Bible Study Series
Contemplating the Almighty
The Divine Faithfulness
How well do you know God’s faithfulness?
1) When we sin
a) God leaves us; a) God leaves us
b) Is so disgusted that He turns His back on us
c) God remains with us
2) When it comes to God’s acceptance of us as Christians
a) we must earn it
b) we must simply believe it
c) it comes and goes depending on how good we are
3) God’s faithfulness extends
a) only to us getting saved
b) only to us getting saved and staying saved
c) to us getting saved, staying saved, and being perfected
4) To say that God is consistent means
a) that everything that He does is predictable
b) that every that He does is always completely compatible with who and what He is
c) that He always does things the same way
5) Since God is faithful
a) we can sin with impunity because He will never abandon us
b) we can commit the small sins with no worry but for the big ones He may choose to leave us
c) we should fear every sin because even though He will not leave us we will grieve Him and it will adversely affect our fellowship with Him
6) In pain and trials, God’s faithfulness means
a) very little since pain can hurt a lot
b) that if we work our way out of it then God will be there waiting for us
c) God is there as a fortress, a comforter, healer, and guide
7) When it comes to temptation
a) God is always faithful to provide a way out without sinning
b) God passively waits to see what we will do
c) God will help us with the big ones but we are on our own for the small ones
8) God’s promises are true
a) only if we believe them
b) no matter what because God said them
c) until God takes them back
9) When we are going through a particularly rough time
a) it necessarily means that we have sinned and God is punishing us
b) that God has left us
c) God is there to give us the power to endure and be victorious
10) When someone sins against us
a) we should forget about them because there are more “fish in the sea”
b) frequently remind them of that sin even if they ask for forgiveness because that will help keep them from com c) we should ever be ready to receive them back and to forgive them
The divine faithfulness can produce much needed rest by promising us that though God is certainly everywhere, He will never leave or forsake those whom He has called by His name. It installs a confidence and a security in knowing that the most vital of all relationships depends wholly on God for its sustenance. We may reel, or we may break fellowship, but should we repent and choose to return, we can always be assured that the Lord will receive us.
There is many a believer who forsakes God, but there is never a believer whom God forsakes. As senseless and ignorant as we may become, as much as we may feel that we have been abandoned by God, and regardless of the decadence of our condition, we can always say with Asaph, “Nevertheless I am continually with Thee.” We are constantly in the concern of the Lord God Most High. No matter how vehemently we may deny this or how circumstantially this may appear untrue, the truth of its reality forever stands firm. God cares for even the greatest of sinners.the greatest of sinners.
The more we muse upon this majestic theme, the more profoundly significant it becomes. For example, it is not even the case of us holding onto God, but more importantly, He is holding onto us. “Thou hast also given me the shield of Thy salvation, and Thy right hand upholds me; and Thy gentleness makes me great.” Our security lies not in our strength, but in God’s. It stands to reason that God would abandon us because of our constant sin, but if there ever was a reason for Him to leave us, then there never was a reason for Him to have been drawn to us. It can never be emphasized enough that God’s seeking of us and faithfulness to us is never contingent upon any intrinsic value in ourselves; it rests wholly upon the immanent qualities of the One whom we call Savior and Lord.
If the Almighty God accepted us as unforgiven sinners, what could possibly induce Him to leave us as forgiven sinners? If he was attracted to us as aliens and hostile in mind, how could He abandon those whom He now calls His children? God has an immeasurable investment in us-that of His own Son. Though unworthy, we are not worthless. We are a source of tremendous gratification for God. Even in our rebellion, He does not simply wait passively for our return, but is constantly working so our eyes might be open to truth that we should once again properly acknowledge Him. And though ultimately should our work be burned up and we suffer loss, even then we shall be saved. The realization that God’s faithfulness is not dependent in the least on our obedience or even on our reckoning of it is vital. We are so used to an economy of give and take that it is only with difficulty that we are able to accept the truth that God gives. Pride wants to earn divine acceptance; humility simply believes it.
This aspect of the faithfulness of God is perhaps most properly understood by considering our own state. If we were such creatures of excellence, then it would not be to the glory of God that He remain loyal to us because He might be said to be opportunistic, rather than faithful. We do not need to contemplate very long and hard to come to the realization of how deeply depraved and evil we are. And even then our clearest apprehension still does not appreciate the full magnitude of our state. Recognizing, too, that this is the God who hates sin and loves righteousness transcends our abilities to reason the divine faithfulness. But the necessity underlies the truth-it is our very sinfulness that requires God’s faithfulness. His faithfulness is not merely an added blessing; it is a necessity. Even under the care of the divine Shepherd, our hearts are far too prone to wander. Seeing how we cannot be trusted to secure this tremendous relationship, the Lord has charged Himself with this great responsibility. In this rests our confidence.
