Faithfulness (not perfection) is what Christ has always required to receive and remain in a saving relationship w/Him.
(IOW): to receive Christ as Savior, a person must not only trust in Christ for the forgiveness of their sins, but also vow faithful (not perfect) obedience to Him as Lord. Once they have gained that saving relationship (thru baptism – 1Pe 3:21), they must (then) fulfill their former vow by living in faithful obedience to Him if they hope to maintain it and its promises. This is true under the New Covenant just as it was under the previous covenants (e.g. Old Covenant). The mechanics of salvation have remained the same. That salvation requires faithfulness is completely reasonable given that it does not negate faith in Christ (since our faith in Christ includes/implies faithfulness); nor does it mean we are earning our way to heaven (since our salvation is a marriage covenant w/Christ). Instead, what this requirement of faithfulness does mean is that our initial justification (by faith) is not enough and that God (having also required faithfulness), has supplied us (in His Word) with the knowledge necessary to both acquiring it as well as assessing whether we already possess it.
- Obedience to God’s Word must be what characterizes our covenant life if our obedience is to be recognized by God as faithful.
- The obedience that characterizes our covenant life must also possess certain attributes if it is to be recognized by God as faithful. Or put another way, it is our commitment to these attributes that is the key to achieving the faithfulness God requires in our obedience
5.1. Careful [Question being addressed: Can I take risks and be sloppy in my practice of God’s Word and still be considered faithful? No, you must be careful in both your lifestyle and obedience.] (Deu 28:1b) – “If you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments”
5.2. Comprehensive [Question being addressed = Can I be selective in what I choose to faithfully obey as commandments necessary to salvation? No, you must comprehensive in your submission to God’s Word.] (Deu 28:1b) – “If you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments”
5.3. Confirmed [Question being addressed = Can a person be considered faithful whose obedience has never been tested or when tested, fails? No, faithful obedience refers only to that which has been confirmed through testing.] (Deu 8:1-2) – “You shall remember the whole way the Lord your God had led you…testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.”
5.4. Cheerful [Question being addressed = Can I be faithful and yet possess a bad attitude or be unhappy in my obedience? No, you must serve God will cheerfulness.] (Deu 28:47) – “Serve the Lord your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart.”
5.5. Confident [Question being addressed = Can I question the character and competency of God and remain faithful? No, faithfulness requires continuing/complete confidence in God.]
(Deu 1:21-36) – wholly followed the Lord” = Caleb was recognized as faithful by God b/c – unlike his fellow spies – he possessed complete confidence in the character and competency of God – that He would do what He promised (i.e. vv 30-31; see also Deu 9:23-24 and Num 14:1-11) = Notice, not believing/having confidence in God is considered “rebellious” – i.e. unfaithful). In contrast to the others (then), Caleb did trust/believe God and as a result was (once more) considered faithful (a man who “wholly followed God”). It is for this reason that Caleb is described as possessing a “different spirit” (i.e. a spirit of confidence/trust/belief in God – Num 14:24). This confidence/trust/belief is also the reason for Caleb’s report being so different than the other spies (see Num 13:25-32) = B/C of his confidence/trust/belief in God, Caleb possessed courage and a very optimistic perspective in relation to their God-appointed mission. Another of the fruits/benefits of confidence/trust/belief (then) is courage and a positive outlook on life. This (too) is (most likely) included in the idea of Caleb possessing a “different spirit”. It was the direct opposite of most in the covenant community (see again Num 14:1). What therefore can be concluded about Caleb, is that his faithfulness to God was aided by his continuing faith in God since this is what having confidence/trust/belief in God means. It means, that I possess – or continue to possess – faith. The fact that such faith must continue if we are to be those counted as faithful should not surprise us. Per our discussion in previous studies, faith (confidence/trust/belief) and faithfulness are two sides of the same coin. To speak of one is to imply the other. IOW: Where there is legitimate (or saving) faith, there wb faithfulness. And likewise, where there is faithfulness there must also a continuance of faith (Jam 2:21– “faith was active along with his works”) = the initial faith/confidence in God Abraham had originally expressed (Gen 15:6) continued as the means/motivation to his faithful obedience (which in turn “completed” his faith – i.e. proved that he had fully submitted his life in total trust to God).
