Faithfulness. What is it? How do we define who is a faithful Christian? Faithful is defined as trustworthy, dependable, or reliable. In order to understand who is faithful we must have some standard by which we are measured. That standard is not brotherhood papers or preachers. Paul says it is the faithful word (Tit. 1:9). If we want to determine who is faithful we must use the faithful word. If we fail to use the faithful word, we will use the wrong standard and reach a wrong conclusion about who is faithful.
We have all been asked, “Do you know so and so? Are they faithful?” The answer is either, “Yes,” or “I am afraid not.” What we usually mean by that is that they attend assemblies of a local church. If they do, we consider them faithful, if no,t they are unfaithful. I am in no way trying to lessen the significance of Christians being a part of a local church. They should. However, that is “a” factor in determining faithfulness; it is not “the” factor and there is a big difference. Some of the most unfaithful Christians are present every time the doors are open. Sometimes our direction is off. People are not faithful to the church nor do they leave the church. People leave the Lord or come back to the Lord (Acts 11:23; 16:15).
How do we determine faithfulness regarding a person who is a Christian? Christians are the workmanship of God (Eph. 2:10). Faithful Christians work. They bear fruit. They are productive (Jhn. 15:1-ff). Faithful Christians are busy as they have opportunity, time, and ability in doing things God wants them to do. We were created for good works. God expects good works from us.
Christians are also people who live lives worthy of the gospel (Phil. 1:27). “Worthy” means “of equal weight.” Merchants used scales in which they would weigh out the goods to be purchased. On one side there would be a five pound weight and on the other side goods would be poured until there was an equality and the scales balanced. The gospel is our standard. Our lives are to be balanced to the standard. That is an ongoing task. We never get things weighed out properly in our lives. Faithful Christians are not perfect. How many times do people try to fool themselves by thinking they can attend all the assemblies, then leave, and their lives be as far out of balance with the gospel as possible? When people who profess to be Christians live, act, and talk any way they want yet, consider themselves faithful because they have been to assemblies regularly, they have not properly weighed their lives.
Faithful Christians are the kind of people for whom no sacrifice is too great: pride, self-will, or anything of value. Christians simply want to be better. Such an understanding of faithfulness will solve many other problems in the home, marriage and even in the local church. When we properly understand faithfulness, we awake each morning asking, “How can I serve my brother or sister in Christ today? What can I do for them? How can I help them?” The same is true of marriage and the home. Faithful Christians are concerned about whether or not they are serving someone else. Faithfulness is not determined by a single act but by who we are.
by Rickie Jenkins