Fruit #4 Righteous & Faithful
FRUIT #4 – RIGHTEOUS, FAITHFUL & SATISFIED!
Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is … faithfulness
Some questions that arise from these verses are:
- What does it mean to hunger and thirst for righteousness?
- How will the hungry and thirsty be satisfied?
- What is faithfulness?
- How do we apply these things?
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HUNGER AND THIRST FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS?
God approves of those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
It seems as though most everyone hungers and thirsts to be right! I can’t think of anyone I know who delights in being wrong! Sometimes we might even take a little too much delight in proving others wrong. Being right kind of pumps up our ego and inflates it a little more each time, until we just about explode as others around us can tell all too easily!
Since seeking after righteousness is something God approves of, He gives His blessing towards, and rewards – it must be something that is unique to a believer, much like mourning or being poor in spirit or being meek. And being a believer is not the only requirement because believers are known to fail at times in their body of sinful flesh. (I know, that’s hard to imagine and I’m sure you and I never fail…) The understanding and application of what righteousness is according to God is essential. The right vessel (a believer) and the right knowledge (Bible doctrine) is the only acceptable and proper avenue through which righteousness can then be produced as a fruit (application)!
1343. dikaiosune, dik-ah-yos-oo´-nay; (92x) equity (of character or act); specially (Christian) justification: — righteousness.
WEBSTER’S 1913 DICTIONARY - Right′eous·ness, n. [AS. rihtwı̄snes.] 1. The quality or state of being righteous; holiness; purity; uprightness; rectitude.
☞ Righteousness, as used in Scripture and theology, in which it chiefly occurs, is nearly equivalent to holiness, comprehending holy principles and affections of heart, and conformity of life to the divine law.
The greatest understanding of any word is not simply in just looking at the definition but seeing how it is used in context and application. Just looking at someone’s resume will give you a general idea about them, but getting to know them and seeing them in action is quite another! Reading the directions and understanding the rules for driving a car are important, but nothing compares to actually just getting out there and doing it! Please don’t miss this next analogy as I think it is something a great deal of people who go to church need to hear:
Just simply looking at the resume of what makes someone a Christian is far different from seeing someone who actually lives it out! Gong to church some or even most of the time doesn’t make you a Christian. Praying when you want something or when something really bad happens doesn’t make you a Christian. Reading your Bible once in a while doesn’t make you a Christian. Having parents or friends who are Christians doesn’t make you a Christian. Trying to do the right things and obeying the ten commandments doesn’t make you a Christian!
Those who claim to be Christians must display the characteristics of genuine Christians: sound doctrine, obedience, and love. Those who are truly born again have been given a new nature, which gives evidence of itself. Those who do not display characteristics of the new nature don’t have it, so they were never truly born again.
In a unique way, 1st John challenges the reader by repeating similar themes over and over to emphasize the basic truths about genuine Christianity. Some have compared John’s repetition to a spiral that moves outward, becoming larger and larger, each time spreading the same truth over a wider area and encompassing more territory – or you can look at it as going deeper and deeper into the soul. Think of a rock being dropped into the water and the effect of the ripple/wave going further and further from the center of the impact.
The outline of 1st John is broken up into two basic categories:
- Doctrine = belief which effect thoughts
- Morality = actions – words and deeds
I. The Fundamental Tests of Genuine Faith—WAVE I (1:1–2:17)
A. The 2 Fundamental Tests of Doctrine (1:1–2:2)
1. A biblical view of Christ (1:1–4)
2. A biblical view of sin (1:5–2:2)
B. The 2 Fundamental Tests of Morality (2:3–17)
1. A biblical view of obedience (2:3–6)
2. A biblical view of love (2:7–17)
a. The love that God requires (2:7–11)
b. The love that God hates (2:12–17)
II. The Fundamental Tests of Genuine Faith—WAVE II (2:18–3:24)
A. Part 2 of the Doctrinal Test (2:18–27)
1. Antichrists depart from Christian fellowship (2:18–21)
2. Antichrists deny the Christian faith (2:22–25)
3. Antichrists deceive the Christian faithful (2:26, 27)
B. Part 2 of the Moral Test (2:28–3:24)
1. The purifying hope of the Lord’s return (2:28–3:3)
2. The Christian’s total incompatibility with sin (3:4–24)
a. The requirement of righteousness (3:4–10)
b. The requirement of love (3:11–24)
III. The Fundamental Tests of Genuine Faith—WAVE III (4:1–21)
A. Part 3 of the Doctrinal Test (4:1–6)
1. The demonic source of false doctrine (4:1–3)
2. The need for sound doctrine (4:4–6)
B. Part 3 of the Moral Test (4:7–21)
1. God’s character of love (4:7–10)
2. God’s requirement of love (4:11–21)
IV. The Fundamental Fruit of Genuine Faith—WAVE IV (5:1–21)
A. The Victorious Life in Christ (5:1–5)
B. The Witness of God for Christ (5:6–12)
C. Christian Certainties Because of Christ (5:13–21)
1. The certainty of eternal life (5:13)
2. The certainty of answered prayer (5:14–17)
3. The certainty of victory over sin and Satan (5:18–21)
1st John and Jesus’ sermon in Matthew 5-7, especially the beatitudes, both show evidence and tests of what a true follower of Christ looks like. It’s interesting to note that in the middle of both of these fundamental tests of true faith there is “the requirement of righteousness” … righteousness is not something we can ever start off with, and if we do then it is not a righteousness that comes from God! Here is what a wrong view of pursuing righteousness looks like:
Romans 9:31 … Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law.
