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In Unfaithfulness is one of the most outstanding sins of these evil days. In the
business world, a manís word is, with exceedingly rare exceptions, no longer his
bond. In the social world, marital infidelity abounds on every hand, the sacred
bonds of wedlock being broken with as little regard as the discarding of an old
garment. In the ecclesiastical realm, thousands who have solemnly covenanted to
preach the truth make no scruple to attack and deny it. Nor can reader or writer
claim complete immunity from this fearful sin: in how many ways have we been
unfaithful to Christ, and to the light and privileges which God has entrusted to
us! How refreshing, then, how unspeakably blessed, to lift our eyes above this
scene of ruin, and behold One who is faithful, faithful in all things, faithful
at all times.
"Know therefore that the Lord thy God, He is God, the faithful God" (Deut. 7:9).
This quality is essential to His being, without it He would not be God. For God
to be unfaithful would be to act contrary to His nature, which were impossible:
"If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful; He cannot deny Himself" (2 Tim.
2:13). Faithfulness is one of the glorious perfections of His being. He is as it
were clothed with it: "O Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto Thee?
or to Thy faithfulness round about Thee?" (Ps. 89:8). So too when God became
incarnate it was said, "Righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and
faithfulness the girdle of His reins" (Isa. 11:5).
What a word is that in Psalm 36:5, Thy mercy, "O Lord, is in the heavens; and
Thy faithfulness unto the clouds." Far above all finite comprehension is the
unchanging faithfulness of God. Everything about God is great, vast,
incomparable. He never forgets, never fails, never falters, never forfeits His
word. To every declaration of promise or prophecy the Lord has exactly adhered,
every engagement of covenant or threatening He will make good, for "God is not a
man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: hath He
said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?"
(Num. 23:19). Therefore does the believer exclaim, "His compassions fail not,
they are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness" (Lam. 3:22, 23).
Scripture abounds in illustrations of Godís faithfulness. More than four
thousand years ago He said, "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 that comes furnishes a fresh witness to Godís
fulfillment of this promise. In Genesis 15 we find that Jehovah declared unto
Abraham, "Thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall
serve them. . . . But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again"
(vv. 13-16). Centuries ran their weary course. Abrahamís descendants groaned
amid the brick-kilns of Egypt. Had God forgotten His promise? No, indeed. Read
Exodus 12:41, "And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty
years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord
went out from the land of Egypt." Through Isaiah the Lord declared, "Behold, a
virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel" (7:14).
Again centuries passed, but "When the fulness of the time was come, God sent
forth His Son, made of a woman" (Gal 4:4).
God is true. His Word of Promise is sure. In all His relations with His people
God is faithful. He may be safely relied upon. No one ever yet really trusted
Him in vain. We find this precious truth expressed almost everywhere in the
Scriptures, for His people need to know that faithfulness is an essential part
of the Divine character. This is the basis of our confidence in Him. But it is
one thing to accept the faithfulness of God as a Divine truth, it is quite
another to act upon it. God has given us many "exceeding great and precious
promises," but are we really counting on His fulfillment of them? Are we
actually expecting Him to do for us all that He has said? Are we resting with
implicit assurance on these words, "He is faithful that promised" (Heb. 10:23)?
There are seasons in the lives of all when it is not easy, no not even for
Christians, to believe that God is faithful. Our faith is sorely tried, our eyes
bedimmed with tears, and we can no longer trace the outworkings of His love. Our
ears are distracted with the noises of the world, harassed by the atheistic
whisperings of Satan, and we can no longer hear the sweet accents of His still
small voice. Cherished plans have been thwarted, friends on whom we relied have
failed us, a profest brother or sister in Christ has betrayed us. We are
staggered. We sought to be faithful to God, and now a dark cloud hides Him from
us. We find it difficult, yea, impossible, for carnal reason to harmonize His
frowning providence with His gracious promises. Ah, faltering soul,
severely-tried fellow-pilgrim, seek grace to heed Isaiah 50:10, "Who is among
you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of His servant, that walketh
in darkness and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay
upon his God."
When you are tempted to doubt the faithfulness of God, cry out, "Get thee hence,
Satan." Though you cannot now harmonize Godís mysterious dealings with the
avowals of His love, wait on Him for more light. In His own good time He will
make it plain to you. "What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know
hereafter" (John 13:7). The sequel will yet demonstrate that God has neither
forsaken nor deceived His child. "And therefore will the Lord wait that He may
be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy
upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for
Him" (Isa. 30:18).
"Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace,
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
Ye fearful saints fresh courage take,
The clouds ye so much dread,
Are rich with mercy, and shall break
In blessing oíer your head."
