By Peter Amsterdam
April 10, 2018
Throughout both the Old and New Testaments, much is said about faithfulness. By definition, faithfulness expresses the concept of being unfailingly loyal to someone or something in any and all circumstances. It also expresses being firm in adhering to promises one makes.
Throughout Scripture, God is spoken of as being faithful. When He revealed Himself to Moses on Mount Sinai, He declared:
The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.1
Elsewhere we read:
Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.2
We’re told He is a God of faithfulness3 and that the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever.4
In the New Testament, Jesus is referred to as being faithful:
Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God's house as a son.5
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it [Jesus] is called Faithful and True.6
Faithfulness is also listed as a fruit of the Holy Spirit.7 Clearly God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—is faithful, unwavering in His promises and His love for us. Even if we weaken or lose faith, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.8
In the context of our seeking to be Christlike, faithfulness can be seen as being loyal to Jesus, in a similar sense as a married couple are loyal to one another because of their love for one another and also because they pledged themselves to be committed to one another. Faithfulness means being true to our commitment to live in accordance with God’s Word, to put Him first, and not give anything else priority over our commitment to Him. This concept is expressed in the first of the Ten Commandments:
You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them.9
The commitment for us, as Christians, is to be faithful to God by giving Him our primary allegiance, our love and dedication.
Faithfulness also means being trustworthy. When you give your word, you keep it. You fulfill your obligations.
LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He who keeps his oath even when it hurts.10
When we make a vow or promise to the Lord, we have given Him our word, and thus are committing ourselves to keeping it.
If a man vows a vow to the LORD, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.11
When we make a commitment to someone, we are morally obliged to follow through on what we’ve said we would do. This includes promises or commitments we’ve made to ourselves.
Jesus taught about character and spoke of the results and consequences of faithfulness and unfaithfulness:
One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much. … If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?12
We are called to be equally faithful in all matters, whether large or small. Jesus pointed out that if we are unable to properly use money (unrighteous mammon), then we can't be trusted to administer greater riches. If we can’t care for someone else’s things, then we can’t be trusted with responsibility for our own things. What a person does reveals their character. Someone who is faithful, who keeps their word, who acts honorably, will do so no matter what the situation. Our decisions, choices, and subsequent actions in small day-to-day matters tell us and others much about our faithfulness and our character.
As Christians, we should be known as those who are faithful, honorable, trustworthy, and reliable in our speech and our interactions with others. In so doing, we reflect the Lord to others.
Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.13
Another important element of becoming more like Jesus is being truthful and honest. Jesus stated:
I am the way, and the truth, and the life.14
In the Gospel of John we read that Jesus, the Word of God, became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.15 Twice, Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of truth.
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.16
When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.17
Truthfulness is part of who God is.
In the book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul wrote about being honest:
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.18
Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness.19
In the Psalms, we’re told that God takes pleasure in honesty:
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being.20
In the book of Hebrews, we read that it is impossible for God to lie.21 If we truly desire to embrace Christlikeness, being honest and truthful needs to be high on our priority list.
Lying and dishonesty are clearly and strongly spoken against throughout the Old and New Testaments. Scripture also encourages honesty and truthfulness. Let’s take a look at some verses which focus on being truthful.
O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart.22
Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth.23
These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace.24
Hear, for I will speak noble things, and from my lips will come what is right, for my mouth will utter truth; wickedness is an abomination to my lips.25
Love truth and peace.26
Love … rejoices with the truth.27
Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.28
Besides encouraging honesty and truthfulness, Scripture also condemns lying and deceitfulness, and instructs us to put away falsehood.
Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD.29
There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: … a lying tongue … a false witness who breathes out lies.30
No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes.31
You destroy those who speak lies; the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.32
Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.33
Do not deceive with your lips.34
Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices.35
Put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.36
A dishonest man spreads strife.37
A man of crooked heart does not discover good, and one with a dishonest tongue falls into calamity.38
Deliver me, O LORD, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue.39
Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.40
Those who are left in Israel; they shall do no injustice and speak no lies, nor shall there be found in their mouth a deceitful tongue.41
Jesus stated, I am the way, and the truth, and the life,42 making the point that He not only told the truth but He is the truth. Twenty-five times in the Gospel of John, Jesus used the phrase, Truly, truly, I say to you.43 (Other translations use the corresponding terms Verily, verily; Amen, amen; or Most assuredly.) In using this phrase, Jesus implied that not only was what He was about to say true, but that He had firsthand, direct, divine knowledge that it was true. Jesus is the truth and spoke the truth.
A vital component of our day-to-day testimony is that we, like Jesus, speak the truth to others. In the book of Isaiah, when speaking of the promised Messiah, Isaiah wrote that there was no deceit in his mouth.44 Jesus spoke only the truth, and as believers we are to follow His example of honesty.
Faithfulness and honesty are akin to each other. Faithfulness calls us to keep our commitments, to be trustworthy and act honorably. The call to honesty also leads to us being trustworthy and honorable. Jesus was both truthful and faithful:
“I am … the truth.” I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it [Jesus] is called Faithful and True.45
May we do our best to be more like Him in these areas of our lives.
Unless otherwise indicated, all scriptures are from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
1 Exodus 34:6.
2 Deuteronomy 7:9.
3 Deuteronomy 32:4.
4 Psalm 117:2.
5 Hebrews 3:5–6.
6 Revelation 19:11.
7 Galatians 5:22.
8 2 Timothy 2:13 NKJV.
9 Exodus 20:3–5.
10 Psalm 15:1, 4 NIV.
11 Numbers 30:2.
12 Luke 16:10–12.
13 Proverbs 3:3–4 NIV.
14 John 14:6.
15 John 1:14.
16 John 16:13.
17 John 15:26.
18 Ephesians 4:25.
19 Ephesians 6:14.
20 Psalm 51:6.
21 Hebrews 6:18.
22 Psalm 15:1–2.
23 Psalm 86:11.
24 Zechariah 8:16.
25 Proverbs 8:6–7.
26 Zechariah 8:19.
27 1 Corinthians 13:6.
28 Ephesians 4:15.
29 Proverbs 12:22.
30 Proverbs 6:16–17, 19.
31 Psalm 101:7.
32 Psalm 5:6.
33 Psalm 34:13.
34 Proverbs 24:28.
35 Colossians 3:9.
36 1 Peter 2:1.
37 Proverbs 16:28.
38 Proverbs 17:20.
39 Psalm 120:2.
40 1 Peter 3:10.
41 Zephaniah 3:13.
42 John 14:6.
43 John 1:51; 3:3,5,11; 5:19,24,25; 6:26,32,47,53; 8:34,51,58; 10:1,7; 12:24; 13:16,20,21,38; 14:12; 16:20,23; 21:18.
44 Isaiah 53:9.
45 Revelation 19:11.