The “fruit of the Spirit” (qualities produced by the Spirit’s influence by means of divine instruction) stands in opposition to the “works of the flesh.”
“Love” is the agape dedication so beautifully defined in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. It is benevolence void of self-interest.
“Joy” is not earthly pleasure, but a spiritual exuberance that rejoices in God and goodness.
“Peace” is a familiar relationship with God, a congenial attitude toward others, and a sense of inner tranquility because of things eternal.
“Longsuffering” is a toughness of spirit that does not yield to the hardships of human existence or to mistreatment by others. It abides!
“Kindness” conveys the idea of a sweet and gentle spirit graciously bestowed upon others.
“Goodness” is moral excellence that excels the mediocre life that is merely void of outrageous evil, yet is lacking in helpfulness.
“Faithfulness” is strength brought into submission of the divine will, which manifests itself in humility and patience toward others.
“Self-control” is the strict personal discipline that disciplines both body and mind to resist temptation.
The final expression, “against such there is no law,” is a strong figure of speech, an understatement that supplies emphasis to the importance of this list of virtues (vv. 22-23).
Those who belong to Christ have joined with their Lord in crucifixion, in a manner of speaking. As he was crucified (put to death) the passions and desires to indulge the flesh. This transition point occurred at conversion (v. 24; 3:26-27; cf. 2:20). Since we are spiritually alive as a result of having been begotten of the Spirit (Jn. 3:5; 1 Cor. 12:13; Tit. 3:5), we must continue to walk (the sphere of our existence) by his guidance (Eph. 6:17) and avoid conceit and selfish ambition.
Wayne Jackson, A New Testament Commentary
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