The element of faithfulness is beautiful wherever found. The exhibitions of faithful devotion seen even amongst the lower orders of creatures, present a pleasing sight; and this quality increases in grandeur as it may be found in all the succeeding planes of existence until it reaches the summit of perfection in God Himself. In Him we find a faithfulness made the more beautiful because exercised toward creatures so inferior to Himself. To be “faithful” implies the discharge of duty, promise or agreement, and God has condescended to bind Himself by unbreakable covenants to His earthly creatures, and in a very special way to his New Creation, the Church. And for their encouragement His inspired word abounds in reiterations of His integrity and faithfulness, and we are assured by the same Word that the great Creator, whose power and wisdom are displayed in all the far-reaching expanse of the universe, finds no greater joy than that of seeing His own glorious attributes mirrored in our characters. And He has promised us that as we “behold as in a glass,” His glory, we shall be changed into the same glory and likeness “from grace to grace,” by the operation of His Word and Spirit.
The inspired definition of God’s character is beautifully concise, comprehending in three short words the sum total of His every grace. “God is love,” and it is the exercise of His attributes that has brought into play every power he possesses. All things, animate and inanimate, are so ar-ranged to bring the greatest good to His intelligent creatures. So we find Him “faithful in His love.” And how well the poet has expressed it:
“The love of God is broader
Than the measure of man’s mind,
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.”
Who can measure the love than can never be lukewarm, that can never be anything but intense, that “loved a world of sinners lost” to the degree of arranging their deliverance through a Plan that would involve the gift of His dearest treasure, giving Him up to humiliation, suffering, and death; subjecting Him to tests that wrung from His physical frame the bloody sweat, and from His heart the cry, “My God, My God, why has thou forsaken me.”
Is it any marvel then that such redeemed ones are His peculiar care; that such as appreciate this unspeakable gift of His love become very precious in His sight? But Oh, How great that love! Could we measure His love for Jesus, then we could know His love for us, for it is written, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you.” And in this blessed love for us the blessed Master was, as always, manifesting the Father, for has he not said: “The Father Himself loveth you”? Has He not taught us to say, “Our Father”? And God must and will in His relationship as Father, excel in every fatherly virtue, the highest attainment of fatherhood ever known. This further guarantees to us the fulfillment of those promises wherein we are assured of His faithfulness as our “Keeper.” “He that keepeth thee, will not slumber.”
The godly of very Age have rejoiced in this feature of God’s faithfulness, and all with one voice have declared, “There hath not failed one word of all his good promises.” How blessed indeed is the one who can look through all the experiences of the pilgrim way and recount all the snares and pitfalls and dangers of the past, and say today, “Kept by the power of God,” and meet every challenge of his relationship to the Lord with the inspired message of confidence: “I know Him whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” Christ has died, God has justified, and neither death nor life, angels, principalities or powers, or any creature, can separate us from the love of God in Christ, our all in all.
He is our faithful Guide: “All the way my Savior leads me.” The journey to the celestial city is intended to be educative and preparatory, hence its length and its diversified experiences. And herein we find ofttimes our greatest tests — to follow where He leads with a faith that can firmly trust Him come what may. In His faithfulness as our Guide, He must often lead us through the valleys of humiliation and over the mountains of difficulty, for “Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.” And, precious thought, we know that all will work together for good, if we are rightly exercised thereby. If we humble ourselves under His mighty hand, we shall be exalted; if we ascend our mountains instead of tunneling through them, we may stand with Abraham and hear God speak a second time out of heaven, because of tests overcome. Or, we may find our trials but a mountain that separates us from all others below, to behold in transfigured glory, “none save Jesus only.”
He is also faithful to forgive. “There is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be reverenced.” How precious to the true child of God is His forgiving grace! “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.”
To properly appreciate the true basis for forgiveness and to realize a keen sense of the seriousness of our failures make His forgiveness sweet indeed. And how assuring the promise that true repentance will remove our sins from us as far as the east is from the west — a beautiful way of telling us that we have been separated from them and they from us in such a way as to forever roll them away. From north to south would be a traversable distance, but the east is forever rolling away from the west, and so He rolls our guilt away.
But even more, He is a faithful Rewarder. He seeks such to worship Him as do so in Spirit and in truth, and nowhere encourages service merely for the sake of reward. Nevertheless, He has spread along the Narrow Way those precious promises by which He would have us know something of the rewards awaiting the faithful. Every true saint will assuredly say with David: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” The joys and blessings of the present life well repay any service given, especially so when the imperfections of the service are remem-bered. But how faithful He is! “I will be thy reward.” He rewards us daily by giving us much more than we merit, and when the work is all done and the stewardship finished, “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nether hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive of the things that God hath in reservation for them that love Him.”
“Know therefore that the Lord thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keepeth His commandments.”
Address by Brother J. J. Blackburn