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JESUS IS COMING AGAIN
Click chart to enlarge
Charts from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission
Chart by Charles Swindoll
|1 Th 1:1-10
|1 Th 2:1-20
|1 Th 3:1-13
|1 Th 4:1-18
|1 Th 5:1-28
|Word and Power
of the Spirit
|Calling & Conduct
|Holy Living in Light of Day of the Lord
|Exemplary Hope of Young Converts
|Motivating Hope of
|Purifying Hope of Tried Believers
|Comforting Hope of Bereaved Saints
|Invigorating Hope of Diligent Christians
Written from Corinth
Amplified: Faithful is He Who is calling you [to Himself] and utterly trustworthy, and He will also do it [fulfill His call by hallowing and keeping you]. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: You can rely on Him Who calls you—and We will do this very thing. (Westminster Press)
Milligan's Paraphrase: Nor need you have any fear regarding this. The very fact that it is God Who is calling is to you the pledge that He will not suffer His calling to become null and void. (St. Paul's Epistles to the Thessalonians. 1908)
NLT: God, who calls you, is faithful; he will do this. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: He who calls you is utterly faithful and he will finish what he has set out to do. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: Faithful is He who gives you the divine summons [into salvation], who also will do it. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: stedfast is He who is calling you, who also will do it.
FAITHFUL IS HE WHO CALLS YOU:pistos o kalon (PAPMSN) umas, os kai poiesei (3SFAI):
- calls: 1Th 2:12 Ro 8:30 9:24 Ga 1:15 2Th 2:14 2Ti 1:9 1Pe 5:10 2Pe 1:3 Rev 17:14
- He also will bring it to pass: Nu 23:19 2Ki 19:31 Isa 9:7, Isa 14:24-26 Isa 37:32 Mt 24:35
- 1 Thessalonians 5 Resources
Deuteronomy 7:9 “Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;
Ps 36:5 Thy lovingkindness, O LORD, extends to the heavens, Thy faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Ps 40:10 I have not hidden Thy righteousness within my heart; I have spoken of Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation; I have not concealed Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth from the great congregation.
Ps 86:15) But Thou, O Lord, art a God merciful and gracious, Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.
Ps 89:2) For I have said, “Lovingkindness will be built up forever; In the heavens Thou wilt establish Thy faithfulness.”
Ps 92:2) To declare Thy lovingkindness in the morning, And Thy faithfulness by night,
Ps 100:5) For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting, And His faithfulness to all generations.
Ps 138:2) I will bow down toward Thy holy temple, And give thanks to Thy name for Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth; For Thou hast magnified Thy word according to all Thy name.
Ps 146:6) Who made heaven and earth, The sea and all that is in them; Who keeps faith forever;
Isaiah 25:1 O lord, Thou art my God; I will exalt Thee, I will give thanks to Thy name; For Thou hast worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness. Lamentations 3:23 They are new every morning; Great is Thy faithfulness.
Micah 7:20 Thou wilt give truth to Jacob And unchanging love to Abraham, Which Thou didst swear to our forefathers From the days of old.
John 1:17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
1Cor 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.
2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.
2 Timothy 2:13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself.
Titus 1:2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,
Hebrews 6:17; 18 In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, in order that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have strong encouragement, we who have fled for refuge in laying hold of the hope set before us.
1 Thessalonians 2:12 so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
Never forget -- You can depend upon God...
God not only keeps His promises.
He also keeps His people!
The prayer of verse 23 will certainly be answered!
Mike Stallard - Paul uses the word faithful in his writings to speak of the faithfulness of people (ten times), the faithfulness of the Word of God (once), and the faithfulness of God (six times). The term refers to what or who is trustworthy. It is a description of a person who will always be there. In this verse it is God who is described in this way. (Twenty-First Century - Looking for Christ's Return)
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul expressed a similar confidence in God's faithfulness to finish His work in believers...
I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (see note Philippians 1:6)
Spurgeon has a devotional entitled Perfection and Preservation (Faith's Checkbook) on 1Thessalonians 5:24 (notice how he artfully uses the inductive Bible study technique of interrogating the text with the 5W'S & H)...
What will He do? He will sanctify us wholly. See the previous verse. He will carry on the work of purification till we are perfect in every part. He will preserve our "whole spirit, and soul, and body, blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." He will not allow us to fall from grace, nor come under the dominion of sin. What great favors are these! Well may we adore the Giver of such unspeakable gifts.
Who will do this? The Lord Who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light, out of death in sin into eternal life in Christ Jesus. Only He can do this: such perfection and preservation can only come from the God of all grace.
Why will He do it? Because He is "faithful"--faithful to His own promise which is pledged to save the believer; faithful to His Son, whose reward it is that His people shall be presented to Him faultless; faithful to the work which He has commenced in us by our effectual calling (See calling and also "the called"). It is not their own faithfulness but the Lord's Own faithfulness on which the saints rely.
Come, my soul, here is a grand feast to begin a dull month with. There may be fogs without, but there should be sunshine within.
Faithful (4103) (pistos [word study] from peitho = to persuade) is something or someone who is worthy of faith or keeps promises and is applied to God, humans, His Word. Assurance that this penetrating and far-reaching prayer for the readers is not a cry of despair is found in the faithful nature and activity of God.
Hiebert- The construction puts the emphasis upon His faithfulness as caller and doer. It is this fact that assures the consummation of their salvation. God is "faithful," to be trusted, reliable concerning all that He has said. The faithfulness of God is one of the central themes of Scripture. He never lies in making a promise and never begins a work without carrying it through to completion. Here is indeed comforting assurance. "If you enjoy His calling, rejoice in His faithfulness, Who will do it." (Ibid)
Barnes comments that "your sanctification after all depends on him, and as he has begun a work of grace in your hearts, you may depend on his faithfulness to complete it. (Albert Barnes. Barnes NT Commentary)
Matthew Henry - The kindness and love of God had appeared to them in calling them to the knowledge of His truth, and the faithfulness of God was their security that they should persevere to the end; and therefore, the apostle assures them, God would do what He desired; He would effect what He had promised; He would accomplish all the good pleasure of His goodness towards them. Note, Our fidelity to God depends upon His faithfulness to us.
Webster says that Faithful means firm in adherence to whatever one owes allegiance and implies unswerving adherence to a person or thing or to the oath or promise by which a he was contracted.
Vincent gives a nice summary (expanded in the discussion that follows) of the meaning of pistos, faithful, writing that it is used
(1), of one who shows Himself faithful in the discharge of a duty or the administration of a trust (Mt 24:45). Hence, trustworthy (2Ti 2:2). Of things that can be relied upon (2Ti 2:11). (2), Confiding; trusting; a believer (Gal 3:9; Acts16:1; 2Cor 6:15; 1Ti 5:16)
Paul writes that even
if we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself. (see note 2 Timothy 2:13)
Pistos is used of the Word of God that can be relied upon because...
Pistos with the meaning of trustworthy describes God as the One Who fulfills His promises...
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful (Heb 10:23-note)
By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered (means to think about carefully and come to a conclusion) Him faithful Who had promised (announced with certainty as to what He would do) (Heb 11:11-note)
God is faithful in fulfilling the purpose for which He called men...
Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. (1Th 5:24)
God is faithful, through Whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1Cor 1:9),
God is faithful to respond with guardianship to the trust men have placed in Him...
