What does the Bible say about loyalty?Loyalty is giving consistent allegiance or support to a person or institution. While the Bible doesn't talk about loyalty very much by name, the concept of loyalty is demonstrated throughout the Bible. As people we long to have friends and family who are on our side no matter what we do because we were created to be in relationship with a God who does just that. Our desire for undying loyalty stems from our need to be in a relationship with the God who would die out of loyalty and love for us.
God is the basis for our understanding of loyalty. Without His initial, unfailing commitment to love us we wouldn't understand how to be loyal to other people. God pledges His love to all people, even those living in rebellion to Him (Romans 5:8). We see this primarily in the fact that He made the way of salvation available and extends the offer to all (2 Peter 3:9; Acts 4:12; Galatians 3:24–29). Anyone who puts his or her faith in Jesus Christ will be saved (John 3:16–18; Ephesians 2:8–9). God is "the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations" (Deuteronomy 7:9). God is loyal to us even when we are not loyal to Him, and His loyalty is so much a part of His character that He wouldn't be God without it (2 Timothy 2:13). Nothing that a believer in Christ does, nor anything that is done to us, can cause God to stop loving us (Romans 8:35–39). He always loves us, He is always with us, and He is always for us, which causes us to ask, "if God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31).
The Bible also speaks highly of loyalty between friends (Proverbs 17:17). Other than Jesus Christ, arguably no one in the Bible lived out this kind of loyalty better than Ruth and Jonathan. Ruth stayed with her mother-in-law, Naomi, even after her husband died, and supported her. She could easily have returned to her home and her own family, and was even encouraged to do so by her mother-in-law. When Naomi told her she had nothing left to give her, Ruth pleaded with her, "Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God" (Ruth 1:16). Though not related, Ruth was loyal to Naomi, and God blessed her greatly for this with a new husband and a great-grandson who became the most celebrated king of Israel.
Jonathan, the son of King Saul, is another example of loyalty. From their first meeting, "the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul" (1 Samuel 18:1). Even though his father sought to kill David, and even though he knew David was anointed to take his place as heir to the throne of Israel, Jonathan loved David and protected him for as long as he lived. When his father ordered the execution of David, Jonathan helped his friend escape. Rather than taking this opportunity to secure his kingship, Jonathan made a covenant with David against David's enemies (1 Samuel 20:16–17). Jonathan and Ruth gave their lives up for someone else, and because of their loyalty their stories powerfully demonstrate the greatest form of love (John 15:13).
While loyalty in friendship is beautiful and inspiring, the most important loyalty in anyone's life is to Christ, the one who loved us so much that He died so that we could have abundant life (John 10:10; 14:6; 1 Peter 2:21–25). Jesus asks for our ultimate loyalty, above our spouse, above our children and parents, above our friends, above our country, and above any other cause, including our own lives (Luke 14:26–27). While loyalty to people is good, loyalty to our God will bring the most life to ourselves and those around us. We must always make sure that our loyalties are in the right order: love God, then love people. If we do this, then the other areas of our lives will be in right order (Matthew 22:36–40).
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