Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries

Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 08/07/05
What it means to be initiated into the secret of the mystery. Part 22.
The seventh fruit of the Spirit is faithfulness.

GAL 5:22, But the fruit or the production of the Spirit is love [a reference to virtue-love], joy [inner happiness],peace [inner peace and overt prosperity], patience [which refers to patience as well as longsuffering], kindness, [or graciousness], goodness, [the production of divine good],

The seventh manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit is now mentioned which is the Greek noun pistis, which doesn’t refer to doctrine here, as it does in many other passages. Here pistis refers to: 1) The trust that one has in another, our trust in God and His word, Bible doctrine. 2) A virtue, and a result of the production of the Spirit, being faithful, trustworthy, reliable, and steadfast. 3) Having confidence, assurance, conviction, belief, and doctrine. Since this is a divine characteristic being reproduced in the believer by the Holy Spirit, we need to understand what divine faithfulness is so that we can identify what the Holy Spirit will accomplish for us. There is only One who has always been, and will always be, totally faithful to you, and that is God, who because of His perfect character, can only be faithful. Divine faithfulness is God’s grace expression to believers using His perfect character as the basis for that expression.

Faithfulness hinges on the essence of God who is perfect, fair, and stable to Himself, and He will be all of these things to you as well, LAM 3:22-23, The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Thy faithfulness.

God can be faithful to you because of the doctrine of propitiation, which means that God the Father is satisfied with the sacrificial ministry of our Lord on the cross. God’s faithfulness does not depend upon your spiritual status. Divine faithfulness manifests itself in divine discipline to the apostate, and in blessing to the mature believer living in the PPOG.
Faithfulness is a loyal attitude to something or someone in life who you love, respect, admire, or recognize their authority. You are alive, and have all that you have because of God’s faithfulness to you. He is faithful and loves you every moment, DEU 7:9, “Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God”

1JO 1:9 says, If we acknowledge our sins, He is faithful and righteous, with the result that he forgives us our sins[known sins] and cleanses us from all unrighteousness [unknown sins]. If you name the sins you know, God is faithful to forgive all the sins, known or unknown! David set the pattern in PSA 32:3-5, When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away Through my groaning all day long. For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin to Thee, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”; And Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin. Selah.

God knew every sin we would ever commit, and He imputed them all to Christ on the cross and judged them. Jesus Christ took our place, and therefore God is justified to forgive us because He has been propitiated by the sacrifice of His perfect Son. There is no compromise to His integrity when He faithfully forgives us when we name our sins.

The basis of God’s faithfulness is His grace, JAM 1:17, Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.

God’s faithfulness is also manifested in His perfect plan, 1Co 1:9, God is faithful through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

We were called in eternity past when God was aware of all our failures, and God found a way to take us through His grace plan without any compromise of His essence. Knowing every sin, human good deed, and evil thing we would ever do, God still selected us to have human life at birth, and elected us to equal privilege and opportunity at salvation. As a part of His faithfulness, He has provided every believer with a personal plan in which to function as the basis for equal opportunity to reach spiritual maturity.

God’s faithfulness is also manifested in logistical grace provision and supergrace blessing, 1TH 5:24, Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.

You need not worry about the basic necessities of your life because God will provide everything you will ever need. Remember that it was harder for God to find a way to save us than it is for God to bless us in time. If He could do the most for us at salvation, it follows, a fortiori, that He can provide the lesser blessing of logistical grace support in time. God’s perfect faithfulness to you in eternity past inevitably leads to His perfect faithfulness to you in time.

There is also God’s faithfulness in testing. God will not allow us to be tested or tempted beyond our capacity and capability to pass the test or to say no to the temptation, 1CO 10:13, No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it. ROM 8:18 says, For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

We need to remember that God is faithful, because we will be tested in life by God! We are tested in the area of logistical grace support from God, LUK 12:29-31, “And do not seek what you shall eat, and what you shall drink, and do not keep worrying. For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek for His kingdom, and these things shall be added to you.”

