The word “Faithful” in the Gospels - Part 3 - Recap:
Our last three studies (Vol 3, No 22through 24) explored the use of the Greek word “pistos,” translated “faithful” found 12 times in the Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John where Jesus Christ's earthly ministry is recorded. We found He was the only one to utter this word in these accounts and He did so, as recorded 11 times in Matthew, Mark and Luke to teach His people, the Nation of Israel, some of the requirements for being admitted to His Kingdom here on earth. In these passages He compares the individual Jew seeking entrance to the Kingdom as a servant, stating that:
1) The faithful and wise servant is one who is constantly waiting and watching for his master's return, Matthew 24:45 - 5145 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
& Luke 12:41 - 4841 Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all?
42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?
43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
44 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.
45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;
46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
47 And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
2) The good and faithful servant is one who is diligent to invest and therefore increase that with which he is entrusted by his master, Matthew 25:14 - 3014 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.
19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
& Luke 19:15 - 2815 And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
16 Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.
17 And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.
18 And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.
19 And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.
20 And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:
21 For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.
22 And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow:
23 Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?
24 And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.
25 (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.)
26 For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.
27 But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.
28 And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem.
3) Each individual Jew will be judged for fitness to enter God's Kingdom on how faithful they were with their earthly belongings/riches because they could not serve both God and their riches at the same time, Luke 16:8 - 138 And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.
9 And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.
10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?
13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
4) Those not faithful according to the above standards are bound for hell.
In the Gospel of John the word is used once by Jesus Christ to teach that:
1) In a Biblical sense one must believe in order to be faithful. Put another way, one cannot be faithful to the Lord unless one believes in the Lord. John 20:24 - 2924 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the LORD. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My LORD and my God.
29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
2) A person is blessed when he/she believes in Jesus Christ even though they have never seen Him personally, John 20:2929 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
The use of this word in the Gospels is indicative of and coincides with Jesus Christ's earthly ministry to Israel. He came to Israel as their Messiah, i.e., He was “... Not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Matthew 15:2424 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
. However, the leaders as well as the Nation of Israel as a whole rejected his offer and had Him crucified. The Kingdom was offered to them again after His ascension into heaven as recorded in the first part of the book of Acts. But Israel again rejected Christ as their Messiah; their rejection manifested by and culminating in the stoning to death of Stephen, Acts 7:5959 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
. The Pharisee Saul, a leader of the Jews, consented to (was instrumental in) Stephen's murder, Acts 7:58 & 8:1.
In love and by total unmerited favor (grace) the Lord Jesus Christ subsequently reached down from heaven and saved Saul, Acts 9:1 - 221 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.
9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,
12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.
17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.
20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.
21 But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?
22 But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.
, who became the Apostle Paul. Thereafter Israel's prominence in relationship with God faded and His Kingdom on earth was put into abeyance (it will be renewed at some future time.) Instead, the Lord Jesus Christ revealed to Paul a mystery or secret, which had been kept secret since the world began, Romans 11:25 & 16:25; Ephesians 1:99 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
; 3:3 - 4, 9; Colossians 1:22 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
6 & 2726 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
, etc. This secret was that both Jews and Gentiles who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ become members of the Body of Christ, 1 Corinthians 12:12 - 1412 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
14 For the body is not one member, but many.
, and instead of looking for and anticipating God's Kingdom here on earth our (we who believe) hope is in the heavens: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:” Ephesians 1:33 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
; “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:” Ephesians 2:66 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
, see also 1 Corinthians 15:4949 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
; Ephesians 3:1010 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
; Philippians 3:2020 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
; 2 Timothy 4:1818 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
As we examine the details of the mystery or secret revealed to Paul as recorded in his epistles we find a number of differences from what Christ taught the Jews while here on earth. When we finish our studies of faith in the Gospels and get to the writings of Paul we will explore these differences in detail. However, this study presents an opportunity to demonstrate the difference in the teaching by the word “pistos” translated “faithful” in the Gospels as compared to what Paul taught in his epistles. As we have seen, Christ's earthly ministry to the Jews in the Gospels placed the onus of being faithful on each individual who wanted to enter the Kingdom of God. However, when we come to the mystery or secret revealed to the Apostle Paul for we who are members of Christ's Body today we find:
God is emphasized as being faithful:
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, (pistos) who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:1313 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
. “But as God is true, (faithful) our word toward you was not yea and nay.” 2 Corinthians 1:1818 But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay.
. “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful (pistos) is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23 & 2423 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
. “But the Lord is faithful, (pistos) who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.” 2 Thessalonians 3:33 But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.
. “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: (pistos) he cannot deny himself.” 2 Timothy 2:1313 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
Paul's fellow ministers are called faithful:
“But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful (pistos) minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:” Ephesians 6:2121 But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:
. “As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful (pistos) minister of Christ;” Colossians 1:77 As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ;
see also 4:7 & 9.
The Apostle Paul and the sayings he wrote are faithful:
“According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust. And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, (pistos) putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful (pistos) saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” 1 Timothy 1:11 - 1511 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.
12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
. “It is a faithful (pistos) saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:” 2 Timothy 2:1111 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
. “This is a faithful (pistos) saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.” Titus 3:88 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
We who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are called faithful:
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful (pistos) in Christ Jesus:” Ephesians 1:11 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
. “To the saints and faithful (pistos) brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Colossians 1:2.
Believers today are called faithful, not because of the works they have done as stated in Titus 3:5 - 75 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” But, even though we are not saved by our own works of righteousness and faithfulness we nevertheless do good works because of what He has done for us: “This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.” Titus 3:8.