It is once again time to prepare our hearts for worship. The last six weeks we have considered this quote from Ligon Duncan: “Reflect on and pray through the attributes of God. Consider what makes Him worthy of our worship. Consider yourself, and spend time in confession of sin. Pray that God would prepare your heart to hear the proclamation of His Word.” So, for six weeks in a row we have looked at a different attribute of God. We have looked at God’s immensity, God’s omniscience, God’s power, God’s patience, God’s grace, and God’s holiness. This week I want to focus on the faithfulness of God.
Before thinking about the faithfulness of God let’s start by thinking about our own unfaithfulness to God. A.W. Pink says: “in how many ways have we been unfaithful to Christ, and to the light and privileges which God has entrusted to us!” James Boice says: “Without a knowledge of our unfaithfulness and rebellion we will never come to know God as the God of truth and grace.”
So, here are some verses on the faithfulness of God:
“Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.”-Psalm 36:5 (A.W. Pink says this about this verse: “Far above all finite comprehension is the unchanging faithfulness of God.”)
“Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast.”-Psalm 119:90
“But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.”-2nd Thessalonians 3:3
“He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.”-Psalm 91:4
“ Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”-Hebrews 10:23 (William Hendriksen commenting on this verse says: “Because God is faithful, His promises are infallibly reliable.”)
“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, 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
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”-Lamentations 3:22-23
Charles Spurgeon commenting on the great faithfulness of God mentioned in Lamentations 3 says:
“So great that there has never been an exception. Through the ages, our God has had billions of people to deal with. Yet there does not stand under heaven’s cover, or above the stars, or in hell itself a single soul who can say that God is not absolutely faithful. No item in the list of our divine promises is unfulfilled. God remembers every promise that He ever made, and He honors each in the experience of those who believe in Him. They who trust in the Lord will find Him faithful, not only in great things, but also in little things. His faintest word will stand firm and steadfast. His least truth will never grow dim. The glory of God’s faithfulness is that no sin of ours has ever made Him unfaithful. Unbelief is a damning thing, yet even when we do not believe, God is faithful. His children might rebel. They might wander far from His statutes and be chastened with many stripes. Nevertheless, He says,
My lovingkindness I will not utterly take from him, nor allow My faithfulness to fail. My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips” (Psalm. 89:33–34).
God’s saints may fall under the cloud of His displeasure and provoke the Most High by their transgressions, still He will have compassion on them. He says,
I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins” ( Isaiah 43:25 ).
Thus, no sin of ours can make God unfaithful.”
Implications of God’s Faithfulness
What are some practical implications of God’s faithfulness? We should rest on the faithfulness of God like Paul did when he said: “for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.” (2 Timothy 1:12) When we are fully persuaded of God’s love and faithfulness we should “trustfully resign ourselves, and all our affairs into God’s hands” as A.W. Pink says. Hudson Taylor says that we should: “Hold on to the faithfulness of God.” Martyn Lloyd-Jones expands on that when he says: “Faith is holding on to the faithfulness of God and, as long as you do that, you cannot go wrong. Faith does not look at the difficulties. . . . Faith does not look at itself or at the person who is exercising it. Faith looks at God . . . . Faith is interested in God only, and it talks about God and it praises God and it extols the virtues of God.”
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:7-9 “so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Just in passing I will mention the word guiltless that Paul uses in verse 8 above. That word moves me almost every time I read this passage. How on earth can we who are so guilty be guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ? I will let Charles Spurgeon answer: “The man may have been everything that was bad before he believed in Jesus, but as soon as he trusted Christ, the merits of Christ became his merits, and he stands before God as though he were perfect, “without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing,” through the righteousness of Christ.” Amazing!
Back to the faithfulness of God. Paul says “God is faithful, by whom you were called…” John Piper says: “In other words, the assurance of the believer is not that God will save him even if he stops believing, but that God will keep him believing—God will sustain you in faith, he will make your hope firm and stable to the end. He will cause you to persevere…What is at stake in our perseverance is God’s purpose of election (Romans 9:11). That’s why his faithfulness is at stake. If God has chosen us for himself (Ephesians 1:4), if he has destined us for glory (1 Corinthians 2:7), then his faithfulness commits him to keep us in the faith. For outside the faith there is no fellowship with God and no glory.”
Lastly, Piper says: “So I close this morning by urging you to understand yourself in relation to God. When you look back, know yourself as called by God. When you look forward, know yourself kept by God. What happened to make you a Christian is the call of God. What will happen to keep you a Christian is the faithfulness of God. Know who you are!! Called by God! Kept by God!”
Let’s be sure to pray for Ian, Erin, and Ethan as they lead us in worship. Let’s be sure to pray for Jerry as he leads us in our time of confession. Let’s also pray for Mark as he will open up God’s Word to us. Mark will be looking at Galatians 1 tomorrow. The link to the ESV text is below.
Special thanks to Haley Steptoe for the picture that I used at the top of this post.