So this morning Ken and I were discussing atheists and their desire for God to show himself physically, if they are to believe. We talked about how God gives us what we need to believe, but it is up to us to overcome our hubris and admit that life is about more than just our little circle of self-focused existence. To develop faith, we can look at the fine tuning of the universe. We can look at the artistic and noble nature of man, his ability to be altruistic. We can admit that self sufficiency isn’t enough, that we need some sort of “higher power.” I said that the question of faith can be like the question of why God allows suffering. If we don’t have suffering, people can’t display goodness by making good choices in spite of the suffering. If we can’t plainly see God, people can’t demonstrate an ability to admit that life is about something bigger than themselves.
All of this to say that God is faithful to provide what we need. Today I decided to explore what it means for God to be faithful, for Him to be trustworthy.
The word used for trustworthy in the Bible is “pistos,” which also means “faithful,” “believing.” The definition includes fullness of faith, believing the faith that God imparts. In Matthew and Luke, it is used to describe people, “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time?” (Matt 22:45) It implies that the servant is someone who can be relied on to do the right thing. The same is true in Matt 25:21, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.” A faithful person is someone who is reliable, who takes responsibility for something and executes it righteously.
But it is in Corinthians that I found the verses about faithfulness that I was looking for, “Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” Now we are talking about God, not people! He is the one who is reliable, who takes responsibility for something and executes this righteously. And what He takes responsibility for is us! He gives us spiritual gifts, which are probably part of what will keep us strong until the end. But the awesome part is that He is committed to making us spiritually strong and able to hang in there until we die. THAT is faithfulness!
“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.” (I Cor 10:15) This is another super encouraging statement about God’s faithfulness to us. He will not let something have control over me. He always provides a way so that I am not oppressed, not in chains. He provides a way so that I can fight against it. It doesn’t mean that he just takes it away. But he provides a way so that I can contend with the situation, not just feel powerless and helpless. It’s great to think how this is a reflection of prophesies about how God would break the chains of oppression and set the captives free.
May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it. (I Thes. 5) But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.
It is interesting that the ways Paul mentions that God is faithful have to do with fighting against temptation and evil. I would think that it would have to do with God answering our prayers or taking care of our day to day needs. But when Paul talks about God being trustworthy, he talks about God being at our side in the most serious battle we face, the battle for our soul. Day by day, I want to feel discouraged and defeated. Paul says that God is absolutely trustworthy in this battle.
He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. Titus 1:9 The word is trustworthy. It is reliable. We cannot go wrong with it! Not only does God act towards us in a faithful manner, he gives us truths, words, that will not let us down, tools that are perfect, that can demolish strongholds, that can hold up to any argument, that can fix any complaint of the heart or character.