Jesus of course is faithful. Believers are betting their eternal souls on that truth. That said, it is wise for us to consider not only THAT He is faithful, but also TO WHAT He is faithful. There is sometimes a tendency for the church to extrapolate from the truth of Jesus’ faithfulness some questionable extensions of truth, which are no truth at all – that He is faithful in continuing to approve us no matter how we might choose to act or behave. Bible history would teach us differently.
Jesus was all about the will of the Father, leaving us that impeccable example of faithfulness. It sometimes offended folks, even getting Him into trouble. When it was time to go to Jerusalem for the climax of His earthly ministry, nothing was going to deter or distract Him, not even the needs or desires of other people:
51 Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem,
52 and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him.
53 But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem.
It is obvious that Jesus not being received was because He had plans other than staying there to minister, heal, do signs and wonders, etc. “His face was set for Jerusalem”. The disappointed villagers must have acted so put out by Jesus, that the response of His disciples got pretty extreme – “Let’s order up some fire for these folks”:
54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”
We needn’t conclude that story – for our purposes we’re discussing Jesus being faithful, and focused.
Jesus noted His intimacy with His Father, stating the following:
29 “And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.”
That’s a good word. God and Jesus are intimate – it is the John 17 plumbline for His prayer for OUR intimacy with God. God has a will. Jesus, in always choosing to discover and obey the Father’s will, remained and remains in that place of intimacy. God doesn’t leave Jesus alone because of Jesus’ determination to please the Father. Point noted, for us all.
So where is this weblog going? Let’s retrace some steps to the walls of Jericho.
BACKGROUND – The angels who were rebellious had already long ago fallen from grace, reserved in chains, says Peter. Anyone up in the heavenly realms during Jericho-time was in complete concert with the Father, lock-step obedience.
Joshua is looking at a heavily fortified city, and a supernatural being shows up:
13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?”
14 So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?”
15 Then the Commander of the LORD’S army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so.
Interestingly, unlike other angelic appearances in scripture, when Joshua bows before this Commander of the army of the Lord, he is NOT instructed to NOT bow down. That sort of gets us wondering as to who this being might be. An early Jesus appearance? Meanwhile, for our purposes we would do well to understand that the being was answering Joshua’s multiple-choice question (“are you for us or for them?”) with a yes-no answer. That would flunk someone from class, but here it’s an appropriate revelation.
The Commander of the Armies was saying: I am for the purposes of God. When you are in alignment with those purposes, I am for you. Implied: If you are out of alignment with those purposes, I am not for you. The history of disobedient believers throughout scripture confirm this truth. 1500+ IF’s in the Bible. Lots is conditional. That is a Kingdom truth, regardless as to how unconditionally “faithful” we might paint God (or Jesus) to be to our recklessness or disobedience. That is why God told Israel to choose life of choose death.
19 “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;
20 “that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”
Lots changed with the coming of Jesus. Kingdom truth has not changed.
Check off two of the 1500+ IF’s:
I Jn 1:9-10
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
Here are some scriptures I have been considering recently – unquestionably pointing to the faithfulness of our Lord:
2 Tim 2:11-13
11 This is a faithful saying: for if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him.
12 If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, he also will deny us.
13 If we are faithless, he remains faithful; he cannot deny Himself.
If we die (of self) with Him (by our choice), we are assured to live with Him.
If we lay hold of the grace that is available to us, all the time, to endure, we get to reign with Him.
If we deny Him, He also will deny us. That’s pretty clear. I didn’t write it. Paul wrote it, who also wrote 1 Cor 10:12.
If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.
Verse 13 speaks to me that He will continue to be in the perfect will of the Father, faithful as He’s always been to the King and the Kingdom. I do not see that verse as even hinting to Jesus being faithful to anyone’s ongoing and deliberate rebellion and faithlessness. That contradicts scripture, even if it does not contradict some popular church doctrines.
The writer of Hebrews, drafting a long letter to encourage the Jewish believers (he calls them brethren, and mentions they are walking with Christ) who were getting discouraged, made some serious, and clear points on this topic:
12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;
13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,
15 while it is said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
16 For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses?
17 Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness?
18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey?
19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
Later, continuing with his exhortation for steadfastness and faithfulness (which comes with warnings earlier in chapter 6) he states positively:
9 But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner.
All this said, there is sufficient glorious and even abundant grace to remain secure in God, to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, to receive our full reward, and to reign with our Lord. He is faithful. It has never been a question about HIS faithfulness.
I love that the ball is in our court. Whosoever will, let him come. Anyone. Any time. Anywhere. Good God. Open plan of salvation for all peoples, tribes and tongues. Not willing that ANY perish. That is the will of God, and the will of man is the only thing that can get in the way. No one was designed and created for the purpose of perishing. Yea God. He is faithful.
“Hearken, O unbeliever, you have said, ‘I cannot believe,’ but it would be more honest if you had said, ‘I will not believe.’ The mischief lies there. Your unbelief is your fault, not your misfortune. It is a disease, but it is also a crime: it is a terrible source of misery to you, but it is justly so, for it is an atrocious offense against the God of truth.” (Spurgeon)