Faith and Fidelity

Faith and Fidelity

Login or Create an Account

With a UCG.org account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up

×

How essential is faith in our relationship with God?

“… Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6 Hebrews 11:6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
American King James Version×
, NIV).

“He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much” (Luke 16:10 Luke 16:10He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
American King James Version×
).

Trust and fidelity—faith in God and faithfulness to His Word—are essential aspects of the way of life of the Scriptures. In the New Testament the words faith, faithful and faithfulness are all derived from the Greek word pistis . Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words defines pistis as “trust,… trust-worthiness, … what is believed, the contents of belief, the ‘faith,…’ a ground for ‘faith,’ an assurance,… a pledge of fidelity …” (1985, “Faith,” p. 222).

Infidelity—the absence of faithfulness—is a major cause of broken relationships, especially marriages. In any close relationship faithfulness and trust are vital. Most marriage ceremonies contain a statement from each party promising to be faithful to the other—often until death. Fulfilling such a promise involves each demonstrating faithfulness to the other by continual, loving actions.

M. Scott Peck, in The Road Less Traveled , concludes that such commitment—such determination to faithfully perform one’s vows, promises and relational responsibilities—is essential in all successful relationships. He writes, “… Commitment is the foundation, the bedrock of any genuinely loving relationship” (p. 140).

What kind of faith is ineffective?

“You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:19-20 James 2:19-20 19 You believe that there is one God; you do well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
American King James Version×
; compare James 2:18-26 James 2:18-26 18 Yes, a man may say, You have faith, and I have works: show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God; you do well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 See you how faith worked with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23 And the scripture was fulfilled which said, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24 You see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
American King James Version×
).

Belief in God is not enough. Such faith without “works” is dead. A living faith is an active faith. “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:22-25 James 1:22-25 22 But be you doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like to a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholds himself, and goes his way, and straightway forgets what manner of man he was. 25 But whoever looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
American King James Version×
).

Does God set us an example by His faithfulness to His commitments and promises?

“Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments” (Deuteronomy 7:9 Deuteronomy 7:9Know therefore that the LORD your God, he is God, the faithful God, which keeps covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;
American King James Version×
).

“If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13 2 Timothy 2:13If we believe not, yet he stays faithful: he cannot deny himself.
American King James Version×
; compare Hebrews 10:23 Hebrews 10:23Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
American King James Version×
).

How does God expect us to demonstrate our faith, trust and faithfulness toward Him?

“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? … Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead … Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?” (James 2:14-22 James 2:14-22 14 What does it profit, my brothers, though a man say he has faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say to them, Depart in peace, be you warmed and filled; notwithstanding you give them not those things which are needful to the body; what does it profit? 17 Even so faith, if it has not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yes, a man may say, You have faith, and I have works: show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God; you do well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 See you how faith worked with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
American King James Version×
; compare Matthew 24:45-48 Matthew 24:45-48 45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord has made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he comes shall find so doing. 47 Truly I say to you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. 48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delays his coming;
American King James Version×
).

Abraham’s dynamic example shows what living faith in God really is. Abraham not only believed in God, he believed what God said and followed what God commanded. That is the way we also must live.

Since God is faithful to us, He expects us to be faithful to Him. He expects us to believe in His faithfulness—to trust Him with a loyal heart.

How did Abraham demonstrate his faith—his belief and trust—in God?

“… Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands, my decrees and my laws” (Genesis 26:5 Genesis 26:5Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.
American King James Version×
, NIV).

Because he trusted God, Abraham lived the way of life that pleased God. Since genuine Christianity is a way of life, God expects us to prove our faith with our actions and deeds. This is the way Abraham lived (Hebrews 11:8-10 Hebrews 11:8-10 8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing where he went. 9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 10 For he looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
American King James Version×
).

What will ultimately happen to those who are willfully unfaithful?

“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, the murderers, the fornicators, the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all liars, their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8 Revelation 21:8But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
American King James Version×
, NRSV).

Must God’s faithfully obedient servants endure trials and suffering?

“For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: ‘Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth’; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:21-23 1 Peter 2:21-23 21 For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judges righteously:
American King James Version×
).

“Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:19 1 Peter 4:19Why let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as to a faithful Creator.
American King James Version×
).

“And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” (Romans 5:3-4 Romans 5:3-4 3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
American King James Version×
, NRSV).

Putting God first can require faith and sacrifice. Christians will face trials and suffering just as Jesus and the apostles did.

Peter tells us, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you” (1 Peter 5:6-10 1 Peter 5:6-10 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care on him; for he cares for you. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brothers that are in the world. 10 But the God of all grace, who has called us to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that you have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you.
American King James Version×
).

Such suffering is not at all unusual. Almost everyone suffers in one way or another. But there is a major difference in a Christian’s trials. God’s servants understand that their trials and suffering can help them build and strengthen their character. They “know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
American King James Version×
).

How should faithful Christians view their trials and suffering?

“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified” (1 Peter 4:12-14 1 Peter 4:12-14 12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 If you be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are you; for the spirit of glory and of God rests on you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
American King James Version×
).

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4 James 1:2-4 2 My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
American King James Version×
; compare Matthew 5:10-12 Matthew 5:10-12 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
American King James Version×
).

Those who have faith in God’s faithfulness are confident they can trust Him to act on their behalf. They know that when He intervenes in their trials to deliver them His intervention will be in their best interest according to His great purpose. They trust in God’s wisdom and fairness and are willing to suffer to prove it (1 Peter 4:19 1 Peter 4:19Why let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as to a faithful Creator.
American King James Version×
).

Peter sums up the attitude of trust that God’s Spirit leads them to have: “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith; the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:6-9 1 Peter 1:6-9 6 Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found to praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8 Whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
American King James Version×
).