In the Hebrew Scriptures, the adjective cha·sidhʹ is used of “someone loyal,” or “one of loving-kindness.” (Ps 18:25, ftn) The noun cheʹsedh has reference to kindness but contains more than the thought of tender regard or kindness stemming from love, though it includes such traits. It is kindness that lovingly attaches itself to an object until its purpose in connection with that object is realized. Such is the sort of kindness that God expresses toward his servants and that they express toward him. It therefore comes into the field of loyalty, a righteous, devoted, holy loyalty, and is variously rendered “loving-kindness” and “loyal love.”—Ge 20:13; 21:23; see KINDNESS.
In the Greek Scriptures the noun ho·si·oʹtes and the adjective hoʹsi·os carry the thought of holiness, righteousness, reverence; being devout, pious; the careful observance of all duties toward God. It involves a right relationship with God.
There appear to be no English words that exactly express the full meaning of the Hebrew and Greek words, but “loyalty,” including, as it does, the thought of devotion and faithfulness, when used in connection with God and his service, serves to give an approximation. The best way to determine the full meaning of the Bible terms in question is to examine their usage in the Bible.
Jehovah’s Loyalty. Jehovah God the Most Holy One, who is devoted to righteousness and who exercises unbreakable loving-kindness toward those who serve him, deals in righteousness and trueness even with his enemies and is eminently dependable. It is said of him: “Great and wonderful are your works, Jehovah God, the Almighty. Righteous and true are your ways, King of eternity. Who will not really fear you, Jehovah, and glorify your name, because you alone are loyal?” (Re 15:3, 4) Because Jehovah’s loyalty to righteousness and justice, as well as his love for his people, prompts him to take needed judicial action, an angel was moved to say: “You, the One who is and who was, the loyal One, are righteous, because you have rendered these decisions.”—Re 16:5; compare Ps 145:17.
Jehovah is loyal to his covenants. (De 7:9) Because of his covenant with his friend Abraham, he exercised long-suffering and mercy for centuries toward the nation of Israel. (2Ki 13:23) Through his prophet Jeremiah he appealed to Israel: “‘Do return, O renegade Israel,’ is the utterance of Jehovah. ‘I shall not have my face drop angrily upon you people, for I am loyal.’” (Jer 3:12) Those who are loyal to him can rely fully on him. David, in prayer, asked for God’s help and said: “With someone loyal you will act in loyalty; with the faultless, mighty one you will deal faultlessly.” (2Sa 22:26) In an appeal to the people, David asked them to turn away from what is bad and do what is good, “for,” he said, “Jehovah is a lover of justice, and he will not leave his loyal ones. To time indefinite they will certainly be guarded.”—Ps 37:27, 28.
Those who are loyal to Jehovah can count on his closeness and his help to the very end of their faithful course, and they can rest in full security, knowing that he will remember them no matter what situation arises. He guards their way. (Pr 2:8) He guards their lives or souls.—Ps 97:10.
Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ when on earth was greatly strengthened in the knowledge that God had caused to be foretold of him that, as God’s chief “loyal one,” his soul would not be left in Sheol. (Ps 16:10) On the day of Pentecost, 33 C.E., the apostle Peter applied this prophecy to Jesus, saying: “[David] saw beforehand and spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he forsaken in Hades nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God resurrected, of which fact we are all witnesses.” (Ac 2:25-28, 31, 32; compare Ac 13:32-37.) The Expositor’s Greek Testament, in a comment on Acts 2:27, says that the Hebrew word cha·sidhʹ (used in Ps 16:10) “denotes not only one who is godly and pious, but also one who is the object of Jehovah’s loving-kindness.”—Edited by W. R. Nicoll, 1967, Vol. II.
Loyalty Required by God. Jehovah requires loyalty of his servants. They must copy him. (Eph 5:1) The apostle Paul tells Christians that they “should put on the new personality which was created according to God’s will in true righteousness and loyalty.” (Eph 4:24) In recommending prayer in the congregation, he says: “Therefore I desire that in every place the men carry on prayer, lifting up loyal hands, apart from wrath and debates.” (1Ti 2:8) Loyalty is an essential quality if a man is to qualify for appointment to serve as an overseer in the congregation of God.—Tit 1:8.