really saved then you will love, have joy, be at peace and you will be patient, kind, gentle and you will be able to control yourself. And that is the fruit that you have to produce, that is, if you are saved.” Now that I have the “key” to this verse, those words are nauseating.
The key word is “of” and although smaller than the house itself, it will unlock the door to a realm most of us live outside of. Granted, it can be extremely difficult to define the word “of.” Well, when scripture uses the word “of” what is meant by it, what does God mean when He uses it?
“Of” in the scriptures means “springing from” or “born through (or by)” in those places where the context justifies its use.
Rather than go into a lengthy explanation, let’s insert this definition of “of” into our verse. Determine for yourselves whether or not this is the key.
“The fruit springing from the Spirit is love…” or “The fruit born through the Spirit is love…” or “The fruit born by the Spirit is love…”
“The fruit, the by-product of life within, is seen outwardly; but be sure that the invisible sap within a tree is the source of that fruit and that outward expression of the inward life is love…”
“Of” in most cases in our bibles speaks of birth. To name a few, we have:
Matthew 1:16, 18 and perhaps with more emphasis are these words:
“…the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.” Luke 3:37, 38.
Let’s insert the definition of “of” into this one verse;
“…the son springing from Enosh, the son springing from Seth, the son springing from Adam who is the son who sprang from God.”
I’ll leave you to prayerfully consider these things and determine before the Lord, whether or not you’ll read Galatians 5:22 and 23 in the same way ever again. If you’ll accept that “fruit springs from the Spirit” and no longer consider any man as responsible for his fruitfulness, then you’ll see a much larger kingdom than you’ve ever imagined. (for more on this particular subject, read my other article: Bananas and the Gospel)
Also, notice that “fruit” is singular. Joy, peace and all the other characteristics are the “children” that “spring from” love and love “springs from” the Spirit of Christ within, who is God and God is love. How much simpler could it be? It’s a key, the smallest thing needed to open the biggest door into the largest realm there is, the kingdom of God.
Those 6 words I mentioned earlier; “Against such there is no law” mean that when the fruit which is produced from within (and all that comes because of that fruit) there can be no outside forces which govern it. That’s all the law can do, is govern outwardly, but how can you govern the inward, invisible and undeniable work of God inside a man? You can’t! Against such there is no law.
So, ponder this, consider this and I’ll see you later, oh and, by the way, don’t forget your keys.