Monday, November 15, 2004

Faithful, Full of Faith

Reading in the book of Third John this morning, I was struck by this passage, where John commends Gaius, an elder in the church:
“Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers, who have borne witness of your love before the church” (3 John 5).
The word “faithfully” impresses itself upon me. We usually think of faithfulness as being loyal, dependable, consistent, and thus, trustworthy. But I believe that those are actually the by-products, or benefits of faithfulness, but not its essence.

In the Greek, the word is pistos, the word for “faith.” In the adjective form, we simply say “faithful.” Yet somehow we fail to see that the real meaning here has everything to do with having faith. The essence of faithfulness is faith. Turn the word “faithful” around and you can see that it is about being “full of faith.”

When we are full of faith, trusting God and His Word, our words and deeds will correspond with that faith. They will line up and be in agreement with that faith. Then we will find a consistency in our manner of life, because God never changes and His Word never fails. When we are full of faith in God, we ourselves will be seen as dependable, loyal, trustworthy.

The Bible says that faith expresses itself through love. Gaius was faithful. He believed God and was full of faith. His faith was full of love and his love was full of action. The church gave witness to his love, and John commended his faith-filledness.