5.5.1. Stated in terms of continuing/complete confidence in God, the Scriptures confirm the following two sequential truths:
188.8.131.52. Continuing/complete confidence in God is absolutely necessary to faithful (or continuing) obedience – i.e. to God identifying us as faithful (Psa 26:1, 125:1; Heb 11:6; Consider also 2Ki 17:13-18).
184.108.40.206. Continuing/complete confidence in God is the key to salvation/deliverance/blessings (1Ch 5:18-20; 2Ch 20:20; Psa 13:5, 22:4-5, 28:7, 32:10, 33:18-21, 37:3-5, 40:4, 52:7-9, 78:1-32, 84:12, 115:3-9, 146:1-5, 147:10-12; Pro 16:20, 28:25, 29:25; Isa 26:4; Jer 17:7, 39:18).
5.5.2. Why God is trustworthy – i.e. worth trusting or putting your complete confidence in:
220.127.116.11. He never changes His mind or lies (Num 23:19).
18.104.22.168. He knows everything and is never wrong about anything (Gen 6:5; 1Ch 28:9; Job 37:14-16; Psa 10:13-14, 50:11, 94:8-11; Pro 15:3; Isa 40:13; Hos 7:2; Mat 6:8; Heb 4:13; Rom 2:16, 11:34; Rev 2:23 //2Sa 22:31; Psa 18:30; Pro 30:5; “proves true” = refined by fire – Isa 1:25; (LXX) = Rev 3:18).
22.214.171.124. He controls everything and cannot fail (Isa 14:26-27, 46:8-11, 55:8-11; Lam 3:37; Psa 103:19; Dan 4:35; Mat 19:26; Luk 1:37; Psa 135:5-6; e.g. Jos 21:45, 23:14; Mat 10:25-33).
126.96.36.199. He and His words/decrees/plans are eternally relevant (Deu 33:27-29; Psa 9:5-7, 10:16, 33:10-12, 45:6, 102:12, 146:10//Psa 119:89, 152, 160//Psa 148:1-6; Pro 19:21).
188.8.131.52. He loves and does what’s best for those who love Him (Psa 36:5-9, 57:10, 59:10-17, 63:1-8, 86:1-15, 103:11 w/17, 108:4, 117:2, 118:1-21, 130:7-8; Pro 3:5 w/11-12; Jer 29:11; Joh 3:16, 15:13, 16:24-27, Rom 5:5-8, 8:28, 35-39; Gal 2:20; Eph 2:4-5, 3:19, 5:2, 25; 2Th 2:16; Heb 12:7-11; 1Pe 5:8; 1Jo 3:1, 16, 4:10; Rev 1:5, 3:19).
5.5.3. Signs that you are not living with complete confidence (faith/belief/trust) in God (as your God/leader of your life):
184.108.40.206. Making excuses as to why you cannot handle a situation, do what God requires of you or make the necessary changes for success (Phi 4:10-13; 1Co 7:20-21; Luk 14:15-24; e.g. paying your tithe, being the husband or father God requires).
220.127.116.11. Succumbing to temptation, acting irresponsibly or unlawfully as though you had no other choice or it was somebody else’s fault (1Co 10:10; Jam 1:13-15).
18.104.22.168. Acting as though you will not be judged by what you actually do (but what you wish you did) (Deu 29:18).
22.214.171.124. Acting as though God does not mean -or will do – exactly what He says (Psa 10:11-14, 50:16-22; Gal 6:7-10).
126.96.36.199. Acting as though God will not send you to Hell for the little stuff (Mat 5:17-19).
188.8.131.52. Thinking that you can avoid responsibility for your actions if you play ignorant or continue in ignorance (Pro 24:12).
184.108.40.206. You find yourself at times questioning God’s Word (Gen 3:1-5).
220.127.116.11. You get angry with the outcome or worry/complain/fret about something out of your control (Pro 21:1, 31; Pro 16:4, 33; e.g. the weather, the wicked, the economy, what’s going on at work, sports, the speed of traffic, your flat tire on the way to work, etc.)
18.104.22.168. You get angry or confused when the result of what you did is exactly what God said it would be (Pro 19:3).
22.214.171.124. God’s Word, God’s church and God’s faithful are not your first priority (Act 2:42).
CLOSING CONTEMPLATION: (Jam 1:22-25)
 Characterize = the behavior that most occurs, is the typical or predominate pattern of your life since becoming a Christian. IOW: YOU ARE WHAT YOU DO (Eze 18; Rev 20)