“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23)
This week we will be looking at the seventh characteristic mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23 – faithfulness.
The Greek word for faithfulness is pistis. The word means faith rather than faithfulness in almost all the times it appears in the New Testament. I understand why the translators went with faithfulness in Galatians. They are trying to show that these are characteristics that we are supposed to live out.
The Greek word pistis means faith, belief, trust, confidence, faithfulness. Faith is always a gift from God, and never something that can be produced by human beings.
John Calvin, the father of the Presbyterian Church and one of the fathers of the Reformed Tradition writes: “Faith is a persuasion from God that we receive as he grants. Faith is always the work of God and involves hearing his voice – whereby the believer lays hold of his preferred will.”
pistis in ancient Greek referred to a guarantee or warrantee. Faith is God’s guaranteen and warrantee certifying that what he promised will come to pass.
The characteristic that pistis refers to is God’s faith, God’s faithfulness. When we have faith, it is only because God grants such faith and its revelation to us, and because God is worthy of our trust and faith.
So when Paul writes in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift from God, not as a result of works, so that no one should boast,” we can’t even take the credit for having faith in God, because even faith is given to us as a gift from God.
That’s exactly what Paul means in Ephesians 2:8-9. It’s all God. It’s all grace. It’s all God’s faithfulness. We have faith because God grants faith to us and because God is faithful.
We are to live a life that demonstrates our faith, trust, and confidence in God, and when we live that life, we are being faithful. Even when God’s ways and God’s truth doesn’t make sense to us, even when it goes against the world’s way, we remain faithful because God is faithful.
Looking forward to spending the rest of the week with you as we explore together the meaning of this rich word “faith”.