Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your name, for in perfect faithfulness You have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. ~Isaiah 25:1
What are the attributes of faith, and just what are the wonderful things planned AND DONE so long ago?
1Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. 2By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. ~ Hebrews 11:1-2
Therefore, when He came into the world, He said, “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come – In the volume of the book it is written of Me – To do Your will, O God.’ “ ~Hebrews 10:5-7
Yes, from the very beginning God’s Word teaches that it was planned that God’s only Son, Jesus, would come to earth in a fleshly body to die in perfect faithfulness to God’s will. It has always been about God’s love for man and it always will be so.
The Book of Hebrews clears up a lot on the subject of faith. It was written at a time when the early Christian Jews were considering abandoning their faith in Jesus, in favor of returning to their traditional Jewish religion. This sort of rebellion is not new to the descendants of Abraham. Even though God’s faithfulness is perfect in His covenant with the patriarchs of Judaism, there are many recorded instances of the Israelites backsliding into things like idolatry, flat refusal to enter into the Promised Land, and other instances of disobedience to God’s Word.
Therefore, as only God has performed perfect faithfulness, we as His children, may only aspire to reach it in this lifetime. But instead of giving up when we fail, we can repent and pray for forgiveness. Instead of drifting away from being faithful, we must certainly strive to become overcomers through the urgings of Jesus in the Book of Revelation:
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it. ~Revelation 2:17
BEING AN OVERCOMER MEANS TO BE FAITHFUL! Listen to the pleadings of the Holy Spirit that we keep faithful to God in our hearts:
7Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His voice, 8Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness, 9Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years. 10Therefore I was angry with that generation, And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways.’ 11So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ “ ~Hebrews 3:7-11
SO WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL ABOUT FAITH?
- On the one hand, because we want to preserve our salvation by walking out our faith according to God’s grace.
4For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5and have tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. ~Hebrews 6:4-6
Remember the warning against backsliding in Ephesians 4:30?
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
31“Therefore I say unto you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. 32Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.” ~Matthew 12:31-32
- On the other hand, faith without works is dead, James 2:14-26. That sort of Christianity puts us right back under the Law and out of grace. Here we see that perfect faithfulness requires not only a plan, but action as well.
26For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27but a certain fearful expectation of judgement, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose will he be thought worth who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the LORD. And again, “The LORD will judge His people.” 31It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
35Therefore, do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. 36For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:
37“For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. 38Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” ~Hebrews 10:26-31, & 35-38
- Remember, that by faith we overcome. God has given many examples in the Bible of the hardships that believers have endured while practicing their faith. This particular passage is both heartrending and encouraging those who are under trials:
30By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. 31By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace. 32And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: 33who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented – 38of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. 39And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.
1Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. ~Hebrews 11:30-39 & Hebrews 12: 1-2
I hope that this message on perfect faithfulness strengthens your spiritual armor today. May God bless your comings and goings this week. May He guide and protect you from any harm; and above all, encourage you in your spiritual walk of faith.
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