It was not long ago I learned a new song of worship, 1 Be Exalted, O God. I was immediately drawn to this hymn as its words resonated as from my heart, that is, I immediately identified with its words, its adoration, and its declaration of God’s love and His faithfulness. Its lyrics are:
I will give thanks to You,
O Lord, among the people
I will sing praises to You among the nations,
For Your steadfast love is great,
Is great to the heavens,
And Your faithfulness, your faithfulness
To the clouds.
1 If you wish to listen to the hymn: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QRXCYHh9hg
The hymn caused me to reflect upon these two most precious attributes of God’s nature, His love and His faithfulness; thinking of how they apply to me personally is both humbling and apprehending. O, how my life has changed over the years just because of His love for me and His undying faithfulness. We can simply objectively consider these as a part of His Divine nature, such as “God is Love;” or we can, and should, think on these subjectively as to how His love and faithfulness has impacted our lives and continues to do so. This causes such a stirring within.
Much has been said in the holy scriptures of God’s love for us, John 3.16 being the most essential declaration; for in it His love is demonstrated by the offering of His only begotten son, Jesus Christ, as the Lamb of God, for a sacrificial offering for sin having you and me in mind. How precious is that love; how eternal is its continual flow into our lives. And now, today, many years later, having experienced His grace for salvation, He continually reminds us of His love for us and call for us to draw near to Him in fellowship; as James writes, “draw close to Him and He will draw close to you.” Jam. 4.8 In both the natural and the spiritual, those words, to draw near, are reserved for those we love, and care deeply about, and desire to be with.
Paul concluded his second letter to the Corinthian Church with the prayer, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Cor. 13.14 This is very personal, and it should be understood as such. This is God’s highest for man, that is man finding intimate fellowship with each member of the Trinity of God, for love binds together and makes of one. The verse concludes: with you all—meaning each and every one, no one excluded, no one deserving more, no one deserving less. All may know the love of God, all may draw near, for it is written, “…the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Rm. 5.5 You can’t get any more intimate in God/man fellowship than this.
How often do I stand in all humility reflecting on that question, “What is man that You are mindful of him…?” Heb. 2.6 Who am I, as lowly as I am, that I am continually brought into Your remembrance and mercy. For this I can only bow in adoration with thanksgiving and exalt Him with all my heart and soul.
But in this message, I wish to speak more directly on that second Divine attribute, faithfulness; for in this expression of God I find confidence, rest, peace, and even an anticipation of what is to come into my life through Him because of His faithfulness. It is written, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work among you will complete it by the day of Christ Jesus.” Phil. 1.6 In this verse Paul uses the word “confident,” meaning being fully persuaded; but understand this, that it is the Lord who persuades the yielded believer to be confident in His promises and preferred will. He is so faithful and caring towards us as a mother or father cares for their new born.
I cannot here exhaust the scriptures that speak of God’s faithfulness towards us, for they are so many. God has a plan for us, an everlasting design for our incorporation into the activities of the Kingdom of God, and into His holy fellowship. One may reject all and simply rely upon his own wisdom and talents to make the best of his temporal existence. But the wise man looks to God, who has loved him from the beginning, and who abides faithful, waiting for the yielding of his heart. In ignorance and disobedience man is lost in his darkness and is spiritually dead to God; but Jesus proclaimed, “This is eternal life, to know you the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” Jn. 17.3
The very first and last step in knowing God, and entering His life, is the yielding of the heart to know Christ. For in this simple act on our part releases the love and faithfulness of God into our lives. It is written, “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” Rm. 6.16 O the arrogance of the man who rejects God’s offer of His Christ, thinking his sufficiency is of himself, whose end is darkness and isolation, but oh the glory released in Divine favor to the one who simply yields his life to the Son of God and thereby opens his heart to the love and faithfulness of God.
As sure as in the natural that the sun rises tomorrow, God’s faithfulness continues, for it is not a part of this creation where things have beginnings and endings; where things weaken and fade over time; where things are constantly changing and morphing into ways never conceived by man. No, the source of God’s love and faithfulness is Divine, it is within Himself, and flows forth as a spring of living water; it is therefore spiritual, and everlasting (never changes-James 1.17); Yesterday, today, and tomorrow, it is written, “… the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.” 2 Thes. 3.3
“Who will establish and guard you!” I know with all certainty, that God has been faithful to me all my life, in my times of indifference, being unaware or nonchalant, in my darkness and my iniquity, in my worldliness and busyness; in all these things His faithfulness did not diminish an iota. And now I also know, in the hour of my last breath, I’ll know His faithfulness for evermore.
