THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT - FAITH
T. David Sustar

HIS GLORY REIGNS
B. Childress
March 14,  2008

FAITH

The seventh fruit of the Spirit should have been translated "faithfulness" rather than "faith."  Since we are dealing with
divine characteristics, it is easy for us to understand the reason.  The idea is God's absolute trustworthiness of
character.

The
New King James Version, as well as the New American Standard Bible and Revised Standard Version, render this
fruit "faithfulness."  Phillips renders it "fidelity," and Barclay calls this "the virtue of reliability."

There is also some evidence that the English word faith was originally linked to the thought of personal dependability,
for our word probably comes from the Anglo-Saxon
feyth, which has the root meaning "to fasten oneself to." We are to
fasten ourselves to Christ.  This begins with a simple step of faith and continues with a lifelong attitude of faithfulness
towards Him.  As R. Hollis Gause reminds us in Living in the Spirit, "It is the grace by which the believer's life comes to
its fulfillment."

The fruit of faith is not to be confused with the Gift of faith.  A study of the gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12 reveals that
not all receive this special faith, "
To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;"
1 Corinthians 12:9.  However, this quality of character known as faithfulness is for everyone.  A man or woman without
the gifts of the Spirit may be faithful!

God is Reliable

Our blessed hope lies in the reliability of God.  Our father has modeled faithfulness for us so that we may understand it
and in turn model it for others.  In this He chose to declare Himself through covenants with His children:  "
Know
therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love
and keep His commandments to a thousand generations...
"  Deuteronomy 7:9.  "Blessed be the Lord, that hath given
rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised:  there hath not failed one word of all his good promise,
which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.
"  I Kings 4:19.

For the Christians, all fear of the present and future is erased by this thought,  "
God is faithful, by whom ye were called
unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
"  1 Corinthians 1:9.  "Wherefore let them that suffer according to
the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
"  1 Peter 4:19.

Paul L. Walker points out three areas of God's faithfulness in The Ministry of Worship:

    First, we can expect God to work out all things for good.  This is the universal promise of Romans 8:28.

    Second, we can expect God to finish that which He has begun in our lives.  This is the promise of Philippians 1:
    6, "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of
    Jesus Christ:"

    Third, we can expect the Spirit to make intercession when we are having problems.  Paul exclaims in Romans 8:
    31, "If God be for us, who can be against us?"

Jesus is Also Faithful

The characteristics of the Father rest also upon the Son, "But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you
from evil.
"  2 Thessalonians 3:3.  "If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself."  2 Timothy 2:13.

Christ came in the flesh so that He might encounter the temptations we face and understand our burdens and pains by
giving His life at Calvary.  It was a necessary move in order for Him to properly represent us before the Father:  
"
Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high
priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
" Hebrews 2:17.  He proved His
faithfulness by not sinning and by doing the will of the Father.  He now intercedes for us, helping us to be faithful!

A serious look at His sterling example as revealed in Hebrews 12:1-4 provides an adequate incentive for faithful
service to God.  The dynamic of our faithfulness is revealed, "
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our
faith...
" Hebrews 12:2.

We Must Be Faithful

All of our actions as Christians are based upon faith in God.  This faith came by hearing the Word of God and by
believing in the body of truth it presented.  Our walk with God finds its heights and depths in our believing or failing to
believe His Word.  We all attempt to establish a pattern of consistent living with which He would be pleased.

We constantly remind ourselves of Hebrews 11:6, "
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to
God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
"  That same chapter challenges
us with the lifestyle of faithfulness of the great men of God.

The question Jesus asked is even more important today, "
I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.  Nevertheless
when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
"  Luke 18:8.  Faith is the basis of our faithfulness.  We
must still believe that He is and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him.  

We should believe that "He is," not like Hollywood, which uses Him only when it is convenient or to blaspheme His name
and character.  Our foundational beliefs should include but not be limited to Him being our Creator.  We should believe
that He is our Sustainer; our heavenly Father watches over us.  We should believe He is our Savior; He died for our
sins at Calvary.  We should believe He is our soon-coming King and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him.