"Thy testimonies which Thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful" (Ps.
119:138). God has not only told us the best, but He has not withheld the worst.
He has faithfully described the ruin which the Fall has effected. He has
faithfully diagnosed the terrible state which sin has produced. He has
faithfully made known his inveterate hatred of evil, and that He must punish the
same. He has faithfully warned us that He is "a consuming fire" (Heb. 12:29).
Not only does His Word abound in illustrations of His fidelity in fulfilling His
promises, but it also records numerous examples of His faithfulness in making
good His threatenings. Every stage of Israelís history exemplifies that solemn
fact. So it was with individuals: Pharaoh, Korah, Achan and a host of others are
so many proofs. And thus it will be with you, my reader: unless you have fled or
do flee to Christ for refuge, the everlasting burning of the Lake of Fire will
be your sure and certain portion. God is faithful.
God is faithful in preserving His people. "God is faithful, by whom ye are
called unto the fellowship of His Son" (1 Cor. 1:9). In the previous verse
promise was made that God would confirm unto the end His own people. The
Apostleís confidence in the absolute security of believers was founded not on
the strength of their resolutions or ability to persevere, but on the veracity
of Him that cannot lie. Since God has promised to His Son a certain people for
His inheritance, to deliver them from sin and condemnation, and to make them
participants of eternal life in glory, it is certain that He will not allow any
of them to perish.
God is faithful in disciplining His people. He is faithful in what He withholds,
no less than in what He gives. He is faithful in sending sorrow as well as in
giving joy. The faithfulness of god is a truth to be confessed by us not only
when we are at ease, but also when we are smarting under the sharpest rebuke.
Nor must this confession be merely of our mouths, but of our hearts, too. When
God smites us with the rod of chastisement, it is faithfulness which wields it.
To acknowledge this means that we humble ourselves before Him, own that we fully
deserve His correction, and instead of murmuring, thank Him for it. God never
afflicts without reason. "For this cause many are weak and sickly among you" (1
Cor. 11:30), says Paul, illustrating this principle. When His rod falls upon us
let us say with Daniel, "O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto Thee, but unto us
confusion of facesí (9:7)
"I know, O Lord, that Thy judgments are right, and that Thou in faithfulness
hast afflicted me" (Ps. 119:15). Trouble and affliction are not only consistent
with Godís love pledged in the everlasting covenant, but they are parts of the
administration of the same. God is not only faithful notwithstanding
afflictions, but faithful in sending them. "The will I visit their transgression
with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes: My lovingkindness will I not
utterly take from him nor suffer My faithfulness to fail" (Ps. 89:32, 33).
Chastening is not only reconcilable with Godís lovingkindness, but it is the
effect and expression of it. It would much quieten the minds of Godís people if
they would remember that His covenant love binds Him to lay on them seasonable
correction. Afflictions are necessary for us: "In their affliction they will
seek Me early" (Hos. 5:15)
God is faithful in glorifying His people. "Faithful is He which calleth you, who
also will do" (1 Thess. 5:24). The immediate reference here is to the saints
being preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. God treats
with us not on the ground of our merits (for we have none), but for His own
great nameís sake. God is constant to Himself and to His own purpose of grace
whom He called. . .them He also glorified (Rom. 8:30). God gives a full
demonstration of the constancy of His everlasting goodness toward His elect by
effectually calling them out of darkness into His marvelous light, and this
should fully assure them of the certain continuance of it. The foundation of God
standeth sure (2 Tim. 2:19). Paul was resting on the faithfulness of God when he
said, I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that
which I have committed unto Him against that day (2 Tim 1:12).
The apprehension of this blessed truth will preserve us from worry. To be full
of care, to view our situation with dark forebodings, to anticipate the morrow
with sad anxiety, is to reflect upon the faithfulness of God. He who has cared
for His child through all the years, will not forsake him in old age. He who has
heard your prayers in the past, will not refuse to supply your need in the
present emergency. Rest on Job 5:19, "He shall deliver thee in six troubles:
yea, in seven there shall be no evil touch thee."
The apprehension of this blessed truth will check our murmurings. The Lord knows
what is best for each of us, and one effect or resting on this truth will be the
silencing of our petulant complainings. God is greatly honored when, under trial
and chastening, we have good thoughts of Him, vindicate His wisdom and justice,
and recognize His love in His very rebukes.
The apprehension of this blessed truth will beget increasing confidence in God.
"Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping
of their souls to Him in well to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator"
(1 Pet. 4:19). When we trustfully resign ourselves, and all our affairs into
Godís hands, fully persuaded of His love and faithfulness, the sooner shall we
be satisfied with his providence and realize that "He doeth all things well."