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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Faith - A Fruit of the Spirit

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional
Together for Inspiration, Motivation, and Encouragement

Verse of the Day - 1 Corinthians 12:7, 9a
But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all...to another faith by the same Spirit...

Daily Scripture Reading - 1 Corinthians 12

Puritan Catechism
Question #17 - Wherein consists the sinfulness of that state into which man fell?

Answer - The sinfulness of that state into which man fell, consists in the guilt of Adam's first sin (Rom. 5:19), the absence of original righteousness, (Rom. 3:10) and the corruption of his whole nature, which is commonly called original sin (Eph. 2:1; Ps. 51:5), together with all actual transgressions which proceed from it (Matt. 15:19).

Devotional Thoughts
In the past few days we have been answering the question, "Where does faith come from?" We learned, faith does not come from men, that is to say, faith is not produced by, inherent in, or available to any person without outside intervention!

So where does faith come from? The answer, as we break it up into several days worth of study, is that faith is a gift from God given through the hearing of the Word applied by the power of the Holy Spirit as He produces spiritual fruit in our lives. We have seen that faith is a gift from God given through the hearing of His Word. Today we will see that faith is a fruit of the Spirit produced as He applies the Word to our lives with power.

In the first epistle to the Corinthians, Paul devotes chapters 12-14 to the discussion of spiritual gifts. He corrects misuses and abuses of the gifts, demonstrates the proper motivation for and use of the gifts, and lists for us the gifts given. Of course debate rages around which gifts He still gives, if any, or all. It is not within the scope of this daily devotional to cover all of that today.

What we need to see is found in chapter 12 as Paul says that the manifestation of the Spirit has been given to all within the church for the profit of all. These gifts then were given to demonstrate the power of the Spirit for the edification of the whole church. These gifts were not given for personal or individual profit, but to the profit of all. So the use of gifts, in order to be true and Biblical spiritual gifts, must be used with this outward view, looking to serve and minister to others within the Body.

All spiritual gifts that are given are given by the Holy Spirit for use within the Body by believers. In other words lost men and women do not have spiritual gifts. The Spirit does not equip them to edify the Body. If then we can show that faith is more than a gift from God, more than just a result of hearing the Word of God, but in fact is a gift given by the Holy Spirit to believers for use in edifying the Body then we can show that a lost man has no hope of ever having faith on his own.

1 Corinthians 12:9 is an important verse in this study. It tells us that one of the gifts the Spirit gives for the profit of all in the church is faith.It is given according to the Spirit's will - in other words, it is His decision about when and where to give the gift of faith (1 Cor 12:11).

It is the power of the Holy Spirit applying the Word to our lives and hearts that gives us faith, the ability to take God at His Word, to trust Christ for salvation, and to progress in sanctification and holiness. The Spirit, who is given as the seal for believers, is indeed given as the down payment on our salvation - He is our Comforter and Convictor and the One who assures us that we belong to Christ (Eph 1:13-14).

We also see in Galatians 5 that faith is an integral part of the fruit of the Spirit produced in our lives by His power as we live in submission to Him and His will.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

Here in this list of fruit that the Spirit produces through us we find evidence of faith. First we see that there is love and we know that we cannot love God unless we have trusted Him. We have joy because we have assurance in His providence and sovereignty. We have peace because we trust Him and He never fails. We are able to suffer long because we walk by faith, and whenever in Scripture that people fail to be patient they are often chided with the words, "O ye of little faith." We are kind and good because we take God at His Word and know that this is what He enables us to do. There is also gentleness and self-control, and we can have neither without faith because they are contrary to what our flesh wants!

Did you notice I skipped one? Yes, the fruit of faithfulness. The word used specifically is pistis, which in Greek is literally translated as "faith, faithfulness, trust." So the fruit produced by the Spirit is more than being faithful, it is having faith! Being a person of faith is what makes us trustworthy.

So we see that faith is a spiritual gift given to the regenerate only as it is produced in their lives as a fruit of the Spirit. How can a lost man have faith? The Spirit has to be at work in His life before anyone has any hope of believing! That is why we started this week with Ephesians 2:8-9 where we read that grace and faith are gifts from God and not of works. Faith is not something we can work up on our own. Our continued ability to take God at His Word, to trust Christ, is a gift from the Spirit produced as He works in our lives with the Word of God.

We are to call all men to obey the gospel, repent of their sin, and trust Christ. But we must do so with this assurance: It is not up to us to persuade a man to believe and repent. It is not up to us to pick the most effective and emotion stirring words to bring him to faith. We do not bring faith out - God puts the faith in!! We preach the gospel and call all to obey it understanding all along that God gives repentance and faith. He gives the increase. All we do is sow the seed!

Have you been sowing lately?

Links for Further Study
This week I will be providing links that you can use to study each daily topic in more detail if you have the desire and the time!

Faith and Regeneration, Faith and Repentance Inseperable, and The Work of the Holy Spirit by Charles Spurgeon


Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship

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