It is very significant that the apostle Paul precisely in the Galatian epistle speaks of "the fruit of the Spirit" (5:22). He places it in sharp contrast to "the works of the flesh" (5:19). The concept of "work" is related to earning something; doing something for wages (Rom.4:4). Already five times before this, were "works" mentioned in this letter and every time it is connected to "works of the law" (2:16; 3:2,5,10). "Works of the law" means: to fulfil the law in order to earn God's favor, especially, to receive justification (2:16). That is impossible. The great Biblical example is Abraham, who believed when God promised him descendants as numerous as the stars of the heavens. Nothing was asked of him, but Abraham believed God's unconditional promise and that made him righteous in God's sight (Gen. 15:6; Rom.4:2,3).
Every religion, including the Christian religion, is based on works or earning favor. God is your Savior on the condition… . In the Christian religion, "believing (having faith)" is very craftily changed into a work. They say, God is your Savior as long as you believe. That is a lie, because the Evangel is not a transaction or an offer! It is an announcement, a message! God is your Savior (1Tim.4:10)! It is not: If you believe, God will be your Saviour; no, but: God is your Savior… believe that!
The universal principle is that a man is justified by faith and not by works. These two are, by definition, opposites to each other. This not only applies to becoming righteous, but also to living righteously (Rom.1:17). That is what the Galatians letter is all about. God blesses faith: i.e., saying, Amen! to His unconditional promises. As soon as one goes to work (= trying to earn God's blessings), then one is "fallen out of grace" (Gal.5:4) and one's walk, how ever pious, is "according to the flesh" (Gal.4:23.29). And "the works of the flesh" (fornication, strife, envy, drunkenness, etc.), go along with this, hand in hand.
Working means earning. In contrast to this stands: fruit. A fruit grows freely. Is the tree in a location where it receives food and light, then the fruit grows of itself and God gives the increase. So it is with "the fruit of the Spirit." This fruit does not grow where people try to achieve something – that is working. This fruit grows where people are planted in the light of God's grace and are nurtured by His promises. Then one is grounded in love; and in joy and peace one tastes the privilege of having and showing patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Behold, the fruit of God's Spirit!
Translation: Peter Feddema