v. 22. but the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
v. 23. meekness, temperance; against such there is no law.
v. 24, And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
v. 25. if we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
v. 26. Let us not be desirous of vainglory, provoking one another, envying one another.
In contrast to the sins and vices which the apostle has enumerated above, he here offers a brief, but comprehensive list of Christian virtues, calling them fruits of the Spirit, since they, through the power of the Spirit, grow forth out of true faith in Christ. See Joh_15:1-6. As the first fruit of the Spirit Paul names love, the highest of all Christian gifts and works, the supreme virtue, which includes all the rest. 1Co_13:1-13. Out of this love flows joy over the neighbor's welfare, the very opposite of envy and jealousy. He that loves his neighbor and rejoices in his good fortune will furthermore live in peace with him, always showing a peaceable disposition, avoiding all quarrels. And in order that a Christian may exhibit this desire for peace with all men, he himself shows patience, even under provocation; he is long-suffering and gentle. Yea, more: he shows kindliness and generosity, he meets his neighbor more than half way; he is always benevolently inclined, never harsh. He exhibits faithfulness, not only in positions of trust, but whenever his word is pledged. Instead of being eager for revenge, his behavior is characterized by gentleness; and instead of giving way to voluptuousness and impurity, the Christian always practices chastity, being chaste and decent in thoughts, words, and deeds, guarding also against all intemperance in food and drink and all other forms of physical indulgence, lest he defile the garment of holiness which is supposed to adorn him. Of all these virtues Paul says: Against such the Law is not, for such works agree fully with the Law of God, they are in accordance with His holy will. He that is found walking in such fruits of the Spirit will not come under the condemnation of the Law, will be free from the coercion and curse of the Law. See 1Ti_1:9.
In summing up the characteristic attitude of the Christians, the apostle writes: They that belong to Christ have crucified their flesh with its passions and lusts. They that are Christ's, that belong to Jesus Christ, are those that have entered into fellowship with Him, that have become His own. When the Holy Spirit wrought faith in their hearts, they crucified their flesh, they renounced the old Adam, their sinful nature. They are now living and walking in the Spirit; that is the sphere in which they live and move. Their crucified flesh may sometimes attempt to break away from the cross, but in the end it must die, and with it all the evil affections, passions, and desires. No matter how bitterly it hurts the flesh that it can no longer gratify its lusts, it must submit. It means a great deal of self-denial on the part of the believer; there is no lack of suffering and battling. As with Christ, so it is with the Christians: through tribulations they go to glory.
In close connection with this thought the apostle writes: If we live in the Spirit, in the Spirit let us also go forward. Let us not become desirous of vainglory, to provoke one another, to envy one another. The life which is in the believers by the power of the Spirit should also be impressed and stamped upon their entire conduct, should cause them to make progress in their spiritual life. They should turn neither to the right nor to the left, but follow the norm of the Spirit, in the strength given by the Spirit. And one way in which the Christians should show their progress in spiritual life is this, that they should not be seekers after vainglory, that they do not strive for personal honor and glory, as every man is inclined to do by nature. Everyone wants to be more than his neighbor, in ability, in social position. False ambition has brought untold misery upon the Church of Christ. For it is due to that attitude that men provoke one another, assume a challenging position, question the ability and the motives of one another, are jealous of one another's success in any line of effort, seek to minimize real accomplishments by adverse criticism. If the desire for vainglory rules in a person's heart, the result will be the rapid loss of brotherly love, followed by dissension, quarrels, jealousy, and hatred.
Paul admonishes the Galatians to hold fast their Christian liberty, to avoid the leaven of false doctrine and the works of the flesh, and to walk in the Spirit, bringing forth the fruits thereof.