1 Corinthians 1:9
God is faithful, by whom you were called to the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
To be faithful is to be true to what one has promised or engaged to do. God has come into relation with the universe and the creatures he has made. He has revealed himself to us in various ways, declaring his will, and hence we can speak of his faithfulness. As the unchanging One, ever consistent with himself, he is true to all he has spoken. In all the departments of his working this great principle may be traced.
I. THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD IS EXEMPLIFIED IN NATURE. What we call "the laws of nature" are not mere blind forces, beyond which we cannot see; they are simply the modes of the Almighty's working, the impress of his will upon creation. On what does the fixity of these laws rest but just the faithfulness of God? The movements of the heavenly bodies, the succession of the seasons, the production of like effects by like causes, - these have been uniform since the present course of things began. Upon this uniformity all human activity depends. The husbandman sows his seed, relying on the laws of growth. The sailor launches his vessel, believing that the waters will bear it up, and that the breeze will fill his sails. The chemist mixes his materials, knowing that they will combine according to the laws of chemical affinity. To the materialist these are ultimate facts, of which he has no explanation to offer; to the Christian they are so many evidences of the truth that God is faithful.
II. THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD IS EXEMPLIFIED IN THE MORAL GOVERNMENT OF THE WORLD. On what principles does that government rest? Are the ten words of Sinai still in force as the statute book of the world? Is that old announcement as true today as when it was uttered by the prophet (Isaiah 3:10, 11)? - "Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him; woe unto the wicked, it shall be ill with him." Good and evil seem to us inextricably confused in this world. Bad men frequently get the best of life, while good men as often go to the wall. Is God faithful? Amid all apparent anomalies there is enough to show that he is on the side of righteousness, and that all his laws are working for that end. But we must not forget that he does not promise to strike the balance between good and evil in this life. Things are meanwhile in process, and the full result can be judged of only hereafter. When the mists have rolled away from this world's ongoings, and everything is seen in its naked reality, the faithfulness of God will stand out in clear relief.
III. THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD IS EXEMPLIFIED IN THE SPHERE OF RACE. Here it shines with conspicuous lustre. All round the circle you may trace it; but a few illustrations will suffice. God is faithful:
1. In regard to his promises. They are "precious and exceeding great" (2 Peter 1:4), because "he is faithful that promised" (Hebrews 10:23). Not one of them shall fail of fulfilment. The great promise contained in the protevangel (Genesis 3:15) took long centuries to reach its development, but the fulness of the time came at last, and the seed of the woman blossomed into the Christ. Similarly, every promise of God shall be fulfilled in its season. What Joshua said to Israel may be said to us when we have entered on the promised inheritance: "Ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you" (Joshua 23:14).
2. In regard to the pardon of sin. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). A frank and full confession will always bring forgiveness, because God has pledged himself to this. What an encouragement to keep nothing back from him! His faithfulness and righteousness demand the pardon of the penitent child.
3. In regard to temptation. "God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able," etc. (1 Corinthians 10:13; comp. 2 Thessalonians 3:3). There is no promise to exempt believers from trial. Temptation will surely come to us, as it came to our Saviour; and in that hour our security does not lie in our own watchfulness or strength, but in the faithfulness of God. True to his word, true to the obligation implied in our effectual calling, he will always "deliver us from the evil."
4. In regard to perfect holiness. It is introduced in this connection here (vers. 8, 9) and in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, 24, "And the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly Faithful is he that calleth you, who will also do it." Having called us, he will complete the work thus begun. The faithfulness of God is the pledge that we shall at last be "holy as he is holy."
1. To Christians, as a ground of comfort. His faithfulness will carry you through every valley of death shade, and bring you home at last.
2. To the ungodly, as a ground of warning. God is faithful to his threatenings as well as his promises. - B.
Parallel VersesKJV: God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.