FAITHFUL SAYINGS [ISBE]
- sa'-inz (pistos ho logos): "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation" (the King James Version). These words form a striking formula which is found--with slight variations--only in the Pastoral Epistles, in 1 Tim 1:15
; 4:9; 2 Tim 2:11
; Tit 3:8
. A similar expression occurs in Rev (21:5 and 22:6 the King James Version), "These sayings are faithful and true."
The Five "Sayings."
Paul's faithful sayings are thus five in number, and "were no doubt rehearsed constantly in the assemblies, till they became well-known watchwords in the various churches scattered over the Mediterranean-washed provinces of the Roman empire" (Ellicott, New Testament Commentary on 1 Tim 1:15).
1. The First "Saying":
The first of the faithful sayings speaks of the pre-existence of Christ, of His coming into the world, and the purpose why He came is distinctly stated--to save the lost, irrespective of race or nationality, sinners who, apart from Christ, are without God and without hope.
2. The Second "Saying":
The second of the faithful sayings refers to the work of being a minister of the gospel, a work then so full of danger and always full of difficulty. The office in question is honorable and Christlike, and, in those early days, it meant stern and ceaseless work, grave and constant danger. This faithful saying would act as a call to young men to offer themselves for the work of proclaiming the gospel to the world, and of witnessing for Christ.
3. The Third "Saying":
The third saying is that godliness has an influence that is world-wide; it consists, not merely in holiness and in that fellowship and communion with God which is the very life of the soul; it is also an active force which springs from "the love of Christ constraining us," and manifests itself in love toward all our fellow-men, for they are God's creatures. Godliness transfigures every rank and condition of life. It has the promise of the life that now is: to those who seek the kingdom of God first, all other things will be added. And it has the promise of the life that is to come, the rich prospect of eternal blessedness with Christ. Compare with this saying the remarkable words in Tit 1:2, "in hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before times eternal." Godliness gives all gladness here, and future glory too. This is a faithful saying.
4. The Fourth "Saying":
The fourth of the faithful sayings speaks of the Christian believer's union with Christ, and of the blessedness of that union. The Christian is "dead with Christ," he "suffers with Christ." But the union with Christ is eternal, "We shall also live with him; .... we shall also reign with him" in life that is fadeless, endless and full of glory. Surely then, no one will draw back, for "if we deny him," "if we believe not," "he also will deny us," for "he abideth faithful, he cannot deny himself."
5. The Fifth "Saying":
The fifth and last of the faithful sayings speaks of our former unconverted state, "for we also once were foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures. But .... the kindness and love of God .... toward man appeared, not by works which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us." Blessedness is now the Christian's lot, and this is the result not of our works: we owe it all to the tender love of God, to His Divine pity, to His redeeming grace. Yes, this is a faithful saying.