Tuesday, March 20, 2018

It Was My Sin That Murdered Christ:

Image result for jesus bloody
Sometimes it does us good to consider the sheer sinfulness of our sin. Sometimes it does us good to consider what our sin has cost. Perhaps these words from Isaac Ambrose will challenge you as they did me.

When I but think of those bleeding veins, bruised shoulders, scourged sides, furrowed back, harrowed temples, nailed hands and feet, and then consider that my sins were the cause of all, methinks I should need no more arguments for self-abhorring!

Christians, would not your hearts rise against him that should kill your father, mother, brother, wife, husband,—dearest relations in all the world? Oh, then, how should your hearts and souls rise against sin! Surely your sin it was that murdered Christ, that killed him, who is instead of all relations, who is a thousand, thousand times dearer to you than father, mother, husband, child, or whomsoever. One thought of this should, methinks, be enough to make you say, as Job did, ‘I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

Oh, what is that cross on the back of Christ? My sins. Oh, what is that thorny crown on the head of Christ? My sins. Oh, what is the nail in the right hand and that other in the left hand of Christ? My sins. Oh, what is that spear in the side of Christ? My sins. What are those nails and wounds in the feet of Christ? My sins. With a spiritual eye I see no other engine tormenting Christ, no other Pilate, Herod, Annas, Caiaphas, condemning Christ, no other soldiers, officers, Jews or Gentiles doing execution on Christ, but only sin. Oh, my sins, my sins, my sins!

These words from Joseph Hart seem fitting:

Many woes had Christ endured,
Many sore temptations met,
Patient, and to pains inured:
But the sorest trial yet
Was to be sustain’d in thee,
Gloomy, sad Gethsemane !

Came at length the dreadful night:
Vengeance, with its iron rod,
Stood, and with collected might
Bruised the harmless Lamb of God:
See, my soul, thy Saviour see
Prostrate in Gethsemane !

There my God bore all my guilt:
This, through grace, can be believed;
But the horrors which he felt
Are too vast to be conceived:
None can penetrate through thee,
Doleful, dark Gethsemane !

Sins against a holy God,
Sins against his righteous laws,
Sins against his love, his blood,
Sins against his name and cause,—
Sins immense as is the seal
Hide me, O Gethsemane !

Here’s my claim, and here alone;
None a Saviour more can need :
Deeds of righteousness I’ve none;
No,-not one good work to plead:
Not a glimpse of hope for me,
Only in Gethsemane.

Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
One almighty God of love,
Hymn’d by all the heavenly host
In thy shining courts above,
We adore thee, gracious Three,—
Bless thee for Gethsemane.

Monday, March 19, 2018

6 Things Jesus Accomplished By His Death:

Here’s a very brief summary of the six core things Christ accomplished in his death.

1. Expiation

Expiation means the removal of our sin and guilt. Christ’s death removes — expiates — our sin and guilt. The guilt of our sin was taken away from us and placed on Christ, who discharged it by his death.

Thus, in John 1:29, John the Baptist calls Jesus “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Jesus takes away, that is, expiates, our sins. Likewise, Isaiah 53:6 says, “The Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on him,” and Hebrews 9:26 says “He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”

2. Propitiation

Whereas expiation refers to the removal of our sins, propitiation refers to the removal of God’s wrath.

By dying in our place for our sins, Christ removed the wrath of God that we justly deserved. In fact, it goes even further: a propitiation is not simply a sacrifice that removes wrath, but a sacrifice that removes wrath and turns it into favor. (Note: a propitiation does not turn wrath into love — God already loved us fully, which is the reason he sent Christ to die; it turns his wrath into favor so that his love may realize its purpose of doing good to us every day, in all things, forever, without sacrificing his justice and holiness.)

Several passages speak of Christ’s death as a propitiation for our sins. Romans 3:25-26 says that God “displayed [Christ] publicly as a propitiation in his blood through faith. This was to demonstrate his righteousness, because in the forbearance of God he passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration of his righteousness at the present time, that he might be just and the justifier of him who has faith in Jesus.”

Likewise, Hebrews 2:17 says that Christ made “propitiation for the sins of the people” and 1 John 4:10 says “in this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

3. Reconciliation

Whereas expiation refers to the removal of our sins, and propitiation refers to the removal of God’s wrath, reconciliation refers to the removal of our alienation from God.

