“You will make known to me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy.” Ps 16:11

Fruit of the Spirit: Faithfulness

The story of Hosea and Gomer is well-known. “The LORD said to Hosea, ‘Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry and have children of harlotry; for the land commits flagrant harlotry, forsaking the LORD.’ So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim” (Hosea 1:2-3).

Israel, the Northern Kingdom, was faithless and broke from Judah and Jerusalem. Jeroboam led Israel to established alternate sites of worship, Bethel and Dan, and to worship alternated Gods, golden claves. Jeroboam established a non-Levite alternate priesthood. He also ordered the celebration of alternate feasts during the eighth month rather than in the God ordained seventh month. You can read about this faithlessness in 1 Kings 12:25-33. Hosea lived sometime later during the reign of Jeroboam II. Israel was ripe for judgment because of decades of faithlessness.

Gomer, like Israel, was prone to wander. She did so. Like Israel, she led a life of harlotry and adultery (Hosea 2:2). Gomer’s adultery portrayed Israel’s spiritual harlotry and unfaithfulness. In the midst of this personal tragedy and political instability, God again spoke to Hosea. “Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods” (Hosea 3:1). Hosea’s mission was to publicly display God’s love for a sinful people.

Hosea 2:19-20 graphically describes God’s disposition toward Israel. “I will betroth you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, in lovingkindness and in compassion, and I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. Then you will know the LORD.” God’s covenant love and compassion toward Israel comes to expression in His faithfulness. “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13). This is our God, the Faithful One. In like manner, Hosea must be faithful to faithless Gomer.

The apostle Paul also uses marriage as the type and picture of God’s relationship with His people. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). Such love requires faithfulness. In and of yourself, you are faithless. Like Gomer and ancient Israel, you are prone to wander. Your status before God depends upon God’s faithfulness to you. And so God says to you, “I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. Then you will know the LORD.” God’s faithfulness to you results in a saving knowledge of Him and of His Son, Jesus Christ. The imagery advances. You become part of the church, the bride of Christ. You are committed to Him in faithfulness.

Again, it is not within your capacity to change your disposition from that of prone to wander to that of prone to faithfulness. The key is your union with Christ. You are joined to Him as part of His bride. You are joined to Him as a wild olive branch grafted into a native olive tree. You are joined to Him as a branch is part of a grapevine. Thus united to Christ, you are enabled to bear fruit. “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

What is the fruit? “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” (Galatians 5:22). United to Christ you are enabled to be faithful in dating, marriage, school, work, social activities, athletics, and in every other area of life. United to Christ you bear the fruit of faithfulness.

2016-10-29T15:11:22-04:00 December 9th, 2013|