Romans 9:32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone,
Romans 9:33 as it is written,
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense;
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
Romans 10:1 Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.
Romans 10:2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.
Romans 10:3 For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.
Another verse that tells us what seeking righteousness in our own way amounts to in God’s eyes is found in Isaiah:
Isaiah 64:6 We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
That same book tells us the fruits of righteousness:
Isaiah 32:17 And the effect of righteousness will be peace,
and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.
Isaiah also reveals where our righteousness comes from:
Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD;
my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful
headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Righteousness is a piece of the whole armor of God:
Ephesians 6:14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
Notice where the breastplate of righteousness is located and what it protects…just like it being in the center of 1 John’s focus on true Christian faith and the middle of Jesus’ beatitudes, the breastplate is focused on the middle or central portion of our upper body which houses all our vital organs, including the heart – which the Bible refers to as the epicenter of our mind, emotions, and will. It is after all the Bible which pierces through that armor to the heart to get at every thought and intention – Hebrews 4:12.
It is only after success in the first 3 beatitudes that one can now hunger for the right kind of righteousness that God approves of and rewards. So, the necessary precursors to the hunger and thirst talked about are:
- Poor in spirit – spiritually bankrupt and dead apart from God.
- Mournful over sin – recognizing the true nature of who I am and who God is.
- Meekness – humility leading to surrender and obedience and displaying God’s strength through our weaknesses.
Righteousness is not something we can ever produce apart from God! That’s why so many fail and why so many will be shocked on the day of judgment:
Matthew 7:22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’
Matthew 7:23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
I mean, look at all the righteous, wonderful, selfless things I did to deserve to be in heaven!! I earned this!! How dare you turn me away!!
Righteousness (doing what is right in God’s eyes) is defined and produced as follows:
- Right view of bible doctrine – spirit led, spirit taught, and spirit approved. Never mixing in your own thoughts and coming up with new and differing doctrinal truths. That which is righteous is found in the Word of God and ought not to be changed or twisted!
- Right view of Jesus – His work on the cross is what covers us with a robe of righteousness…it is something given to us, not something we can make or earn on our own.
- Right view of the Holy Spirit – the one who convicts, convinces, and coaches us into all truth as he indwells and leads us. The right listening to, leading of, and application with is righteousness.
- Right view of God the Father – our heavenly Father is the one and only and absolute standard for what is right. No other source is credible or influential and can be mingled in with God’s standard.
- Right view of works – righteous acts are an extension of our love and obedience to the trinity. Nothing more and nothing less. It is not a burden but a pleasure. It is a gift, something to treasure! Nothing we boast of or try to measure. And doing works wrongly will bring God’s displeasure!!
Hungering and thirsting are for God’s righteousness. That righteousness only comes from the Trinity and the Word. That being the case it is the only way to be satisfied!
HOW WILL THE HUNGRY AND THIRSTY BE SATISFIED?
I can’t get no…satisfaction…’cause I try, and I try, and I try…I can’t get no…satisfaction!
If only most people knew just how true those lyrics are in this world today! The list of things we try and find satisfaction in that fail us or are never quite enough is endless…how much of the following things would be enough for you so that you would be completely content:
5. Education/academic achievements
6. Control (over others and yourself)
18. Social media
What kind of satisfaction is there in any of those things, how long does it last, and are there any stipulations (meaning for example is your spouse satisfying to you only if they treat you “right” or do things a certain way – otherwise they can be very dissatisfying!!)
5526. chortazo, khor-tad´-zo; (16x) to gorge (supply food in abundance): — feed, fill, satisfy.
WEBSTER’S 1913 DICTIONARY - Satisfied;
1. In general, to fill up the measure of a want of (a person or a thing); hence, to gratify fully the desire of; to make content; to supply to the full, or so far as to give contentment with what is wished for.
