Focus on Key Words
Once again, Paul contrasts and compares two different ways of living to highlight true grace vs. those who are living according to the law. Paul contrasts the evidence of the true grace of Christ found by living in the Spirit to the acts of the sinful nature. Practical evidence for everyday living is emphasized through the use of many key words.
Spirit vs. the sinful nature. In vs. 16-18, Paul contrasts life in ‘the Spirit’ to life in the ‘sinful nature’. The ‘Spirit’ is capitalized to emphasize he is speaking of the Holy Spirit. The ‘conflict’ Paul speaks of is the ‘desires’ of the Spirit vs. the ‘desires’ of the sinful nature.
Acts of the sinful nature- In vs. 19-21, Paul gives a checklist of the ‘acts’ of the sinful nature. Paul’s ‘warning’ in vs. 21 speaks of those who live continually in the sinful nature.
Fruit of the Spirit- In vs. 22-26, Paul gives another checklist, this time to show the evidence of those who are living by ‘the Spirit’.
Plural vs. singular- The sinful nature includes many plural ‘acts’, but life in the Spirit includes one singular ‘fruit’.
Finally, it is interesting to note that Paul does not speak of spiritual gifts. Spiritual giftedness is often associated with Godliness in everyday church life, but life in the Spirit is associated with the fruit of the Spirit.