“I Choose FAITHFULNESS!”
Galatians 5:22-25 NKJV But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Faithfulness (pistis) = faith, belief, being persuaded
Two aspects of faith to consider:
1. Believing faith
Are we saved by grace through faith and works or faith alone?
Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
To reconcile the words of Paul and James, we must recognize their audience.
- Paul addressed Jews who believed circumcision was required to be saved.
- James addressed "Christians" who believed they had faith in spite of lacking any supporting evidence.
1a. Paul says the absence of grace renders our works useless before God.
Romans 4:1-2 NKJV What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.Romans 8:7-8 NKJV Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
1b. James says the absence of works renders our faith useless before man.
James 2:15-17 NKJV If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
2a. Paul says faith is the means of receiving God's grace.
Romans 5:1-2 NKJV Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
2b. James says that works are the means of revealing God's grace.
James 2:18 NKJV But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
2. Behaving faith
The Holy Spirit makes both believing by faith possible and behaving in faith predictable.
Ephesians 2:8-10 NKJV For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Faithfulness, in general, implies such a knowledge of, assent to, and confidence in certain divine truths that it leads to good works.
The same Holy Spirit who enlightens us also enables us!
Galatians 5:25 NKJV If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Why then are we so inconsistently faithful?
We fail to acknowledge the authority of God's Word. That is, we see obedience as optional, not critical.
When seen in a proper light, faithfulness is not so much a gift we give God as it is a gift God gives us!