He is Faithful that Promised
By Michael Zaucha
From the earliest times, God would be about instructing and teaching His people about Himself – to get this knowledge of Himself engrained into their very hearts and minds – to know Him - that He is The God that works according to His promise, and that He is faithful to fulfill that which He has promised (Rom. 4:18-21), and this truth about God continues on for He changeth not (Mal. 3:6).
The Testimony of Old. When Joshua waxed old and was stricken in age, having disposed of the enemies of the land by the hand of God, and had rested in peace a long time, he reminded the people of God that it was God who brought this all to pass: “not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you: all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof” (Jos. 23:14).
After the seven year building project of the temple was completed, and the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord (I Kgs. 8:11), on that day, King Solomon would speak with all the congregation of Israel standing before him concerning what they were seeing in their sight (I Kgs. 8:14).
While standing in this exceeding magnifical structure, the king did not glory in his might before God’s people – not even suggesting that it was by his might that erected such a building project. He did neither glory in his worldly riches that adorned its entirety from top to bottom, from north to south and from east to west; nor did he glory in his wisdom that over saw the project from start to finish. Instead he gloried in his knowledge and understanding of God.
In the midst of this magnificent temple complex, Solomon would reveal that it was God who had brought this all to pass – and He did so according to His promise, the promise God had spoken to Moses and also a promise spoken to his father David – a promise concerning an inheritance, a chosen land to dwell in, a time of peace to rest in and for there not to fail a man to sit on the throne of Israel (vs 25). Solomon was given the understanding to see that what had been fulfilled at that time was according to God’s promise. What had happened had not occurred by their good fortune or by the will of man, but of God. His message was that God was faithful to fulfill what He had promised - and he wanted the people to have this knowledge and understanding of God as well.
So he declared this truth concerning God unto the people of God: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which spake with His mouth unto David my father, and hath with His hand fulfilled it” (I Kgs. 8:15). And again saying: “the Lord hath performed His word that He spake . . . as the Lord promised” (vs. 20). And finally, as they stood together in that place where God Himself had brought them into, this most glorious revelation of God Himself revealed: “Blessed be the Lord, that hath given rest unto His people Israel, according to all that He promised: there hath not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised by the hand of Moses His servant” (vs. 56). Behold our God! “Yea, I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass” (Isa. 46:11).
A Promise of Better Things to Come. From these early times, the promise that God had spoken was given in seed form to the people – a promise of lands, of good lands, of peace with their enemies, and an increase of the people- but the promise was not intended to stay that way. God would give it to increase through His revelation and proclamation! Throughout the course of time, God began to open up the exceeding greater magnitude of His promise. And as the promise was opened up even more to reveal its exceeding greatness, God continued to anchor the hope and trust of His people unto fulfillment to Himself, to His very Person – for them to know He is faithful that promised (Heb. 10:23).
It is the gospel which opens up and declares the exceeding greatness of the promise – the fullness of the promise which has no bounds of time or place in the earth, so much so that when time shall be no longer and this present heavens and earth pass away, His promise shall not pass away with them.
Even Eternal Life. The gospel declares: “This is the promised that He (God) hath promised us, even eternal life (I Jn. 2:25). Eternal life is the sum of the promise God has promised us, and the gospel is not only revealing the fullness of the promise to us, but it also is declaring that you have it now – by faith in God’s Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. For he that hath the Son hath life (I Jn. 5:12) is the good news of the gospel.
The gospel continues to reveal that the promise of eternal life is bestowed on them that had been once banished from His presence because of sin, but now they have a dwelling in the house of the Lord all the days of our lives. That means that there has been an effectual change accomplished. God has done a work for you and in you – a work which has eternal significance. That greater part is your being accepted by God – for ever – and that acceptance is in the Beloved, in Christ Jesus our Lord (Eph. 1:6). With the proclamation of God’s acceptance of you comes benefits the like of which no comparison can be found in this world: you have full access to the Almighty and Holy God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Rom. 3:24), to come before the throne of grace and obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
And then there is the promise of still better things yet to come: when there shall be no more tears, no more death, no more sorrow, no more crying, no more pain (Rev. 21:4). The promise of a new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness (Isa. 66:22) with a continuing promise for it to remain that way: for there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie (Rev. 21:27).
