The Bible says that Christians should:
• Be diligent in our service,
• Continue steadfastly,
• Be faithful unto death,
• Continue in the doctrine,
• Be steadfast & unmovable, and
Most folks sincerely believe that the reward for righteous living will come when this life is over, for such is what the Bible teaches–but–only after one has lived a life of faithfulness. Because the Bible also teaches that men may choose to live a life of rebellion (some people call this “apostasy” or “falling from grace,” which we’ll examine in our next issue), it behooves us to look closely at what the Bible says about the importance of living your entire life in faithfulness to God.
Once one becomes a child of God through obedience (see Rom. 6:17-18), the Bible compares the life of a Christian to a race; the prize in this race comes after the race is completed and we have run it to the end (Heb. 12:1-2).
In this race for eternal life, there are at least six things we must do:
BE DILIGENT IN OUR SERVICE
In our service to God and His cause, we must be diligent. “…brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure…” (2 Peter 1:10). The writer of the book of Hebrews notes that God “is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6).
To be diligent means to “exert oneself” (W. E. Vine’s An Expositor Dictionary of New Testament Words, p. 303). Thus, a faithful Christian has to exert some energy–do something, as opposed to “taking it easy,” especially if we seek heaven when this life is over.
After the 3,000 were baptized on the Day of Pentecost (see Acts 2:14-40), we find that they “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and in fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and prayers” (Acts 2:42).
To “continue steadfastly,” according to W. E. Vine, literally means “to be strong towards” and “to endure in or persevere in” (p. 228).
Anyone who hopes (and hope is a favorable and confident expectation of something good; W. E. Vine, p. 562) for a home in heaven when this life is over will do the same thing– “continue steadfastly.” This means that he will assemble with the saints at every opportunity (Heb. 10:25); worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24); study the Bible (2 Tim. 2:14); and do good (“unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of God” Gal. 6:10).
BE FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH
The apostle Paul knew that as hard as he was trying, he hadn’t made it yet- “…I count not myself to apprehended…” (see Phil. 3:12). He knew that he had not yet gained the victory; rather that he was forgetting the things of the past and pressing on, so he might gain the prize at the end of the way.
In much the same way, the apostle John was told to write that Christians should “be thou faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life” (Rev. 2:10).
Thus, we really need to keep on keeping on!
CONTINUE IN THE DOCTRINE
In 1 Tim. 4:16 Paul instructs the young preacher to “Take heed to yourself and unto the doctrine; continue in them; for in doing this thou shalt save thyself and them that hear thee.”
Notice that Paul tells Timothy to pay attention to what he does (behave like the Bible tells Christians to)–but to also pay attention to doctrine (that which is taught; the gospel), which is precisely what the first Christians did on the Day of Pentecost (see Acts 2:42).
BE STEADFAST & UNMOVABLE
In closing his first letter to the church at Corinth, Paul admonishes them to “…be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord…” (1 Cor. 15:58).
To be “steadfast” here primarily means to remain seated and is used metaphorically of moral fixity (W. E. Vine, p. 1086); to be “unmovable” is to remain firm and to not be moving (W. E. Vine pp. 1184 & 760); and to be always “abounding” (something above the ordinary, W. E. Vine, p. 9) “in the work of the Lord” is similar to what Jesus said when He was a young man, having been left behind in Jerusalem when He was 12 “Wist (Don’t) you know that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49).
Jesus realized that we only have a finite amount of time to spend in this world to accomplish the task (of Mark 16:15 and Matt. 28:18-20) assigned to us, for He noted “I must work the works of Him that sent Me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4).
Just as Jesus had a job to do, we do too. And, just as He wouldn’t be satisfied until He’d completed the very thing His Father wanted Him to do, we shouldn’t be satisfied either. Certainly, if Jesus was concerned with doing every thing the Father wanted Him to do, we also should be just as concerned.
Living a life of faithful service to God carries with it obedience–we cannot be faithful to God unless we are obedient (see Luke 6:46). We should study the word of God, and then after learning what to do to become a child of God, we should obey in order to have “remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). Then, and only then, can we continue in the grace of God and “work out your salvation with, fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12).
For a moment, consider the Parable of the Talents (found in Matt. 25:14-30). Two of the men used the talents given them in as good way, and when the lord returned, he told them both “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things…enter into the joy of thy lord” (vv. 21 & 23).
It will be a wonderful thing if, when we come to the end of life’s way, we can lay down on our death bed without fearing the resurrection, knowing that when we stand before the Judge, we will hear Him say, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”
But, remember, He won’t call us faithful if we aren’t faithful (Luke 6:46), so let us strive to really be faithful, even unto the point of our death, so that we might receive His crown of life.
If we can help you in your obedience, please tell us how.