Summary: "The fruit of the spirit is love...and against such things there is no law." Paul calls Christians to live beyond the demands of the law by walking closely with the Spirit and bearing his fruit.
The Fruit of the Spirit is Love…And Against Such Things There is No Law
In Galatians 5:22, God says “The fruit of the spirit is love”
And then at the end of 5:23, after explaining how that love overflows in joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, he says “Against such things there is no law.”
Which is kind of a strange thing to say. If I were to say to you, “Bake me cookies, there is no law against it.”
You’d say, “Of course not. Why would there be a law against baking cookies?”
Paul is not just stating the obvious – he is connecting what he has already taught about the law and what it does in our lives with what the spirit does in our lives. And he says that if we bear the fruit of the spirit, we are acting in harmony with the law of God, not against it.
So today I want to talk about our relationship to the law of God as believers, to talk about why its important that we recognize love as the FRUIT of the spirit, not the work of the Spirit, and to call us all to a standard for living that goes far beyond the demands of the law.
God had, in the Old Testament and the New, given commands to us. Any “do” or “don’t do” command from God was a law. That law that God gave, which included things like the ten commandments, was a good thing. Romans says that the law is holy, just, and good.
And God gave his commands for a great purpose:
WHY GOD GAVE COMMANDS
1) REVEAL SIN
Romans 3:20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.
Romans 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “YOU SHALL NOT COVET.”
God had written his laws on our hearts, so we knew what sin was. There is a universal moral law that is innate, probably part of the image of God in us. But as sinners, we obscured that law, and tarnished it, and our hearts became hard and calloused so that we could no longer recognize what sin is. So God, in his mercy, sent commands to remind us of what sin is, of who we are as sinners, and to make it crystal clear that we’re lawbreakers. If God hadn’t given his law, we might not have recognized sin.
He gave it as a light so we could look at our lives and see what was in them so we could turn to him for forgiveness.
In the house we lived in in Missouri, we had a problem with bugs.
The only time we didn’t have a problem with the bugs was when the lights were off. If you listened real closely you could hear them at night, but for the most part they went unnoticed in the dark.
Then when we flipped the lights on, they went running everywhere. It was only in the light that we could really see the bug problem so we could call the exterminator.
Now the light was not the SOLUTION to the bug problem, it just revealed it.
God’s commands were never intended to be the solution for our sin problem, but to reveal the problem so we could turn to Jesus.
2) REVEAL FAITH
Abraham was given his son Isaac, and with him given a promise that Nations would come from him.
Then God gives Abraham his test of faith, he says, “Abraham, kill Isaac” – that’s a law, a command spoken by God.
Genesis 22: 9Then they came to the place of which God had told him; and Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood, and bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12He said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”
Romans 4:3 “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
God gives a promise: I’ll make nations of you.
God gives a law: Kill your son.
Abraham believes the promise, trusts in the lawgiver, and he OBEYS the law.