Though sin may abound, God will always be committed to His original plan of redeeming and glorifying men. “What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, ‘That Thou mightest be justified in Thy words, and mightest prevail when Thou are judged,’” and again, “and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these e also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” God is not only faithful to us, but to His purposes for us also. The above passage in Romans 8 lists no conditions, no qualifications. It stands out as a confident assertion from God. It requires not even belief in it per se. It is a faithful promise surely to be executed for the one who does no more then to believe in Christ Jesus. He will perfect what He began. He initiated-He will complete. Though His Spirit will not strive with men forever, nevertheless, so long as it is possible, He shall always desire for all to be saved.
Perhaps one of the most sublime and reassuring passages is 2 Timothy 2:13, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself.” Our security lies wholly in the faithfulness of God. The permanency of our relationship with Him cannot be estimated by including ourselves in any part of the evaluation; it must be determined solely through the revelation which the Lord has given of Himself. Our confidence rests no on our ability to remain true, but in His immeasurable desire to be committed to us. Yet to say that He is faithful does not solely imply that He will never leave us, though this is true as stated in Hebrews 13:5, “’I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.’” Also, He will never cease from His work of glorifying us. “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” What we shall eternally become has been predetermined by the Lord, and He shall never unto that which He has started. He has counted the cost; He shall finish the task. As has been previously discussed and warrants reiteration is the truth that because He is faithful and fully committed to us, we can be assured that we will become what He has promised.
Loyalty and commitment are generally thought of as the common manifestations of God’s faithfulness, yet by definition, faithfulness also implies consistency. This is not, however, to be confused with His immutability. Immutability indicates that what God is will never change; whereas consistency denotes that what God does will always conform to that which He is. All that the Lord does is wholly compatible within Himself. There is always full harmony, full agreement. To say that God is faithful demands also that He be consistent. It is an aspect of the Lord that we often neglect and take for granted, yet our soul knows well that it is necessary both for our existence and eternal salvation. Were God inconsistent, we could not know of anything that would be sure.
Upon this truth, our hearts can rest, securely knowing fully that God does not change in His basic attitude and dealings with us. It is not just the comforting truth that He is always with us, but that He is always the same toward us. Though it is true that we can at once grieve Him with our sin and then immediately please Him with our obedience, His basic motivating attitude toward us does not change. He does not need to rethink His intentions; He can have no regrets about His actions. And though we may respond poorly to circumstances and bout all of what He has said, we can forever be secure in knowing that He loves and cares for us. We lie in the hands of a trustworthy God. “For as many as may be the promises of God, in Him they are yes; wherefore also by Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.”
To say that God is faithful or consistent is not to imply, however that His is predictable. Much bitterness toward God results from a misunderstanding of this. Too often we speculate and try to guess the actions of God and, therefore, develop expectations. Through our limited and often perverted reasoning, we determine the “best” for our lives and then consider God’s only reasonable response to be one of quick and complete fulfillment. We underestimate the desires of God. What we are convinced is the best, the Lord may deem as quite modest. Rather, He will do awesome things which we do not expect. As we cannot fathom the love and generosity of God, neither can we estimate His actions. His plans of gladness for our lives far surpass even our most creative imaginings and dreams. In this we must believe. “The Lord has done great things for us: we are glad.”
Even when, to our perception, God has responded contrastingly to the conceivable same situation, He has in no way acted contradictorily within Himself. He is always faithful, always consistent. This extends to even the most basic attributes of the Lord. Why He seems to show mercy at one time and then executes sudden judgment at another is not within our finite grasp of understanding or reason. We must confidently accept the truth stated in Romans 9:15 and the basis of the affirmation of God, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” This passage should produce no fear or uncertainty in the one whom properly understands the Most High. Though He has the freedom to act as He pleases, this is always within the context of what He is. He can never act apart from His love, for example. To conclude in any situation that the Almighty Lord should have acted in an otherwise fashion is to have a pride and an arrogance that comes with a self-centered heart. The Lord always does the best so we might enjoy Him the most.
Unless God tells us otherwise, our reasons and explanations for divine occurrences are, for the most part, speculative. “’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” This passage indicates that God seeks out and pardons men who believe. What we do not understand through reason, we must believe and trust through faith. This concept of God’s unpredictable ness should not be a matter of insecurity for us. We know that He will do us good; the present question is just how will it be this time. “Surely I believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord.”