It Must Needs be Kept Now. And while we truly have the firstfruits of eternal life, the Apostle Paul would reveal the truth of our sojourn here in this time and in the present evil concerning the full reception of the promise of God: "not as though I had already attained either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:12).
Which means eternal life will have to be fought for in order to lay hold of it, in order for it to be fully obtained. It means that what we have now must be kept. And the gospel declares that the fullness of eternal life is worth any and all of our efforts. In our knowledge of that truth, we, like the Psalmist declare: "my soul followeth hard after Thee" (Ps. 63:8). Brethren, we want to be known as such ones who follow hard after the Lord, particularly to be known in the heavenly places. If this truth about us is not known by men, it shall be to their destruction. We want to be known in the heavenly places as those that follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth (Rev. 14:4) knowing the fullness of the promise is worth it.
However, we also know that our following hard after the Lord comes at a price. We will encounter trials, and testings, times of being cast down, times of persecution, even times of great tribulation in our following the Lamb, but know this as well, God is faithful to equip us unto the full obtainment of the promise. The Psalmist concluded that God is faithful: "Thy right hand upholdeth me" – which is our affirmation of truth as well.
God is faithful to strengthen us in order to keep that which is given unto us and to overcome adversaries and to possess the promise unto fullness, and the gospel does minister unto you this enablement in order that you hold fast the profession of your faith without wavering.
We know there are times when we are tried in this truth, but be persuaded in this reality and truth about our God and Father – He is faithful that promised” (Heb. 10:23). Being faithful to fulfill His promises is God’s very nature and character, and He cannot deny Himself (II Tim. 2:13).
Strengthened by the Promises. God is faithful to minister unto us by continuing to reveal the "better promises" and to increase your trust in Him by revealing to us what He has promised He is also able to perform (Rom.4:21).
So, with the firstfruit possession in hand, and with the “better things” still to come, and with the fight becoming intensified, and the running of the race requiring more endurance to finish because of the many hindrances along the way – and if you were wearied with running with the footmen, how shall you contend with the horses? (Jer.12:5).
Fulfilled in Christ Jesus. Being equipped to endure to the end will not come by looking to the physical land of Israel that Joshua possessed or at the remains of the temple wall in Jerusalem that Solomon built. These are not sufficient resources to lay hold of eternal life. Our strength to fight the good fight of faith and lay hold of the promise of eternal life will only come by our looking unto Jesus, the man Christ Jesus, and God's faithfulness to perform that which God promised to This Man.
In seeing God's faithfulness according to His promise to His Beloved Son, I say again to the man Christ Jesus, and by the working of God in salvation – of God are ye in Christ Jesus (I Cor. 1:30), and that all the promises of God are in Him yea, and in Him, amen (II Cor. 1:20), you are equipped to run the race set before you. And don’t you lose sight of Him. For in Him, in Christ Jesus, are you armed with truth, and in Him - in Christ Jesus - are you strengthened to run, to fight, to overcome and to obtain.
The gospel reveals that Jesus Himself is the affirmation of this truth, declaring that He lived in the prospect of the promise made to Him being fulfilled by His heavenly Father, summing up Christ’s race: "who for the joy set before Him" - made to Him by the promise of His Heavenly Father – and with the knowledge of those exceeding great and precious promises made to Him - Jesus "endured the cross, despising the shame." And the gospel declares the glad tidings of good things, the God who promised is faithful to perform it: "and is set down" - by the faithful God - "at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb. 12:2) - according to His promise.
According to His promise to His Son: "I will make Him My Firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth" (Ps. 89:27), God would be at work to fulfill. The promise had been sounded out for all to hear. It was not spoken quietly in some corner of heaven. It was declared for all to hear and all to know what God would be working to fulfill. And the angels desired to look into these things.
And this is that very thing that God fulfilled unto Him after Jesus finished His work on the earth and after He ascended into heaven. The gospel reveals the truth of God's faithfulness unto Jesus, revealing that God has "set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under His feet" (Eph. 1:20-22). God has highly exalted Jesus and has given Him a “name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11). Behold the faithfulness of Him that promised. He is faithful that promised.