Because of our sins, we were alienated — separated — from God. Christ’s death removed this alienation and thus reconciled us to God. We see this, for example, in Romans 5:10-11: “For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.”

4. Redemption

Our sins had put us in captivity from which we need to be delivered. The price that is paid to deliver someone from captivity is called a “ransom.” To say that Christ’s death accomplished redemption for us means that it accomplished deliverance from our captivity through the payment of a price.

There are three things we had to be released from: the curse of the law, the guilt of sin, and the power of sin. Christ redeemed us from each of these.

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13-14).

Christ redeemed us from the guilt of our sin. We are “justified as a gift by his grace, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).

Christ redeemed us from the power of sin: “knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your fathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19).

Note that we are not simply redeemed from the guilt of sin; to be redeemed from the power of sin means that our slavery to sin is broken. We are now free to live to righteousness. Our redemption from the power of sin is thus the basis of our ability to live holy lives: “You have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your bodies” (1 Corinthians 6:20).

5. Defeat of the Powers of Darkness

Christ’s death was a defeat of the power of Satan. “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him” (Colossians 3:15). Satan’s only weapon that can ultimately hurt people is unforgiven sin. Christ took this weapon away from him for all who would believe, defeating him and all the powers of darkness in his death by, as the verse right before this says, “having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:13-14).

6. And he Did All of This By Dying As Our Substitute

The reality of substitution is at the heart of the atonement. Christ accomplished all of the above benefits for us by dying in our place — that is, by dying instead of us. We deserved to die, and he took our sin upon him and paid the penalty himself.

This is what it means that Christ died for us (Romans 5:8) and gave himself for us (Galatians 2:20). As Isaiah says, “he was pierced through for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities . . . the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on him” (Isaiah 53:5-6).

You see the reality of substitution underlying all of the benefits discussed above, as the means by which Christ accomplished them. For example, substitution is the means by which we were ransomed: “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). Christ’s death was a ransom for us — that is, instead of us. Likewise, Paul writes that “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13).

Substitution is the means by which we were reconciled: “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). It is the means of expiation: “He made him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21) and “He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24). And by dying in our place, taking the penalty for our sins upon himself, Christ’s death is also the means of propitiation.

To close: Two implications. First, this is very humbling.

Second, “Greater love has no one than this, than he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

Friday, March 16, 2018

Praying For Our Children:

Parenting children is hard work.

There are so many times I’m at a loss when it comes to leading my family. Should I discipline in this situation or let it slide? Am I being unreasonable with my requirements? How can I speak truth in such a way as to penetrate their hearts? What’s the right word of encouragement in this circumstance? How can I lead them to love the Bible, and Jesus, and the church?

So many questions. So often, very few answers.

So often, I simply struggle to know how best to lead my kids. I don’t exactly know how to help them through every struggle, pain, and problem. It feels like I’m continually groping in the dark for answers.

And yet, one thing I know I can do in the midst of the complexities and difficulties of the parenting task: I can pray. That’s where I go when I don’t know what else I can do. I simply close my eyes, lay my head on theirs, and pray. And I pray because I know God hears and is eager to come to my aid.

James writes, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5).

That’s the issue. I lack wisdom. Therefore, I should ask God in faith (James 1:6) to help me know how to faithfully father my children. And I do so knowing he will answer with stunning generosity.

But praying and asking God to help me is not where my prayers stop. Though I don’t always have the immediate answer to their particular problems, I am able to stoop over their beds at night, hug them close (until they don’t let me do that anymore), and pray for them. So, each night, I pray for my boys. It’s become so routine that if I miss it, I’ll hear their yells from their beds caling me to pray before they sleep.

A Simple Prayer for My Children

I pray the same prayer every night. I lead in to it differently, but it stays pretty much the same. It goes like this: “[after some intro words], Father, give [Piper/Bryant/Ellie Rose] the mind of a theologian, the heart of a missionary, the gentleness of their mother, protect them from the sins of their father, and may they love Jesus all the days of their life.”

Minds of Theologians.
Hearts of Missionaries.
Steadfastness of oaks.
Gentleness of their mother.
Protect them from the sins of their father.
And may they love Jesus all the days of their lives.

