One of the attributes of God is faithfulness. “God is faithful” is a thought explicitly found in Deuteronomy 7:9, 1 Corinthians 1:9, and 1 Corinthians 10:13. It is, however, a thought that runs implicitly on every page of the Bible as God unfolds his plan for man’s salvation. The faithfulness of God is more than His immutability (Malachi 3:6), though it is based upon it. Something may be immutable, yet not be faithful. Faithfulness implies a trust, which implies a personality, and a personal relationship with someone. Faithfulness is a quality of personhood, and infinitely so in the person of God.
As an imitator of God (Ephesians 5:1), the Christian should strive to be faithful. Faithfulness implies unwavering dedication irrespective the trials that may come our way. Faithfulness entails a level of commitment that stays true to the course notwithstanding the obstacles in one’s path. Faithfulness means that one consistently practices that which he knows to be true. The Christians at Ephesus, in the face of coming persecution, were urged, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).
The apostle Paul wrote, “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2). The Greek word for steward here is OIKONOMOS, a house ruler. Such stewards in Paul’s time were often slaves. One could not rise to such a position of prominence in the home of one’s master through fickleness and irresponsibility. Faithfulness was required! So also “in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15) – faithfulness is required!
The Psalmist wrote, “LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?” (Psalm 15:1). Among the various characteristics of such a one a statement found in verse 4, “He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.” This is faithfulness. It is emulating the very character of God Himself, who also keeps His promises regardless the amount of suffering that He, as God, must endure. Of course, the ultimate manifestation of God’s suffering is presented to us in the person of Jesus who was faithful unto the death of the cross (Philippians 2:8).
The apostle Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 2:11-13 ring true here: “Faithful is the saying: For if we died with him, we shall also live with him: if we endure, we shall also reign with him: if we shall deny him, he also will deny us: if we are faithless, he abideth faithful; for he cannot deny himself.” Because we are sinful, we can never be wholly faithful to him until the day that we cease from sin. The possibility of apostasy is always present. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). This statement was not written in vain, under the delusion of “once-saved, always-saved” dogma. It acknowledges the real opportunity for individual Christians to so sin as to be eternally lost. How important, then, the doctrine of faithfulness!
In the past year, every other issue of the Christian Worker has focused upon the steps to salvation: hear, believe, repent, confess, and be baptized. To make the series complete, this issue discusses the final step: living faithfully until death. The scope of this step is so broad, that one could extend the series indefinitely. In trying not to do that, this issue seeks to address some of the key areas in which the Christian must live faithfully. In reading this issue, one ought to keep in focus the need for faithfulness regardless the area of life in which one is presently involved. Faithfulness transcends each arena of life, providing the foundation for consistent Christian living. This issue does not touch upon all areas exhaustively, but exhorts the reader to put into practice Colossians 3:17, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” Only with such an attitude may the Christian find himself at home with his Lord.