Faithfulness to His Word Receives Blessings

"Faith must look beyond circumstance, must probe beyond the immediate, must anchor in something more permanent
than human feelings or human sight.  Faith must grip the eternal promises of God and cling to them no matter the
storm or the clouds, the hurt or the pain." (Hoyt E. Stone, Living Right).

Christians, and especially Pentecostals, have often been accused of making up their beliefs.  Our style of worship has
been maligned, and our literal interpretation of the Word has been attacked.  Yet we know the truth - we have not
made up our beliefs, but our beliefs have made us what we are.  As long as we are faithful to the Word of God, we will
have divine visitations from above, the Holy Spirit will fill our lives and churches, the fruit and gifts of the Spirit will be in
evidence, and sinners will fall down and say, "God is in the place."

Faithfulness Produces Christian Giants

We can all become "giants" in the Lord, not by some magic formula or a quick leap into maturity.  Six things are being
listed here which will enhance your spiritual development and move you in the direction of becoming a spiritual giant
for the Lord:

    1)  Read the Word of God,  and hide it in your heart so that you will not sin against God.

    2)  Pray.  Make prayer an integral part of your daily schedule and believe God will answer.

    3)  Be faithful in attendance at God's house.  His Word commands us to attend, even more so as the day of
    His coming approaches.

    4)  Establish faithfulness in stewardship.  Give love offerings to God and give to others as led by the Holy
    Spirit noting carefully where your treasures are.  The Word says, "I have shewed you all things, how that so
    labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more
    blessed to give than to receive."

    5)  Be faithful to the vows you have made to God.  It is better not to make a vow than to make one and break
    it.

    6)  Yield to the Holy Spirit at all times and under all circumstances - be obedient in all things.

Constant attention to these six items will produce a life that is stalwart and true.  Failure in either of the six areas will
cause a person to stumble and fall.  The church and God will be able to depend upon those who commit themselves to
the Word, prayer, attending God's house, good stewardship, the keeping of vows, and those who yield to the Holy
Spirit.  Dependability is the one ability without which all the other abilities are useless.  The Holy Spirit grants
faithfulness to those who give themselves to the cause of Christ.

The Blessings of Faith

The middle verse in God's Word says, "It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man."  Psalm 118:9.  
Take either direction from there.  Walk backwards to Genesis 1:1 or forward to Revelation 22:21 and on every page
you will find the faithful God of the covenant.  You will find heroes of the faith, many of whom are listed in Hebrews 11.  
They embraced and lived by "the faith," the body of truth held and propounded by the church as the Word of God.

They learned the truth of James 1:25, "
But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he
being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
"  Many of them also found
the reality of "
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which
the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
"  James 1:12.

Though at times they walked through dark valleys and the burdens of life weighed heavy on their souls, they never lost
sight of the faithfulness of God.  Like the apostle Paul, whose vessel was often rocked on the storms of life, they had
an overwhelming assurance of the Spirit:

"
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.  I have fought a good fight, I have finished
my course, I have kept the faith:  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown righteousness, which the Lord, the
righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
"  2
Timothy 4:6-8.

This aged saint of God had no regrets about his years of ministry.  The reward was greater than the suffering.  His
expectations of future blessings outweighed all the cares of life.

The Final Reward of Faithfulness

The promise of the risen Lord, made to the church at Smyrna, has been echoed from pulpits around the world.  
Ministers of the gospel have found in it a rallying point.  It has been a source of comfort to many dying saints.  "
Fear
none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried;
and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will  give thee a crown of life.
"  Revelation 2:10.

Let us remain faithful till death...to know the ultimate experience in life, "
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the
world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
"  1 John 5:4.


Source:

A Layman's Guide to the Fruit of the Spirit, by T. David Sustar, Copyright 1990, Pathway Press.
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LIFE IN JESUS-MINISTRIES