Our Call to Faithfulness

The faithfulness of God to Himself, and of Christ to the Father, provides the deep roots of God’s faithfulness to His covenant people.

The great evidence of being rightly related to God is faithful stewardship of His grace in our lives for His glory. A failure of faithfulness demonstrates that we are not good stewards and do not belong in His kingdom. Inactivity in service to our Lord, when we claim to have been made the recipients of His faithfulness to us in Christ, is a very dangerous thing indeed.

 

To be a Christian is to be called to a life of faithfulness. But the duty of Christian faithfulness, properly understood, should be seen as our response to the faithfulness of God. Of course, before we can speak of God’s faithfulness to us, we must first remember that God is supremely faithful to Himself. He always acts in perfect conformity to His own holy character and purpose. His singular objective is His own glory, and He is unfailingly faithful to that goal. In Isaiah 48:9–11, the motive of the Lord in restraining His judgment is Himself and the glory of His own name:

For my name’s sake I defer my anger;
for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,
that I may not cut you off.
Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.
For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,
for how should my name be profaned?
My glory I will not give to another.

Similarly, the great promise of the new covenant in Ezekiel 36 is made in the context of God’s resolve to act for His own sake:

Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them…I will sprinkle clean water on you…And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you…And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. (Ezek. 36:22–27)

God’s glory, the honor of His name, is at stake in all that He does. So, God is always faithful first of all to Himself. In 2 Timothy 2:13, the reason God remains faithful even if we are faithless is that “he cannot deny himself.” For God to be unfaithful, even in the face of our many infidelities, is impossible. God must be faithful to Himself. This necessary fidelity of God toward Himself is the ground of our hope and the fount of every blessing we can ever know. From it springs every display of God’s glory, greatness, and grace. Upon it rests the dependability of His every promise. It is the foundation of the gospel and the root of the redemption won for sinners in Jesus Christ. The incarnation, sufferings, and glory of our Savior can all be understood as the outpouring of divine fidelity. Jesus came, bled, and died because God is faithful to Himself.

This explains the faithfulness of Christ toward God. Contrasting Christ with Moses, the writer to the Hebrews urges us to

…consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house…Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. (Heb. 3:1–2, 5–6)

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