We are also tested regarding our love for doctrine versus the various aspects of social life. Even in spiritual maturity, we face testing, as Abraham did when he was commanded to offer his only son Isaac as a sacrifice.

So, we are tested in all stages of spiritual growth but never beyond our capacity. As a part of God’s faithfulness, He always provides the doctrine, or the opportunity to get the doctrine necessary to pass each test before it comes. Therefore Bible doctrine is your way of escape from each test, and that doctrine is provided by the faithfulness of God who will never give you something for which you do not have the capacity, be it blessing or testing. This is why we are told that God is faithful to the Royal Family of God, HEB 10:23, Let us keep on holding fast to the profession of our confidence unbending, because the One having promised is faithful.

You have the most fantastic escrow blessings on deposit not only promised to you, but also protected by the faithfulness of God. As you advance to spiritual maturity, the things around you, which were formerly distracting to your spiritual growth, will become less important. God is even faithful to the apostate believer, 2TI 2:13, If we are faithless, he remains faithful; for he cannot deny himself.

Since God has perfect character, He must be faithful to us even if we reject and deny Him, because God cannot be anything less than He is. God is even faithful in keeping the degenerate believer alive for discipline. That same believer still goes to heaven after an entire life of rejection of Bible doctrine, just as surely as the apostle Paul went to heaven. God is also faithful to the believer in the realm of the angelic conflict, 2TH 3:3, But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.

God keeps His word; He has never made a promise that He has not kept, 2CO 1:20, For as many as may be the promises of God, in Him they are yes;

There never was a time when God was unfaithful even toward those who had failed miserably against Him, HOS 14:4, “I will heal their apostasy, I will love them freely, for My anger has turned away from them.” Unfaithfulness is totally incompatible with the very nature and essence of God, MAL 3:6, “For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.” The very existence, function, and provision of blessing for the Royal Family of God, both now and forever, depends on the faithfulness and character of God. How refreshing it is to know that in spite of all the evil and the uncertainty in the world, there is One who is faithful in all things, at all times, even unto the end, DEU 7:9, Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, This quality is essential to His being; without it He would not be God.

God is faithful to us when He tells us the best, but He is also faithful to tell us the worst. He has faithfully described the ruin that N.V.T.D. leads to, faithfully diagnosed the terrible results and effects of sin. God is faithful in all things,NUM 23:19, God is not like man that He should lie, has He not said and He will do it, or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
Think of all the rebellion that the children of Israel fell into and yet God was faithful. In 1PE 4:19 to those who are going through some measure of suffering, Entrust your soul to the faithful Creator who will do what is right!

God is also faithful in disciplining His people. He is faithful in what He withholds just as He is in what He gives. He is faithful in sending sorrow as well as in giving joy. Therefore the faithfulness of God is a truth to be acknowledged by us, not only when we are at ease, but when we are in trouble. To agree with this means that we humble ourselves before Him and owe up to the fact that we fully deserve His correction, and instead of any murmuring or complaining, we thank Him for it. PSA 119:65-68, Thou hast dealt well with Thy servant, O Lord, according to Thy word. Teach me good discernment and knowledge, For I believe in Thy commandments. Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Thy word. Thou art good and doest good; Teach me Thy statutes.

PSA 119:71-72, It is good for me that I was afflicted, That I may learn Thy statutes. The doctrine from your mouth is better to me Than thousands of gold and silver {pieces}.

PSA 119:75, I know, O Lord, that Thy judgments are righteous, And that in faithfulness Thou hast afflicted me.

God is not only faithful in stopping affliction but in sending it as well,

PSA 89:33, Even if they sin and rebel I will not deal falsely in my faithfulness. HOS 5:15, in their affliction they will seek me earnestly.

