Summary: The Greek translation of faithful is actually persuasive and trustworthy. How often is the second part missing in the church?
What is the worse thing that can happen in a marriage? Wouldn’t most people agree it is unfaithfulness, having an affair? Personally I believe that the most important aspect of love is trust and trustworthiness. Once trust is broken it’s incredibly difficult to totally regain it. It’s like our world has been turned upside down and there is always that nagging doubt in the back of our minds, sometimes forever. Please people, think before you do something you might regret, because it can change things forever.
The first year of an infant’s life is primarily about building trust when they are completely at the mercy of their caretakers for survival. The faithfulness of the parents makes the difference as to whether that child will feel secure throughout their life or not. This is the first stage of human psychological development.
The same is true of a marriage. The greatest gift we can give our spouse is our faithfulness, not just physically, but also emotionally, so that they can rest in the fact that they are physically and emotionally safe with us, that we would never hurt them intentionally. And believe me, an affair is always intentional, lying is always intentional, putting someone down is always intentional. God desires this faithfulness from us, and he gives it to us, and our fellow Christians should be the most trustworthy people in our lives. Is that the case?
So today we look at the 7th listed fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5 - faithfulness. I have chosen plums as the fruit of the week ...
In talking about faithfulness, let’s first look at:
I. Its Meaning
We are called to have faith and to be faithful as God is faithful. Pistis in the Greek means faith, and pistos means faithful, and interestingly the words together mean persuasive and trustworthy. How often is this not the case? Often people who are persuasive are not necessarily trustworthy are they?
Again this is a quality of God and I know that some people have left the faith or their church because of things that people have done, but here is a great verse for them from Romans 3:3-4 where Paul is talking about the Jews, “What if some were unfaithful (in the church)? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? 4By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written,
"That you may be justified in your words,
and prevail when you are judged."
Again in 2 Timothy 2:13, “If we are faithless he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”
God is never to blame when His people do wrong. Leaving a church, or leaving the faith because of people’s mistakes shows a lack of faith, or at least putting faith in the wrong place. God is faithful because that is His nature, people and churches may not be.
Look at Matthew 9:22 when the woman touched Jesus’ robe and was instantly healed. Jesus said to her “Your faith has made you well.” She was completely persuaded that just by touching Jesus’ garment she would be healed. This is one of the great examples of faith.
Also the Roman centurion who said to Jesus, don’t come to my house to heal my servant, I’m not worthy of that, just say the word and he will be healed. Jesus then told his Jewish listeners that he had not found such faith in anyone in Israel.
You will be hard pressed to find anywhere in the Bible where faith is just words, just belief. Faith is always shown, it must be tested.
The Bible itself gives a good definition of faith in Hebrews 10 and 11. Read from 10:19-11:1.
So faithfulness is a constant, unwavering commitment, “stick to itness” that comes from our sustainer who is perfectly faithful. Romans 10:17 says faith comes from hearing the word of Christ. That’s important, spiritual faith doesn’t initially come from experience, but from hearing the word of God. And He (God) is faithful, if as it says in 1 John 1:9, we confess our sins, and are obedient according to His grace.
Let’s now look at:
II. Some Models of faithfulness in the Bible
Here is the famous hall of fame of faith and what the writer of Hebrews says about their faith, read 11:3-39. They did not get to see the Messiah in their lifetime. Of course in the New Testament, Christ was the epitome of faith and we also see in Paul and Timothy great faith in Jesus, and faithfulness to each other.
What are some of the qualities of this faith that are commended? They can be summarized in this way: Giving good sacrifices to God, believing God exists and seeking Him, believing what God says and obeying as Noah did, going where God tells you, Sarah believing in a miracle, being more focused on heaven than earth, allowing oneself to be mistreated for standing up for the faith.