What Does It Mean to Be Spiritually Faithful?
Did you know that both grace and faith are required for salvation?
We receive unmerited favor (grace) from God because of what Jesus did on the cross, but the individual is required to have faith in what Jesus did. If faith wasn’t required, then there would be universal grace and salvation for all. The scriptures say this:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Eph. 2:8-9, KJV; italics added)
Notice that salvation is a gift of God, but it’s acquired through faith. In fact, the scriptures teach that without faith, it’s impossible to please God.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Heb. 11:6, KJV; italics added)
God wants our hearts to be full of faith!
What does this mean for believers today?
First of all, I don’t think this means we have to intellectually or emotionally gear up our faith. You know what I mean. If I can just get enough faith in my heart, maybe I will find a husband, be healed, get more money etc . . .
No, this isn’t what I’m talking about. The New Testament Greek word for faith is pistis. (G4102)  The definition is this:
- Conviction of the truth of anything, belief
- Fidelity, faithfulness
Faith means believing that Jesus is the truth, but it also carries with it the idea of faithfulness. This is a term that’s used often in relationships between men and women. We say that a person who cheats on their spouse with other lovers is unfaithful. Infidelity or adultery is a difficult blow to any relationship.
Did you know it’s also possible to be unfaithful to God?
- Unfaithfulness was the sin of Lucifer when he turned against God and led a rebellion against him.
- Unfaithfulness was the sin of Eve as she was seduced by the serpent and disobeyed the word of God. [“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” (2 Cor. 11:3, KJV; italics added)]
- Unfaithfulness was the sin of the Israelites in the wilderness as they worshiped the golden calf while Moses was on Mount Sinai.
- Unfaithfulness was the sin that all the prophets of Israel cried out against as God’s people worshiped Baal.
- Unfaithfulness was the sin that Jesus said the religious leaders of his day were committing. [“A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.” (Matt. 16:4, KJV; italics added)]
- Unfaithfulness was the great sin of Judas, who was described by Jesus as having betrayed him with a kiss.
Unfaithfulness to God is a sin that grieves him and breaks his heart. Have you ever been betrayed? I have, and I was grieved. I cried and wanted to know why I was cheated on. What did that other woman have that I didn’t have? How did I fail in the relationship? This was the exact reaction God had when he was betrayed by Israel. Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, conveyed this part of God’s heart:
Thus saith the LORD, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain? (Jer. 2:5; KJV)
God asked what he had done that caused Israel to have other lovers. Hadn’t he been faithful and true to them? Hadn’t he delivered them from Egypt and provided them with many victories and blessings? Hadn’t he tenderly cared for them like a faithful husband would? Why did they forsake him for other lovers?
Can’t you just feel the suffering of the Lord? He hurts when his people turn against him. His heart is broken and perplexed, just like our heart is wounded when somebody we love betrays us and has other lovers. There’s a cut in the relationship, and God’s response is strikingly similar to our human reaction. Since unfaithfulness is such a great sin to God, isn’t it important to understand how it’s committed and whether we’re being faithful or not?
In the Old Testament, the people betrayed God by worshiping idols, but Christians don’t bow down to Baal anymore. Our betrayal takes the form of being unfaithful to God’s Word. This was the sin of the Pharisees also. Jesus said they were being adulterous by demanding a sign from God. The scriptures weren’t enough for them; they sought proof from outside the Bible. This was a form of adultery to Jesus because they weren’t being faithful to the truth of God’s Word. The teaching of human rules, rather than the commands of God, led Jesus to call them hypocrites whose hearts were far from the Lord. He even considered their worship to be in vain.
He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!” (Mark 7:6-9; NIV)
Whenever we are unfaithful to the Word of God, taking away or adding to it, we aren’t faithful to Jesus, the word of God who became flesh and dwelt among us. The word adultery is formed from the Latin word “adultero.”  It’s defined as:
- to commit adultery, to pollute, defile
- to falsify, adulterate, or give a foreign nature to a thing, to counterfeit:
Adultery essentially involves polluting or making dirty something that is pure and clean.
In a marriage, this would mean adding another lover, forever changing and contaminating the relationship. Instead of having a pure relationship, now there is heartache, doubt, mistrust, jealousy, the possibility of sexually transmitted disease, and children born out of wedlock. Instead of holy matrimony, there is unholy matrimony.
We can also be adulterous in our relationship with God when we pollute of defile it by adding other “truths,” other religions, or other ways of coming to God. These other additions have falsified the truth and changed it into a lie. This actually means that we can break God’s heart when we corrupt or change the Word of God! Changing the Word is a form of unfaithfulness to God!
Unfaithfulness to God, or spiritual adultery, has occurred many times, not only in ancient history, but also in church history. And when a person doesn’t guard the truth and keep it holy and pure, God says their hearts are far from him. Not only does this break God’s heart, causing him to be separated from his people, but it also causes horrifying consequences for humanity. Perhaps this is why faithfulness to the Word is so important to him.
 “Greek Lexicon: G4102 (KJV).” Blue Letter Bible. Accessed 13 Feb, 2015. http://wwwblueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G4202&t=KJV
 E.A. Andrews and William Freund. “Adultero.” In A Latin Dictionary Founded on Andrews’ Edition of Freund’s Latin Dictionary Rev., Enl., and in Great Part Rewritten. Rev., Enl. ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1955). Accessed February 22, 2015, http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/morph?1=adultero&la=la#lexicon.