(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
The scope of the text is to show that there is a necessary connection betwixt a gracious state and a holy life; which are so joined by the appointment of God, and the nature of things, that they cannot be put asunder. The reasoning is founded on that fundamental maxim of practical Christianity, that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Light, abides, acts, and produceth fruit in all the children of light, in all those who are light in the Lord. It is by the communion of His Spirit that we receive of His influences to make us fruitful. The Spirit uniting the soul to Christ, the fountain of light and life, it immediately partakes of the light and life, as a candle is lighted by a burning lamp touching it; but the candle, separated from the lamp, would continue to burn, as having in itself that which feeds the flame. But the creature is empty in itself, and therefore must be fed continually from Jesus Christ, by the communion of His Spirit maintaining the bond of union betwixt Christ and the soul, and taking of Christ and giving to it. So that if it were possible that the Spirit should once totally depart from the child of light, and the union be broken, that moment he would return to his former darkness. Now the fruit of the Spirit, thus abiding and acting in the children of light, is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth; therefore it necessarily follows, that they that are light in the Lord, will walk as children of light. We are now —
2. To consider what is said of this fruit of the Spirit. "It is in all goodness," etc. There is an ellipsis here of the copulating. Our translators supply the word, "is." Some versions supply the word, "consists." Whatever be supplied, that seems to be the sense, namely, that the fruit of the Spirit consists in all goodness, etc. Thus we read (Colossians 1:10) of being fruitful in every good work. The fruit of the Spirit is not only in some goodness, righteousness, and truth — though many deceive themselves with. parcels and shreds of these things — but it is in all goodness in one's self and to his neighbour; in all righteousness towards man; in all truth with respect to God, our neighbour, and ourselves. And these things are interwoven one with another, in the fruit of the Spirit. The goodness is true, and jostles out no sort of righteousness or justice, communicative nor distributive, remunerative nor punitive. The righteousness is true and good; from right principles, motives, and ends. So is the truth, as it is here distinguished, proceeding from a good principle. Meanwhile, this extent of the fruit of the Spirit is to be understood not in a legal, but an evangelical sense; of a perfection of parts, not of degrees.Lastly. Let us show how these are the fruit of the Holy Ghost in the children of light. They are so in three respects.
1. He implants them in the soul, giving it a good, righteous, and true inclination and propensity, agreeable to the holy law, according to that, "I will," saith the Lord, "put My law into their minds, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people."
2. He preserves these graces when implanted (1 Peter 1:5), without which they would die out. And —
3. He excites, quickens, and brings them forth to action, in the heart and life of the children of light (Song of Solomon 4:16).
(T. Boston, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)