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it. (1Cor 10:13-note)
Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right. (1Pe 4:19-note)
The Lord Jesus Christ is faithful as the Scriptures amply testify...
But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. (2Thes 3:3)
Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. (see note Hebrews 2:17)
He (the Son) was faithful to Him (the Father) who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house. (see note Hebrews 3:2)
And I saw heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He judges and wages war. (see note Revelation 19:11)
The Lord Jesus Christ is the faithful witness...
and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us, and released us from our sins by His blood (see note Revelation 1:5)
And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God says this (whatever He says is clearly trustworthy) (see note Revelation 3:14)
God’s and Christ's faithfulness speaks of only of Their essential being (faithful is Who He is), and also of Their active faithfulness toward us, as shown for example in the famous verse
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 Jn 1:9)
The Septuagint (LXX) uses pistos 42 times, Moses using it for example to describe God
Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, Who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments." (Dt 7:9) (Comment: Notice that the seal of assurance stamped upon God's covenant because it is backed up by His faithful character.)
Spurgeon on God's faithfulness - Grandly did the old Scottish believer, of whom Dr. Brown tells us in his “Horae Subsecivae,” respond to the challenge of her pastor regarding the ground of her confidence. “Janet,” said the minister, “what would you say, if after all He has done for you, God should let you drop into hell?” E’en’s (even as) He likes,” answered Janet. “If He does, He’ll lose mair than I’ll do.” At first sight Janet’s reply looks irreverent, if not something worse. As we contemplate it, however, its sublimity grows upon us. Like the Psalmist she could say, “I on Thy Word rely” (Psalm 119:114, metrical version). If His Word were broken, if His faithfulness should fail, if that foundation could be destroyed, truly He would lose more than His trusting child. But that could never be. “Forever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven. Thy faithfulness is unto all generations.” Well then might Janet encourage herself in the Lord her God, and say, “God hath spoken in His holiness; I will rejoice.” Assurance of victory — I can never conceive that it dispirits the soldier, when he is fighting, to tell him that he must win the victory. This is what Cromwell’s ironsides said when they saw the great general riding along the ranks, “‘Tis he!” they said, “‘tis he!” they felt the victory was sure where Cromwell was, and like thunderbolts they dashed upon their enemies, until as thin clouds before the tempest the foemen flew apace. The certainty of victory gives strength to the arm that wields the sword. To say to the Christian you shall persevere till you get to the journey’s end — will that make him sit down on the next milestone? No; he will climb the mountain, wiping the sweat from his brow; and as he looks upon the plain, he will descend with surer and more cautious footsteps, because he knows he shall reach the journey’s end. God Will speed the ship over the waves into the desired haven; will the conviction of that on the part of the captain make him neglect the vessel? Yes, if he be a fool; but if he be a man in his wits, the very certainty that he shall cross the deep will only strengthen him in time of storm to do what he would not have dreamt of doing if he had been afraid the vessel would be cast away. Brethren, let this doctrine impel us to a holy ardency of watchfulness, and may the Lord bless us and enable us to persevere to the end. (C. H. Spurgeon.)
Rolland McCune - The Faithfulness of God - The attribute of God’s faithfulness is defined as His transitive truth; it is His trustworthiness to act or perform in accordance with His promise. If God is true in Himself, He is faithful to others. He does not, and cannot, commit Himself to a proposition or a course of action of which He could ever prove to be incapable for any reason. So it is that when God in eternity past chose believers and brought them to salvation, He is constitutionally unable to abandon them and change His plans for them to ultimately inherit eternal glory. Paul’s words of certainty on this point are, “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass” (1Th 5:24). The context is dealing with the divine guarantee of the present perseverance and progressive sanctification of the saints. God has committed Himself to the believer’s final sanctification at the coming of Christ and to the interim process of image-building, or Christ-formation, in the believer’s experience. His own fidelity to His eternal intentions for the saints will never stop short of full completion, and a real and welcome by-product of this is the saints’ eternal security. (A Systematic Theology of Biblical Christianity)
William Hendriksen rightly observes that "Divine faithfulness is a wonderful comfort to those who are loyal. It is a very earnest warning for those who might be inclined to become disloyal." Indeed, God's faithfulness exhibits His holy character as worthy of the love and confidence of man and assures us that He will fulfill all of His promises to bless as well as to justly judge sin.
Ray Pritchard asks "How many people do you know who do exactly what they say? Before you answer, let me rephrase the question? How many do you know who do exactly what they say every single time? Now before you answer, let me rephrase it again. How many people do you know who do exactly what they say every single time and do it with such thoroughness and perfection that you never have to worry about anything they say or do? Again, before you answer, let me ask it one more time: How many people do you know who, no matter what the circumstances and no matter how they feel, will always do exactly what they say they will do every single time and do it with the same thoroughness and perfection that you never have to worry about anything they say or do because you know if they say it, they will definitely do it without fail, without change and without excuse?...God's faithfulness means that because he is the truth, everything he says and does is certain. That means he is 100% reliable 100% of the time. He does not fail, forget, falter, change or disappoint. In the words of Lewis Sperry Chafer: He not only advances and confirms that which is true, but in faithfulness abides by his promises, and executes every threat or warning he has made. He says what he means and means what he says and therefore does everything he says he will do. (Read the entire message Great Is Thy Faithfulness by Ray Pritchard)
Puritan writer Thomas Manton on God's faithfulness - The Doctrine: That in all ages God ever showed Himself a true God, and faithful in all His promises...God's faithfulness relates to some promise wherein He hath engaged Himself to His people (He 11:11-note)...His truth depends upon his unchangeable nature, but it is confirmed to us by experience (He 6:17, 18-note)... If a promise can be made out to be of God, we have no more reason to doubt of it than of the nature and being of God. Yet, it is confirmed by experience: (Ps 18:30-Spurgeon's note)...Application - Let us be then more firmly persuaded of God's faithfulness that we may depend upon it both for His preserving the church and ourselves in the way of our duty, till we enjoy our final reward.
1. For the preservation of Christ's kingdom, God's faithfulness chiefly appears in the government of His church or spiritual kingdom, and this is a kingdom that cannot be moved when all things else are shaken: (Heb 12:28-note), 'Having received a kingdom that cannot be shaken.' Christ cannot be a head without members, a king without subjects. And we are told, (Matt 16:18), 'That the gates of hell cannot prevail against it.' Many disorders happen, but let us depend upon the faithful God. The world was well guided before we came into it, and other generations have had experience of God's faithfulness, though we complain that we see not our signs, nor any tokens for good.
