The faithfulness of God is throughout the whole of Scripture. Beginning first in Genesis, we see many examples of God following through and being consistent in His word and action. He brings Noah through the flood; He saves Lot and his family; He gives Abraham and Sarah their son; He provides a ram to sacrifice on the mount; He makes Joseph second to Pharaoh in Egypt. Time and time again He provides for His people. Time and time again He proves He is trustworthy.
Not just in Genesis, but also in Exodus. He raises up Moses, saving him from genocide so he could lead God’s people. He shows up in the plagues, proving His might and faithfulness to Israel alone. He leads them through the sea on dry land and vanquishes their enemies with the same waters He held back for their sake. He provided manna in the desert and water from the rock.
I need not list every way the Lord proves His faithfulness throughout the rest of Scripture. I’m afraid I do not have nearly enough typewriter ribbon to do so. The book of John says, “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” And anyway, it’s worth a read on your own time to discover for yourself. He does have a funny way of revealing Himself through those words.
I don’t think it a coincidence that “faith” is within the word “faithfulness.” Faith is characterized by an attitude of faithfulness, of which God is the greatest example. God, being entirely faithful as we have discussed, always pairs His words with verifying actions. He says Abraham will have a son with Sarah, and they have a son; He says Israel will have the land of Canaan, and they do. Faithfulness has a quality of truth that comes from our words and intentions being in accord with our behaviors and actions.
The words of James chapter 2 are brought to mind as I write. “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” Now we can start to see why “faith” is buried inside “faithfulness.” Hebrews chapter 11 writes, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Faith is the sure expectation of things to come. It is the proclamation that we believe God is who He says He is and that He can and will do what He says He will do. But it is essential that we do not miss the “fullness” that follows our faith.
Fullness is the fruition, the actuality, the substance. God exemplifies this as His promises are fulfilled. He proves time and time again that His words, His proclamations are true and trustworthy. James begs us to consider if we are like God in this respect. He bids us to consider if our actions mirror our expectations of things to come. He pleads with us to consider our works in light of what we profess to believe. If we are to be righteous, then it is essential that we be consistent on these: our word and our works.
Do we labor as if God is providing for our every need? Do we toil as if Jesus paid the price for our debt? Do we work as if the Bible is the actual word of God? Do we sway to culture, or popularity, or mysticism, or idolatry, or politics to fix us or others? We cannot serve two masters. We cannot both believe God is who He says He is and also haphazardly meander through this life as if His Word is not true. We are given a chance to bask in the promises of God’s faithfulness and live in light of these promises and His ability to carry them out.
To be lukewarm is to not let our words gain life through our actions. It is to lack faith and fullness. Together. As God has shown us over and over again in His Word. Lucky for us, we have the good grace of God to cover our times of faithlessness when we cannot act out our proclamation of faith. As Paul writes to the Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Praise God for grace! It is grace that frees us up to the fullness of our faith: the works that God prepared for us to walk in.
Yet we cannot abuse grace knowingly. “Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means!” says Paul in his letter to the Romans. We are to become more like Christ: more faithful. As we follow Him more we become more faithful through our understanding of His grace. Our continual acknowledgement and repentance of sin and God’s lavishing of grace upon grace on us sanctifies us throughout this life. Again in Romans, chapter 12 says, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
So let us walk in the fullness of our faith, brothers and sisters. Let us lay aside all entanglements to sin each day. Let us cling daily to the grace given to us by Christ.
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:11-16)
PS – If you have questions about this post, I would love to talk. God’s process of bringing us nearer to Him and choosing His Way over sin is something that occurs in our lives every single day, no matter how far into our walk with the Lord we are. We have hope because through grace we are saved from sin’s consequences forever by faith, but our earthly, broken bodies are still subject to the brokenness caused by sin in the world. Each day we can choose to reject sin more and more and live a life with the fruits of the Holy Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:22-23). Again, I’d love to talk with you and pray for you as well!