Why We NEED to Be Faithful (And Why It It Not Enough)
Christianity is not a location or a ceremony: it is a relationship. If you are an alien sinner (not a citizen of God’s holy nation – I Peter 2:9; Ephesians 2:19), then you do not have a relationship with God. You are separated. Cut off. However, when you take the steps of accepting God’s grace by obeying His gospel plan of salvation for you, then you enter into a relationship with God (“in Him” – Ephesians 1:4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 13; Galatians 3:26-29). It is a relationship not of a “physical” place, but a spiritual “in Christ Jesus”.
Perhaps an easy way to understand this concept is by comparing Christianity to a marriage. Marriage is not a location or a ceremony: it is a relationship. Typically, when you become married, you do so through a ceremony. Typically when you become married, you do so at a location, and then continue on in a location (“home”) till death do you part. But, we still recognize that “marriage” is not the ceremony or location, but the relationship of, two becoming one, for life (Genesis 2:24). But here’s the question: Just because two people become married; does that mean they will always be married – always be in relation one to another? The answer is “No.” We recognize that they will only always be in relationship with one another as long as they are faithful and forgiving to one another.
This is no different in Christianity. When one is “converted” and “becomes a Christian” – meaning they have entered into that relationship with Christ; is that it? Is that all there is to it? Are they now in a state of eternal salvation and can go on sinning willfully being unfaithful to God, yet still being in relationship with Him? The Holy Spirit is crystal clear on this matter, and the answer is, “May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:2) “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment…” (Hebrews 11:26-27) “And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His (Jesus’) fleshly body through death, in order that to present you before Him (God the Father) holy blameless and beyond reproach – if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard…” (Colossians 1:21-23 – emphasis mine) – and which we know they not only heard, but had obeyed (Colossians 1:3-6; 2:12; 3:1-2).
“But isn’t God a God of grace?” one might contest. Of course He is, and that grace is abundant. However, let’s go back to the marriage illustration. In America, where you don’t necessarily have arranged marriages as a cultural norm, the only reason a woman would marry a man is by her grace. The man cannot buy her. He cannot force her to marry him. He asks her to marry him and it is by her grace (gift) that she consents. Now they become married. And on the honeymoon he goes out and is unfaithful to (cheats on) her. He has broken the covenant. Is that ok? If he says he will always cheat on her and he had no remorse or penitence in his heart; what will happen to that relationship? It will be broken. She will get a divorce. The relationship will be severed. Why? Because she is lacking in forgiveness? NO! Because she is lacking in grace? NO! But because he is lacking in integrity, love, honor, obedience (to the covenant he entered into), commitment, and penitence!
This is the same with God and man. When we enter into relationship with God through our baptism into Christ Jesus, if we commit “adultery” (James 4:4 - unfaithfulness), and are unrepentant of that, then our relationship with God will be severed, and remain so. God is a God of mercy. Because we are Christians, and not alien sinners, we have certain rights. We have the right to approach God in prayer and He says that He is just and righteous to forgive us our sins. (I John 1:9) But this is a right that ONLY Christians have, because we are in relationship with Christ, and His blood provides cleansing. (I Jn 1:7) This is why 1) Christians aren’t baptized every time they sin; because the first and only true gospel baptism puts them in a relationship with God and gives them the right of prayer, confession, and forgiveness (Acts 8:13, 17-24); and 2) Why an alien sinner can’t just pray for forgiveness of sins. They must be baptized first, to enter into relationship with Christ and have that “right” of His cleansing blood’s power (Acts 2:38, 22:16, etc.)
If faithfulness is not necessary, then the word of God truly rings hollow. For the need of such instruction as “…be faithful until death and you shall receive the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10) that are abounding throughout the New Testament scriptures are meaningless and a farce, if faithfulness is not necessary to have an eternal relationship with God. Since we know God’s word to be perfect and true (Romans 3:4; I Peter 1:23-25; II Timothy 3:16), then the only logical conclusion left, is that we must be faithful. But if that’s the case, then why is that not enough?
Because of the first 5 articles we have studied. Without 1) Bible answers to spiritual questions, and 2) faith in Christ, and 3) confession of that faith, and 4) repenting of sin in your life, and 5) being baptized for the remission of your sins, then you wouldn’t have a relationship with Christ in which TO BE faithful!!! What we should see is that the gospel is no 1 of these qualities, but EVERY 1 of these qualities… together! A gospel missing any of these elements is no gospel at all. (Galatians 1:6-9) It is powerless, devoid of the power of the Spirit (Romans 1:16), and devoid of the cleansing power of Christ’s blood (Revelation 1:5).
Have you obeyed the full gospel of Christ? Are you obeying it now, by being faithful to God? If not, then it’s time to make your life right with God. It’s time to have a relationship with God in Christ Jesus. If not now, then when? Tomorrow is promised to no one, so why not accept the gospel of Christ now by obeying it? (II Peter 3: 1-11) If you have questions about that, or need assistance with that, then please contact us directly at the O’Connor Road church of Christ (210.656.7702), and we will help direct you from God’s word, the steps you must take to be in a relationship with Christ. A relationship of faith, hope, and love.