Faithfulness may be defined as the quality of character whereby one, despite all difficulties, perseveringly exercises loyal devotion to truth and righteousness and to the persons to whom and the principles and/or things to which he has obligated himself.
The opposite of faithfulness is unfaithfulness, which is disloyalty to truth and righteousness and to the persons, principles and/or things to which one had obligated himself, regardless of whether such disloyalty is exercised amid or apart from difficulties.
Our faithfulness goes out primarily to God and Christ, as to their persons, characters, words and works. Such faithfulness to Them implies faithfulness to the Truth, which is the embodiment of good principles, and which They will ultimately make triumphant throughout the universe. Furthermore, because of our faithfulness to God and Christ, we can be faithful to the brethren in and under Them. And in and under God and Christ we are to exercise a proper faithfulness also to husbands, wives, children, parents, guardians, other family members, employers, employees, teachers, pupils and civil authorities.
Faithfulness in Various Capacities
Our faithfulness should express itself in studying God’s Word. We should become proficient in the knowledge of God’s Word, which encompasses the doctrines, precepts, promises, exhortations, prophecies, histories and types of the Bible. Although our earthly work requires us to do more or less related study, we should primarily concentrate our study time and activities on the Word of God.
Secondly, we are to be faithful as tentatively justified human beings. This implies two great principles of justice – supreme love to God and equal love to our neighbor. This means that we put God first in all things, and our neighbor, according to his nearness or farness as a neighbor, on the same plane as ourselves.
Thirdly, we are to be faithful as consecrated ones, which implies especially two things: (1) consecrate our human all to God, while keeping our wills dead toward self and the world; and (2) develop our new human hearts, minds and wills toward God. This implies the devotion of what we are and have and what we hope to be and have to God’s service and cause. However, that part of our human all to which others have a right, like our spouses, families, friends, governments and employers, does not really belong to us, but to them, and must be yielded up to them as a first mortgage on our human all. The second part of our work as consecrated ones is the development of Christlikeness.
Fourthly, we are to be faithful as Christian soldiers, which implies four things: (1) be good sentinels; (2) wage an aggressive warfare against Satan, sin, selfishness, worldliness and error; (3) wage a good defensive fight against every attack of Satan, sin, error, worldliness and selfishness; and (4) be endurers of hardship, borne with a willing and contented heart and a ready and responsive mind.
Abuses of Faithfulness
Certain abuses of faithfulness occur, against which we should be on our guard:
(1.) External faithfulness, without the heart being in it. Faithfulness should be hearty, willing and free.
(2.) Giving loyal devotion to persons and causes to whom or which it does not belong, or giving it to a wrong extent. Although religious leaders who really represent God and His cause are to be given proper loyal devotion, God’s people should not give loyal devotion to false religions, clericalism, clericalists and their cause. Some have given loyal devotion to husbands, wives, parents, children, etc. to such an extent as to interfere with and neglect their primary loyal devotion to God and His cause and the spread of His Truth.
(3.) Its partial exercise. Some will render a little faithfulness to God and His cause, usually as much of it as is agreeable to them, but when it hurts to practice full loyalty to it, such will avoid rendering it.
(4.) Its neglect. Some merely neglect it, fail to cultivate acquaintance with it and as a result leave it undone.
(5.) Its repudiation. Some have temporarily repudiated it in thought and act, without doing so in word, whereas others have made such repudiation to the limit.
We exhort all of God’s consecrated people, according to their places in His Plan, to be faithful unto the end, for it will bring eternal life in His Kingdom as a gift-reward.