The Fruit Of Faithfulness

Galatians 5:22-23 (English Standard Version)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Over the years, I have watched the Enemy work and whittle away at the bonds that otherwise unite the brethren. Even within the pages of Holy Scripture, one of the key themes present in the teachings and testimonies of the New Covenant is the idea of maintaining the bonds of unity contrasted against the idea of the love of the brethren, and the love of the truth, waxing cold.

If we consider the 1st century context in which the Holy Scriptures of the New Covenant were first penned, the first observation one ought to make is that those who came to believe on and receive Yeshua as Lord and Savior, did so despite a culturally diverse, ethnically heterogeneous, socio-economic and political hodge-podge of merchants, masters, and slaves, of Roman citizens, and conquered subjects, of those born low, struggling to survive, and those born high, given the right to rule, even as they desperately curried favor with Empire so as to not lose not only wealth and prosperity, but also their very lives.

The Benevolent Message of the Cross is quite universal, and can be applied to anyone’s life, no matter their personal circumstance. Whether we speak of the Roman Empire and 1st century Israel, or of modern day America, and its strong Christian heritage, the idea that God sent His only Son to pay with His blood an atoning ransom for sinners has reverberated and resounded far and wide, quite literally from “[a]s far as the east is from the west[1].

This being the case, and truly, the whole intention of the Father and His Son, we might wonder then how various humans of such disparate backgrounds could ever come together and become a Body for the Anointed One, even a Holy Temple in which our God may dwell.

I submit to you that one way that can happen is through the fruit of faithfulness. I realize that many brethren typically read from an English translation that simply reads “faith”, instead of “faithfulness”, in Galatians 5:22. And while that isn’t a crime of injustice to Paul’s letter to those churches, I believe it leaves something to be desired, or at the very least, causes a mistaken comprehension of the intended meaning.

The word “faith” typically has an array of meanings that encompass things like a set of convictions or beliefs, or, a sense of trust and reliance upon, or, even, the totality of one’s entire system of religious piety. These are all well and good, and do have their place under the heading “faith”.

But the Greek word most commonly translated as “faith” in the Holy Scriptures of the New Covenant can also mean “faithfulness”.[2]

When I see, hear, read, or discuss the word “faithfulness”, the first thing that comes to mind is a related word, namely “loyalty”. When one is faithful, or full of faith, it means that they are a person to whom trust ought to be given. Such a person may be relied on, without question. Of course then, it makes sense why the object of our faith is the Anointed One, for He is Someone to Whom our trust may be freely given, without reservation. We can fully rely upon Him, for salvation, for healing, for deliverance, for provision, and etc.

Yeshua has earned our trust. His sacrifice on our behalf and the intercession He continually makes before the Father for our sakes has endeared us to Him in an unmistakable, unbreakable way. He has fully made good on all His promises. In this regard then, we find we are incontrovertibly loyal to Him, and also, He to us. Such is the beauty of the saving relationship and covenant that has been offered to us by God.

But what about us? Do we have the same faithfulness, that we may be trusted and relied upon when duty calls? Are we bound to each other by an unmistakable, unbreakable loyalty? Are we bearing the kind of fruit that, for example, tells other believers in the Body: “I am on your side, you can count on me, and I won’t let you down, no matter the cost”?

I suppose every saint of the Most High will have to answer for themselves. Personally, I find such faithfulness and loyalty a rare commodity. In fact, I have seen the very words of the Anointed One used as an excuse for dividing the Body into disunity. Some have said, taught, or preached the idea that because Yeshua said that He didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword, or that His message would cause fathers and brothers and sisters and mothers and in-laws and children and husbands and wives to divide against each other, that He means that His Body needs to wield the sword against Itself in order to divide against Itself.

My Friends, I tell you the truth: That is NOT what Yeshua meant. The Lord said those words to indicate that those who refused to heed Him and so, devote their lives to His cause would find themselves separated from the ones who did.

If, for example, there is a sister or daughter who has come to believe in and has obeyed the Benevolent Message, it may be that her siblings and/or her parents will want nothing to do with her or her new-found faith, because they are anti-christ in lifestyle and behavior. In this way, that sister and daughter is then, by cleaving to her Savior, cut off from her family by the sword Yeshua said He came to bring.

It does not mean that if this sister and daughter wins her mom to the Lord, that she and her mom then get to get into constant spats and fights over this and that such that they get to divide themselves against themselves and justify doing so because Yeshua’s “sword” demanded it.

If both have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, if both are fully trusting their God and Father with their souls, and are living to the best of their ability in accordance with the Word of God, whatever their differences might be, even all the way up to and including some (but not all) doctrinal differences, they are honor bound one to another through the fruit of faithfulness.[3] If, and only if, one or the other should turn from the faith that saved them and devote themselves again to a life of sin and disgrace, should it ever be considered appropriate for two people under such conditions to separate.

But and unless anyone can be proven through the Holy Scriptures of the New Covenant to be deceived and/or in sin, no amount of posturing or rationalizing will ever convince the Anointed One that His followers have the right to dis-fellowship.

Therefore, brethren, the conclusion is this: if men and women who believe on the Lord, who are not in sin, who are not receiving damnable heresies, are distancing themselves and dis-fellowshipping each other, they are not displaying the fruit of faithfulness. Such folk are lacking in the love department, or have been trained and taught to do so, regardless of the commandments of the Lord that countermand such actions.

Finally, if you happen to be someone who reads this, and if you happen to be someone who has cut off and divided yourself against another believer in the Anointed One, and it isn’t for damnable heresies or continued sinful conduct, to put it plainly, you are in the wrong and you need to repent, by first confessing to God your error, then praying to Him for the courage and humility to go and make things right with whomever you have dis-fellowshipped.

If and when you are reconciled, then I submit to you, that you seek the Lord for His help in developing the fruit of faithfulness until such a bond of unmistakable, unbreakable loyalty is created in you, from now until He comes.

Peace and God bless,

The Votive Soul

_________________________________________________________________________________________

[1] See Psalm 103:12.

[2] The Greek word in question is pistis. All the major lexicons are in agreement, e.g. Strong’s, Vine’s, Vincent’s, and etc., that pistis can and should, in context, mean “faithfulness”. See the New International Version, the New Living Translation, and the New American Standard Bible, for Galatians 5:22. These all render pistis as faithfulness.

[3] There are of course, certain “damnable heresies” that if received, could cause two believers in the Lord to have to separate, even if they are, as the example above shows, mother and daughter. But I would like to point out that this is pretty rare, even almost unheard of, since there are so few of these kinds of heresies, and the power of God unto salvation, even the keeping of one’s soul in the true faith, is such that one would have to seriously apostatize before ever falling into deceptions of this nature (See, e.g. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12,  2 Peter 2:1, 1 John 2:22,  and Jude 1:4).

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~ by votivesoul on 02/02/2017.

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