“God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:9 Paul’s letters usually begin with a word of thanksgiving for the people that he is writing to. These thanksgivings are some of the most profound and theologically informative writings in the New Testament. They also give us a glimpse into the love and concern Paul has for his fellow believers in Christ.
Our text in this post has but eighteen words in it, but in those few words Paul conveys a world of life changing thought. “God is faithful” alone could fill books let alone this post. Most of us in life have been let down by someone we have trusted and we know the pain of that betrayal of trust. Some of us have run up against institutionalism and been disappointed in the lack of honesty, commitment and straightforward transparency that we expected from the organization.
We live in a world where we expect people, organizations and businesses to not be faithful in their promises and commitments to us. I think when we read those three simple words, God is faithful, we struggle believing them because of our relationship with the culture of our society. Is it really possible that God is faithful towards me in spite of all that I am and all my failures and faults?
The answer to the question is yes – God is faithful. Let’s look at a few of the ways that God is faithful to us in a very practical way. “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
There are a few things we should say about the text that help put temptation in context to the grace of God. First of all temptation is not sin, and it has no power over us if we are willing to resist. God has given us the strength to say “no” to temptation but it is up to us whether or not we use that strength to say “no”.
Secondly, in every temptation God has provided a way of escape that we may be able to “endure” or resist the temptation. The problem arises when we do not want to resist temptation or trust in God to make a way of escape from it.
God is faithful to give us the strength and power to say no to any temptation, but we must be willing to allow the power of God to work in us to resist and turn away from the temptation. But the good news for so many people who have surrendered their free will to temptations that have ended up in addictions for example, is that through the faithfulness of God we are not abandoned or forgotten. God is always ready and faithful to help whenever we ask.
Hebrews 2:17 gives us another insight into the faithfulness of God, “Therefore He had to be made like His brethren in every respect, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people.” Jesus is our great High Priest sitting at the right hand of God the Father always willing to intervene in our lives to lead and guide us into paths of righteousness and keep us from temptation and sin.
“My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:1-2 In Jesus we have assurance that our sins are forgiven because He paid the price (expiation) for our salvation and when He says our sins are forgiven for all those who believe in Him we can believe it is so.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 You and I can not sin more than God is willing to forgive. John is not telling us in this verse that we can go out and sin as much as we want and God will forgive because, as we just saw in 1 John 2:1-2 he says he is writing “this to you so that you may not sin.” However, the ideal and reality in the life of a Christian are two different things. We do sin, “If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” 1 John 1:10
John is telling us that we shouldn’t sin and Paul is reminding us that we should resist the temptation that leads to sin but they both understand that we do sin. And just because we sin it doesn’t mean that God abandons us, but instead He remains faithful to us. He continues to forgive us for our sins and constantly calls us back to repentance and rejection of sin in our lives.
God is forever picking us up, dusting us off and continuing to lead us to the Kingdom of God. No matter how many times we fall, stumble and fail God does not abandon us because He loves us unconditionally and is ever faithful to us. We are like unfaithful husbands and wives always chasing someone else, but God never rejects us because of our stupidity and faithlessness.
As Christians we need to focus more on the faithfulness of God towards us and as we do we will grow to love God more the less attracted we are to sin. When we understand how precious we are in the sight of God we will be more cautious on how we treat our relationship with Him. When we understand the sacrifice He made that we can be saved from death and given eternal life we will become less distracted by the trinkets of this world. And when we rely upon the strength and might of God when faced with temptations we will trust in His power to see us through the temptation.
God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. God is faithful to us. Will we be faithful to Him?
* Our Christian brothers and sisters in Christ who are being persecuted for their faith need our prayers. Some of their stories can be found at http://thebeggardanced.com/nine-oclock-club/