Understanding these principles will preserve us from being worried and concerned, which is to reject the fact that God is faithful! He doesn’t change and therefore the same One who has cared for us throughout the years is the same One who will not forsake us in old age. PSA 37:23-25, The steps of a man are established by the Lord; And He delights in his way. When he falls, he shall not be hurled headlong; Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand. I have been young, and now I am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Or his descendants begging bread.

The sooner we trust Him in all of our affairs, being fully persuaded and convinced of His love toward us, the sooner we will find true satisfaction in life.

Throughout the Bible there is case after case of the faithfulness of God. In GEN 12:13-19, Abraham willfully lies to deceive the pharaoh and protect his own life, and yet God was faithful to him.

There was Isaac, would he learn from his father Abraham and be faithful to God? In GEN 26:7, he committed the same sin as his father Abraham; he lived in fear of losing his life and therefore willfully lied and told the men of Gerah that Rebekah was not his wife but his sister; however, once again the Lord was faithful to him!

Then we have Jacob. In GEN 25:31-33, he was naturally crafty and sly and stole the birthright from Esau. In GEN 27:18-29 we have a record of his master deception over his father Isaac, and yet God was faithful to him, and by the way, he sinned willfully; in fact it was well planned. The interesting thing is that the Lord changed his name to Israel, which means a prince with God. It is interesting that when the Lord appears in the O.T. He says, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

Then we have Moses. In EXO 2:12 he willfully killed a man with his bare hands. It was murder! He made excuses to the Lord in EXO 3:11 saying that he was not fit to be used by the Lord. In EXO 4:10 he gave excuses saying that he was not eloquent, and he could not speak. In EXO 4:13, he asked the Lord to send someone else. However, in spite of all this the Lord was still faithful to him.

Then we have Gideon, a man troubled with fear. The Lord called him for a task, and as usual he began to make excuses. In JDG 6:13, he said I can’t go because the Lord has forsaken Israel. In JDG 6:15, he said he was not fit for the job. In JDG 8:24-27 he foolishly makes a golden ephod which becomes a snare to Israel, and yet in spite of all this and much more the Lord was faithful to him.

We have the record of Samson. He was separated for the Lord as a Nazarite, and yet in JDG 14:1-3 he kept associating with evil people, basically wild and perverted women. He was very spiritual at times according to JDG 13:25 and JDG 15:14, yet he was under the power of carnal lust. He had a deep desire for prostitutes and then finally for a ravishing woman named Delilah. According to JDG 15:4 he was childish in his plans, yet courageous in battle,JDG 15:11-14. He was mighty in physical strength, yet weak in resisting temptation. In Jdg 16:28 he called upon the Lord for strength, and after all this, the Lord was faithful to him.

Then we have David; we could spend an entire year on God’s faithfulness to him. We have noted how in 1SA 21:1-10, David willfully sinned and told a lie, and the result of his lie was that an entire city was wiped out (city of Nob). David told a lie and a whole city was destroyed. Then he faked madness to make the enemy believe he was crazy, and as a result hundreds died (1Sa 2 11-18). Thousands were killed in battle because David pretended to be crazy in the city of Gath. Then David failed in his responsibility as the King in 2SA 11:1. He should have led his troops in battle, but he stayed home in Jerusalem and as a result there was disaster on the battlefield. He committed adultery, got a man drunk, and then committed murder, and he willfully lied. In 2SA 6:1-13, he did not honor the word of God. He purposely disobeyed God’s command about the ark! He ignored the word of God and men were killed as a result. In 1Ch 21, David rejected the promises of God and even questioned the faithfulness of God; as a result 70,000 people died. We have his failure to forgive completely his son Absalom. David, who was oriented to grace better than almost anyone, failed to use grace in regard to one he loved dearly. After all this, in spite of all this, the Lord was still faithful to him!

Then we have David’s son, Solomon, born from the woman he murdered for, Bathsheba. He lived an excessive luxurious lifestyle in 1KI 4:22-23. He married all kinds of ungodly women in 1KI 11:1-2. He lived in excessive sensuality in 1KI 11:3. He even sanctioned idolatry in 1KI 11:4-7. And yet in spite of all this, the Lord was faithful to him.

