Summary: This is number 8 in the series on "The Fruit of The Spirit." I preached this series during Eastertide-Pentecost of 2004! The introduction and the conclusion of this message used a recording of "Semper Fidelis" March and "The Marine’s Prayer" along with
Semper Fidelis is Latin for “Always faithful.” It is the motto of the City of Exeter in Devonshire, England, and is a testimony to the city’s loyalty to the British Monarchy. Queen Elizabeth I wrote a letter to “The Citizens of Exeter” in 1588 suggesting they adapt this motto because of their faithfulness in supporting the British fleet that had defeated the Spanish Armada [http://www.fact-index.com/s/se/semper_fidelis.html].
It has also been the motto of the United States Marine Corps since 1883, and it is the title of the official March of the Marine Corps composed by John Phillips Sousa in 1888 which we have just heard played by “The President’s Own” Marine Band. Sousa himself was the director of the Marine Band from 1880 to 1892 under Presidents Hayes, Garfield, Cleveland, and Harrison. His march is the only one authorized by Congress for a particular service [The Marine Corps Book of Lists, ISBN: 0938289896].
Christian Disciples are called by the Holy Spirit to be “always faithful,” and “Semper Fidelis” would be an excellent motto for us to adapt as well. “The Fruit of the Spirit Is Faithfulness.”
Faithfulness is an attribute or character trait that the Old Testament continually praises and the New Testament directs us as disciples to develop. Faithfulness is linked to faith, and indeed the two words are one and the same in New Testament Greek. To be faithful is to be trustworthy, dependable, and reliable. It conveys the idea of an unshakable loyalty to ones friends, group, country, or religious convictions.
Again as with all the other Fruit of the Spirit, faithfulness is rooted in the character and work of God Himself. He is always dependable in His relationship with us; He alone is the one we can be certain will never let us down or disappoint us. He is our “friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). He is the One who promises us:
“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you” [Hebrew 13:5, et. al.].
The Psalmist testifies to the faithfulness of God in Psalm 27:10:
“Though my father and mother forsake me,
the LORD will receive me.”
Like the Psalmist we too can always depend on His loyalty and faithfulness to us. We can count on Him to be with us always in every situation and circumstance we face, for Jesus makes that promise Himself in the Great Commission: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” [Matthew 28:20].
God is praised from Genesis through Revelation as the faithful God. Our Old Testament Lesson in Deuteronomy 32:4 affirms:
“He is the Rock, His works are perfect,
and all His ways are just.
A faithful God Who does no wrong,
Upright and just is He.”
God is faithful because He is our Rock, and “There is no Rock like our God.” God is faithful because His works alone are perfect, and He alone is just in all His ways. God is faithful because He alone does no wrong; and He alone is upright and just.
The Psalms constantly praise and testify to the faithfulness of God. God is always faithful in His relationship with us. Psalm 33:4-5 is a prime example:
“For the word of the LORD is right and true;
He is faithful in all He does.
The LORD loves righteousness and justice;
The earth is full of His unfailing love.”
God is “faithful in all He does; faithful in His righteousness and justice; faithful in His unfailing love.” One who is faithful is one upon whom we can depend. We can always depend upon God. He will never let His children down. His love never fails. He is faithful in His administration of justice.
We can depend upon Him to “make all things right.” Abraham was well aware of this Divine trait when he pleaded with God for mercy in dispensing His justice on Sodom and Gomorrah. We remember He asked the Lord a rhetorical question in Genesis 18:25, “Far be it from You to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from You! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” The answer is obvious. In this present age justice so often is blind, but the Judge of all the earth can always be depended upon to administer absolute justice for all.
God is dependable in keeping all His promises, especially concerning His plan of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. Hebrews 10:23 is a tremendous promise: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” The hope to which we hold fast is the promise and assurance of our salvation in Jesus which is clear in the context of this verse: