I would say learning more and more how big God’s faithfulness is and that we can rely on Him is the arc of our lifelong sanctification.
I want to begin today with a story that’s mostly true:
One stormy night an elderly couple entered the lobby of a small hotel and asked for a room. The clerk said they were filled, as were all the hotels in town.
“But I can’t send a fine couple like you out in the rain,” he said. “Would you be willing to sleep in my room?” The couple hesitated, but the clerk insisted.
The next morning when the man paid his bill, he said, “You’re the kind of man who should be managing the best hotel in the United States. Someday I’ll build you one.”
The clerk smiled politely.
A few years later the clerk received a letter from the elderly man, recalling that stormy night and asking him to come to New York. A round-trip ticket was enclosed.
When the clerk arrived, his host took him to the corner of 5th Avenue and 34th Street, where stood a magnificent new building. “That,” explained the man, “is the hotel I have built for you to manage.” The elderly man was William Waldorf Astor, and the hotel was the original Waldorf-Astoria. The young clerk, George C. Boldt, became its first manager.
However true that story is it does bring out several lessons, one of which is faithfulness. William Waldorf Astor was faithful to his word. He built a hotel and he came back to get George Boldt to run it.
I’m sure many would find faithfulness a rare jewel in this world. Proverbs 20:6 says, “Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?”
But our study today is not on the unfaithfulness of people. Instead, our study is the Faithfulness of God. The Hebrew and Greek words translated as faithful mean things like firmness, fidelity, steadfast, steadiness, loyal, reliable and trustworthy. God is faithful. He is steadfast, He is firm, He is reliable, He is worthy of our trust. “I am with you now until the end of the age” (Mt 28:20comes to mind. So does, “If God is for us who can be against us” (Rom 8)…emphasis on the God is for us part. Then there is that one verse, “If we are faithless He is faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.” (2 Tim. 2:13).
GOD’S FAITHFULNESS IN OUR SANCTIFICATION
I would say the arc of our sanctification throughout life is learning more and more how big God’s faithfulness is and how to rely on Him. What I mean to say by that, is if the Christian life is a life of faith, then growing in faith means we are growing to understand how worthy of our faith our God is. That’s Abraham. Remember Abraham, the man of faith? Abraham knew God was worthy of absolute trust. He knew God was reliable. He knew what God said, God would do. Turn to Hebrews 11:11 with me. READ…. “He considered Him faithful who made the promise”. God makes the promise and He will deliver. Always.
Take the Disciples in the Gospels for instance. They could say, “Yes, Jesus, you are the Christ, the Son of God, whom the prophets foretold. We know you will restore Israel to glory and rule as King.” They knew that and believed that about Jesus. But you know what? They didn’t quite know and understand and yet believe that Jesus could calm a storm, make water turn into wine, stretch one boys lunch to feed thousands, command demons effortlessly, heal the lepers, diseased, blind, deaf, mute, bleeding all with a word or a simple touch. They didn’t know that. And they didn’t know that He was supposed to be betrayed, handed over to the authorities, die horribly on the cross, and His death was for their sins, and that He was going to be raised up on the 3rd Day. They knew SOME things about their Lord but there was SO MUCH they didn’t know.
Maybe you know Jesus is God’s Son who died for your sins and was raised up on the 3rd Day and that He is now in heaven at the Father’s right hand. You’re doing well. But do you know from your own life in circumstance after circumstance how God has been faithful to you?
- Do you know what its like for God to calm the storm of your heart? Do you know that peace that passes understanding is like in Philippians 4:6-7? You know, that peace that He PROMISES to give to you when you’re anxious and you choose to pray for peace?
- Do you know what its like to go through something you didn’t think you could go through because “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”? (Php 4:13).
- Do you know what its like to figure out the best decision in a situation because you asked God for wisdom and trusted Him to give it to you? “If any of you lacks wisdom let him ask God who gives generously and without finding fault…” James 1:5 promises.
- Do you know what it’s like to see God do a fishes and loaves miracle with you? You know – to stretch the little you have to provide for you when you didn’t know how it was going to happen?
- Do you know what its like to be able to say “No” to a temptation because God was faithful to make a way out for you? “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Cor. 10:13).
