the fruit of the Spirit is love12-06-2013 - Posted by Andre Piet
This past GoedBericht-weekend in Maarn was (again) an unforgettable experience! The holiday cabins were fully booked (with about sixty adult participants) and together with an additional few dozen day-visitors, we could enjoy, literally and figuratively, a few days under a cloudless sky. During five meetings, on the basis of the epistle to the Galatians, we have immersed ourselves in the very important topic of how God’s Spirit can produce, in our lives, fruit that pleases God and man. The fruit of the Spirit — that was the subject. Special attention was given to the fact that the “fruit” is singular. It really is one fruit and that fruit is called: love. Galatians 5:22 says:
Now the fruit of the spirit is love: joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control
In this presentation, love is not one of the nine characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit – it is the fruit. After the entry of love, follows no comma, but a colon. Love, as the fruit of the Spirit, has eight characteristics or properties. Love is the one word that Paul was referring to, a few verses earlier (Galatians 5:14), when he wrote:
For the entire law is fulfilled in one word, in this: “You shall love your associate as yourself.”
love in 1 Corinthians 13
That love indeed includes the eight properties listed: joy, peace, patience , etc., is also evident when we compare them with the famous ode to love in 1Corinthians 13. Directly or indirectly, we find all eight properties of love back in this chapter. “It rejoices” (> joy), “it is not easily provoked” (> peace), “love is patient”, “love is kind” (= friendly, the same Greek word), and so on.
The love of which Paul speaks, as the fruit of the Spirit, is in Greek agape. It is a love that is unconditional and it is distinct from the Greek words “phileo” and “eros”, which also are connected with love. With “phileo” and “eros”, however, the affection has its origin in the attractiveness of the other. With “agape” that is not the case. “Agape” is a constant, even if the other has no attraction (anymore) and even when all rights to affection have been lost. It can best be compared to the love of parents for their child. That love is (at least, usually) independent of how the child behaves or presents itself. The child is loved, because it is their child. That can never be undone.
the love of God
“Agape” in Scripture refers to the love of God. God loves every creature (Ps.145:9) – it is, after all, His creation! He will never forsake the works of His hands. And since He is GOD, this will be realized, because (as one song says it), “what His love wants to achieve, His ability will not deny Him. He seeks the lost, until He finds it (Luke.15:4). Walking in the Spirit (Gal.5:16) and, consequently, also in “agape” (Eph.5:2) is seeing every human being as beloved… by GOD. The fruit of God’s indwelling Spirit is the love of God, Himself. It is a love that excludes no one and never fails or lapses.