2. For the preservation of our bodies to the heavenly kingdom. We have many discouragements within and without, but while we persevere in our duty, God will not fail us; his word is as sure as the earth: (2Th 3:3), 'The Lord is faithful, who shall establish and keep you from evil.' God has promised not only to give us our final reward, but to secure and defend His people by the way, that they be not overcome by the evils they meet with in their passage (Read Manton's full sermon on Ps 119:90 - Sermon 95 on - God's Faithfulness from Generation to Generation)
Richard L. Strauss on the faithfulness of God - Since God’s faithfulness is part of His essence, it affects everything He says and everything He does. Several specific applications of His faithfulness are made in the New Testament. First of all, He is faithful in assuring our salvation....Secondly, He is faithful in providing for our victory. God wants us to enjoy victory over sin and triumph through trials, but He has not left us on our own to achieve it. He offers us help....In the third place, He is faithful in forgiving our sins. Unfortunately, most of us only use God’s resources for victory intermittently, and as a result we sin. But God’s faithfulness reaches us even then....Finally, God is faithful in sustaining us through suffering. One of the times we are most tempted to doubt God’s faithfulness is when suffering strikes our lives. It often makes no sense to us and we see no reason for it. We may search our lives, and although we find some sins which we have previously overlooked, we still cannot believe we deserve what God has allowed to happen to us. We begin to think that He has forgotten us or really does not care about us....God will not only be faithful in assuring our salvation, providing for our victory, forgiving our sins, and sustaining us through suffering, but He will also be faithful in keeping every promise He has ever made. That is the greatest encouragement we could possibly have. The Bible contains thousands of precious promises from God, and at least one of them will have application to every conceivable situation we can possibly encounter—financial reversal, terminal illness, the loss of a loved one, family tensions, or anything else. A faithful God can be trusted to keep every promise. The writer to the Hebrews encouraged his readers with these words: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (He 10:23-note)." (Great Is Thy Faithfulness) .
God's faithfulness applies to His...
- Temporal blessings (1Ti 4:8-note; Ps 84:11; Isa 33:16, Spurgeon)
- Spiritual blessings (1Co 1:9)
- Support in temptation (1Cor 10:13-note)
- Support in persecution (1Pe 4:12, 13-note; Isa 41:10 Spurgeon)
- Sanctifying discipline (He 12:4-12-note)
- Direction in difficulties (2Chr 32:22; Ps 32:8)
- Enabling of His own to persevere (Jer 32:40)
- Bringing to glory (1Jn 2:25-note).
- In the Old Testament, God’s faithfulness and covenant love are closely related (Deut 7:9)
- Study of God's Attribute - Faithfulness
- What does the Bible say about faithfulness?
- How can I learn to trust in the faithfulness of God?
- Torrey Topical Textbook Faithfulness Faithfulness of God, the
- American Tract Society Faithful Faithfulness
- Baker Evangelical Dictionary Faithfulness
- Charles Buck Dictionary Faithfulness of God Faithfulness
- Easton's Bible Dictionary Faithful
- Holman Bible Dictionary Faithful
- Hastings' Dictionary of the NT Faithfulness (2) Faithfulness
- Vines' Expository Dictionary Faithfulness
- Webster Dictionary Faithful
- International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Faithful Sayings Faithful; Faithfulness
- McClintock and Strong's Bible Encyclopedia Faithful
Calls (2564) (kaleo - see study of called - kletos) refers in context to God's effective call of one unto salvation. The Greek reads literally "the caller", thus emphasizing the person rather than the act.
It is God Who saves, so it is God Who keeps. God called us in the first place, and He will preserve us to the end of this age and to the endless ages to come!
Frame quotes Chrysostom...
“This happens not from my prayers, he says, but from the purpose with which he called you” (Chrysostom).
This faithfulness of God has already been manifested when in keeping with His eternal choice (1Th 1:4-note) He called them (1Th 2:12-note) through the preaching of the gospel (2Thes 2:14). But if the Caller is faithful, He may also be relied upon to perform the very thing involved in the call, namely, that for which Paul prayed (that they would be sanctified entirely and preserved complete and without blame). (Ibid)
Calvin - Observe, however, by what argument he promises them the never failing aid of God—because He has called them; by which words he means, that when the Lord has once adopted us as his sons, we may expect that his grace will continue to be exercised towards us. For He does not promise to be a Father to us merely for one day, but adopts us with this understanding, that He is to cherish us ever afterwards. Hence our calling ought to be held by us as an evidence of everlasting grace, for He will not leave the work of his hands incomplete. (Psalm 138:8) Paul, however, addresses believers, who had not been merely called by outward preaching, but had been effectually brought by Christ to the Father, that they might be of the number of his sons.
Thomas Constable notes that "God does not save a person by grace and then leave him alone to work out his Christian growth by works (Gal. 3:3). As God calls and justifies by grace, He sanctifies by grace too. (Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., et al: The Bible Knowledge Commentary. 1985. Victors)
Adrian Rogers - Faithful is he who calls you. See. It's not that we hold onto Him, though we ought to, but something even better is that He holds on to us.
Matthew Poole comments that "Those that are effectually called are brought into God’s covenant, where perfection and perseverance are promised, and God’s faithfulness obliges Him to make good His covenant. It is an act of grace and mercy to call men; but when called, God’s faithfulness is engaged to preserve them, and perfect the work begun: as the apostle tells the Corinthians that God "shall also confirm (guarantee, establish unwaveringly) you to the end, blameless (legally unaccused - implies not merely acquittal, but the absence of even a charge or accusation against a person) in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." (1Cor 1:8)
In Romans 8 Paul sounds a similar note that God's calling assures God's completion - "Whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (Ro 8:30-note) (Comment: He uses the aorist tense for glorified, which speaks of an action already completed! In other words, the glorified in the aorist tense speaks of God Who sees the end from the beginning and in Whose decree & purpose all future events are comprehended and fixed. And thus our glorification is so certain that it is already an accomplished fact in the mind and purpose of God.)
Will bring to pass (4160)(poieo) means God will do it or accomplish it. God's doing will accomplish His calling! And His calling is the pledge of His desire for the sanctification of their "whole man" as they await the return of Christ.
He will accomplish what He began in each of His children! Webster says accomplish means to bring to completion or to bring about by effort and in this context it refers to God's "supernatural effort" (an oxymoron).
Hiebert sums this section up writing that "As Moore aptly remarks, "Paul never affirms God's oversight in these matters as an excuse for idleness, but as the reason for the convert to have confident hope."" Nor, it may be added, did Paul feel that it rendered "prayer for them superfluous, as human effort and application also have their place in carrying out the purposes of God." (Ibid)
R. Fergusson - The sovereign kindness and infinite love of God had already graciously appeared to them in calling them to the saving knowledge of His truth, and the sure faithfulness of God was their security that they would be Divinely helped to persevere to the end. Accordingly, the apostle assures them that God would do what he desired: He would effect what He had Himself promised: He would accomplish all the good pleasure of His goodness toward them. Verily, our fidelity to God depends upon God’s faithfulness to us.
John Piper on the certainty of our salvation - The practical impact of this truth is not that we be cavalier about faith and love and holiness. There is necessary vigilance (Hebrews 3:12) and striving (Luke 13:24) and pursuit (Hebrews 12:14) in the Christian life. Rather, the impact is that we rest in the assurance that we are not left to ourselves in this "fight of faith." The God who called you is faithful to "confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 1:8). "Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring [your sanctification] to pass" (1 Thessalonians 5:24). He will complete the salvation he began (Philippians 1:6). We are kept by the power of God (1 Peter 1:5). Fight we must, for only those who persevere will be saved (Mark 13:13). And fight we will, because God is at work in us to will and to do his good pleasure (Philippians 2:13; Hebrews 13:21). (A Godward Life - Part 2)
Spurgeon - “May our God bring home to you a sense of your safety in Christ Jesus! May He assure you that your name is graven on His hand and whisper in your ear the promise, “Fear not, I am with thee.” Look upon Him, the great Surety of the covenant, as Faithful and True (Rev 19:11-note), and, therefore, bound and engaged to present you, the weakest of the family, with all the chosen race, before the Throne of God (Col 1:22e, 2Cor 4:14e, Ep 5:27e, cf Jude 24); and in such a sweet contemplation you will drink the juice of the spiced wine of the Lord’s pomegranate, and taste the dainty fruits of Paradise. You will have an antepast of the enjoyments which ravish the souls of the perfect saints above, if you can believe with unstaggering faith that “faithful is He Who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.” Amen (1Thes 5:24) (Spurgeon)
Arise, my soul, arise, shake off thy guilty fears
The bleeding Sacrifice in my behalf appears
Before the Throne my Surety stands
My name is written on His hands. Amen!
