This week we focus our attention and reflections on love. It’s the first fruit listed in Galatians 5, but it’s possible that it is THE fruit of the Spirit. In the fruit of the Spirit, 9 traits are listed, but the word fruit is singular. Many take it (and I’m inclined to agree) that we could translate and understand Paul’s argument to read, “The deeds of the flesh are obvious [and many, including] idolatry, strife, divisions, envy… But the fruit of the Spirit is [singular, and it’s] love, [which is, or is characterized by] joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” The other eight traits listed are defining and fleshing out what true love looks like.
This would make sense in the broader context of Scripture: God is love, love fulfills the law (which reveals his character), and in Colossians 3, it is said to bind and hold together all the facets of holiness into which God is growing us to be more like Christ: “12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
When the chief Christian virtues are listed as Faith, Hope, and Love, love is named the greatest of the three, because it is the only one that is eternal. In eternity, our faith will be sight, and our hopes will be fulfilled, so we will no longer trust and have those things not yet see, because the already will give way and the not yet, will become present reality…But love will continue forever. Father, Son, & Holy Spirit eternally and perfectly loving one another, drawing us in finally and fully to know that love they have had since the beginning.
This has always been Christ’s prayer for you: “Jn 17.24-26 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”