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What does the Bible say about faithfulness?

To be faithful is to be dependable, steadfast, and unshakable, and the Bible talks of this form of faithfulness in four ways: as a God-given attribute, a positive characteristic of some people, a virtue that many people lack, and a gift of the Holy Spirit. Faithful can also mean "believing," as in the case of the Christians in Ephesus and Colossae (Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:2).

The Bible frequently mentions God's faithfulness. We've learned over and again that when God says He'll do something, He does it (even when it seems impossible). When He says something is going to happen, it does. This holds true for the past, present, and future. If this were not the case—if God had been unfaithful even once—He would not be God, and we would be unable to rely on any of His promises. But, as it stands, "not a single word of all the nice promises he made has failed" (1 Kings 8:56). Because loyalty is one of God's essential characteristics, He is forever reliable, steadfast, and unshakable. God does not have to work hard to be faithful; He is. He is faithful because it is a fundamental aspect of who He is (Psalm 89:8; Hebrews 13:8). God protects us from evil (2 Thessalonians 3:3), limits our temptations (1 Corinthians 10:13), forgives us of sin (1 John 1:9), and sanctifies us in His faithfulness (1 Corinthians 1:9; Philippians 1:6).

A person might be labelled "loyal" if he or she walks constantly with God, in humble service to Him. When Nehemiah had to leave Jerusalem to return to Persia, he delegated authority to Hanani and Hananiah. His reasoning for selecting these men was that they were "more faithful and God-fearing...than many" (Nehemiah 7:2, ESV). Nehemiah required persons of reputation in whom he could put his trust. Men who would not accept bribes, were dedicated to the benefit of the people, and would protect the office's integrity. It's also worth noting that fidelity is linked to fear of God. The more we get to know God, the more we want to be like Him (Ephesians 5:1). Silas (1 Peter 5:8), Tychicus (Ephesians 6:21), Epaphras (Colossians 1:7), Onesimus (Colossians 4:9), and Moses are further examples of faithfulness (Hebrews 3:2).

Most people are unfamiliar with some of the names on this "loyal list." Tychicus and Epaphras, for example, are hardly recognised. However, even in minor issues, fidelity is recognised to God and rewarded in the end (Luke 19:17).

The Bible also cautions us about the repercussions of being unfaithful. These warnings are important because we are "prone to wander... prone to leave the God I adore," as the old hymn goes. Despite our greatest efforts, our hearts are frequently proven to be fickle (Proverbs 20:6; Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 26:75).


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