I don’t add commentary. I don’t pray long winded prayers. I pray these words, kiss them on the cheek, and turn out the lights. True, they don’t know what theologians or missionaries are (yet) and they are not quite sure why I want them to be like trees, but those days will come. What is important now is that God hears. In my praying, I’m asking him to do marvelous things in my sons.

By his grace and for his glory, those prayers will take root and lead to future fruit.

Dads and moms you won’t always have the right answers. You’ll often be at a loss when it comes helping your kids. But you can always stop, ask God for wisdom, and then kneel beside your children and pray. Let them hear you ask your heavenly Father for amazing things.

Social Media: The Next Mission Field

When it comes to digital, most churches are doing it wrong. We post our events and blast what we are doing inside our four walls to the world. We talk about Jesus, but we focus on our events. We invite those looking for a church, but we don’t speak to the lost or to those who are hurting. In short, our digital outreach is nothing more than a billboard for believers.

The Copy Machine

There was a time in the church when a copy machine was an unheard of expense and necessity. I can imagine the arguments that came up between the little lady who all but had her name on her pew and the young pastor who was proposing spending hundreds of dollars on a copy machine. There was likely the argument of how it could be a good tool for evangelism and ministry outreach. And that argument would have been valid, which is why it eventually won.

The church is at crossroads again when it comes to technology. We have long been behind the curve on creative expression and we are simply aren’t approaching the digital realm as another mission field like we should be.

Your Digital Ministry

The way I see it, a true digital ministry should be focused on the lost. It should be clear from our digital communication that Jesus is the way and the only truth. It should be elementary in its use of scripture and explain things as if the reader has never heard of the Bible before. This is what a ministry should be. We should be focused on the lost while, at the same time, equipping our members to share and get the gospel message into their social media feeds to reach their network.

I want to take a second to draw a likely correlation here. It is said that upwards of 95% of millennials use social media on a daily basis. It’s also said that this particular group is falling away from the church at the highest rate in history. To me, the correlation is simple. Churches aren’t going where this unreached people group has access to hear the gospel, simply because we don’t want to put in the resources and time to use the main medium they communicate on.

What can the church do?

When the church decides it’s going to see the digital world as a mission field, things will change. The power of the gospel will not be undermined and it will draw the lost to salvation. And, while millennials are the main users of social media, they aren’t the only lost people there.

Your church can use social media more effectively by focusing on the lost. Consider setting up a team of a few people to develop and schedule content out for a few weeks in advance. Make the focus 80% on the lost and use the rest on things going on at the church or for posting content for believers and members.

Keep it simple. Social media doesn’t have to be complicated or really time consuming. Focus on one platform such as Facebook and use it well. Don’t spread yourself too thin or you will fail.

Have a mission mindset. If you have a mission mindset for the initiative, you will be able to stay on track and keep people engaged. Consistency is key for social media and this mindset will help maintain what you are doing long term.

I hope this helps shed some light on a very important topic for our churches today. We have a message that needs to be spread and we have the largest communication platform the world has ever known. Let’s use it to it’s fullest potential to get the message of Jesus to the lost at all costs!

The Most Important Time To Go To Church:

The most important time to be at church is when you don’t feel like it.

I’ve talked with three Christians about this recently—two struggling with depression, and a third who just went through a tough break-up—who’ve stopped gathering with God’s people during a difficult season. Whether for weeks or months, all three have decided to stop going to church.

One said it would be unsatisfying, that there just isn’t a sense of connection. Another said it would be awkward, because they don’t want to see their ex. The last said it would be unhelpful, because they have no desire to be there anymore.

I’m not here to minimize their burdens or condemn them for feeling the way they do. I’m not writing to them or about them. I’m just writing to every Christian who feels the way they’re feeling, who feels (as I have before) like gathering with God’s people will be unsatisfying, unhelpful, or just plain awkward.

I’m writing to say something I said to all three of my friends at some point in our conversations: The most important time to be at church is when you don’t feel like it.

Far More Than a Place
Yes, I know the church is a people, not a place. The church is a body, not a building. The church is something Christians are, not just somewhere Christians go. Yes, I also know the church is a family that should meet and study and eat and fellowship and pray and serve throughout the week, not just on Sunday. I know these things, and if you’ve walked with God for a while, you do too.

But I also know the church is marked, known, and enlivened by its regular, rhythmic, ordered gatherings (Heb. 10:24–25). A body that’s never together is more like a prosthetics warehouse, and a family that never has family dinners or outings or reunions won’t be a healthy family, if any family at all.

