Christian theology in a Sudanese context. The essential nature and character of God.
The Faithfulness of God God’s faithfulness means that He will always do what He has said He will do, He will certainly keep His promises (Deuteronomy 32:3,4; Psalm 145:13). ’Faithful’ means ‘loyal’, ‘trustworthy’, ‘certain’, ‘reliable’, ‘true’ and ‘accurate’. God can never stop being Who He is. God will always be true to His own character. God will forever be exactly the same. He can be completely relied upon.
My neighbour in Bahri, Ala Eldeen, became a good friend during the time we lived next door. We would sit outside his house some evenings and talk for hours about anything and everything. Sometimes it was world events, other times religion, or perhaps what was happening within our own families. We laughed and we drank many cups of tea together. Just once, for a couple of weeks, our relationship was other than friendly. That was when the American and the British governments led a military invasion into Iraq, in March 2003. At the beginning of that war he said to me in my driveway, “Mr Colin, we have been good friends, but from today we are enemies – we are on opposite sides in this war”. However, once there was a change of leadership in Iraq, our friendship – which I really do appreciate – was resumed.
No-one will ever be able to say: ‘God is a different person today than yesterday’. Nothing outside of God influences Him (2 Timothy 2:13). Our sinful disobedience may erect a barrier between us and God, but God will still faithfully do what is best for us. It may not always be what we ask for, but it will always be what we really need. God is always faithful to His higher purpose for our lives. His answers to our questions are the best answers, even if we do not think so! (Romans 8:28-30). Because God can be trusted to keep true to His words, we can confidently put our faith in Him. Such trust would be impossible if God changed. Three clever and good looking young men in King Nebuchadnezzar’s service were so convinced of God’s faithfulness they were ready to be burnt to death if it was His will (Daniel 1:3-5; Daniel 3:16-18). They firmly believed God would do what was best. If we are to be faithful servants to our God, Who is Himself faithful, it may bring big changes to our own plans for our lives. But we can always safely lean upon God.
The New Testament shows this is practical in our Christian lives. God will bring us to heaven in spite of our own weakness (1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:23,24). God will give us a way to beat off all temptations (1 Corinthians 10:13). God will keep us from the evil one’s control (2 Thessalonians 3:3). God will forgive us as we admit our sin and turn from our sin to Him (1 John 1:8,9). Our security comes from God’s faithfulness, not from our own. “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He Who promised is faithful”, Hebrews 10:23.
Thinking it through.
(a). Since God is faithful to His word, how confident of it should we be?
(b). Since God is faithful to Himself, how can we discover if our ‘ideas to serve Him’ come from Him or from elsewhere?
(c). How does God’s ‘faithfulness’ help us when we face an unknown future?