Scriptures on He will bring it to pass...
Isaiah 9:7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.
Isaiah 14:24-26 The LORD of hosts has sworn saying, “Surely, just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand, 25 to break Assyria in My land, and I will trample him on My mountains. Then his yoke will be removed from them, and his burden removed from their shoulder. 26“This is the plan devised against the whole earth; and this is the hand that is stretched out against all the nations.
Isaiah 37:32 “For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and out of Mount Zion survivors. The zeal of the LORD of hosts shall perform this.”’
Matthew 24:35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away.
Tony Evans has an interesting devotional on 1Thes 5:24 entitled Holding God Accountable = "Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass." One of the most important things we can do as Christians is to pray according to our covenantal rights. But we often don’t do this because we misunderstand what prayer is. Let me define prayer by first saying what prayer is not. Prayer is not simply talking to God. Instead, prayer is asserting earthly permission for heavenly interference. Prayer is earth giving heaven authorization to intervene in the affairs of earth as heaven has previously stated it would. That permission is granted based on your legal position and rights. That’s why it is essential to study the Word of God and to know the rights He has granted you through His Word. If you’re being held in bondage by an illegitimate force in your life, cry out to God. Pray to Him for deliverance by appealing to Him based on your covenantal rights. God has a legal obligation to respond to you because you have a legitimate agreement with Him found in His Word.
Go through the Scriptures, read everything that relates to your stronghold, and pray it back to God. When you do that, prayer is no longer just a spiritual exercise or something to check off of your to-do list. Rather, prayer becomes a legal meeting in which you and God get together in agreement on the same covenantal arrangement. Prayer becomes an act of holding God accountable, in the right sense of the word, to what He holds Himself accountable to: His Word. (A Moment for Your Soul: Devotions to Lift You Up)
John MacArthur summarizes several principles of the sanctification process - In summary, Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians suggests a number of essential principles that all Christians need to remember concerning the sanctification process.
First, experiential sanctification is inherently both negative and positive. Negatively, it involves the purging out of sin (cf. Rom. 6:6; 8:13; 2 Tim. 2:19). Scripture compares sin to leaven (cf. Matt. 16:12; 1 Cor. 5:6–8; Gal. 5:8–9), which connotes the evil influence with which sin permeates humanity. Sanctification does not remove the presence of sin, but it purges from the believer his love for sin and decreases sin’s frequency in his life (cf. Rom. 6:22; 7:21–25; Phil. 3:7–16; Titus 2:11–12). Positively, sanctification involves the renewing of the mind (cf. Rom. 12:2) and the putting on of Christlikeness (cf. Col. 3:5–17). The negative and positive changes occur as the Holy Spirit continually uses God’s Word in believers’ lives (John 17:17; 2 Tim. 3:16–17; cf. John 15:1–3).
Second, sanctification occurs chiefly in the heart, the mind, the inner being. It is not concerned with modifying one’s outward behavior—even if that behavior were in line with God’s law—apart from the changed heart (cf. Rom. 3:21–23, 28; 4:4–5; 5:1–2), nor is it circumscribing one’s attitudes and actions to an arbitrary code of ethics (cf. Rom. 14:17; Col. 2:16–23). Sanctification does affect a Christian’s outward actions (cf. John 15:4–5; Eph. 2:10), but it is essentially an inward grace. It is illustrated by what the apostle Peter wrote to believing wives: “Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:3–4).
Third, the Bible implicitly calls sanctification a beautiful reality (cf. Ps. 110:3 KJV). Holiness is the beautiful crown jewel of the Godhead, reflecting divine perfection, unmitigated virtue, absolute righteousness, and pure sinlessness (cf. Ex. 15:11; Ps 47:8; 145:17; Isa. 57:15). Sanctification, then, is a noble experience, imparting to believers a measure of the majesty God intended for them when He created mankind in His image (cf. Gen. 1:26–27; Ps. 8:4–6).
Fourth, sanctification is an ongoing reality. At the new birth, God plants the seed of righteousness, the principle of divine life, into the believer’s heart (cf. 1 Peter 1:23–25). That does not mean he will never sin again, but it does mean he will discontinue living in his previous unbroken pattern of sinfulness and begin to live in a new pattern of holiness (cf. Rom. 6:17–18; 1 John 3:9).
Fifth, believers must remember that people can counterfeit sanctification in a number of ways. First, moral virtue can substitute for true sanctification. People can exhibit character qualities such as fair-mindedness, loyalty, civility, kindness, generosity, diligence, and philanthropy and yet at heart be unbelievers (cf. Isa. 29:13). Second, religious activity can masquerade as sanctification. For example, devoutly religious people might spend years avoiding the most heinous sins and seeking to please God by adhering to their church’s rituals and self-righteously engaging in good works (cf. Matt. 23:23–25; Luke 18:10–14). But they do it all because they are afraid of God and want to earn His forgiveness, not because they are His children who sincerely love Him for His grace. Third, outward Christian profession can appear to be genuine sanctification (cf. Matt. 23:27–28). It often parades a hypocritical type of piety that is merely superficial (cf. Matt. 7:21–23). Such false sanctification deceives not only those who witness it, but also those who practice it. Fourth, their conscience and fear of sin’s consequences often restrain people from bad behavior. Most of the time they reject sin because they fear its negative physical, psychological, or even legal consequences. They may have grown up in a Christian family in which their parents taught them biblical principles and established a doctrinal foundation that informs their consciences with moral convictions. Such people are afraid to engage in overt sin and on the exterior appear to be righteous, but only because they do not want a guilty conscience to bother them. A saving love for Christ does not motivate their behavior; instead, human fear and a sensitive conscience drive their actions.
Sixth, sanctification keeps believers from polluting holy things. “To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled” (Titus 1:15). Unbelievers mock and blaspheme God and His Son (cf. Luke 22:65; Rom. 8:7; Col. 1:21; Rev. 16:9). They ridicule the things of God and the people of God (cf. Neh. 2:19; Ps. 38:12; 2 Tim. 3:3–4), which means they also ridicule and demean the Word of God (cf. Neh. 9:28–29). They pollute everything God has designed for His glory and mankind’s blessing (cf. Rom. 1:21–32), such as the beauty of creation, marriage, and friendship. By contrast, when God is sanctifying believers, they consider the simplest, most mundane things in life as holy and respect all the things the unbeliever does not (cf. Ps. 1:1–6).