So, if we are hungry and thirsty (often leading to the emotional state of being “hangry”! And, let’s face it, most of us are not very fun to be around when we are in that state!), God will gorge us to the point of making us fully content. Hunger, thirst, and satisfy all revolve symbolically around food:
John 6:31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
John 6:32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
John 6:33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
John 6:34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
John 6:35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”
John 6:51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
John 6:52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
John 6:53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
John 6:54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
John 6:55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.
John 6:56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.
John 6:57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me.
John 6:58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”
Our satisfaction is not found in health, wealth, or prosperity – which doesn’t mean we might not have some measure of those in our lives – but instead it is found in a person, Jesus Christ. By extension of the understanding of what righteousness is, satisfaction is also found in the Father, the Holy Spirit, and the Word.
- God the Father’s big picture plan of all things along with the small picture plans for how He uses each one of us is satisfying to know and live out. No other plans will ever satisfy us – not our own, our parents or our spouses, only God’s!
- The truths we find in Scripture (the good, the bad, and the ugly!) will set us free from sin and discontinue our own corrupt paths and lead us into the righteous path God has for us and only that path will satisfy us.
- God the Holy Spirit corrects us and instructs us as long as we are willing to listen to Him and submit! Righteous living only comes from a righteous source, and there is no satisfaction like that on earth! Doing the right things for the right reasons all of the time alleviates any guilt or regrets or shame – on this side of death that is “your best life now”, but that pales in comparison to dwelling with God forever in a sinless glorified body! That’s eternal satisfaction!!
Any other form of satisfaction apart from God is temporary, unfulfilling (meaning we always need more), and distracting (taking away from time and energy that could be spent in a truly satisfying godly manner). God’s promises have eternity and the bigger picture in mind, while Satan is only interested in destroying us by getting us to focus on right here, right now and neglecting to look at the bigger picture. A perfect example of that is found in the Old Testament… Esau sold his birthright (double portion of the inheritance) to Jacob because he was hungry. Then, when Jacob also got the blessing Esau cried and wept to his father Isaac like a little child having a tantrum. But hey, at least he got some stew… his poor choices affected him for many years after that! Just maybe we could learn something from that story…
WHAT IS FAITHFULNESS?
Does it mean always being dependable or being on time? Not cheating on your spouse? Showing up for work and doing your best even when no one is looking? While those are certainly things to be commended for, faithfulness has a far greater idea and impact in Scripture when it comes to being a fruit of the spirit!
4102. pistis, pis´-tis; (243x) persuasion, moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation.
WEBSTER’S 1913 DICTIONARY – faithful
1. Full of faith, or having faith; disposed to believe, especially in the declarations and promises of God.
2. Firm in adherence to promises, oaths, contracts, treaties, or other engagements.
The faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him.
(Excerpt from Deut. 7:9)
If you were going to talk about faith one of the more common places to turn in the Bible would be Hebrews 11 – the faith hall of fame chapter so to speak:
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
Hebrews 11:4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous…
Hebrews 11:5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death…
Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham obeyed…
Hebrews 11:11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.
Hebrews 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son,
Hebrews 11:20 By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau.
Hebrews 11:21 By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff.
Hebrews 11:22 By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.
Hebrews 11:23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.
Hebrews 11:24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,
Hebrews 11:25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.
Hebrews 11:26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.
Hebrews 11:27 By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.
Hebrews 11:28 By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.
Hebrews 11:29 By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned.
Hebrews 11:30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.
Hebrews 11:31 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.
Hebrews 11:32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—
Hebrews 11:33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
Hebrews 11:34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.
Hebrews 11:35 Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life.
Hebrews 11:36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.
Hebrews 11:37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated—
Hebrews 11:38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
Hebrews 11:39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised,
Hebrews 11:40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Hebrews 12:2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Our faith is our actions based on our beliefs set in motion by the Father, paid for by the Son, and guided by the Spirit.
Faith is not blind and baseless or senseless and silly.
It doesn’t shame and belittle or regret and feel guilty.
It comforts and loves, it restores and redeems.
It hopes and it prays and gives rewards beyond our dreams.
It guides and it keeps us; it builds and it frees us.
In short, our faith is in our Savior named Jesus!
Our faith is a gift from God. Without God the Father’s will…there is no faith. Without Jesus the Son, there is nothing to put our faith in…without the Holy Spirit, there is nothing to bring our faith to life and grow it. Without the Word, there is no direction for our faith. Without God we have nothing! With Him, we have everything!
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
Ephesians 2:9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
John 15:5 … apart from me you can do nothing.
So, what does a faithfully righteous person who is satisfied look like?
Each aspect can be understood and applied individually, but they are all interconnected as well. Which is to say that someone who is faithful in a godly way, will find their satisfaction in God and His plan for their life, which will lead to righteousness in response to His love.
