“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no Law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
This is much more than just a quaint list of good spiritual qualities. In fact, it is meant to be the proof of one’s salvation!
Paul had just said earlier in :19-21 that “the deeds of the flesh are obvious” — and he listed a number of particular sins. And he concluded the section by saying “those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” So people who live like that are LOST, Paul insists!
And significantly, it is THEN that he says in :22, “But the fruit of the SPIRIT” — in other words, the evidence that you are NOT lost, but that the Holy Spirit is truly present in you: “is love, joy, peace, patience …” and all of these qualities. These are not just “nice things to have.” They are the mark of the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life. When Jesus said “You will know them by their fruit,” this is at least one of the things He was talking about.
(Interestingly enough: he does NOT say “But the mark of the Spirit is speaking in tongues” — or anything else. The mark of the Spirit’s authentic presence in your life is that you demonstrate the love, joy, peace and patience that come only from Him.)
These verses should cause each person who claims to be a Christian to ask: “Am I truly saved? Are these qualities really present in me?” It’s more than just an abstract theological question. It’s a matter of ther proof of your salvation.