Finally, Christians must remember that sanctification is God’s priority for their lives. It is His will for them (1 Thess. 4:3; cf. Heb. 12:14) and the result of Christ’s death on their behalf—“who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:14). All believers are to live for sanctification. They have no other goal in life than to be like Jesus Christ: “The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:6). (First & Second Thessalonians MacArthur New Testament Commentary) (See similar discussion near bottom of sermon entitled A Prayer for Complete Sanctification)
God's Faithfulness: Do you have a "Rushmore Reminder"? These stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever. --Joshua 4:7 In 1941, sculptor Gutzon Borglum completed his work on Mount Rushmore. The 60-foot-high granite heads of four US Presidents now stand like sentinels of democracy over the Black Hills of South Dakota. The imposing likenesses of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt remind visitors of our nation's heritage and history. God told Israel's leader, Joshua, to take 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan River for a similar purpose (Josh. 4:1- 6, 7,20-24). The Lord wanted future generations to have a memorial to their national history. He wanted them to remember that as He parted the Red Sea to get them out of Egypt, He also parted the Jordan to get them into the Promised Land. He wanted them to live not only in the present, but with the reminder of the values, faith, and experiences of their founding fathers: Moses, Aaron, and Joshua. God understands our human nature and knows that "out-of-sight, out-of-mind" occurs all too often in our spiritual lives. We need physical reminders of spiritual truths. We need to pile up stones, write journals, and tell family stories to help us remember the miracle of God's provisions that neither we nor our children can afford to forget.
Think About It -- How has God shown Himself to be faithful to you and your family in the past? How can you make sure you'll remember? With whom can you talk about it today? Precious memories of yesterday can be precious moments today. --M R De Haan II
God Is Faithful - His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. —Lamentations 3:22-23 - At the end of every year, I set aside some time to review the previous 12 months and record God’s faithfulness to me and my family. I may leaf through a calendar, my appointment book, or prayer diary to jog my memory. Then, on a piece of paper labeled “God’s Faithfulness” I’ll write everything that comes to mind as evidence of God’s love and care. It’s a wonderful way to look back at the year and look forward to a fresh beginning. My list will certainly include instances of God’s grace and provision. But it will also chronicle God’s presence during times of difficulty and disappointment. And it must include my failures and sins, which He has been “faithful and just” to forgive (1 John 1:9-note). The prophet Jeremiah found that God’s trustworthiness appeared as a light during the darkness of desperate circumstances. In his lament over the destruction of Jerusalem, Jeremiah wrote, “The LORD’S lovingkindnesses (plural) indeed never cease, for (term of explanation = explains why they never "cease") His compassions (plural) never fail. 23They are new every morning; Great is Thy faithfulness. ” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
Today, why not take time to record God’s faithfulness to you and thank Him for it. —David McCasland
Lord, help us bring to mind each day
Past blessings that You've sent our way;
And may these blessings from above
Remind us of Your faithful love.
—D. De Haan
Adding up your blessings will multiply your joy.
The Father’s Faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23) - Hudson Taylor, the humble servant of God to China, demonstrated extraordinary trust in God’s faithfulness. In his journal he wrote:
“Our heavenly Father is a very experienced One. He knows very well that His children wake up with a good appetite every morning. . . . He sustained 3 million Israelites in the wilderness for 40 years. We do not expect He will send 3 million missionaries to China; but if He did, He would have ample means to sustain them all. . . . Depend on it, God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.”
We may be faint and weary, but our heavenly Father is all-powerful. Our feelings may fluctuate, but He is unchangeable. Even creation itself is a record of His steadfastness. That’s why we can sing these words from a hymn by Thomas Chisholm:
“Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest, sun, moon, and stars in their courses above join with all nature in manifold witness to Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.”
What an encouragement to live for Him! Our strength for the present and hope for the future are not based on the stability of our own perseverance but on the fidelity of God. No matter what our need, we can count on the Father’s faithfulness.
He who abandons himself to God will never be abandoned by God.
Feelings And Faithfulness - Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. —Psalm 36:5 - When I was in college, my roommate was engaged to a woman who lived 800 miles away. He was a worrier and a pessimist, so he was constantly questioning the closeness of their relationship. He would worry that they were drifting apart. If a day came without a letter, he would convince himself that she didn’t love him any longer and was about to break up with him. I would get so fed up with his worrying that I would insist he call her. He always discovered that nothing had changed and that she was not wavering in her love. Greatly relieved, he would kick himself for having doubted, and he would promise not to worry again—which lasted about 3 days! Although we sometimes falter in our faith and question God’s love for us, He remains faithful. Even when we doubt His promises, or don’t feel close to Him, or choose to sin, His faithfulness still “reaches to the clouds” (Ps. 36:5). We can be sure God will do all He said He would do (1 Th. 5:24; 2 Th. 3:3). His promises are backed up by His flawless character. In those times when you don’t feel close to God, remind yourself that His feelings for you haven’t changed. It’s not a matter of how you feel at the moment, but the fact of the rock-solid faithfulness of God.
Our God is God—He does not change;
His truth and love remain the same.
He's faithful to His matchless name,
For God is God—He does not change.
Trusting God's faithfulness
dispels our fearfulness.
Man's Fickle Feelings & God's Forever Faithfulness - "Your lovingkindness, O LORD, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the skies." - Ps 36:5 - When I was in college, my roommate was engaged to a woman who lived 800 miles away. He was a worrier and a pessimist, so he was constantly questioning the closeness of their relationship. He would worry that they were drifting apart. If a day came without a letter, he would convince himself that she didn't love him any longer and was about to break up with him. I would get so fed up with his worrying that I would insist he call her. He always discovered that nothing had changed and that she was not wavering in her love. Greatly relieved, he would kick himself for having doubted, and he would promise not to worry again--which lasted about 3 days! Although we sometimes falter in our faith and question God's love for us, He remains faithful. Even when we doubt His promises, or don't feel close to Him, or choose to sin, His faithfulness still "reaches to the clouds" (Ps 36:5). We can be sure God will do all He said He would do (1Th 5:24; 2Th 3:3). His promises are backed up by His flawless character. In those times when you don't feel close to God, remind yourself that His feelings for you haven't changed. It's not a matter of how you feel at the moment, but the fact of the rock-solid faithfulness of God. --D C Egner
Our God is God--He does not change;
His truth and love remain the same.
He's faithful to His matchless name,
For God is God--He does not change.
Trusting God's faithfulness dispels our fearfulness.
- Isa 49:7; 1Cor 1:9; 1Th 5:24
- Dt 7:9, 9:5 1Ki 8:56 Ps 36:5, 89:1, 105:8
- 1Cor 1:9 Hebrews 6:18 1Pe 4:19
DECLARED TO BE
- Great - Lamentations 3:23
- Established -Psalms 89:2
- Incomparable -Psalms 89:8
- Unfailing -Psalms 89:33; 2 Timothy 2:13
- Infinite -Psalms 36:5
- Everlasting -Psalms 119:90; 146:6
- Should be pleaded in prayer -Psalms 143:1
- Should be proclaimed -Psalms 40:10; 89:1
- In his counsels -Is 25:1
- In afflicting his saints -Ps 119:75
- In fulfilling his promises -1Ki 8:20; Ps 132:11; Mic 7:20; He 10:23
- In keeping his covenant -Dt 7:9; Ps 111:5
- In executing his judgments -Je 23:20; 51:29
- In forgiving sins -1Jn 1:9
- To his saints -Ps 89:24; 2Th 3:3
- Saints encouraged to depend on -1Pe 4:19
- Should be magnified -Ps 89:5; 92:2
In his devotional Morning and Evening Spurgeon writes - Heaven is a place where we shall never sin; where we shall cease our constant watch against an indefatigable enemy, because there will be no tempter to ensnare our feet. There the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest. Heaven is the "undefiled inheritance"; it is the land of perfect holiness, and therefore of complete security. But do not the saints even on earth sometimes taste the joys of blissful security? The doctrine of God's word is, that all who are in union with the Lamb are safe; that all the righteous shall hold on their way; that those who have committed their souls to the keeping of Christ shall find Him a faithful and immutable Preserver. Sustained by such a doctrine we can enjoy security even on earth; not that high and glorious security which renders us free from every slip, but that holy security which arises from the sure promise of Jesus that none who believe in Him shall ever perish, but shall be with Him where He is. Believer, let us often reflect with joy on the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints, and honor the faithfulness of our God by a holy confidence in Him. May our God bring home to you a sense of your safety in Christ Jesus! May He assure you that your name is graven on His hand; and whisper in your ear the promise, "Fear not, I am with thee. " Look upon Him, the great Surety of the covenant, as faithful and true, and, therefore, bound and engaged to present you, the weakest of the family, with all the chosen race, before the throne of God; and in such a sweet contemplation you will drink the juice of the spiced wine of the Lord's pomegranate, and taste the dainty fruits of Paradise. You will have an antepast of the enjoyments which ravish the souls of the perfect saints above, if you can believe with unstaggering faith that faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
F B Meyer writes the following note...
