February 21, 2024

Faithful, Trusted, and True

Sinclair Ferguson
Faithful, Trusted, and True

Faithfulness is saying an ongoing “amen” to the commitments we’ve made. Today, Sinclair Ferguson reminds us that while our consistent reliability may be consistently tested, we’re not left to our own resources.


“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Gal. 5:22–23). We’ve been thinking about these words, and we’ve come today to the third and last triad of graces in Paul’s description of the fruit of the Spirit in the life of the Christian believer: faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Today, it’s faithfulness.

Sometimes the reason a marriage breaks up, as people say, is because one spouse was unfaithful. It’s the kind of question, actually, young people should always ask before they go any further in a relationship, isn’t it? Do I have some sense that this is the kind of young man or young woman who will be faithful? That’s important. And actually, it’s of the essence of being able to respect someone. You can’t respect a person you can’t trust to be faithful. And actually, you shouldn’t marry someone you can’t respect.

It’s always been very interesting to me that the words for faithfulness and faith in the Old Testament have the same root as the word amen. Faithfulness is just saying an ongoing amen to the commitments that we’ve made. God has given us a model of what this means. We don’t have to make it up because we see it perfectly expressed in the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus.

The author of Hebrews tells us that in serving as the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, the Lord Jesus was faithful to Him who appointed Him (Heb. 3:2). He was determined to say “amen” in His own life to every aspect of His Father’s covenant promise and covenant commands. Indeed, Paul says that all the promises of God find an answering “yes” and “amen” in Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:20). And this was especially true when it came to the hardest-to-keep promise of all: going to the cross to die for our sins.

When Paul says that He became obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross, he’s actually describing Jesus’ faithfulness. And because He has been faithful to that promise, we can be sure He will be faithful to every single one of His promises. So, it’s in the light of His faithfulness that you and I are called to be faithful.

I was searching around in my mind for another word we might use to convey what faithfulness looks like in daily life. And as I was struggling with finding that word, in the course of a casual conversation with my wife, Dorothy, she happened to use the word inconsistent, and that switched on a light for me. Faithfulness is being consistent, being reliable, being able to be trusted, being dependable. Consistent in our work today since someone is paying us for it, or perhaps you’re the one who’s responsible to be consistent so that others get paid. Consistent in our church to the vows we’ve taken to the Lord, and actually to each other too. Consistent in our friendships, and yes, faithfully consistent to our parents. Consistent with our wife or husband. Consistent with our children and grandchildren. And consistent and faithful to the Savior who has been so perfectly faithful and consistent to us.

So, here’s another fruit of the Spirit that seems simple, but we’ll need the help of the Holy Spirit to be consistent, to show faithfulness, and to do that in all of our relationships. Don’t you think that we’ll all probably be tested today in one or more of these areas? That thought could overwhelm us, but if it does, remember this: Paul isn’t leaving us to our own resources. He’s telling us about a quality the Spirit of Christ produces in us, precisely because He is the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ. So today, let’s trust the Holy Spirit to produce faithfulness in us as He works in our hearts and lives to make us more and more like our Lord Jesus.