Covenants are made for the hard times, not the good times.

Sure, you could listen to some praise music and an online sermon, but there won’t be any personalized one-anothering, there won’t be any face-to-face fellowship, and there won’t be any bread and wine. Sure, you could read the Bible and pray on your own, but you won’t hear the studied voice of your own shepherd teaching and comforting and correcting you. Yes, you could just attend another church for a while because yours has grown unsatisfying, but that’s not treating your church like much of a covenant community.

Covenants are made for the hard times, not the good times. In the good times, we don’t need covenants, because we can get by and stick together on feelings alone. But covenant communities hold us up when we’re faltering and pick us up when we’ve fallen. They encourage us when we’re weary and wake us when we’re slumbering. They draw us out of ourselves and call us to our commitments and responsibilities. They invite us back to the garden of Christian community,  where we grow.

It’s Not About You
I get it. The worship team didn’t pull their song selections from your Spotify playlist; the pastor didn’t have the time and resources to craft a mesmerizing sermon with a team of presidential speechwriters; the membership may not have the perfect combination of older saints to mentor you, younger saints to energize you, mature saints to counsel you, hospitable saints to host you, and outgoing saints to pursue you.

But I know another thing: If your church believes the Bible and preaches the gospel and practices the ordinances and serves one another, then your church has saints, and those saints are your brothers and sisters, your fathers and mothers, your weary fellow pilgrims walking the same wilderness you are—away from Egypt, surrounded by pillars of cloud and fire, with eyes set on the promised land.

Which is to say, this isn’t really about you.

And those people you wish would pursue you and care for you and reach out to you need you to do the same (Gal. 6:9–10). That pastor you wish were a better preacher is probably praying this morning that you’d be a good listener (Mark 4:3–8, 14–20; James 1:22–25). Those people whose spiritual gifts you desperately need also desperately need your spiritual gifts (Eph. 4:15–16). Those people whose fellowship you find dissatisfying or unhelpful or just plain awkward don’t need your criticism but your gospel partnership (Phil. 4:2–3).

And you can’t do any of these things if you’re not present.

Vital Means of Grace
At all times and in all places, the gathering of the saints is a means of grace established by God for edifying his people. Christians gather to worship not because it might be helpful if all the stars align, or if our leaders plan the service just right, or if everyone smiles at us with the perfect degree of sincerity and handles the small talk seamlessly and engages us with just the right depth of conversation that’s neither too personal nor too shallow.

We gather because the God we’re worshiping has instituted our gathering as a main way he matures and strengthens and comforts us. It’s not just when the songs or prayers or sermons or Sunday school classes touch our souls right where we need to be touched. We meet because God builds up his people through our meeting every time, in every place, without fail, no matter how we feel. Like rain in the fields, it’s how our gatherings work.

Ask for Grace. Then Go.
So I know you may not feel like it on Sunday morning. You may not feel like it for a while. But I’m asking you to trust God, ask for grace, and go.

Go, because the church gathers every Sunday to remember the death of Jesus for our sins and the resurrection of Christ from the dead, and that’s precisely what we all need to remember and celebrate, regardless of what else is going on in our lives.

Go, because the stone trapping you in the cave of depression can be rolled away in a night, and once God does it, no Roman soldier or Jewish priest can stop him. Go, because you’re gathering to anticipate a greater marriage than the one you hoped would happen later this year. Go, not because your trials aren’t real, but because that tabled bread and wine represents the crucifixion of the worst sins you could ever commit and the worst realities you’ve ever experienced.

Go, and in your going, grow. Go, and in your going, serve. Go, and in your going, let God pick up the pieces of your heart and stitch together the kind of mosaic that only gets fully crafted when saints stay committed to God’s long-term building project, when they speak the truth to one another in love (Eph. 4:15–16).

The most important time to be at church is when you don’t feel like it. So please, brothers and sisters: Go.

Our Church Is In Danger:

There’s never been a more dangerous time for the church. It’s swimming against the moral tide of culture, and is, frankly, struggling to keep its head above water. From the outside, it faces growing oppression from tyrannical rulers and the reality of increasing persecution at the hands of an anti-Christian majority. From within, some church leaders are leading Christians astray with new and seemingly more attractive interpretations of Scripture. And those who are trying to stay faithful are left scratching their heads in bewilderment, at a loss over how to respond. The situation looks incredibly bleak.