OUR God has set Himself the work of our sanctification. As the Greek indicates, He looks upon us as His inheritance, and He will not rest until He has brought every acre of territory under cultivation. It is not enough that briars and thistles should be exterminated; they must be replaced by the rare growth of Christian virtue, which is Christ.
The work of sanctification is quiet and silent.--It is wrought by the God of Peace. The mightiest forces of nature are stilled; and when God comes with power into the human spirit there is often no hurricane, tempest, fire, or earthquake, but the thrilling whisper of the still, small voice. Do not be afraid, as though God would treat you roughly. So long as peaceful, gentle methods will effect His purpose, He will gladly employ them.
The work is also gradual. We are not made faultless, but preserved blameless; i. e., we are kept from known sin, preserved from incurring perpetual self-reproach. "There is no condemnation." I saw the other day the love-letter of a little boy to his father. It was anything but faultless; but the father, at least, did not count it worthy of blame, since he carried it next his heart. So we are not to be faultless, as judged by God's perfect standard, till we are presented before the presence of His glory; but we may be blameless up to our acquaintance with the Divine will.
The work is from within outward.--Notice the order--spirit, soul, body. The Shechinah of His presence shines in the holy of holies, and thence pours over into the holy place, and so into the outer court, until the very curtains of the body are irradiated with its light. He will do it. (Our Daily Homily)
F B Meyer has another devotional entitled THE BLAMELESS LIFE - HE WILL do it. There is a tone of confidence in these words which bespeaks the unwavering faith of the Apostle in the faithfulness and power of God to do for these early Christian folk what indeed is needed by all of us; first, to be sanctified wholly, and secondly, to be preserved without blame until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We can hardly realise how much this meant for men and women reared amid the excesses and evils of those days, when religion was another name for unbridled indulgence. Blamelessness of life, the stainless habit of the soul, sell-restraint--these were the attributes of the few whose natures seemed cast in a special mould. And yet how strong the assertion of the Apostle that, in the face of the insurmountable difficulties, the God of Peace would do even as much for them.
We must distinguish between blamelessness and faultlessness. The latter can only be ours when we have passed into the presence of His glory, and are presented faultless before Him with exceeding joy (Jude 1:24). The former, however, is within the reach of each of us, because God has said that He will do it. The Agent of the blameless life is God Himself. None beside could accomplish so marvellous a result, and He does it by condescending to indwell the soul. As His glory filled Solomon's Temple, so He waits to infill the spirit, soul, and body of those who trust Him.
He will do it as the God of Peace. The mightiest forces are the stillest. Who ever heard the day break, or detected the footfall of Spring? Who thinks of listening for the throb of gravitation, or the thud of the forces that redden the grape, golden the corn, and cover the peaches with bloom? So God works in the hearts of those who belong to Him. When we think we are making no progress, He is most at work. The presence of ozone in the air can only be detected by a faint colour on a piece of litmus-paper, and God's work in the soul is only apparent as the bloom of perfect love is shown in the life.
PRAYER - Almighty God, who lovest us, and to whom are known our yearnings for this blessed life; work Thou within us, quietly, gently, mightily, ridding us of the love of sin, and producing within us that blamelessness of soul which in Thy sight is of priceless value. AMEN. (F. B. Meyer. Our Daily Walk)
F. B. Meyer in his book The Future Tenses of the Blessed Life has the following chapter entitled HE WILL DO IT based on 1 Thess. 5:24 - WHAT is it that He will do? There is a tone of confidence in these words which bespeaks the unwavering faith of the apostle in the willinghood and power of God to do for these Thessalonian Christians that which indeed is needed by all of us for life and godliness: first, that they should be sanctified wholly; and secondly, that they should be preserved without blame, until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We can hardly realize how much this meant to men and women reared amid the excesses and abominations of those days, when religion was another name for unbridled indulgence in every kind of sin. Blamelessness of life, the stainless habit of the soul, self-restraint were the attributes of the few whose natures seemed cast in a special mold; while they mocked ordinary people, much as Alpine summits do emaciated invalids or disabled cripples. And yet the apostle was a practical man, not likely to ask that which lay outside the limits of possibility for man to realize, or for God to give. And the fact of his having prayed for these things was clear evidence that believers might seek for, and attain, that condition of soul which his words implied.
We must distinguish carefully between "blamelessness" and "faultlessness." The latter can only be ours when we have passed the gate of pearl, and been presented faultless in the presence of His glory, with exceeding joy; the former alone is possible to us here and now--but, thank God, it is possible, because He has said that" He will do it."
Every one admits that there is a difference between these two words. Take an instance from common life. A working woman comes home weary from her day's toil, and having provided the evening meal, and put her little ones to bed, she sits down to work for her babe. Presently the little frock falls upon her knee, and she leans back in a snatch of unconsciousness, such as only the most tired know. Her eldest little girl, noticing the collapse of her mother's efforts, steals to her side, takes her work gently out of the tired fingers, and creeping back to her chair by the fire, essays to finish the uncompleted hem. "Mary," says the mother, suddenly awaking, "what are you doing?" "Helping you, mother," replies a voice with a touch of scaredness in it. "Let me see what you have done; bring it here, child." And as the quick woman's eyes look down at the tortuous stitches, she sees at a glance that every one of them will have to be unpicked and done again. But she says never a word to the little maiden of blame or fault-finding. The work is not faultless, by a long way; but the child is blameless. Had the cobbled seam been due to slovenliness or neglect, the work had been blameworthy as well as faulty; but inasmuch as it has been done to the very best of the child's ability, she stands without blame in her mother's presence. Of course, the analogy is not perfect, because other conditions connected with our Saviour's work have to be introduced before we can stand in the presence of God, blameless and faultless. Yet the illustration will show how it is possible for those whose every moment is full of fault to be nevertheless blameless and harmless, the sons of God without reproach; because they have not wilfully ignored any known command, or failed in any service to which they were called, but have lived in the current of the precious blood, and within the charmed circle of the will of God. Oh to live that blameless life, the life hid with Christ in God!