Faithfulness in Christ
If God is faithful, so then He looks to find those same qualities in His Son; and, if we are in Christ, He looks for those same qualities developing in our lives as well. This is a challenge set forth at this moment to you, if you would receive it. We will speak more on this in a moment, but first let’s consider the faithfulness of Christ, who is not only our example, but the imparter of His Divine nature into our lives, for without Him we can do nothing of everlasting value. Let us never forget that. It is also written,
“But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are His house, if we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope of which we boast.’ Heb . 3.6
Christ was faithful to the trust given to Him by the Father. And just what is this trust? In the natural a trust is an arrangement by which a person holds something of value, such as property as a nominal owner for the good of one or more beneficiaries. In the spiritual, Christ was entrusted with the mandate to literally enable a people to be beneficiaries of the Kingdom of God, to establish a Divine relationship with this people in which the Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit will have an inheritance of their own, of a people in whom they can relate to in their own special way.
Jesus Christ is eternally faithful to that trust having left His home of heavenly glory and entered the realm of creation in human flesh, fulfilled all His earthly responsibilities even to the agonizing death on the cross whereby the trust was sealed forever in His blood. And today He remains faithful; He is still as our mediating faithful High Priest, forever steadfast to the trust God has assigned Him. (Heb. 2:17) And where it is written,
“Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Heb. 7.25
To the uttermost.This does not mean simply “forever;” but that He has the power to save His people so that their salvation shall be “complete,” to its fullness. He did not just initiate the work of salvation and then relinquish it by reason of His death on the cross. His faithfulness to the trust of God continues on as long as it is necessary to further the work of salvation in the lives of His people. A baby is not complete until it matures and can relate as an adult.
Faithfulness in His People
Concluding the parable of the persistent widow in prayer, Jesus said, “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” Lk. 18.8
Though it is true that, by God, all will be judged, and that He will avenge His elect, yet the question remains, will He find faithfulness in His people. God is faithful, and He will surely be true to His promises; but the danger is that His elect will become discouraged, will become distracted with the things of the world, will not persevere in prayer and drawing near to Him, and under trials become despondent. The true meaning of this verse is that the elect of God will come short of the trust the Lord gave to them as the Body of Christ, for the perfecting or maturing of their souls. If we are faithful to God, we honor the trust He has given to us, and we become faithful to that trust even as the servant in the parable of the talents, to whom his lord replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” Matthew 25.21
These are difficult times. Faithfulness in the world has been lost. Today, man is largely faithful only to himself, to fulfill his temporary wants and desires. Faithfulness in marriage, to family members, faithfulness to honor contracts and commitments, faithfulness to his country, to all things in society is waxing cold, nearly stone dead cold.
The greatest tragedy is the loss of faithfulness in the Church. It is “supposedly” the acting, functioning Body of Christ. This is the trust the Head, who is Christ, has placed upon His Body of believers as He builds His Church. A human body cannot properly function unless every part, every member, every organ of the body faithfully performs as it is supposed to; growth cannot happen, maturity is stunted, the very well-being of the body would be compromised, even if sometimes the most insignificant part fails to do its part. In the Church the people have become, at best, religious performing mundane Sunday services, rotely obedient to schedules and programs and feeling proud to do just secular good works, and at the worse many have become indifferent to the spiritual needs of others; there is a lack of empathy or genuine caring for their brothers and sisters in Christ.
Today, commitment, real commitment, the sincere resolution to be faithful to a body of believers is virtually non-existent as people flit from one church to another to satisfy their own selfish wants and expectations. Commitments, if any, are simply due to a sense of responsibility rather than the realization of a spiritual bonding with others towards the higher purposes of God. How often the faithfulness of church leaders, pastors, teachers, elders, etc., now hinge upon salaries, contracts, degrees, other opportunities, power, and admiration. Few take soberly the mandate given by the apostle Paul to the elders at Ephesus; it is cited in Acts 20.28:
“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20.28
This is a most sobering commission to the Church. Falling short is abandoning the trust of Christ given to the Church on the day of Pentecost. It is shameful. And, don’t think for one minute this mandate only applies to the five-fold ministries of apostle, prophets, evangelists, teachers and pastors, or to elders or others set in authority; this commission applies to the functioning of every member of the Body of Christ to perform in the spiritual nature and calling set in place by Christ Himself. Briefly, consider Eph. 4.15-16,
“but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” Eph. 4. 15-16
I am a part of this trust; you are also a part of this trust. As He is faithful in all His was, may He find such faithfulness now, in His Church.
This brief message is a call to faithfulness; to examine ourselves, to test ourselves of our faithfulness to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as well as to your spouse and family, to those that look to you for guidance, and above all to the trust Christ placed upon you in setting you into His Body, the Church, to function as you ought.