THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD Lesson #12
The Faithfulness Of God I Corinthians 10:13
Faithfulness is a rare thing in this world. In the business world, with rare exceptions, a man’s word is no longer his bond. In the social world, marital infidelity has become something that is expected. The sacred bonds of matrimony, these days, are discarded as thoughtlessly as wastepaper. In the political world, elected representatives, with very rare exceptions, use their public offices for nothing but personal advantage. And in the religious world, the vast majority of churches, preachers, and religious leaders who claim to serve God, uphold his Word and proclaim his truth, repudiate the character of God, deny the Word of God, and openly attack the truth of God. Faithfulness is a rare thing in this world.
Even among the saints of God and among his most faithful servants there is great unfaithfulness! How unfaithful we have been to Christ! How unfaithful we have been to the light, privileges, and responsibilities God has given us! Our faithfulness to our God, at best, is unfaithfulness! But, “God is faithful!” How refreshing, how blessed it is to lift our eyes above the world, and above ourselves, to behold One who is faithful, faithful at all times, faithful in all things!
The Lord our God is faithful, always faithful, in all things faithful. Our many trials and temptations in this world would cause us to sink in utter dispair, were it not for the blessed fact revealed in 1 Corinthians 10:13: "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
Faithfulness is an attribute essential to God, without which he would not be God. It is a most glorious attribute of his nature. “Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him” (Deut. 7:9). God’s faithfulness is, like himself, great and infinite. Jeremiah said, “Great is thy faithfulness” (Lam. 3:23). Faithfulness is all around him, like a garment with which he is clothed and covered from head to foot. “O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto thee? Or to thy faithfulness round about thee?” (Psa. 89:8). God’s faithfulness is immutable, invariable, unchanging and unchangeable. It has never failed and shall never fail. It is established in the heavens and will continue forever (Psa. 89:2, 23, 33; 119:90). “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful; he cannot deny himself” (II Tim. 2:13). Do you understand this? It is utterly impossible for God to be unfaithful!
God’s faithfulness is the foundation of our trust and confidence in him. He never forgets, never fails, never falters, never forsakes, never forfeits his Word. Therefore, we may safely and confidently commit ourselves to him and depend upon him for all the mercies he has promised, both in this life and in the life to come (I Pet. 4:19; I Thess. 5:23-24). The faithfulness of God is seen, primarily, in the fact that he always performs his Word (Num. 23:19). “The foundation of God standeth sure” (2 Tim. 2:19). And “there shall be a performance of those things which were told (us) from the Lord” (Lk. 1:45).
ILLUSTRATIONS OF GOD’S FAITHFULNESS ARE FOUND THROUGHOUT THE BIBLE. When he brought Noah and his family out of the ark, the Lord God made a promise: “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” (Gen. 8:22). Every year furnishes a fresh witness to God’s faithfulness to his promise. He promised that he would never destroy the earth with the waters of a flood again. And he set the rainbow in the sky to remind us of his faithfulness to his promise (Gen. 9:8-15).
In Genesis 15:13-16, God told Abraham that his seed would serve as strangers in a hostile land for four hundred years, and afterwards come out with great substance. As the centuries ran their course, Abraham’s descendants groaned beneath the load of their bitter affliction in Egypt. Had God forgotten his promise? Had God forgotten to be faithful? Not at all - “It came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt” (Ex. 12:41).
In the days of the kings of Israel the Prophet Isaiah gave this word of promise from God - “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14). Hundreds of years came and went. But “when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law” (Gal. 4:4-5).
And of Christ it was prophesied, “Righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins” (Isa. 11:5). When Christ came he faithfully fulfilled all the stipulations of his covenant with the Father as our Mediator and Surety. He ascended back into heaven. And there he took his place upon the throne of glory as the God-man, whose name is “Faithful and True!”
GOD IS ALWAYS FAITHFUL TO HIS COVENANT (Isa. 54:9-10). Sometimes it appears that God’s covenant has been broken, nullified, and destroyed. But it never has been, nor can it ever be broken, because the covenant of God’s grace and peace is not in any way dependent upon man. It is a covenant made between God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit before the world began. It is a covenant depending not upon the faithfulness of man, but upon the faithfulness of God.
