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Almost Faithful?

Almost Faithful?

       Have you ever looked up the word “almost” in the Bible?   Would you be surprised to know it only exists eleven times in God’s Word, and is never associated with faithfulness?   Of the nineteen times “faithfulness” is found in the KJV Bible, eleven times God’s faithfulness is referenced.   Salvation is also not something one can “almost” attain.    Acts 26:28-29 is the closest this ever came to be as the apostle Paul stood before king Agrippa. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. 29 And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds. 

     One cannot be “almost saved” any more than they can be “almost faithful”.   I am afraid that some Christians seem to think they can be altogether saved, yet remain “almost faithful”.   That is not a Bible concept at all!   The first mention of “faithful” in the Bible is in Numbers 12:7 and is speaking of Moses, the one God chose to deliver Israel from the Egyptians. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house.   However, we are also aware of when Moses became “almost faithful” and was not “altogether” faithful in Numbers 20:11. God had told him to “speak to the rock”. And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. 

       Then in Deuteronomy 34:4 we see the penalty Moses had to pay for not being all the way faithful. And the LORD said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither.  There is always a price to pay when man is not faithful to God.  We saw it in the Garden of Eden and at the end of the life of Moses. This also will be the case for us if we are not faithful.  

       We are told we may suffer for being faithful. But there is also a reward waiting for all who are faithful to the Lord. And there is a penalty we must pay if we are not faithful.   In 2Timothy 2:12 we are told of the reward to be given the faithful as well as the penalty for the “almost” faithful and the disobedient. If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: Then, in 2Timothy 2:13 we are informed that God Will always continue in faithfulness.  If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.    This means if there is any unfaithfulness, it is on man’s part and not on the part of God.

       To better understand the idea being conveyed in the title of the article, let’s ask some questions about our daily lives, and see how this looks. Can we be expected to accept “almost” in the service of those with whom we interact?   Are we to accept medical services from a Doctor who is “almost” educated in the field of medicine?  Should we take our automobiles to mechanics who are “almost” certified?   Would you reward and pay the roofer who “almost” finished your roof?   How would we feel about the services of the Dentist who “almost” fixed a broken tooth?   Get the point?  

     God also pointed this out to His O.T. people, Israel shortly before the pen of inspiration was laid down until the N.T. times began. In Malachi 1:7-8 the Spirit had Malachi write: “Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible. 8 And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts.”  Sadly, some of them did not get the point either.  

       In being “almost faithful”, Israel was robbing God.   When we today in our service to God, give “almost” what we should give in our time, service, monies, dedication, and adoration, we are “robbing God”. Israel was also told of this by the Spirit, through the same prophet. Malachi 3:8-10 tells Israel how they “robbed” God and also how bountifully God will bless if they did as commanded. Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 

     The church in Smyrna was not told to be “almost faithful”. They were soon to face severe persecution, but Revelation 2:10 tells them to be all the way faithful to receive that crown of life. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. What about you?   Are you willing to gamble your soul by being “almost” faithful or almost obedient?   That’s a choice you have to make – and a price your soul will have to pay for eternity.                

                                   Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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