“When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose” (Acts 11:23).
SADLY, SOME PEOPLE MAKE A COMMITMENT TO CHRIST, BUT THEY GET TO WHERE THE COMMITMENT DOES NOT MEAN ANYTHING TO THEM. They do not “remain faithful to the Lord,” as Barnabas urged the new converts in Antioch to do. And the New Testament is clear about the consequence of unfaithfulness: to go back on our commitment to Christ is to go back to being lost. The writer of Hebrews said that ”we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end” (Hebrews 3:14).
Jesus did not mince words about our commitment to His salvation. He said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). So anytime we talk about obeying the gospel, let’s also talk about continuing to obey it. “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). Until the victory is fully ours, we must . . . continue.
Few of the virtues we might adopt are more important than faithfulness. To be reliable is one of the finest things in life. And, of course, to be a traitor is one of the most despicable. So we should aspire to trustworthiness and steadfastness in our commitment. We can count on God; He should be able to count on us also.
For persons broken by sin as we are, learning God’s character — allowing Him to remake us — is a growth process that takes time. In Christ, we “are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Surely we must not give up before the process has reached its goal.
Ultimately, it is love and gratitude for grace that will keep us faithful. Forgiven, we want to grow. We want to continue. Our most fervent desire is to be all our Father wants us to be, forever.
Thine am I, I was born for thee,
What wouldst thou, Master, make of me?
Give me death or give me life
Give health or give infirmity
Give honor or give obloquy
Give peace profound or daily strife,
Weakness or strength add to my life;
Yes, Lord, my answer still shall be
What wilt thou, Master, have of me?
(Teresa of Ávila)