"Mostly Faithful?"

It might be that some have a mighty strange view of the word "faithful." Have you ever heard a brother described as "mostly faithful," or a congregation as "fairly faithful"? How about this-"he is pretty faithful...most of the time."

The Bible records that Moses was faithful (Numbers 12:7), as was Timothy (I Corinthians 4:17) and Tychicus (Ephesians 6:21). Jesus used the word "faithful" to describe the five and two talent men who were prepared to give account to their Lord in a parable: "His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many things; enterthou into the joy of thy lord" (Matthew 25:23). Paul, through inspiration, set forth that "here, moreover, it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful" (I Corinthians 4:2). Research the word "faithful" and you will see that it carries the idea of those whoare "trusty...who show themselves faithful in the transaction of business, the execution of commands, or the discharge of officialduties...one who kept his plighted faith, worthy of trust...that can be relied on" (Thayer). In light of the meaning, how can one be "mostly, pretty, or fairly" faithful? Either one is, or he is not, faithful to God. (Of course we are not arguing for perfection-it must be understood that faithfulness in God's children is demanded of God (I Corinthians 4:2). This faithful condition is synonymous with walking in the light (I John 1:7) as we humbly bring our hearts and deeds into harmonywith the dictates of heaven.) What ambiguous spiritual condition isrepresented by the term "mostly faithful?" Could it be a term employed to represent a person, or a congregation, that does some, or even most of what God directs-but not all? Here are some examplesof those who fit in the category of being "mostly, fairly, or pretty" faithful:

  1. The brother or sister that attends 9 out of 10 Sunday and Wednesday assemblies but forsakes one "every now and then" forTV, shopping, Boy Scouts, walk-a-thons, the Super Bowl, vacation, company at home, or because they're disgruntled with someone orsomething in the church is probably the person some have in mind when they say, "he's mostly faithful."
  2. The brother who preaches the truth on the fundamental mattersof salvation, the distinctive nature of the church, and the errors of denominations, but teaches that baptism makes an adulterous marriage into a sanctified one, is labeled by some misguided brethren as "mostly faithful."
  3. A congregation that demands soundness from its preachers and teachers, refuses to budge an inch in the face of new and noveldoctrines, but neglects to do what God commanded in the matter of restoring the erring and church discipline is one that many would call "mostly faithful."

The "mostly faithful" are "mostly sound" and "mostly obedient." They pick and choose when and where they will obey God. They will all, on the day of judgment, give answer for the lack of complete submission to Christ's will. "Mostly faithful" sounds "pretty good" until you realize that the "mostly faithful" will be "mostlylost." "Here, moreover, it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful" (I Corinthians 4:2).

Lynn Parker