Wednesday, July 23, 2008

faith from the Spirit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness, faith….
Gal 5:22, CSB

Part 7 in my fruit of the Spirit series

To be a Christian is to bear the fruit of the Spirit. So, what does it mean to bear faith? The Greek word used in Gal 5:22 is pistis, which means a conviction as to the truth of something. In the New Testament, it typically signifies a conviction that salvation is the gift of God through Jesus. And this faith is a dominant theme throughout the book of Galatians, so we can see what it means to Paul.

In Gal 2:16a, Paul wrote that “we know that no one is justified by the works of the law but by faith [pistis] in Jesus Christ.” He reiterated justification by faith in 3:24 where he wrote: “The law, then, was our guardian until Christ, so that we could be justified by faith [pistis].” The law was merely a guardian (“tutor” in NASB) until God gave us faith in Christ. And because we are justified by faith, we should live by faith; Gal 3:11 states, “Now it is clear that no one is justified before God by the law, because the righteous will live by faith [pistis].”

And by faith, we are adopted into the family of God; as Paul wrote in Gal 3:26: “For you are all sons of God through faith [pistis] in Christ Jesus.” And faith is what unites the members of God’s family. “Therefore, as we have opportunity, we must work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith [pistis]” (Gal 6:10).

So, faith—the conviction that our salvation comes through the substitutionary death and resurrection of Jesus—is the foundation of our salvation. Salvation begins with faith. But, faith is also the guiding principle of the Christian life, and faith is the uniting feature of the Christian church.

Faith, as a fruit of the Spirit, is something given to us by God’s Spirit. The faith that makes us Christian and saves us is given to us by God. And that faith is what characterizes the church—not ethnicity or language, wealth or station in life. The church is composed of people whom God has blessed with faith--those who heard the voice of Jesus and responded by trusting in him.


Father, thank you for the gift of faith. Thank you for making salvation dependent upon the work of Jesus and not my works through the law. Thank you for sending Jesus to die on the cross in my place. My rebellion against you made me deserving of eternal punishment, but you, through your love, compassion and mercy, sent Jesus to wash away my sins by his blood and bring me into relationship with you. And through your Spirit, you opened my heart to hear your word and respond in faith.

Faith is conviction about what I do not see. But that faith builds hope in me that I will one day stand in your presence and delight in your glory. Father, help me continue in faith so that I may live by faith and live my life, not with fear, but with hope. Continue the good work you have begun in me and bring me closer to you.

I pray that in due time, you will bless Charlotte Moon with faith that she may join your family. Help me and Jennifer, as her parents, model your character to her. Help us, through our lives, show her your character as she grows up, even before she is old enough to think about you. And as she matures, help us point her toward you; let her see your glory and grant her faith in your son.

Bless your church, Father, and help us see our unity in faith. Help us see each other as members of Christ’s body. And help us be a light to this dark world.

I ask these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

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