But here’s the thing: the church I’ve described in the paragraph above is not, as you might have assumed, the church in the West today. It’s a church in an entirely different time and place—Asia Minor in the 1st century—and the original recipients of the book of Revelation.

Another church, two thousand years ago and several thousand miles away, and yet something in their experience rings true with our own today. And it’s no surprise, because your church faces the same dangers at the hands of the same enemy, employing the same methods, using the same tools. Except that nowadays, that looks a little different. It looks like Christians being mocked on talk shows or sneered at on social media. It looks like Christians cowed into silence in their workplace because they fear losing their job. It looks like church leadership teams falling out over theological differences. It looks like denominations embracing a new definition of marriage. It looks like churches closing down and being snapped up by developers to be converted into something more “relevant.” It looks like congregations losing heart because attendance is dwindling and the soul of their nation just seems so irreversibly lost.

Two Types of Churches
There’s no denying it. There’s no point burying your head in the sand. Every church is in danger—and that includes yours. In fact, there are only really two kinds of churches: those who are soberly aware of the risks and are prepared to face them, and those who are carrying on completely unaware.

The devil is prowling on both. The question is: what are you going to do about it?

The good news is that Jesus has already done something about the dangers facing your church—he wrote us a letter.

Most of us don’t usually think of the book of Revelation as a letter, but that’s what it is. It has a typical opening greeting and concluding blessing, and was written to and meant to circulate among seven churches in Asia Minor—what is now most of modern-day Turkey. Jesus wrote it in order to “show to his servants the things that must soon take place” (1 v 1). He intended to equip them to conquer these satanic threats to their faithful witness to Christ and his gospel.

Ultimate Realities
Revelation exposes the full, terrible extent of the danger and opposition your church faces, but—wonderfully—it also points us to the utter glory, majesty, and power of the Lamb who was slain for us, and who has won the victory.

Your church faces dangers, but don’t lose hope—because all who endure faithfully to the end will return to the restored Eden. We will dwell in the most holy and glorious new Jerusalem. And most importantly, we will live in God’s presence, where there will be no more pain, no more sorrow, no more cancer, no more birth defects, no more broken marriages, no more sibling rivalries, no more external hostilities, no more oppressive governments, no more evil, no more death. Everyone who conquers “will have this heritage, and [God] will be his God and he will be [God’s] son” (Revelation 21 v 7).

Your church faces dangers, but don’t try to brush them aside—let them cause you to long for Christ’s return. All the sin and evil we now experience remind us that this world is corrupt and needs to be renewed. All the dangers we now face as a church push us to long for the return of Christ, when he will vindicate us and bring us into our eternal home.

Your church faces dangers, but don’t ignore them. Instead, let them awaken you from your spiritual slumber and spur you on toward greater zeal for Christ and the mission he has given his church. For too long, we’ve been asleep. The time to awaken is now.

Your church faces dangers, but don’t be paralyzed by fear. Do something about them! Decide which dangers your church is most at risk of, and then prayerfully consider what needs to change. It is one thing to see the traps, but now we need to step out in faith and trust the guide to navigate around them.

Your church faces dangers, but don’t be surprised. Jesus has given us the words of Revelation “to show his servants what must soon take place” in order that we would not be taken aback by the coming difficulties (22 v 6). We can trust these promises because Jesus’ words are trustworthy and true (21 v 5), and as the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, he both initiates history and brings it to its conclusion (21 v 6). Jesus is God’s King, sovereign over all history, and he will accomplish all his holy will.

We are not promised “happily ever after” in this life, but rest assured, our “happily ever after” is coming. Our King has already slayed the dragon. He will return for his perfected bride. And he will bring us home.

When? He is coming soon! So, prepare yourself, and pray, “Come, Lord Jesus” (22 v 20)!

Until that day, “the grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen” (v 21).

God Is Faithful:

“ Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.” -Psalm 36:5

God is faithful. So often in our culture, faithfulness is something that is hoped for. A woman hopes her spouse or boyfriend remains faithful to her, employers hope their employees are faithful to their company, and stores hope customers are faithful to their brand. These examples show the difficulty of describing God’s character. Illustrations fall short and examples break down. In trying to think of a good illustration of faithfulness, I kept thinking of animal stories. I enjoy a good animal story as much as the next guy, but it’s safe to say that’s a pretty lame comparison. Herein lies the beauty of God’s character.

