Summary: No. 7 in the teaching series on Fruit of the Spirit, covering the quality of faithfulness.
Fruit of the Spirit—Faith (Faithfulness) (3-4 Lessons)
Series: Fruit of the Spirit Teaching Series
Jul 20-Aug 17, 2014
TEXT: Galatians 5:22-23 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
Are you getting tired of fruit? I hope not, because our “fruit salad” is only two-thirds finished.
You’ll recall from the first week of our study of the fruit of the Spirit that we noted that the qualities found in these verses form three triads (groups of three):
• The first triad are love, joy, and peace, found in verse 22, which we said are “habits of mind that find their source in GOD.”
• The second triad are qualities that reveal themselves in our relationships with OTHERS—longsuffering, gentleness, and goodness.
• The third triad are graces that guide the general conduct of the believer led by the Holy Spirit—faith, meekness, and temperance.
Today I want us to look at the word “faith” in verse 22, the first quality in the LAST triad.
First, let’s define the word translated “faith” here. The word in the Greek is pistis (pi/stiς, #4102)
“Pistis” has two meanings:
• If used in the ACTIVE sense, it means “believing, trusting, or relying.” – When used this way, it means “faith,” and is translated that way consistently throughout the King James Version of the New Testament.
• If pistis is used in the PASSIVE sense, it means something a little bit different.
It means “faithfulness, certain, trustworthy, or reliable.” It relates to the aspect of one’s CHARACTER, rather than to what he actively DOES. Thus it’s best translation is “faithfulness.”
In Galatians 5:22, the King James translators chose the word faith. However, every reference I researched regarding this passage (including commentaries, Greek word studies, and other translations) said the same thing—that here pistis is used in the PASSIVE sense, meaning the word faithfulness is what Paul meant—not faith.
So let’s look at the quality of FAITHFULNESS today:
I. NOTE FIRST OF ALL THE RARITY OF FAITHFULNESS
Note Proverbs 20:6 says “Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man, who can find?”
Faithfulness is fast becoming a rarity in our day.
Illus. – A number of years ago the headline of a major supermarket tabloid proclaimed, “And they said it wouldn’t last!” The paper was celebrating the first wedding anniversary of a well-known couple whose marriage many had predicted wouldn’t last. The tabloid gleefully proclaimed that the predictions were all wrong, and that the marriage was healthy and strong. The famous couple they were talking about was Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley, whose marriage ended soon afterwards.
The sad thing was not so much that they were wrong about the state of their marriage, but the idea that if a marriage has lasted one year, it has really lasted a long time!
Illus. – Hallmark has a card that fits the mood of our time by saying, “I can’t promise you forever, but I can promise you today.”
Well…that’s real comforting isn’t it? But that’s about as deep a commitment to faithfulness as many are willing to make today.
But, you know, the rarity of faithfulness is not necessarily a new phenomenon.
• The WRITER OF PROVERBS I quoted a moment ago who asked, “…a faithful man, who can find?,” wrote those words over 3,000 years ago.
• The book of 1 Samuel chronicles the sad story of the priest, ELI, who was unfaithful in several areas of his life, not the least of which was the rearing of his sons. Because of his unfaithfulness, God rejected Eli’s priesthood. In 1 Samuel 2:35 God said “…I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind…” God was looking for a priest who would rise above the mediocrity of that day and be FAITHFUL in all things.
• In Psalm 12:1 DAVID lamented the lack of faithfulness in his own time when he said, “Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.”
• JESUS and PAUL both said much about faithfulness because there was a lack of faithfulness in their day.
Sadly, our day is no different.
Q. Can you think of some areas where faithfulness is lacking, both in the spiritual realm and in the secular realms as well?
A. Possible answers:
• People take on FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES AND DEBTS, but are not faithful to fulfill those responsibilities and to pay their obligations. – Bankruptcies today are at an all time high.
• People take VOWS OF MARRIAGE before God to be true and faithful, and then break those vows by being unfaithful through adultery.