God is faithful - The faithfulness of God is a favourite expression among the ancient Jews; and by it they properly understand the integrity of God in preserving whatever is entrusted to him. And they suppose that in this sense the fidelity of man may illustrate the fidelity of God, in reference to which they tell the two following stories. "Rabbi Phineas, the son of Jair, dwelt in a certain city, whither some men came who had two measures of barley, which they desired him to preserve for them. They afterwards forgot their barley and went away. Rabbi Phineas each year sowed the barley, reaped, thrashed, and laid it up in his granary. When seven years had elapsed the men returned, and desired to have the barley with which they had entrusted him. Rabbi Phineas recollected them, and said, 'Come and take your treasure,' i.e. the barley they had left, with all that it had produced for seven years. Thus, from the faithfulness of man ye may know the faithfulness of God."
"Rabbi Simeon, the son of Shetach, bought an ass from some Edomites, at whose neck his disciples saw a diamond hanging; they said unto him, Rabbi, the blessing of the Lord maketh rich, Proverbs 10:22. But he answered: The ass I have bought, but the diamond I have not bought; therefore he returned the diamond to the Edomites. Thus, from the fidelity of man ye may know the fidelity of God." This was an instance of rare honesty, not to be paralleled among the Jews of the present day, and probably among few Gentiles. Whatever is committed to the keeping of God he will most carefully preserve; for he is faithful.
Unto the fellowship, etc. - Εις κοινωνιαν, Into the communion or participation of Christ, in the graces of his Spirit and the glories of his future kingdom. God will continue to uphold and save you, if you entrust your bodies and souls to him. But can it be said that God will keep what is either not entrusted to him; or, after being entrusted, is taken away?
God is faithful - That is, God is true, and constant, and will adhere to his promises. He will not deceive. He will not promise, and then fail to perform; he will not commence anything which he will not perfect and finish. The object of Paul in introducing the idea of the faithfulness of God here, is to show the reason for believing that the Christians at Corinth would be kept unto everlasting life. The evidence that they will persevere depends on the fidelity of God; and the argument of the apostle is, that as they had been called by Him into the fellowship of his Son, his faithfulness of character would render it certain that they would be kept to eternal life. The same idea he has presented in Philemon 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you, will also perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
Ye were called - The word “called” here does not refer merely to “an invitation” or an “offer of life,” but to the effectual influence which had been put forth; which had inclined them to embrace the gospel note at Romans 8:30; note at Romans 9:12; see Mark 2:17; Luke 5:32; Galatians 1:6; Galatians 5:8, Galatians 5:13; Ephesians 1:4; Colossians 3:15. In this sense the word often occurs in the Scriptures, and is designed to denote a power, or influence that goes forth “with” the external invitation, and that makes it effectual. That power is the agency of the Holy Spirit.
Unto the fellowship of his Son - To participate with his Son Jesus Christ; to be partakers with him; see the notes at John 15:1-8. Christians participate with Christ:
(1) in his feelings and views; Romans 8:9.
(2) in his trials and sufferings, being subjected to temptations and trials similar to his; 1 Peter 4:13, “But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ‘s sufferings;” Colossians 1:24; Philemon 3:10.
(4) in his triumph in the resurrection and future glory; Matthew 19:28, “Ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel;” John 14:19, “Because I live, ye shall live also;” Revelation 3:21, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”
(Immediately on our union to Christ, we have fellowship with him, in all the blessings of his purchase. This communion or fellowship with him is the necessary result of our union to him. On the saint‘s union to Christ, see the supplementary note at Romans 8:10.)
From all this, the argument of the apostle is, that as they partake with Christ in these high privileges, and hopes, and promises, they will be kept by a faithful God unto eternal life. God is faithful to his Son; and will be faithful to all who are united to him. The argument for the perseverance of the saints is, therefore, sure.
This pledge was given not only to Israel but to all who are obedient to God's Word. Those who live amid the perils of the last days may realize that just as at the beginning of their experience the truth united them to the Saviour, so He who is the author and finisher of their faith will perfect the work He has begun for them. God is faithful, by whom we are called to fellowship with His Son. As men and women cooperate with God in doing the work He has given them, they go forward from strength to greater strength. As they exercise simple faith, believing day by day that God will not fail to establish them in Christ, God says to them as He did to ancient Israel: “Thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.” Deuteronomy 7:6. OHC 24.2Read in context »