The Fruit of the Spirit: Love, part 2


"But the fruit of the Spirit is love..." (Galatians 5:22). 

As those born of the Spirit, we bear the fruit of love one to another. Without the Spirit, we would still be enslaved to selfish living and loving things more than others. In part 1, we saw that love seeks the good of others even at cost to yourself, love is the imitation of Christ, and the love is necessary for biblical discipleship. Part 2 will round out this brief discussion on love.

First is a reminder that brotherly love requires forgiving each other. 1 Peter 4:8, "Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

Second is a reminder that "sincere brotherly love" is God's call to all Christians. 1 Peter 1:22–23, "Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, [23] since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God." 

Love must be sincere, not hypocritical or fake. Brotherly love speaks to affectionate, faithful love. We must love one another earnestly, which means we are committed to it; we are serious about it. And we must love from a pure heart, meaning we do not do and say loving things because we hope to receive something in return, or because we want others to think highly of us, or we are just flattering others (which is a form of lying and is of the devil). None of that is pure. Pure-hearted love is love with the right motives: the glory of God and the good of others.

Third is a reminder that God's command to love each other summarizes all His holy commandments to us. Love sums up God's law. Romans 13:8–10, "Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. [9] For the commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,' and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' [10] Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." 

Look at verse 10 again and think about that simple definition of love, that love seeks the good of others. That's right, "Love does no wrong to a neighbor." Rather, love does what is right to a neighbor: what is kind, just, merciful, and helpful.

Fourth is a reminder that Christian love is (1) impossible without God's Spirit and power within us, and (2) applied in many ways in our relationships and interactions. 1 Corinthians 13:4–7, "Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant [5] or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; [6] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. [7] Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

If you are not pursuing and growing in Christ-like love, than your sanctification and practical discipleship is at a stand still. Repent, and turn to the Lord for help. Without love, nothing else we do, say, or feel in church matters (see 1 Corinthians 13:1-3). If the fruit of the Spirit is love, and love is lacking, then we need the Spirit. We need to look to Christ in faith that He might conform us to the likeness of His sacrificial love. 

"So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love" (1 Corinthians 13:13).
"Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. [10] Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. [11] But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes." (1 John 2:9–11)
"If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen." (1 John 4:20)
"We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. [15] Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him." (1 John 3:14-15)