God the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, has been faithful in his obedience to the Father, as our Surety and Covenant Head (Psa. 40:6-8; Isa. 50:5-7). In order for the holy Lord God to save his elect people certain requirements and stipulations had to be met for us. We could not meet them. But Christ met them for us, as our Representative, and by his obedience unto death we are saved. God required perfect obedience to his law for righteousness to be brought in, the complete satisfaction for his justice for the atonement of our sins, and the restoration of manhood to perfect holiness. Christ agreed to do it, became responsible to do it, and has done it. That is what Paul means when he says, “Christ hath redeemed us!” That is what our Savior meant when he said, “It is finished!”
God the Father has faithfully given our Mediator the reward of his obedience (Phil. 2:9-11). He has been exalted and glorified as a man (John 17:2-4). He has been given seed to serve him forever (Psa. 2:8; John 17:9, 20, 24). God the Father gave him pre-eminence in all things and over all things as our Mediator and Surety (Col. 1:18; Heb. 1:1-3).
God the Holy Spirit faithfully fulfills his work in the covenant, in the fulness of time, by bringing every elect, redeemed sinner in the world into the kingdom of grace, graciously causing each one to receive the adoption of sons to which they were predestined from eternity (Gal. 4:4-7; Eph. 1:5; 1 John 3:1-3).The salvation of sinners is a matter of divine faithfulness, the faithfulness of the triune God to his own purpose of grace and to his Son. Every blessing of the covenant of grace we have received and shall yet receive is a matter of God’s immutable faithfulness to his covenant (Psa. 89:19-37). There is not one blessing in the covenant that shall not be bestowed upon God’s elect (Eph. 1:3-14). Our redemption by the blood of Christ, our regeneration, and the faith God has given us are all the result of God’s faithfulness to his purposeof grace and love toward us in eternal election (Jer. 31:3; 1 John 1:9). Forgiveness, justification, acceptance, adoption, preservation, and glorification are all matters of God’s covenant faithfulness to his people (II Sam. 23:5).
GOD IS FAITHFUL IN ALL HIS WORD (Psa. 119:138). Let men mock, deride, and blaspheme the Book of God as they may, the Word of God, in its entirety, is truth and faithfulness. Its doctrines are all true. Its promises are all faithful. Its threatenings are all sure. Not one word of God hall fall to the ground. Everything that he has spoken shall come to pass exactly according to his own unalterable purpose.
GOD IS FAITHFUL IN ALL HIS RELATIONS TO AND WORKS FOR HIS COVENANT PEOPLE. May he be pleased graciously to convince us of this blessed truth, which is essential to his very Being: “God is faithful.” He may be safely trusted. We may safely rely upon him. No one has ever trusted him in vain. May he give us grace to believe him, to lean upon him completely and alone for everything. We often make the same mistake Jeremiah did. We judge God’s faithfulness by our circumstances and experiences. We ought to judge our circumstances and experiences by his faithfulness, as the prophet learned to do (Lam. 3:1-40). God is faithful in all the dispositions of his providence (Rom. 8:28). Everything that comes to pass is brought to pass by his hand for the everlasting, spiritual good of chosen sinners. He is faithful in disciplining his erring, sinful children (Heb. 12:5-11). Our heavenly Father never afflicts without a reason. He never causes his child a needless tear. When he afflicts us, he afflicts us in faithfulness (Psa. 119:65, 67, 68, 71, 75). He knows that our afflictions are necessary to drive us away from sin and to teach us to seek him. He says, “In their afflictions they will seek me early” (Hos. 5:15).
“God in Israel sows the seeds
Of afflictions, pain, and toil -
These spring up and choke the weeds
That would else o’er spread the soil.”
He is faithful in the preservation of his elect (I Cor. 1:;9; Phil. 1:6). When we are tempted, he is faithful to keep us (I Cor. 10:13). When we fall, he is faithful both to restore us and to forgive us (Psa. 37:24; I John 1:9). Though often by word and by deed we deny him, yet he cannot deny himself, “God is faithful.” “He abideth faithful!” (II Tim. 2:13). God’s elect are absolutely, infallibly secure in Christ. Our security is not based upon the strength of our resolutions or ability to persevere, but upon the veracity and faithfulness of God. And God is faithful in glorifying his people (Jude 24-25). He who gave us grace will give us glory too (Psa. 84:11; 1 Thess. 5:23-24). He who loved us, predestinated us to life, redeemed us by blood, and called us by grace, will glorify us in the end (II Tim. 1:12). If we truly believe that God is faithful,” we should cease to murmur against his providence, cast our every care upon him and cease from worry and care. Let us pray for grace to honor him by implicit confidence and faith and to be faithful to him in all things.