Thursday, March 31, 2016

Expressions such as “faithful disciple,” “faithful saint,” or “faithful Christian” are not found in scripture.  However, “faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21, 23), “be thou faithful unto death” (Revelation 2:10) and “faithful in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 4:17) are.  What does it mean to be  “faithful”?  What would your list for “faithfulness” contain?

Jesus is called a “faithful high priest” and “faithful to” God (Hebrews 2:17; 3:2).  Since Jesus was “without sin,” is that requirement in the list (Hebrews 4:5; 9:28)?  Jesus told his disciples to be perfect as is the Father (Matthew 5:48).  Does faithfulness require perfection?  If perfection or “without sin” is the standard for faithfulness, Peter, Paul (Galatians 2:11-14; Romans 7:14, 17) and we miss the boat (Romans 3:10, 23; 1 John 1:8, 10).  Could one say Peter was faithful in spite of his hypocrisy?  What about Barnabas and others who were caught up in it (Galatians 2:13)?  If he and they were still faithful in spite of their hypocrisy, how was that possible?  May one be faithful if in need of correction?  David wasn’t perfect, yet the only “exception” mentioned was in the matter of Uriah the Hittite (1 Kings 15:5).  Was that the only sin in his life?  What would your list for “faithfulness” contain?

The church in Sardis thought they were okay, but not the Lord (Revelation 3:1a, 3)!  Can you imagine being in a dead church?  One that was badly in need of repentance?  Wouldn’t your moto be, “Flee or fry”?  Wouldn’t your little voice be screaming to get out and establish or find a sound congregation?  Wouldn’t fear motivate a speedy departure to escape impending damnation?  Yet, not one single member left.  In spite of that fact, some of those lead footed members were undefiled, called “worthy,” and would walk with Jesus in white (v.4).  Would you call them faithful for remaining in a dead church and as a member needing repentance?  May one be considered “faithful” in spite of his imperfections, shortcomings, or sins?  If not, why did Jesus say some had not defiled themselves and “are worthy”?  What would your list for “faithfulness” contain?

We recognize that Ananias and Sapphira were not faithful in spite of their membership in the body of Christ, attendance, and giving (Acts 5:1-11).  We know some in the Lord’s body had been filled with the Holy Spirit and worked miracles but became unfaithful (Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:25-31).  There also was Hymanaeus and Alexander (1 Timothy 1:19-20).  If your thinking is the same as theirs, you may have a belief, but it isn’t identified as faithfulness!  What would your list for “faithfulness” contain?

Thirty-six years ago a brother informed me that there were two kinds of error, (1) fatal and (2) non fatal.  The fatal condemns, the non-fatal doesn’t.  I asked him for a list so I would know what category each of my errors fell in.  He never supplied it.  Since neither he nor I are free of error (sin), I wonder if he knows which group his falls in?  If not, does he have any assurance which he may share with those he preaches to?  What would your list for “faithfulness” contain?

The Jerusalem church misunderstood Jesus’ commission and refused to share the good news with Gentiles for about eleven years after Pentecost.  God showed Peter and the Jewish brethren with him that He accepted them by immersing them in the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:44-46; 11:9, 15-17; 15:7-11).  During that eleven year period, were the apostles, prophets, and Jewish saints faithful?  What would your list for “faithfulness” contain?

The Hebrew writer knew the difference.  So may we!

“‘Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.’  But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.”  Hebrews 10:38-39 (NKJV)

Now the just shall live by faith.”  Does God count them faithful or unfaithful?  “But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.”  Is it possible to be in that group and be faithful?  What would your list for “faithfulness” contain?