I’ve been a parent for some time now, and I’ve noticed that the kind of disobedience I hate the most is the kind I get when I’m not trusted. I realize my children don’t have a complete picture of the world and that they often can’t make sense of what I want them to do in light of what they (think they) know so far. But sometimes their questions or their hesitation involves a distrust that I find insulting–as I’m sure my parents often experienced from me when I was young.
Adam and Eve sinned by eating the forbidden fruit, but they had to first commit the sin of reckoning God as untrustworthy. The Serpent told them that God was lying to them and they decided the Serpent was trustworthy.
When the author of Hebrews is describing the heroes of the faith (chapter 11), he describes Sarah’s faith as that she “considered him faithful who had promised” (verse 11). Likewise, he encourages his readers to continue to believe with these words: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful” (10.23). God is faithful. That is the basic truth that makes faith the only proper response to God. Adam and Eve decided God was untrustworthy in the midst of paradise; the Second Adam entrusted himself to God even on the cross (First Peter 2.23).
Thus, trusting God is inherently a form of loyalty to him and distrusting him is always disloyalty. When Jesus was abandoned by many former followers, he asked the Twelve if they were going to leave as well. “Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God’” (John 6.68, 69). Is this a profession of faith or loyalty? The only possible answer is Yes.