As we look to the inerrant Word to learn who God is, we are reminded again and again that He is God and we are not. We don’t hope God is faithful, loving, just, sovereign, holy, or good. He IS perfectly faithful, loving, just, sovereign, holy, and good. None of God’s characteristics waver; hence the breakdown of illustrations and examples. Proverbs 20:16 says, “Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find?” A perfectly faithful man or woman in all aspects of life will not be found, but a perfectly faithful God already exists; He sits on the throne of heaven with perfect faithfulness that is described as extending to the heavens and the clouds (Psalm 36:5). His faithfulness is beyond compare.

What is faithfulness?

To know that God is faithful, biblically speaking, is to know Him as reliable, stable, and sure. Descriptions of God as our rock and strong tower are images used in Scripture to help us grasp His great faithfulness. Proverbs 18:10 says, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe,” and Psalm 62:6 proclaims, “He only is my rock and salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.” His faithfulness is immoveable, and we are to rest in the sureness of its might.

In the Old Testament, God’s steadfast love and faithfulness are frequently paired together to help clarify God’s faithfulness. Exodus 34:6 states, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness…” and Psalm 89:15 says, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you”. These commonly paired attributes–steadfast love and faithfulness–show us God’s unwavering faithfulness in His love towards us. This is a sweet reflection worth noting.

God is faithful in countless and astounding ways. Let’s look at two ways the Lord is faithful.

God is faithful to Himself.

God is faithful to Himself. This can “feel” like an odd statement, but it’s a vital one. A.W. Pink, in The Attributes of God, explains it this way, “This quality (faithfulness) is essential to His being, without it He would not be God. For God to be unfaithful would be to act contrary to his nature, which were impossible…Faithfulness is one of the glorious perfections of his being.” If God were not faithful to Himself, He would not be God. As we read the Lord’s description of Himself in Exodus 34, “…a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love,” we know this is an accurate description because He is faithful to Himself. He keeps His own Word and character. He is not capable of unfaithfulness. He always has been, is, and will remain faithful.

God is Faithful to Redeem.

The central message of the Bible is redemption. Starting in Genesis 3, the Lord makes us aware of His plan to reconcile sinners to Himself. In the crushing aftermath of Adam and Eve’s sin, God doesn’t leave us hopeless. A Savior is coming. In Genesis, God set apart a people through Abraham, and in Exodus, God used Moses to lead them toward the Promise Land. Though Israel made an abundance of sinful choices and unwise decisions, God remained faithful to His mission of redemption. He was set on bringing salvation, and nothing would stop Him. In the New Testament, Jesus comes to earth to provide redemption via the cross. Now, the church—by the power of the Holy Spirit—fights sin, grows in Christ-likeness, and sets her mind on sharing the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Take heart. The Gospel is going forth because He is faithful to redeem sinners.

How Does God’s Faithfulness Shape the Believer?

We can rest in our salvation.

A Christian can rest in his salvation because the Lord, “is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory…” (Jude 24). Our salvation lies in His faithful hands. Are you allowing God’s faithfulness to keep you, bring joy, and provide rest in your salvation? Or do you believe falsely that God will change His mind about you?

We can confidently combat sin.

As we seek to combat sin, we remember that “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion” (Philippians 1:6). Remembering that the faithful Savior’s blood covers sin and is the means of sanctification helps guard us against self-condemnation. We take our sin seriously and repent—all the while rejoicing in His faithfulness to bring about the completion of our sanctification and glorification in Christ. We will never be perfectly faithful this side of eternity, but we will grow in our ability to be faithful. Faithfulness is one of God’s communicable attributes, an attribute the Holy Spirit will grow in our own lives as we pursue Christ. Do you become overly discouraged when faced with your sin? God’s faithfulness reminds us to rejoice in the Gospel even in the midst of the deepest sin struggles.

We can rest in the promises of Scripture.

Psalm 36:5 proclaims, “Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.” Because we know that God is faithful, we know that every promise in His Word is true. Are you spending time in the Word learning about God’s character and His promises?

There is no one like the God of the Bible. He is worth knowing. He is worth worshipping. He is eternally faithful.