- Do you know what its like to walk on the water of life’s storms because you are seeing God is your strength when you are weak? “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)
- Do you know what its like to discover God’s grace goes further than you thought regarding your sin? Have you found out what its like to be cleansed and rejuvenated in your spirit because you’ve confessed some sin you’ve committed? “If we confess our sin God is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
In other words, yes, you know and declare Jesus is Lord and Savior, raised from the grave and raised up to heaven. But, are you learning in the day to day life that you live how faithful God really is? Is your trust ever-expanding towards Him because your vision of His reliability is ever-expanding?
The Scriptures testify that God is faithful. It is objectively true of Him whatever we think or know – that He is faithful. The question is Is our testimony of God echoing Scripture’s? Are we declaring based on our own personal experience that “YES! God is faithful!”?
When you read verses like Numbers 23:19 that says, “God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man that He should change His mind [steady, firm, continues]. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and then not fulfill?” do you say “YES, I know! God doesn’t lie! He doesn’t fail to do what He promises He will do! I know it! That’s true!”
I love how God distinguishes Himself from men in that verse. People let you down. God does not.
GOD’S FAITHFULNESS IN PROPHECY
One of the first ways I would point to that God is faithful is prophecy. Prophecy is God telling us the future before it happens. But its more than that. Prophecy is not simply an awareness of what’s going to happen. God knows the future because God is going to make the future happen according to His plans. So prophecy requires God to have a mind where He makes plans and communicates those plans, power to effect those plans in this universe, wisdom to know how to make those plan happen with the quadrillions of decisions and circumstances happening in the universe, and then also FAITHFULNESS to do what He says He’s going to do. Prophecy is a promise by God that He will do something.
Did you know there are over 1000 prophecies in the Bible? Dr John Walvoord has Did you know there are ov
Think about Hebrews 11. It is the “Faith Hall of Fame”. Many of the greats of the OT who had great faith are there. Now while we ought to admire the ones who had great faith, we ought to adore the One they had faith in!
- God was faithful to bring the Flood and to spare Noah
- God was faithful to give Abraham a child
- God was faithful to bring Abraham’s descendents out of slavery in Egypt
- God was faithful to be with Moses
- God was faithful to Israel when they repeatedly faithless. They would grumble, complain, doubt…BUT…He would give mannah, quail, water, victory over enemies, AND HIS CONTINUAL, STEADFAST, UNWAVERING, CONSTANT PRESENCE. In other words, He was faithful to them
We could go on about the hundreds and hundreds of other prophecies. But perhaps the one we ought to consider today is that of sending Jesus. Of course, there are numerous prophecies related to Jesus and His coming the first time. And they were fulfilled when He came. God was faithful.
JESUS IS FAITHFUL
And that’s why Jesus was faithful. Hebrews 3:2 says “Jesus was faithful to the One who appointed Him…” and verse 6 says, “But CHrist is faithful as a son over all God’s house…” Revelation 1:5 says, “and from Jesus the faithful witness…”
Jesus was faithful to His Father to come into this world as a man, to be the ultimate and perfect witness of the Father to this world, and ultimately He was faithful to obediently and voluntarily go to the cross and bear our sins. If faithfulness is steadfastness and unwavering in your cause no matter what comes, then Jesus is the epitome of Faithfulness.
- The Devil tried to tempt Him in the wilderness to depart from His faithfulness to God but that failed.
- When thousands abandoned Him because they didn’t like His teachings He didn’t quit God’s plan for Him.
- When Peter, his own disciple rebuked him for talking about the cross and death and being arrested Jesus was not sidetracked from His commitment to His mission
- When in the Garden, praying alone, merely hours away from feeling the pointed nails in His flesh, while on His face asking for any other way to make our redemption possible, He did not let the overwhelming thought of crucifixion make Him abandon His course, but His prayer ended with those epic words that define faithfulness: “Yet not my will, Father, but your will be done” THAT is faithfulness.
Do you see why His faithfulness matters? Because you and I are not faithful. We are not faithful enough to save ourselves. We are utterly, hopelessly, desperately in need of Someone else to save us WHO CAN save us! We need someone else who is faithful. Jesus is faithful. Now is the time for you to stop thinking you are faithful and instead now is the time for you to turn to the only One who ever was faithful to the end: Jesus. Because He was faithful, you can be saved. You can receive life everlasting.