Loyalty is the bonding of individuals in a long-term commitment of sacrificial support and defense
The word loyalty is not used in the King James Version of the Bible. The word faithfulness would at first appear to be the term used to describe the concept of loyalty. However, faithfulness and dependability relate to the work or service that a person performs, whereas loyalty involves a much deeper, long-term relationship. The Biblical concepts that best illustrate loyalty are covenants, bond-servant relationships, and marriage vows.
Why Is Loyalty Important?
Every important relationship in life must be built on loyalty. Marriages must be based on this quality, or they will not survive. Leaders look for this quality as a primary qualification for those who serve. Most of all, God requires loyalty of those who follow Him.
Loyalty in Covenants
The Hebrew word for covenant is beriyth. It conveys the idea of “cutting …; a compact (made by passing between pieces of flesh).” God illustrates this word in the covenant that He made with Abraham. This covenant is rich with symbolism that describes the depth and meaning of loyalty.
- A covenant is made with those of like spirit.
God said to Abraham, “I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect” (Genesis 17:1). Scripture calls Abraham the friend of God and the father of faith. (See James 2:23 and Galatians 3:6–9.)
- A covenant requires an initiator, who assumes the greater responsibility in maintaining the covenant.
“I will make my covenant between me and thee” (Genesis 17:2). In marriage, the man initiates the covenant and therefore has the greater responsibility to maintain it.
- A covenant often involves a name change.
“Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram” (Genesis 17:5). A name change also occurs in a marriage as the wife takes on the husband’s name and in salvation as we take on Christ’s name.
- The purpose of a covenant is to multiply benefits and fruitfulness.
“I will make thee exceeding fruitful” (Genesis 17:6). In a marriage, these purposes are fulfilled with children and with spiritual children through salvation.
- A covenant has relationships that last beyond the lifetimes of the covenant makers.
“Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations” (Genesis 17:9). Although marriage does not continue after death, the relationships between the children and relatives do.
The Covenant of Marriage
Marriage is a covenant, not just a legal contract. All the rich symbolisms of a Biblical covenant are contained in marriage. The seriousness of marriage vows is emphasized in the following warning. “When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay” (Ecclesiastes 5:4–5).
The Covenant of Believers
When Jesus established communion among His disciples, He presented it as a covenant. This is clear from the very words He used to describe it: “Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament [covenant], which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:26–28).
“The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” (I Corinthians 10:16). The word communion is the Greek word koinonia, which refers to a deep and bonding fellowship with one another. This is consistent with the many commands of Scripture to love one another, because we are all members of the same Body.
- Do you doubt God’s sovereignty during adversity, or do you draw nearer to Him?
- Do you speak well of your authorities even during difficult times, or do you murmur and complain?
- Do you protect your family even when circumstances make it difficult?
- Are you committed to the success of those whom God has called you to serve?
- Are you willing to lay down your life for your family and friends?
- Are you committed to your covenant of marriage, regardless of the cost?