The agent of this condition of stainless purity and beauty is God himself--He is often spoken of as "the God of Peace." None less than He could accomplish so marvelous a result. Consider the greatness of the contrast! There is no true heart illumined by the Spirit of God which will hesitate to adopt the confession of the patriarch, "Behold, I am vile!" It were difficult to find words to set forth with sufficient emphasis our natural undone and sinful state in the sight of God. Pure snow trampled into mud by the passers-by! The refuse of gas-retorts which, till recently, was deemed too filthy for use I Ink, jet black, and apt to leave a deep permanent stain! And to think that such can be made blameless, not only yonder, but here and now--this is a marvel which the finger of God alone can effect. "He will do it." But he will do it as the God of Peace.
The mightiest forces in the universe are the stillest. Destruction ever crashes on its way, like the express which tears through the little wayside station. The roar of the autumn sea! The vehemence of the hurricane hurtling through the forests! The crackling of the devouring fire! The thunder, the earthquake, the volcano! But who can hear the day break? Or detect the footfall of the spring, stepping through the woods, scattering flowers? Who thinks of listening for the pulse of the law of gravitation, or the thud of the forces that redden the grape, golden the corn, and cover the peaches with their delicate bloom?
Stand on an eminence and watch the effect of a long summer day on an English landscape. There is no sound but the far away bleat of the sheep, the low of the cattle, or the lazy murmur of the bee, by which the effect of the silence is rendered yet more intense. Nature seems asleep beneath some drowsy spell of slumber. The hours move slowly, as if loath to leave their merry dance in the woodland glade. But all the while, as you lie in a delightful reverie, you are aware that mighty chemical processes are at work, by which the juices of the earth and the elements in the air, the dew and the sunshine, are being elaborated for the sustenance of man.
So God works in the hearts He loves. He does not strive, nor cry, nor cause His voice to be heard in the streets of the inner city. It is sometimes difficult to detect His working, and impossible to say, Lo, here! or Lo, there! His touch is so gentle; His voice so still and small; His breath so zephyr-like. When He is most at work within we think that we are making no progress, and even that we are going back. Comparing the experiences of some others with our own, we are inclined to imagine that we have not been the subjects of the Spirit's work; or that His operations have come to a standstill because there is nothing sensible to record. At such times we should remember that we have to do with the God of Peace. He works most energetically and mightily, when to any of the senses of the soul there is no evidence that He is there at all.
The presence of ozone in the air can only be detected by the most delicate tests, a faint color on a piece of litmus paper--that is all. And the presence of God in the soul is only apprehended when the bloom of perfect health becomes apparent as its result.
The method of His work is from within, outwards.--This text is often quoted, and generally misquoted. Men often speak of body, soul, and spirit--and, indeed, that is generally their method; but it is not God's. Man begins from without and works inwards; God begins from within and works outwards--from the spirit to the soul, and from the soul to the body.
There is a beautiful analogy suggested by the Lord Himself between our nature and the temple, in whose precincts He stood when He spake of "the temple of His Body." It is also accentuated by the Holy Ghost through the apostle Paul. As God is a Trinity in Unity, so was the temple; and so is man. The spirit corresponds to the most Holy Place; the soul by which we reason, imagine, hope, and love, to the Holy Place, where white-stoled priests went to and fro on their sacred duties; the body, to the outer Court. In the case of the unregenerate, the most holy or inner shrine is either destitute of light or tenanted by the spirit of evil. But in the nature which has been truly regenerated by the Holy Ghost, a marvelous addition has been made by the entrance of the true Shekinah light, the nature of God. This is the distinction between the unsaved and the saved. The former are like a deserted castle; the latter like that castle when the royal pennon tells that the sovereign has come to reside within.
Before the act of consecration it would seem as if a heavy curtain hung between the spirit and the soul, shutting out the glow of the Shekinah glory; but when the will has been entirely resigned and yielded, that veil is torn from the top to the bottom, and the soul also becomes pervaded with the blessed light and power of God. Nor can it be confined there; but as in the dedication of Solomon's Temple there was an overflow of light in cascades of glory, driving the priests before it by excess of splendor, so the body of the believer comes under the gracious influence of the indwelling spirit, and is transfigured, refined, purified, and saved.
This is Sanctification. There are many definitions of the word sanctify; but there is none so entirely satisfactory as that which affirms that it is the result wrought on character by the indwelling and presence of God. Wherever God is, there, as the necessary result, are the essential forces which sanctify, whether it be the seventh day, or the sacred ground on which the burning bush stood, or the tabernacle in whose inner shrine the Shekinah shone, or the heart of man where God has taken up His abode. Art thou wholly sanctified? Hast thou opened thine entire being in every department to His indwelling? Does that Divine presence fill thee, which makes heaven what it is? If not, then never rest until through the open casements of thy being His presence is wafted, never to go out again, but to occupy and possess thee in every part. Then thou shalt be sanctified. Thou wilt carry with thee everywhere the sign of the Divine Presence which will be the true antidote against sin. He who dreads the influenza saturates his garments with Eucalyptus oil; and he who fears to sin must steep his nature in the Presence of God. Then when he is wholly sanctified he is wholly kept and preserved blameless in spirit, soul, and body. The certainty that God will do this. "He will do it."
Old habits are strong, but He is stronger; temptations masterful, but He can quell them; circumstances unfavorable, but He is above them; the difficulty of securing in us a blameless life almost insuperable but "He will do it."
What can He not do, who hath made the heavens and the earth, the stars and the seas, the soaring Alps and the dainty shells that lie along the coast? He can do these greater miracles in the moral sphere; and He will do them because He has instilled the appetite and desire for them, and has trained us to yearn for them, and surely cannot disappoint the instinctive cravings which He has Himself imparted. He is faithful. He does not teach babes to cry for milk which is not stored in their mother's breasts. He does not create instincts without providing satisfaction for their demands. He does not teach us to long almost to agony for a blameless life, and then dash our hopes with disappointment on the ground. No; He is faithful to His Son, to His covenant, and to the yearnings which He has implanted for a blameless life; and He will do it of His spirit and grace, far more exceed-ding abundantly above all that we ask or think. (F. B. Meyer. The Future Tenses of the Blessed Life)
Indelible means that which cannot be removed, washed away, blotted out, canceled, effaced or erased and thus speaks of that which is unforgettable, lasting and cannot be lost or annulled. Such is the grace of God in Isaiah 49:16, one of the most beautiful expressions of God’s everlasting love in all of Scripture.
Have you ever wondered if God has forgotten or forsaken you? Even now perhaps you feel like David who cried out to God his Rock, “Why have you forgotten me?” (Ps 42:9–note) Perhaps like Israel of old you are saying “My way is hidden from the LORD. My cause is disregarded by my God.” (Isa 40:27–song) You find yourself in your own personal Pilgrim’s Progress “slough of despond (note),” bogged down in the “spiritual quicksand” of seemingly endless adversities and afflictions which keep dragging you deeper into despair. I understand for that is where I am as I write. But even better Jesus understands for on the Cross, He cried “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Mt 27:46, Ps 22:1–note) Jehovah Rapha (note), the Great Physician, understands for “He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered and is able to come” to our aid as we are tempted (Heb 2:18–note) having given us spiritual truth in Isaiah 49:16 that like the balm of Gilead can heal our souls of what Spurgeon calls that “unbelief which often makes us talk about God forgetting us when He does nothing of the kind. We know not which most to wonder at, the faithfulness of God or the unbelief of His people. He keeps His promise a thousand times, and yet the next trial makes us doubt Him. He never fails; He is never a dry well; He is never as a setting sun, a passing meteor, or a melting vapor; and yet we are as continually vexed with anxieties, molested with suspicions, and disturbed with fears, as if our God were the mirage of the desert.” Father, by Thy Spirit grant us grace to sing in faith
There amidst the love and glory
He is waiting yet
On His hands a name is graven
He can ne’er forget.
