To be faithful is to be reliable, steadfast and unwavering, and the Bible  speaks of this type of faithfulness in four ways: as an attribute of God; as a  positive characteristic of some men; as a characteristic that many men lack; and  as a gift of the Holy SpiritFaithful is also used in the sense of “believing,” as in the case of the  Christians in Ephesus and Colossae (Ephesians  1:1; Colossians  1:2).

Scripture speaks often of God’s faithfulness. Over and over we  learn that when God says He will do something, He does it (even when it seems  impossible). When He says something will happen, it happens. This is true for  the past, the present and the future. If this were not the case—if God were  unfaithful even once—He would not be God, and we could not rely on any of  His promises. But as it is, “Not one word has failed of all the good promises he  gave” (1 Kings  8:56). God is eternally reliable, steadfast, and unwavering because  faithfulness is one of His inherent attributes. God does not have to work at  being faithful; He is faithful. Faithfulness is an essential part of who  He is (Psalm 89:8Hebrews 13:8). In His  faithfulness, God protects us from evil (2  Thessalonians 3:3), sets limits on our temptations (1 Corinthians  10:13), forgives us of sin (1 John 1:9),  and sanctifies us (1 Corinthians 1:9; Philippians  1:6).

When a person walks consistently with God, in humble service  to Him, he or she can be called “faithful.” When Nehemiah had to leave Jerusalem  to return to Persia, he put Hanani and Hananiah in charge. The reason for his  choice of these men was that they were “more faithful and God-fearing . . . than  many” (Nehemiah 7:2,  ESV). Nehemiah needed men of character whom he could trust. Men who would  not take bribes, who were committed to the welfare of the people, and who would  uphold the integrity of the office. Notice, also, that faithfulness is  associated with fearing God. The better we truly know God, the more we will want  to imitate Him (Ephesians  5:1). Other examples of faithfulness include Silas (1 Peter 5:8), Tychicus (Ephesians 6:21), Epaphras  (Colossians  1:7), Onesimus (Colossians  4:9), and Moses (Hebrews  3:2).

Some of the names included in this “faithful list” are  unfamiliar to most people. Not much is known of Tychicus or Epaphras, for  example. But faithfulness, even in small matters, is known to God and rewarded  in the end (Luke  19:17).

The Bible also warns us of the consequences of  unfaithfulness. These warnings are necessary because, as the old hymn says, we  are “prone to wander . . . prone to leave the God I love.” Our hearts are too  often found fickle, despite our best intentions (Proverbs  20:6; Jeremiah  17:9; Matthew  26:75).

Faithfulness affects every relationship we have. The Bible  says it is a gift from God. When we receive Christ as Lord, the Holy Spirit  indwells us and brings the blessings of love, joy, peace and faithfulness (Galatians 5:22). The  fullness of these blessings depends on walking with God and yielding to His  Spirit. We should be faithful to read and abide by God’s Word and to seek the  Lord in prayer (Psalm 1:1-2Ephesians  6:18).

The Old Testament taught that “the just will live by faith”  (Habakkuk  2:4), and that truth is quoted, amplified and illuminated three times in the  New Testament. We obtain that faith, and our faithfulness, by the grace of God.  He is faithful to His children, and by His grace we will one day hear the words,  “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew  25:23).