The fruit of the Spirit is faith: Nine spirit-filled characteristics demonstrated by Jesus
Paul often compared things to one another to show how we should overcome the world, its vices (Galatians 5:19-21), and its broad road that leads to damnation. He encourages us to walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-18) and then proceeds to explain what this involves. This is surely one of the most memorable pieces of Scripture, and it is a practical guideline for us as believers:
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23
The seventh fruit in the series Paul mentions is faith. He defines faith, with ample examples, in his letter to the Hebrews:
1Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. – Hebrews 11:1
The wrong way we often apply this verse is that faith is what we apply only once all our own human efforts have failed, and we have nothing left. This is not how it should be. Faith should be first. Paul calls faith a substance. This is the basis of the things we hope for in the future. Once we have seen it, then faith is no longer required. Faith is the acceptance of that which we have not seen. Think about it: while others lived in Jesus’ time and spent time with Him, we never had this opportunity but must trust the Word of God that Jesus Christ lived, died, and rose from the dead. We accept this without having seen it or even experienced it. This is faith.
In the original Greek, faith is πίστις, transliterated as pistis, and this in turn means to persuade or to trust. Faith is to be persuaded to trust in what must still be. Without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, it is impossible to do this.
Today (at the time of writing) is Resurrection Sunday, the day starting, as recorded, with the women going to the grave to put spices on the body. The burial would have been a rushed affair, with very little time available to properly prepare the body for burial. Thus, on the first available opportunity, the process had to be completed, which is why they were there when it was still dark. These women lived in the company of Jesus; they were present when He died; and they were the first to witness the empty tomb. Did they really believe that He was going to be raised from the dead as He said? Most likely not, otherwise they would not have bothered to bring spices to anoint the body. We today have only this evidence to go by. We believe based on what we have heard.
Paul continues to define faith:
6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. – Hebrews 11:6
The fruit of the Spirit all work together to point us to Jesus, and Jesus points us to the Father. All the fruit of the Spirit are required to live and walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:25). In the same way we pray for the other aspects of the fruit of the Spirit, we pray to God to give us faith. Thus, when Paul says that when we come to God, we must first believe, in faith, that He is (Exodus 3:14; John 8:58), and that He will reward the faith we put in Him for what He will reveal to us in the future. If we do not have faith, nothing will be accomplished in our lives and the other fruit will be made useless. There can be no Plan B.
When we read Hebrews 11, we find a list of people who displayed faith even though at the time they did not experience the outcome of their faith. Paul ends the chapter with this verse:
39And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. – Hebrews 11:39-40
None of these people have received the promise of being raised with both a perfect spirit and body. This will happen only once Jesus comes to take home those who have already died in Him as well as those who are still alive:
13But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18Wherefore comfort one another with these words. – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
This is the promise, and our blessed hope (Titus 2:13) is faith based on the fulfilment of this promise. Of all the events recorded in the Bible, we try to make sense of those miracles – water turned into wine; an animal speaking to its owner; a giant put down by the least expected person. We accept them since we have the historical proof. One of the most incredible is still to come. Without trying to make up a science fiction movie, just think about it: in an instant, dead believers are risen from the grave, given immortal bodies, and we who are still alive follow them to heaven with immortal bodies as well. We can ask millions of questions about the event, and we do not have answers for them. However, that it will happen, is certain. Paul elaborates on this in 1 Corinthians 15:51-54.
To hear with my heart
To see with my soul
To be guided by a hand I cannot hold
To trust in a way that I cannot see
That's what faith must be. – Michael Card, 1988
This week, display faith, along with love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, and goodness.