WHAT IS MEANT BY THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD?

God is faithful. The Psalmist proclaimed, “For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 100:5). What does it mean to say God is faithful? Is our saying He is faithful based on our perception of how we define faithfulness?

Recently I was praying about a matter of great concern, and the Lord graciously heard my cry, and in His grace I witnessed and experienced His hand move on my behalf and grant the answer to my request. I was thanking the Lord for how he granted my petition and said in praise, “Lord, I want to thank you for your faithfulness.” I stopped in the middle of my prayer, and asked myself this question, “Was I equating God’s faithfulness to the fact that he granted my petition?” Well, what if He had not granted my petition, would He then have been unfaithful? Is God’s faithfulness determined by whether or not he beckons to my request to turn situations and circumstances to my favor? Does God’s faithfulness in my life mean the absence of difficulties?

So, what is meant when the Bible says God is faithful? Faithfulness speaks to the very core of God’s character. Faithfulness has to do with being reliable, fidelity, firmness, stability, trustworthy, trueness to one’s word, dependability. While no earthly man is 100% faithful, the Bible teaches that God is 100% faithful in all He does in accordance with His divine character. God is always faithful to Himself. God is unchanging; therefore, He can never cease to be what He is and He will always be consistent with His righteous character.

God’s faithfulness cannot be defined by our perception as to whether or not events or circumstances work out in what we perceive to be in our favor. God is faithful even if events don’t turn out as we wish or think they should. God will never deny His own character or His divine plan to grant our request. God is always faithful to His character, for Him to do otherwise He would become unfaithful. Several examples are cited as to what is meant.

God’s faithfulness to His holy character. God will not and cannot deny His faithfulness in regard to his holy, moral character. When God created man He expressed His holy character in the form of moral directives that were for the welfare and blessing of humanity: that men should not steal, lie, covet, murder, that marriage is between a man and woman, that those of the same sex should not lay with one another as in the marriage relationship, honor thy father and mother, honor the Lord of heaven and acknowledge Him as Creator and Sovereign. When we violate God’s moral directives, negative consequences result. God will not be unfaithful to His moral nature by rescinding the consequences of violating His moral character. To do so He would not be faithful to Himself. God will be faithful to His moral character and will never rescind His holiness for anyone no matter how much one prays for Him to do so. Our nation today is experiencing the consequence of God’s faithfulness to His holy, moral directives.

God’s faithfulness in covenant. God made a covenant with Israel that if they were loyal to Him, didn’t embrace the god’s of the surrounding pagans, and would be a witness to the true God of heaven that He would bless them abundantly, but if they disobeyed and forsook Him they would experience the consequences of embracing other gods and would eventually go into captivity to other nations. God was faithful to His covenant, as when they obeyed Him they were blessed beyond measure and when they disobeyed they endured the bitter consequence of their forsaking their God. While the people blamed God when they found themselves in bondage, God was only being faithful to His covenant. He was faithful, they were not. God would have violated His faithfulness if He had changed the “terms” of the covenant to accommodate their disobedience. “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.” (Deuteronomy 7:9).

God’s faithfulness to His Word. Joshua said, “Not one word of all His good promises have failed” (Joshua 21:45). Jesus stated, “Your Word is truth” (John 17:17). Both the OT and NT echo the message that all that God has recorded to us in His Inspired Word may be trusted, and that the Bible supplies us with reliable and dependable information and instruction that one can rely upon with certainty. One can be sure of the truthfulness and reliability of His Word. “All your commandments are faithful” (Psalm 119:86). The Lord wants us to have assurance that His promises cannot and will not fail. He has promised He will never leave us or forsake us regardless of the circumstances, that He will work all things (good and bad) for the good of those who love Him, that heaven awaits those who trust Christ, etc. Paul said all the promises of God in Christ are yes and amen (2 Cor. 1:20). To those who adhere to the Word find it is a firm foundation upon which to build one’s life, because God is faithful to His Word.

God’s faithfulness in salvation’s design. God will not can cannot deny His faithfulness in regard to His designed plan of salvation. The Bible is a Book of redemption/salvation history. The Bible records how God has revealed Himself to sinful man and how he progressively unfolded His divine plan to provide humanity with a way to come into the presence of Holy God, which culminated in the Christ of the cross. Since man cannot comply with the holy demands of God, judgment is holiness’ reaction to man’s willful sin and disobedience to God’s perfect holiness. For God not to judge sin He would have to deny faithfulness to His holiness. What is man to do? God in Christ came to earth to be the answer to man’s predicament. Christ in his perfect life complied with God’s holy demands on our behalf, and satisfied holiness’ judgment on sin as He hung on the cross. The Christ of the Cross is God’s ONLY provision to the problem of man’s sin, and He will not make an exception for me or you. If He did, He would violate His own faithfulness in regard to what He proclaimed in Jesus, “No man comes to the Father but through me.”

God’s faithfulness to His divine plan: The Psalmist wrote, “The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation.” (Ps. 33:11). From the depths of the counsels of eternity, God set forth in motion a great master plan that involves all of creation and humanity that He is bringing to pass in real time. In and on his timetable He will bring to pass everything that He has purposed. Our finite minds cannot understand it all, how his plan is unfolding universally or in our individual lives, but we can be assured His divine plan is unfolding. As man stands in the train station of life, he is faced with two choices as the train of God’s master plan barrels down the tracks of history – either watch as the train passes by or get on board and ride with Him to His designed plan for our lives!! Isaiah wrote that he will bring it to pass with perfect faithfulness (Isaiah 25:1).

God’s faithfulness in His love. John declared, “God is love” (I John 4:16). God demonstrated His love toward us, that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. God is faithful in His love toward humanity. One may reject His love, scoff at His love, but He will continue to be faithful in His love. One may hide themselves from the sun but one can’t keep the sun from shining. In Christ God has expressed a love that shouts He will never cease to love us, for even if we refuse him and find ourselves in hell His love will never cease. Such love boggles the mind. One may reject the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ but His holy-love still emanates from His faithful character continually urging all to embrace the Savior before it is too late. The faithfulness of God’s love as found in the Christ of the cross towers over time, bidding us to come unto Him and therein find the confidence of redemption and hope.

Yes, our Lord is faithful even if events or circumstances are difficult and don’t always appear to work out as we think they should. God’s faithfulness means He will never violate His character, but He will brings to pass in our lives that which will work together for His glory and our good (Romans 8:28). Whether we understand it or not, we can be assured that our Lord is completely reliable, trustworthy and faithful. Yes, God is faithful…always, all the time!

Blessings,
Dr. Dan

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