Faithfulness is an important part of our Christian lives. It’s one of the fruits of the spirit listed in Galatians 5, and is a vital biblical concept.
But what really is faithfulness? How do we live it out in our modern world?
Faithfulness is so much more than many of us realize. It’s not just trusting in Christ, or having faith, although those are some of its main features.
Being really faithful means that you obey Christ down to the last letter. It means perfectly loving and serving your neighbor, and being perfectly humble.
Needless to say, none of us have fulfilled every part of God’s rules according to his standards of obedience. In fact, every human being is unable to fulfill even one facet of the his requirements on our own.
Every person on earth has made their soul forfeit to the just wrath of God, by stubbornly disobeying him. Every man, woman, and child deserves hell from their first day on earth as a result of their own actions.
Wait just a second! So that means that when I die I will deserve to face God and his wrath? I will be liable to be judged and justly condemned to eternal torment as punishment for my sin?
But, “God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). As my old pastor always said, “that’s a big but!”
“The wages of sin is death, But the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
Jesus delivered us from our terrible fate of eternal torment in hell and promises eternal life to those who follow him.
Since we cannot follow him perfectly, he paid for all our sins in advance. He has already forgiven us for every sin we will ever commit by his death on the cross. All we need to do is repent, and follow him.
Jesus died for us, rose again from the dead, and ascended into heaven. Now the Holy Spirit guides and nurtures the saints of the new church; from the apostle Paul, to the reformers, to the present day. The Spirit works to sanctify (to cleanse, or make holy) the followers of Christ, because believers still struggle with sin until their dying day. Nobody said it was going to be easy (nobody trustworthy, that is).
Sanctification is the Holy Spirit working in believers to make them more and more Christ-like during their Christian walk. Christian means “little christ,” so being like Christ should be every Christian’s end goal.
All Christians have already been justified or forgiven for their sins past present and future by Christ’s sacrifice, but their earthly bodies and minds are still sinful. Sanctification is the slow cleaning of these believers’ lingering sins, making their minds and their bodies more pure as they grow in wisdom and knowledge of Christ.
This is where faithfulness comes in. Staying true to God means staying “plugged in” to him. This connection is established and maintained by prayer, christian fellowship, and public (as well as private) Bible study and worship (the theological term for this is “the means of grace”).
Staying connected to God requires sacrifice of time, faithfulness, and the help of the Holy Spirit. We can’t do anything to clean ourselves without the divine help of the Holy Spirit. And the wonderful thing is, all you have to do is ask! Ask him to help you connect to him by honestly, and earnestly praying for his help (Ephesians 6:18; Hebrews 5:7).
This whole process and story can be found in the book of Romans, where the apostle Paul explains how the gospel changes a Christian’s life.
With the Holy Spirit’s help and cleansing we begin to obey the laws of God not because we have to, but because we want to. The desire to be faithful to Christ should not come from a sense of duty, but from sincere love and affection for Jesus Christ.
In other words you should obey God and his commands because you love him and wish to please him just like a child loves to please his father.
But staying faithful to God and obeying his commands also means that we should be faithful to those who are put above us on earth. The fifth commandment (Exodus 20:12) tells us to honor our parents, but it also means that we are to obey our employers, governments, and teachers (unless their commands go directly against those of God).
Many young people struggle to be faithful. Pop-culture tells us that we should rebel against authority, against boundaries, and against responsibility.
I am urging you brothers and sisters in Christ to stay faithful to him. Stay true to his authority, his boundaries, and to the responsibilities that you take on as young Christians.
Don’t use your youth as an excuse to get away with slacking off in your faith. Rather, use your youth to spread the gospel by word, deed, and example. Use the health, enthusiasm, and strength that your Lord has so graciously given.
“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much” (Luke 16:10).
Be faithful when there is nobody around. Don’t be a rebelutionary to get noticed. Be a rebelutionary for the glory of God and the growth of his kingdom on earth. Serve your church, your family, and anybody and everybody else with the purpose of making your heavenly father proud. So that on the last day you may hear those glorious words:
“Well done my good and faithful servant.” (Luke 17:19)