“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.” Matthew 12:33
God wants us to have our Light, Jesus, shine before men. Why? Because that is God’s calling card to the unsaved world. It is very important that through time with God and time in His Word we get to know Him so we can develop His character in ourselves. There are plenty of Christians that talk and act one way for people to see, but are not the same on the inside. Jesus addressed this issue in Matthew.
The true gospel that Paul talks about in Romans 1:16, the gospel that has the power of God to save people is about peace, goodness, love, kindness and mercy, grace and the forgiveness of God. It is about all of the good news, blessing, that came to mankind through the finished work of Jesus on the cross. It is important that once someone gets past the “good fruit” they see on the outside is the same fruit they will taste when they get to know us.
The King James Version is the only version or translation of the Bible that I am aware of that uses the word “faith” in Galatians 5:22. I am going to stop here and do a little nuts and bolts work. While the King James Version does use the word “faithfulness” in the Old Testament, they did not use it at all in the New Testament. The Old Testament was translated from the Hebrew, the New Testament from the Greek. Since the fruit of the Spirit is a part of our life in Christ and the verse and word we are talking about is in Galatians, I will stick to the New Testament and the Greek here. The olde English that was used to translate the word to ”faith” in Galatians 5:22 is by Vines1 dictionary actually the word “faithfulness”. You will find this again in Romans 3:3.
New King James Version
Romans 3:3 For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect?
Original King James Version
Romans 3:3 For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?
Romans 3:3 What if some did not believe and were without faith? Does their lack of faith and their faithlessness nullify and make ineffective and void the faithfulness of God and His fidelity [to His Word]?
Romans 3:3 Is not talking about God’s faith (though there is a lot to be studied and learned on that subject), it is talking about the faithfulness of God. That verse is saying that just because we are tempted and can fall into unbelief (which is a different than lack of faith), God and His Word will remain faithful. This verse is often cross referenced to 2 Timothy 2:13;
Original King James Version
2 Timothy 2:1If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
New King James Version
2 Timothy 2:1 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.
Romans 3:3 is talking about God not denying Himself, not being untrue, but being faithful.
Love is listed as a fruit of the Spirit, the first one in fact. Love is the force behind everyone of the fruit of the Spirit. They are the characteristics of God, and God is love. So lets look at that “love” chapter.
1 Corinthians 13:7 ...bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love endures all things. Yes, that refers to patience but endurance is faithful. As we read above in 2 Timothy 2:1, God is faithful.
We will leave it there. The fruit of the Spirit is;
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Faith comes out of your Spirit. Faithfulness (though a part of the reborn nature in your Spirit) is in you behavior.
God gives every man a measure of faith.
For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. Romans 12:3
Faith is a gift of the Spirit, not a fruit of the Spirit.
There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11
Faith is developed by hearing, reading the Word of God.
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17
Our faith unifies the body of Christ.
...till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; Ephesians 4:13
Our faithfulness draws the world to Jesus.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:6
God is pleased with our faith in Him.
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6
God uses the faithful to serve Him.
My eyes shall be on the faithful of the land,
That they may dwell with me;
He who walks in a perfect way,
He shall serve me. Psalm 101:6
After having broken all of that down to what faith is and what faithfulness is, I will now make the statement I did not want to make before I laid all of that out. In its essence, faith does mean faithfulness. When we choose to stand in and walk in faith, we are being faithful. Certainly we need to trust (faith) to be diligent (faithful). When our faith begins to waiver it is patience (endurance) that undergirds our faith to get us through until we receive the answer we are believing for. Remember the verse above, Hebrews 11:6? Faith pleases God and those walking in faith will diligently seek Him. This does please God and here is one of promises that comes through faith and being faithful (diligent) because of that faith.
A faithful man shall abound with blessings, but he who makes haste to be rich [at any cost] shall not go unpunished. Proverbs 28:20
I realize there are those that have a problem with other brothers and sisters in the body of Christ that talk about God’s blessings and promises and the abundance of the good life we should have. I am not talking about the worldly wealth. I am not talking about scheming or trying to do some “good works” or anything else other than just receiving what God has given His children. I am not talking about greed, or what some seem to like calling the “blab it and grab it”, or “name it claim it” behavior. I am talking about what Jesus said about “believe and receive” in Mark 11:24 "Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them." We accepted Jesus by faith and through grace, and we don’t look back or question that miraculous gift. That is how we receive every blessing He promised us ~ finances, health, peace, simply prosperity in every area of our lives. God from the beginning has been trying to bless us. When God was ready to create man He declared that we would have dominion over everything. Two verses later when man drew His first breath, God blessed him and told him to be fruitful and multiply. That phrase includes having children, but it refers to being fruitful altogether. God gaves us everything and it was all good, very good. We own this place if we will just have faith in God for it that shows up in our faithfulness.
God is faithful and his promises and covenant to us were unconditional. God just wants children to have a relationship with and children He can bless. If we are faithful in that relationship we will do as Proverbs 28:20 says and abound with blessing.
When we have developed the fruit of faithfulness in our life we will be ever aware of God’s constance presence, which will be the fellowship we enjoy that gives us His joy and our strength. We can then be good stewards over our time, our bodies, our families, our finances, our belongings, over all He has given us. And let’s not forget what we read in Psalm101:6. God gave us dominion over this earth and He needs us to take care of it and serve Him in it. We need to be faithful to do that. On top of which, in these last days God needs us to be faithful so that He can shine out, so He can be manifested and be seen by those that need Him.
I love watching and experiencing the Holy Spirit take me from one level of faith to the next, one victory to the next as I spend time with God. I can see areas of growth in my life and areas where I need to be more faithful. Are there area’s you see in your life that you are strong in your faith and walk in faithfulness? Are there areas that more time with God developing your faith as you are in the Word, and being faithful in your relationship with Him could help you overcome something you have been struggling with? God is faithful and will do whatever it is in your life you need. I would love hear about either, or both.
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:17
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
2 Corinthians 3:18
1W.E. Vine, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of the New Testament Words (Old Tappan; Revell, 1940), p. 71.