My Thoughts. . .
The expression “be thou faithful unto death” is found in Revelation 2:10 (KJV). It is often quoted from pulpits exhorting those in the pew to be “more” faithful. The expression “be faithful” is interpreted differently by the listener. To some the statement demands that the pew warmer is responsible for mastering perfection. The member’s reply of “I’m fine,” mated with a huge smile, is a poor substitute masking his failure to obtain that lofty goal. Each week that disciple pleads for divine strength to overcome his frailties. Some understand that Divine silence in a negative, self-depreciation way. For them, God’s silence accuses them of not being of the elect.
Some realize that perfection escapes them because they are not working hard enough to reach it. So, they pray more. They show up at the church building every time the doors open. If a volunteer is needed by the church, they are it. They increase their Bible reading. They spend more time visiting the sick and aged. They are described as being “Dependable.” Yet, perfection remains a stranger. Reward makes its appearance, but it is frustration and disappointment. Those activities do not earn one a special key to unlock the gates of heaven. Do we earn our medals, or do we receive salvation because of what Jesus did upon the cross? As faith grows, we learn who to appreciate.
Some believe our inability to be perfect is minimized when God diverts His view from our imperfections to gaze upon the “truths” which we manage to practice. Yet the haunting question now becomes “How much doing must I do to be identified as being a faithful doer?” Those inconsistencies are a nagging question which must be ignored when we make the choice that we will earn our way into heaven! Then some express their belief toward the opposite extreme. They will have faith in Jesus’ blood to save, so they don’t need to do anything. The middle ground contains borders that are not marked well enough for some to see. Perhaps the question to be asked is, do I have an active faith because I am the Savior, or do my actions glorify the one who is? Faithfulness is based upon growth. That growth may be quick, medium, or slow. One’s faithfulness is not based upon outdoing another. What did the eunuch fail to observe which was not a problem for Philip? Did Barnabas outgive Paul when the collection basket was passed (Acts 4:36-37). How much confidence did Barnabas have in John Mark than what Paul exhibited (Acts 15:37-39)? Yet all three were saved. What I did not understand 40 years ago, I do now. My faith needed time to grow. Sometimes that growth seemed to stop. I studied Greek, Hebrew, and French, but still have problems with English. I have forgotten more Bible than I can remember. Will I ever be sinless? Not if I depend upon myself. Thankfully, the cleansing by the blood of Jesus made me a temple suited for God’s indwelling. Each Christian is God’s temple, but only because of the blood of Jesus. If one’s faith is focused on his strength rather than in the blood of Jesus, his faith is misplaced. Hopefully our faith will grow so we will recognize who is the Savior (1 Peter 2:2).