In 1Ki 19, Elijah just had a tremendous victory and then he runs from the threat of a woman. He sits under a tree and complains to the Lord, wants to die, and yet in spite of his cowardice and his depression, the Lord was still faithful to him.

There was Jonah, the reluctant self-centered, filled-with-hatred missionary, who kept running away from the Lord. He was very disappointed at the success of his own ministry because it was too successful. Yet in JoNAH 4:4-11, the Lord was faithful to him and taught him a superb lesson on divine love.

We have men like Peter, Lot, and women like Sarah, and we could go on and on and on with the faithfulness of God toward those who failed.

Perhaps the greatest illustration that we could give and the one that you know the most about is the faithfulness of God to you! Think of how faithful God has been to you over the years. Think of how many times you got yourself into a jam and the grace and faithfulness of God pulled you out. Think of how many times your were worried about the future and the grace and faithfulness of God still came through. Think of the things that you’ve done that the faithfulness of God bailed you out of.

So then GAL 5:22, But the fruit or the production of the Spirit is love [a reference to virtue-love] joy [inner happiness], peace [inner peace and overt prosperity], patience [which refers to patience as well as longsuffering],kindness, [or graciousness, goodness, the production of divine good], faithfulness,

As spiritual babies, we begin by learning the grace principles of salvation and rebound; this is our grace orientation. When we have this grace orientation, we realize there are things we have to believe, and when we do, we make those things a part of our soul. This is the function of the fruit of the Spirit, which is faith, in the believer’s life! The beginning of faith is to believe God when He makes promises to us (PRO 3:5-6, PSA 37:4-5, 1PE 5:7, PSA 4:8, Psa 34:19, PSA 55:22, PSA 56:11, DEU 31:8).

In spiritual childhood, we reach out with our faith and claim promises such as these. But, the faith developed as a part of the fruit of the Spirit has far greater implications than just mixing the promises of God with our faith. There are different spheres of operating in faith: 1) The function of faith perception. This is the function of the second power option in the P.P.O.G., the reality of Bible doctrine circulating in your soul. 2) Mixing the promises of God with your faith. 3) The application of the doctrinal rationales to your experience. The doctrinal rationales include: the essence of God rationale, the plan of God rationale, the policy of God rationale, the a fortiori rationale. 4) The plaintiff function before the Supreme Court of Heaven as a victim of injustice, real or imagined. We can never react to unfairness or injustice in our life without becoming spiritual losers. 5) Faith execution which demands true humility and the avoidance of self-absorption. Faith execution demands integrity which gives you the spiritual strength to make the right choices and good decisions from a position of strength.

HEB 4:1 warns us about missing out on this faith and rest that God gives, Therefore, let us fear lest, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it.

For the Christian, God’s rest is entering into His happiness. Your happiness depends entirely upon what thoughts are circulating in your soul. When you have this true rest, you are capable of facing any problem in life and handling it; you are capable of making the right choices in resolving the problem. This is the utilization of divine promises in the Bible. The blessing that comes from claiming God’s promises and utilizing Bible doctrine circulating in the soul is the basis of entering into this rest. This is a rest of great tranquility of soul in the midst of the greatest adversities in life. This is also a rest of being able to deal with stress from Bible doctrine resident in your own consciousness.

The believer comes short of God’s rest through scar tissue in the soul, garbage in the sub-conscious, the arrogance and emotional complex of sins, and the control of the soul by the lust pattern. Failure to claim the promises of God through your own faith results in building up stress in your soul. And stress in your soul cannot be cured by any system of counseling.

Adversity is an outside pressure; stress is an inside pressure of life. Stress is what you do to yourself; adversity is what circumstances do to you.

Always remember that adversity is inevitable; stress is optional.

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