TEXT: 1 Corinthians 1:4-9
SERVICE VIDEO (link)
How has God been faithful to you? That’s what I want to get to today. You’ve heard some testimonies of God’s faithfulness in the service. We are going to look at how God was faithful in the Old Testament and in Christ as described in the New. And then I’m going to leave you with that question: How has God been faithful to you?
We are continuing today with our series entitled, “What is God Like?” And today we are going to talk about the faithfulness of God!
Faithful in the OT
We began the service with this declaration from Deuteronomy 32:
“For I proclaim the name of the Lord;
Ascribe greatness to our God!
“The Rock! His work is perfect,
For all His ways are just;
A God of faithfulness and without injustice,
Righteous and upright is He.
There are a number of ways to talk about God’s faithfulness, but perhaps the most foundational in scripture is the covenant. There are a series of covenants in the Old Testament between God and humanity, but each has the feature of God promising – in the most ultimate terms – to be and do something in relationship to human beings. God comes to Abraham and promises by covenant to bless Abraham and his descendants with land, descendants and blessing that will multiply out to all the nations of the world. Later God will renew this covenant promise with Abraham’s descendants at Mt. Sinai and then with King David. And God does so in the ultimate terms of the covenants of those times, “with God as my witness and my life as pledge” – an ancient version of our playground vow, “Cross my heart and hope to die” as a way to signify our deepest commitment.
In every case I can think of, God’s faithfulness in scripture is in reference to God keeping and fulfilling the covenant promises. God is seen as faithful because God keeps His promises. You can see God’s faithfulness named in relation to the covenant in our two readings today from the Psalms.
Another feature of God’s faithfulness is that it is not dependent on human faithfulness. If anything, it shines even more brightly because of human disobedience and unfaithfulness. Abraham, then various descendants after him, and the people of Israel as a whole, would disobey the terms of the covenant, turn from God, and lose their way. But the story of the Old Testament and the Bible as a whole is of God remaining steadfast and faithful even in the face of His covenant partners’ unfaithfulness. Last week we read from Deuteronomy 4, in which God is renewing the covenant with the next generation of Israelites after delivering them from Egypt. The first generation had disobeyed and rebelled against God, but in the renewing of the covenant God pledged faithfulness. He even spoke of their future – after attaining the Promised Land – when they would turn away again and be carried into Exile. And God told them that even then He would be faithful if they would yet seek him.
Faithful in the New
That faithfulness to the covenant with Abraham, his descendants, and David do not go away when we get to the New Testament. In fact, the whole of the New Testament can be seen as a demonstration of the faithfulness of God in keeping His promises. Those long genealogies at the beginning of Matthew and Luke? They are demonstrating that Jesus is “of the line of David,” one of the specifics of God’s covenant promise to David that one of his line would sit on the throne forever. Jesus is named as Messiah because he is seen as the one God promised. He IS God’s faithfulness in the flesh. Those ancient promises for land and descendants and the restoration of the Kingdom are fulfilled in the Kingdom of God and the expanded understanding of God’s people, now including the Gentiles who come through Christ.
Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 that he did not come to abolish or do away with the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill them. (v.17)
And so the New Testament frames the old-covenant-kept-and-made-new in Jesus Christ and through Jesus Christ. That is how Paul can write of God’s faithfulness in our text for today from 1 Corinthians 1.
4 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, 6 even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, 7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (vv. 4-9)
God is faithful because He has kept His promises through Jesus Christ. We are heirs to the promises to Abraham and David: we belong to God; we have a home in Christ; we have a people in Christ; we are citizens of the Kingdom of God even here on earth; we are delivered and saved by God’s merciful and gracious acting in love. And it is all an expression and demonstration of God’s faithfulness. Thanks be to God!
How Has God Been Faithful to You?
I want to end with this question: How has God been faithful to you?
We’ve heard two testimonies in answer to that question. We’ve considered God’s faithfulness in the Old and New Testament. How does that fit into your life?
I’d encourage you to jot down a short answer to that on your bulletin or Bible or phone and come back to it later to flesh it out, to give thanks, or to share with someone.
And if you are drawing a blank, I’ll offer a few prompts that might help:
God expresses faithfulness to us in Christ in many ways:
- Access to the Father in prayer
- Citizenship in the Kingdom of God
- Belonging in the community of faith
- Forgiveness, redemption, mercy, and grace that are new every morning
- Identity, calling, purpose in Christ
- Presence, comfort, conviction, gifting of God’s Holy Spirit
- Blessing in order to be a blessing to others
And much more!
How has God been faithful to you?
I’ll give you a moment to think, to write, to remember.
Some Music Used
- Yes and Amen
- Merciful God
- Great is thy Faithfulness
- CHORAL BENEDICTION: Now Unto Him (Youngblood)