This week we discuss the 12th chapter of RA Torrey’s 1898 publication What The Bible Teaches. See all of Lex’s posts here. A PDF copy of the book can be downloaded here (a facsimile of the original publication is here). You are welcome and encouraged to join the discussion.
You know that one friend who stands by you no matter how stupid you act or speak. Who supports you in all your crisis? Who always has a kind word for you, never is mean or ugly to you? Me either. Probably the closest thing to that would be our Mom’s. Well, some of them. But that sure would be one faithful friend, eh?
Torry talks about God’s faithfulness in chapter 12. Read about it from the link above, he lists a lot of great verses. God is the one person you can trust to reveal your innermost thoughts, worries, concerns, frailties, joys, hopes, dreams. But His faithfulness is a two edged sword. To the faithless He will be faithful in His wrath. To His children born of His Spirit He will always support, protect, guide, deliver and build up. There’s a built-in guarantee, a promise. That’s what His faithfulness is all about.
We should define “faith,” the main component in “faithfulness.” Strangely enough faith is defined only once in all of Scripture, and that very late in the New Testament. We find this solitary definition of “faith” in the Book of Hebrews, chapter 11, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Faith is assurance. It isn’t guessing, it isn’t a pipe-dream, it isn’t a wish or a fancy, or a “I sure hope so” mindset It is being sure. It is certainty. A Christian doesn’t say, “I hope I am going to Heaven, I hope everything in the Bible is true.” A Believer is certain.
This certainty comes to us in the act of being Born Again. God Himself implants that certainty in our hearts, it is that Magnificent Gift. Paul on the Damascus Road received it. One moment he was hostile to the Church, the next moment he knew beyond any doubt the truth of Jesus Christ. The same thing happened to me back in 1976; I was sitting with two friends not having a clue about who Jesus really was, then in an instant God gave me the certainty, the clarity, of who He is, that He is real, that He is alive. All just because I listened to one guy speak to my neighbor of how real Jesus was, that He IS alive, He really did rise from the dead and left the tomb! “Why don’t you believe what I’m saying?” It was a moment of miracle for me.
This certainty can’t be attained by rationalization. It is this assurance that God gives us that these things are so. Just like Jesus’ response when Peter told Him, “to whom shall we go, You have words of eternal life.” Jesus’ reply was, flesh and blood did not reveal this to you but My Father in Heaven.” Faith is a gift given by God to man which turns him into a born again believer, a child of God, one who has certainty, not guessing, not hope based on supposition, but real live certainty that He is who He says He is. That’s why Christians are so obnoxious to the world – because we tell them we know something they don’t.
The aspect of certainty is a major component in God’s faithfulness. He can certainly be counted on to help, to guide, to discipline and correct, to love, to purify, to bring us to everlasting life. His faithfulness is the magnification of certainty.
[Scriptures taken from the New American Standard Bible © 1995]