In John 15:11, Jesus Christ tells us, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” He expresses that He wants to see in us the same joy that He has in Himself. This is clear enough; however, the paradox lies in The subsequent events to follow in His life. He proceeds to speak of how the world hates Him, rejects Him, and persecutes Him and when He has finished the Upper Room Discourse, the Prince of Peace is then betrayed, tried, and crucified. The One is truly meek and humble of heart is mocked and spit upon by the criminals for whose crimes He is willfully paying. Is this the joy God wishes on us? The issue lies not in the despairing circumstances, but in the attitude of delightful dependence on a faithful Father. Situations will change, adversity and fortune take their turns in our lives, and hope is deferred, but God does not change. He is faithful. He is the fortress in whom we may rest, the strength for those who are weary. Godly joy is not based on circumstances; it is based on God.
Typically, our nature identifies favorable situations with God’s concern and displeasing conditions with His apathy or, if our hearts are especially wicked, abandonment. We are far too prone to judge our God on extrinsic circumstances rather than believe the ineffable revelation He has given concerning Himself. What God is, is consistent with what God does. Conditions, whether favorable or displeasing, should always stir our hearts to seek the living God, be it for praise or counsel or refuge. It is always He to whom we should run first and foremost. Rather than allow circumstances to be as a hedge of thorns, we should use them as a means to further glorify the Lord. We must not read the circumstances into God, but learn to read God into the circumstances.
There is an aspect of the divine faithfulness which is easily overlooked-that of providing opportunities for persecution, for hatred, for affliction. “Before I was afflicted I went astray.” “I know, O Lord, that Thy judgments are righteous, and in faithfulness Thou has afflicted me.” An unappreciated aspect of God’s consistency is in refining our lives and bringing us closer to the image of His beloved Son in our daily experience. All of the promises of a trouble-free life without hurt are reserved for heaven when we shall be without sin. It is then that we shall forever rest from our labors. Till that time, however, we must be prepared to suffer persecution from men and to suffer discipline from men and to suffer discipline from God. Through this means, perhaps more than any other, He refines stubborn people such as ourselves to become more like Himself. The Lord is good to be so faithful to us. We strongly tend to grumble and complain. Instead, we should believe and obey.
How pitiful the Christian who lacks the motivation to be like Christ and in doing so, not to glorify the Father. Indeed, he should not be pitied, but reproved. Our lives have been bought to glorify God, but we are prone to wander. Affliction can draw us back to this kindness of the Lord. God is so good to constantly take care that our hearts do not grow fat and dull, as is their nature. He grants us the honorable privilege of daily taking up the cross of Christ. In reality, we are unworthy to even suffer shame for His name, let alone to bring it glory. Our eyes must be ever fixed upon Christ and not on the storm around us. It would become us all to develop that attitude of Job after his many afflictions. “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?”
In 1 Corinthians 10:13, we read one of the greatest promises given to those desiring to lead a holy life, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be temped beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.” In this, we find a tremendous hope in our quest to overcome evil-the faithfulness of the Lord. We sin only because we have willingly chosen to do so. We shall never have a justifiable excuse to transgress the commandments of God. Satan no longer reigns over the children of righteousness. Though our senses may swarm with the presence of evil, we can always find escape in the still greater presence of the Lord. We can always confidently assert as the apostle Paul, “The Lord will deliver me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ev Our confidence rests in the faithfulness of the Lord. He has declared Himself to be wholly and eternally committed to His people. Should we be faithless or rebel against His holy character and government, He will, nevertheless, remain unconditionally faithful to us. All we have needed, God has provided. This relationship with God, though sometimes unappreciated and neglected on our part, will forever be precious to the Lord. He will accomplish all that He has promised us. To consider our shifting attitudes and moods and then to realize the amazing consistency of the Lord should leave us in awesome wonder. All that He does, finds its source in all that He is. Though unpredictable, He is completely trustworthy. He is good to us and despite the discouragement and perplexity of surrounding circumstances we can always find hope in His tremendous love. What god is like our God? “Remember my affliction and wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s loving kindness indeed never ceases, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is Thy faithfulness.”
What does God’s faithfulness mean to us?
Security of salvation and God’s presence
Psalm 18:35 emphatically states, “Thou hast also given me the shield of Thy salvation, And Thy right hand upholds me; And Thy gentleness makes me great.” If you are walking with a child and he is holding your hand then he can let go at any time and run away and never come back. But if you are holding his hand then he cannot go very far. He may tug and pull but as long as you are holding on securely he will stay safe. We are not holding onto God; God is holding onto us.