Ancient Zion (a picture of Israel) still smarting from the pangs of exile in Babylon cried out “Jehovah has forsaken me” to which God responded “Can a woman forget her nursing child? (Ed: Not usually, but some have.) Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold! I have inscribed (engraved) you on the palms of My hands. Your walls are continually before Me.” (Isaiah 49:14-16). C H Spurgeon, who preached three sermons on Isaiah 49:16 reminds us that “These words apply, first of all, to God’s ancient people, the Jews (the accurate interpretation), but they are equally true of all believers (a valid application).” Spurgeon adds that the phrase “‘I have graven thee’ does not say, thy name. Our name is there, but that is not all: I have graven THEE! See the fullness of this! I have graven thy person, thine image, thy case, thy circumstances, thy sins, thy temptations, thy weaknesses, thy wants, thy works; I have graven thee, everything about thee, all that concerns thee; I have put thee altogether there. Wilt thou ever say again that thy God hath forsaken thee when he has graven thee upon His own palms?”
Scripture records “Neither shall any man snatch them out of My hand (or) out of My Father’s hand.” (Jn 10:28-29–Mt 10:30-31).” Do you believe the beautiful Scripturally sound words of the hymn
Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea
A great high Priest Whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me
My name is graven on His hands
My name is written on His heart
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.
As Kay Arthur says “If you are God’s child by covenant, a true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, this is the truth you must cling to when you feel abandoned: You are inscribed on the palms of His hands! For the feelings are just that-feelings. Feelings that are very real, feelings that you must deal with. But remember reality. Reality is the fact that a covenant has been cut on your behalf. Your feelings will betray you-overwhelm you cripple you-if you do not decide, by the gut-level determination of faith, that “feel it or not” you will trust your Covenant God. Put on the music … the hymns of the faith … the choruses of trust. Sing whether you feel like it or not. Sing whether you can sing or not. Sing until your feelings conform to reality.” In fact sing Toplady’s “A Debtor to Mercy Alone” (or a chorale version)…
My name from the palms of His hands
Eternity will not erase
Impressed on His heart it remains
In marks of indelible grace
Yes, I to the end shall endure
As sure as the earnest is given
More happy, but not more secure
The glorified spirits in heaven.
Normally in ancient times a slave would bear the brand mark of his master, but in Isaiah 49:16 we see an act of ineffable divine condescension in which the Master inscribes the servant’s name on His palm! Charles Wesley applied this Scripture to Christ, writing,
Arise, my soul, arise, shake off thy guilty fears
The bleeding Sacrifice in my behalf appears
Before the Throne my Surety stands
My name is written on His hands. Amen!
Play Arise, My Soul, Arise
What are these marks but the marks of indelible grace, tangible manifestations of God’s covenant cut with us on Calvary’s Cross, covenant marks testifying today and throughout eternity “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you, so that we may confidently say, the Lord is my Helper, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?” (Heb 13:5-6-note). For God to forget us or abandon us, the scars inscribed in the palm of His hands must disappear! Perish all thy doubting thoughts! Beloved of the Father (1Jn 3:1-note), see the Savior spread out His hands before us with our own name inscribed in His scarred palms. Surely we are not for even a moment forgotten, but are loved faithfully and forever by our great God!
Come with me to that moment in eternity where John is weeping and lamenting that there is no one to open the scroll (Rev 5:4-5–note), writing expectantly “I saw between the throne with the four living creatures and the elders a Lamb standing, AS IF SLAIN, (same verb in Greek of Ex 12:6 describing the perfect lamb Israel was to “slay at twilight”! cf Jn 1:29, 1Co 5:7) (Rev 5:6, 5:9, 12–note; Rev 13:8–note). Transported into the future, John saw those scars indelibly inscribed by the nails that once impaled Him to the old rugged Cross, scars that will forever be the brand marks of God’s everlasting covenant, yes, even the scars that bear our names beloved. Inscribed forever. Eternally secure. Precious pictures of passion perfected for His treasured possessions to marvel at throughout eternity. And so the Lamb Who was slain has not forgotten our name, for He cannot forget what is immutably inscribed in the palm of His hands throughout eternity! Spurgeon encourages us to “Look at the nail-print, that is His memorial, His forget-me-not, and by it He says to thee…
Forget thee I will not, I cannot, thy name
Engraved on my heart doth forever remain
The palms of My hands whilst I look on I see
The wounds I received when suffering for thee.
Now come with me and gaze expectantly with eyes of faith at future grace (1Pe 1:13–note), that glorious day in eternity future, when we are seated around the Table of the Lord, celebrating the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. John testifies “Blessed (fully satisfied independent of circumstances) are those who are invited to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.” (Rev 19:9–note, cf Lk 14:15, Lk 13:29, Lk 22:28-30, Mt 8:11) Now turn to the parable in Luke 12 which records a glorious passage (Lk 12:37–note) that many commentators such as John MacArthur [note] describe as a “remarkable statement (that) pictures Christ, at His return, ministering as a Servant to believers!” Alexander Maclaren has an sermon on this one verse entitled “Servant-Lord.” The esteemed 19th century commentator Johann Bengel called Luke 12:37 the greatest promise in God’s Word, for in it we see a prophetic picture of the Gentle, Humble Jesus, the Servant Lord, condescending to “gird Himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and (He) will come up and wait on them.” (Lk 12:37, cf Jesus girding Himself at His First Coming – Jn 13:4-5) As He gives you the bread, you recall His words to the disciples at the Last Supper: “I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God” (Lk 22:16) and “I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” (Mt 26:29, Lk 22:18) And as His glorified hands reach out (cf Rev 1:16-17 –note) to give you the bread, you see on them the nail-pierced scars, those marks of indelible grace, marks of His eternal covenant (Heb 13:20–note). And then with even greater awe and amazement, you see your name there and you recall His precious promise now made perfect: “I have inscribed you on the palm of My hands.” And you bow humbly in worship and adoration and wonder at the Messiah’s Meekness and Majesty.
“May our God bring home to you a sense of your safety in Christ Jesus! May He assure you that your name is graven on His hand and whisper in your ear the promise, “Fear not, I am with thee.” Look upon Him, the great Surety of the covenant, as Faithful and True (Rev 19:11–note), and, therefore, bound and engaged to present you, the weakest of the family, with all the chosen race, before the Throne of God (Col 1:22–note,2Cor 4:14–note, Eph 5:27–note, cf Jude 24-note); and in such a sweet contemplation you will drink the juice of the spiced wine of the Lord’s pomegranate, and taste the dainty fruits of Paradise. You will have an antepast of the enjoyments which ravish the souls of the perfect saints above, if you can believe with unstaggering faith that “faithful is He Who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.” Amen (1Thes 5:24) (Spurgeon)
Play “Before the Throne of God Above” by Selah
Note especially the lines
“My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.”
Play Arise, My Soul, Arise – up tempo version by Indelible Grace