The Christian has this one great assurance from God — an assurance for victory — an assurance that is, unfortunately, often under-estimated and taken for granted. And that is because, let’s face it, he is God, and he is “supposed to be” perfect — any good thing that he does, or any good thing about him, are all a given.
However, to the one who has experienced rejections and betrayals in the hands of people, even the Church — to the one who knows what it means to be alone, helpless, and hopeless — this assurance is precious. Priceless. Worth fighting for. Worth sacrificing for. Definitely worth our lives and loyalty.
As Moses said to the Israelites as they were preparing to conquer the Promised Land, “Be strong and courageous. Don’t be afraid or scared of them, for Yahweh your God himself is who goes with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6 WEB).
My friends, I’m talking about the faithfulness of God.
The Christian life is hard, no question. We are called to holiness and to share in the suffering of our Lord. And yet, God’s promises of blessing also abound. This assurance of God’s faithfulness is for anyone who wants to follow Christ and to make something of their lives serving him — to come out of this desert of thirst and want, and to conquer the Promised Land that Christ has for each of his followers.
But make no mistakes in your assumptions, my friends. The truth is, there will be much fighting. And many battles. Spiritual battles. You will be marked by the devil, and he will try to destroy you. And yet this assurance will stand. God is faithful. Christ is faithful. And he cares for you. Because unlike any other bosses you might have had, God will never betray the trust you’ve given him for the sake of his bottom line. To him, to the Great Shepherd, every soul matters.
ASIDE: This is something I need to study in-depth someday, but some Christians believe that this “Promised Land” — or the abundant life that Jesus promises in John 10:10 — is mostly just in the spiritual realm. That is, one cannot (and shouldn’t) expect to be materially rich following Christ. In fact, some even expect to receive only “enough” to get by. Personally, I don’t believe this. I think that this is just an extreme response to the prosperity gospel. After all, if God never changes, and if he had at times blessed Israel, his chosen people, with material abundance during the ancient times, why couldn’t he do the same thing now to his faithful people in the Church — when his grace is abounding even more because of Christ? Indeed. I ask you, Why limit God at all? As long as our hearts are in the right places (that is, we don’t worship money, power, or anything like that), why couldn’t we have the faith to ask God for more — much more?
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Short of the Cross itself, one of God’s greatest act of faithfulness is this angelic declaration recorded in the first chapter of Luke:
The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and shall name him ‘Jesus.’ He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever. There will be no end to his Kingdom.”Luke 1:30-33 WEB
It is the fulfillment of the long-awaited promise of the Jewish Messiah, a promise made by God to the people of Israel centuries before. And it showed that Israel, the chosen nation — Israel, the adulterous nation — had not been forgotten by their faithful God. (The fact that Israel’s Messianic expectation was that of an earthly and powerful king, and not the spiritual kingdom that Jesus brought forth, is another story.)
A fulfillment of a long-ago promise. And yet, this promise was much more than just about the Jewish Messiah, and its roots went much farther back — into the Garden of Eden itself, right after the Fall — when God promised the Redeemer of mankind, the Seed of the woman who would defeat the devil once and for all (Genesis 3:15). Yes, the Seed of the woman. The awaited Messiah and King. The Second Person of the Trinity incarnated. The Perfect Lamb that was killed and sacrificed for our sins. The God-Man Jesus Christ. Betrayed. Crucified. Resurrected. Ascended. And coming back again in great glory. For his people. And to judge the world.
Can you even begin to imagine all of this? The scope of its vast history? The breadth and depth of everything that is involved? And the mind and heart of the God behind it all, who made such a glorious and gracious promise that would be fulfilled thousands of years later? No, I cannot begin to imagine it. And my mind sure cannot comprehend the totality of the faithfulness involved in it.
But one thing I’m sure of: This is the God I have faith in! The God who keeps his Word and remembers his promises. The God who values his people. The very God who had sent his angel to Mary to say, “I am fulfilling the promise I have made to Israel, and to mankind, so long ago.”
Words and promises. In the world today, they may mean and weigh so little, but they matter much to God. Psalm 105 summarizes his faithful dealings with Israel, and verses 8-11 say,
He has remembered his covenant forever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations, the covenant which he made with Abraham, his oath to Isaac, and confirmed it to Jacob for a statute; to Israel for an everlasting covenant, saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance,”Psalms 105:8-11 WEB
Yes, this is the God I believe in. A God who remembers and keeps his Word. A faithful God.
And guess what? Good news! God has given us his Word, the Bible, so that we can know the things he say and the promises he make. And by his very faithfulness, we are assured that we can believe them, hold on to them, and know that they will stand.
Do you want to know how you can be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ? Do you want to be sure that you can spend eternity with him? Then please read this: God’s Plan of Salvation
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