Romans 8:35-39 lists a number of things that cannot separate us from God. Why cannot anything separate us from God’s love? It is because God is the one responsible for it, not us and God is faithful. This means that we can never lose our salvation, that our place in Heaven is secure, that no matter how much we sin God is always faithful, and that God will always love us no matter what happens. no matt This should instill a confidence and a security in us knowing that the most vital of all relationships depends not on our behavior or attitude but completely on God for its continuance.
God’s faithfulness means that we can say along with Asaph in Psalm 73:21-23, “When my heart was embittered, And I was pierced within, then I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a beast before Thee. Nevertheless I am continually with Thee; Thou hast taken hold of my right hand.”
Even in our sin God is faithful. No matter how sinful we may be God is always faithfully waiting for our repentance. And when we do repent God will take us back with open arms ready to restore us. If we commit a really terrible sin and then a year later decide to repent and come back to God we will not cry out “God? Hello? Where are You?” Instead there will be God’s arms eagerly waiting to embrace us and welcome us back just like the Prodigal son.
He is in the details of our lives.
When we think of a faithful friend we think of someone who is devoted to us and who cares about what is happening in our lives. God is our Lord and our King, but in John 15:15 He announces a relationship that is startling, “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.” God wants us to be intimate with Him. He has shared a great portion of His heart, thoughts, and desires with us in the Bible. As we read the Bible we quickly discover that it is not a manual but an autobiography and that its author is calling us to share ourselves with Him at all times and in all ways.
Confidence that our sin can always be cleansed
1 John 1:9 is one of the Bible’s most powerful promises, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” In the Scriptures, God’s faithfulness is tied to His promises. He will always do that which He has said, “For as many as may be the promises of God, in Him they are yes; wherefore also by Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.”—2 Corinthians 1:20. And what is one of God’s promises? “And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”—Hebrews 10:17.
Why is God righteous or just when He forgives us? We associate justice with punishment; not with forgiveness. It is because Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the entire sum of the penalty for our sins. And then because the Father raised His Son from the dead, it showed that He fully accepted Jesus’ payment for sins. The risen Christ is proof that God will, indeed, forgive us of our sins. So when we confess our sins, God must forgive us or He will not be righteous and just.
God is always ready and available to comfort and protect
God is a constant presence in our lives. He does not go away to attend to more important business. He is always ready to hear our personal prayers, to comfort our intimate pain, to strengthen us when we falter, and to guide us when we are confused. The phrase “I am with you” or a close variation is repeated over 20 times in the Bible. Psalm 91:4 provides us with a strong promise, “He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.”
Allows us to resist temptation
1 Corinthians 10:13 promises, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” Sin never sneaks up on us because God is not watching. Every temptation is noticed by God and, even more so, He actively and always provides a means for us to escape that temptation and avoid sin.
The world tells us that we do not have our fair share and so we should do whatever we can to get it. The world tells us that we are not paid enough so taking a little from the company is justified because it really owes us anyway. The world tells us that one quick look will not do any harm. The world tells us that since we do not really care for that person that it is OK to gossip. But because God is faithful, His grace is always available to give us the power to resist those temptations. Grace reminds us that righteousness always pays better than sin even if it takes a little longer.
Answers to quiz
2) b 1) c
Elizabeth’s father abandoned her family when she was eight years old. As a result she has had a hard time keeping friends. When she feels that someone is getting too close to her she will say harsh things to that person and become distant. She is often lonely and many times it is obvious that she longs for a close friendship. You have been getting close to her and you are starting to see her doing the same thing to you. The other day she insulted your clothes and you have left several friendly but unanswered messages in the last two weeks. When you started to get to know her you knew that she is like this and you promised yourself that you would stick it out and show her that you are a loyal friend. You know that she is hurting and that her behavior is a defense mechanism to avoid being hurt, but it is difficult to endure the growing insults and cold shoulder. You decide that rather then pull away from her like everyone else you will talk to her. What will you say to her and can you incorporate God’s faithfulness into your discussion?
1) In addition to the ones discussed above, what are some other assurances that God’s faithfulness means to us?ithfulness means to us?
2) How does knowing that God is faithful help us through difficult times?
3) Is God still faithful to us when we are in sin or does He leave us only to return when we repent?
4) What are some ways that God has proven His faithfulness to you personally?
5) Who are some people in the Bible that God proved His faithfulness to?
6) If God is so faithful then how come some people claim that in their darkest hour they felt as though God were not there at all?
7) If God has promised to be faithful no matter what then why cannot we use that as an excuse to do whatever we want?
8) What is the difference between God’s faithfulness (God will never leave nor forsake us) and God’s omnipresence (God is everywhere)?
9) What are some practical ways that we can be faithful to other people the way that God is faithful to us?
Copyright Bob La Forge 2011 email: firstname.lastname@example.org