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The Fruit of the Spirit: Faithfulness

“These will wage war with the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings. Those who are with Him are called and chosen and faithful.” (Rev. 17:14, MEV).

 

Part of the Fruit of the Spirit series by Jim Linzey

Martin Luther defined faith as “a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure that one would die a thousand times for it.” Faith as a fruit is clearly distinguished from the act of faith which brings initial salvation and the gift of faith which is a special operation of faith. The same God gives each. But there is growth to be achieved. The fruit must grow until faith permeates every aspect of the believer’s life.

Such synonyms as trust, faithfulness, conviction, integrity, and fidelity often translate the Greek word pistis or faith. Thus the list of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5 is capable of a double meaning of faith and faithfulness, though the majority of 20th century translations prefer faithfulness or fidelity rather than the KJV’s rendition of faith. Growing out of the believer’s steadfast faith in God there is a dependability beyond the ordinary.

The man of faith is himself faithful because he is obedient.

Faith in God produces faithfulness toward God and man. The job of the Holy Spirit is to bring faith into the Spirit-filled life. The Christian full of the Spirit and faith is faithful. God is absolutely reliable and constant (James 1:17). The man of faith is himself faithful because he is obedient. Having faith in God involves keeping faith with God. True faith manifests dependability in doing the work of God, in fact in doing both temporal and spiritual tasks. Much of the success of the early church was due to the efforts of the saints of God who prayed, testified, visited, gave their means, and opened their homes. They were not faithful just to men, but they had real vision for the work of God. They were faithful in the commonplace things of life, the monotonous routine of the day. They were just as faithful when it was raining as when the sun was shining. The disciples and apostles found the place where God wanted them to be, and they stayed there and were faithful.

For example, consider Paul. God called him to be an apostle, to a life of hardship. He could have quit any time. He didn’t really need shipwreck, stripes, persecutions, hunger, thirst, imprisonment. He could have said, “This is too hard; I’ll just go back to the Sanhedrin.” But he stayed where God wanted him, and it was while he was in prison that we wrote the beautiful epistles that give God’s instructions for the early church and for our own spiritual growth.

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Category: Spirit, Winter 2018

About the Author: James F. Linzey is the chief editor of the Modern English Version Bible translation. His graduate education is a degree in religious studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. His undergraduate degree from Southern California College is a BA in Biblical Studies with an emphasis in religion. He is the author of numerous articles and books. He is a speaker, recording artist, State Chaplain for the California Military Officers’ Association, and retired Army chaplain. MilitaryBibleAssociation.com. Wikipedia.org/wiki/James_F._Linzey. Twitter: @JimLinzey

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