A faithful person does not cheat. A faithful husband does not cheat on his wife. A faithful student does not cheat on a test. A faithful worker does not cheat at their job. And a faithful Christian does not cheat on God…just look at the first 4 of the 10 commandments: (you can find them in Exodus 20)
- 1. You shall not worship any other Gods. (False deities)
- 2. You shall not make any idols to worship above God. (Worshipping creation instead of the creator – Romans 1)
- 3. You shall not take the Lord’s name and misuse it in any way. (Whether as a curse word or swearing by it falsely).
- 4. You shall keep the sabbath as a holy day. (Every day is a day to worship and live for God, but one day in particular is set above the others)
So, a simple test of our faithfulness would be to see how well we do in each category…and there are two ways to look at that – the things we do and the things we don’t do!
- False gods…in a time of polytheistic and atheistic beliefs this commandment is broken by countless groups of people, and their beliefs can bleed into the culture which can have an effect on the church, which is the body of faithful ones. It’s not enough to just acknowledge the one true God (which is what we do as believers and also the demons even do), but to also give Him all the credit and glory which is part of worship (sometimes things we don’t do).
- Idols – is anything in our lives more important to us than God? If so, then that’s an idol. Whatever it might be that has more of our time, attention, and affections than we are willing to give to God is causing us to be unfaithful. The Old Testament is littered with Israel’s past where they were called “hard-hearted, stiffed neck, adulterous” people, and it was because of their unfaithfulness to God (they were even compared to a harlot or a prostitute at times) – and you can guess that they were not satisfied or being righteous in a godly way. Spouses that are faithful to each other take their vows seriously (in sickness and in health, richer or poorer, for better or for worse, until death) – Jesus is our spouse so to speak in eternity (the church is the bride of Christ)!
- Of what value is God’s name to you? It’s interesting to note that I have NEVER heard any other deity’s name used as a curse word other than God or Jesus Christ! But more than that, how holy and important and serious is that name to you? Would you give your life for that name? Do we correct others who so profanely and flippantly use God’s name, albeit gently and respectfully!
- What does Sunday mean to us? A day off? Sports parties? Leisure and recreation? If God thought it was important enough to tell us the 10 most important things he wanted for holy living (even though we can’t keep them and they reveal to us what sin is) that He would write it in stone Himself, then what does making a certain day of the week holy mean? He must really think we need it! Do we ever think about that or are we just stuck in our traditions and routines? Are there ways in which we use this day that God would consider unfaithful? And if so, then what are we going to do about that? What is it about today that makes it unique and holy?
A faithful person is first and foremost faithful to God (first four commandments and our vertical relationship) – then and only then would we ever look to the faithfulness that is lived out in the remainder of the commandments which is our horizontal relationships. First clean the inside of the cup (vertical godly relationship), then the outside will be clean as well (horizontal relationships – other people and righteous deeds)! Whatever is filthy on the inside will always be filthy in all areas, no matter how hard we scrub!
Revelation 22:11 Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”
Revelation 22:12 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.
A truly faithful godly person is filled with righteousness. Righteousness is doing what is right in God’s eyes all the time – in thoughts, words, and actions. Christ’s righteousness covers us like a robe, and the Holy Spirit instructs us in righteousness, convicts us and corrects us when we aren’t, God’s Word is the guide and God the Father is the standard. Righteousness is something that should be all-consuming for a Christian! It is what kills our sinful desires and brings alive the spiritual desires. It affirms our beliefs and builds our strength in Christ and in the body, which is the church.
What is our standard of right and wrong? Who do we seek to please?
Understand this – knowing that God is the absolute standard of right and wrong and seeking to please Him over all others does not give us the right to be snooty, offensive, rude, and dismissive, or judge, jury, and executioner! Where ungodly anger, anxiousness, and unkindness will always fail, love, patience, and grace will win. Which course of actions are we most likely to follow? Which one describes a person whose life is characterized by God’s righteousness?
This side of heaven no one is perfect. We all fail in many ways, but that doesn’t mean we can’t recognize where we are at (take a good long honest look in the mirror), look to Jesus as the goal for which we are to be transformed, and ask for wisdom and help from the Spirit to do that work in and through us. Step by step, bit by bit…ever chiseling and shaping that lump of clay!
The faithful believer will be filled with righteousness from God! They will be so full in fact that they will be described as fully satisfied! Never looking to the left or to the right, but always straight ahead to the path that God has laid before them, the author and finisher of their faith! Is God enough for you and me? What does Satan offer that we think is so much better than what God has to offer? In a country that has so much: individual freedoms and material wealth, choices, medical and technological advances, entertainment, good foods, and so on – why is there so much dissatisfaction if any of those things could actually fulfill us? Why are they never enough? The simple answer is that we were designed to have only one thing fulfill or satisfy us! That … would … be … GOD!!