The Reason for our Hope in Christ Jesus. These are the foundational truths of the gospel concerning the faithfulness of God, but how does this minister unto God's people? How do we know that we have a part in these wonderful works of God? Hear again the promise of God made to the Son: "I will make Him My Firstborn."
While Moses and the prophets begin to teach the preeminent of the firstborn, it will be the gospel that will open up the glory of the promise to usward who believe in Jesus – because He is the firstborn of the Father. Jesus is God's firstborn, the firstborn of every creature (Col. 1:15), and the first begotten from the dead, and the head of the church which He is building (Heb. 12:23). All this is announcing, as firstborn, Jesus has the preeminence in all things. God has made Jesus His firstborn, and as such He is heir of all things, and honored above all.
But unto our edification and hope, the gospel also reveals that He is the firstborn among many brethren (Rom. 8:29). In this instance, firstborn speaks of many more to follow - many more, more than the sands of the seashore, more than the stars in the heavens.
The Apostle John was given to see the fulfillment of the promise as he saw a great multitude before the throne and before the Lamb, "a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues" (Rev. 7:9). The promise of God was recorded in the Psalms, but the gospel declares in truth: He is faithful that promised.
And as we continue to declare and see Jesus high and lifted up, the promise concerning His many brethren is assuredly a sufficient inducement for us to continue in the race set before us and to fight the good fight of faith and to lay hold of eternal life. For this is the gospel message: "when we were dead in sins, (God) hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:5-6). Brethren, the fullness is nigh at hand.
Concerning Christ’s sojourn in the days of His flesh, it is written of the waters that He would have to pass through, being despised and rejected of the very ones He came to save; and of times having to pass through the rivers of sorrow and grief – whose very life was defined by suffering – seeing firsthand the deadliness and corruption that sin had upon all He created; and when His hour had come to pass through the fire of being made to be sin for us, who knew no sin, He endured them all by the promise of His Heavenly Father: “Fear not: for I am with Thee” (Isa. 43:5). “Yea, I will hold Thine hand and I will keep Thee” (Isa. 42:6).
Even while Jesus hung on the cross, when by all outward appearances, He was alone for His disciples had been scattered, every one to his own, leaving Him alone. “Yet,” Jesus affirmed, “I am not alone, because the Father is with Me” (Jn. 16:32). “For the Lord God will help Me” (Isa. 50:7, 9) was His strength going to the cross. Jesus endured by the promise of the Father and being persuaded that, what He had promised, He was also able to perform. And perform God truly did, on that third day when He raised His Son from the dead – never to die again.
For God had made promise to the Son that He would perform this very thing. This is the promise the Father made to His Beloved Son as affirmed by the Apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost. “Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell; neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption” (Ps. 16:10) is the promise made to the Son. In view of this promise and the knowledge that God is faithful that promised, Jesus declared in view of the cross: “ My heart is glad and My glory rejoiceth: My flesh also shall rest in hope” (vs. 9) – hope of the promised resurrection from the dead – not to the life He had just left: God forbid! - in order to partake of the path of life – the newness of life - the fullness of joy of being in God’s presence and the partakement of the pleasures for evermore that are at His right hand (vs. 11).
And on that third day, God’s faithfulness of His promise to His Son was demonstrated with great power and glory, as prophesied by the prophet Micah: “The Breaker is come up!” (Mic. 2:13) is the shout of triumph and overcoming over that which had held man captive since the beginning – that being death and the grave, and a revealing of the destruction of the one who had the power of death, that is the devil (Heb. 2:15).
The Breaker – the Man Christ Jesus – has broken out from the dead having loosed the pains of death because it was not possible that He should be holden of it (Acts 2:24). For in Him is no sin (I Jn. 3:5).
But hear this, brethren – you want to hear this - there is a “them” and a “they” associated with the Breaker –“The Breaker is come up before them” – as the gospel reveals of Jesus being the first begotten from the dead (Rev. 1:5), and “they have broken up” as well – because the Breaker has brought out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house (Isa. 42:7) just as the Father promised He would. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a powerful testimony to all that believe that God is faithful that promised.
For this truth is applicable to all that believe in the Name of the Son of God (I Jn. 5:13). The Apostle Paul declared this truth to all the beloved of God, called to be saints (Rom. 1:7): “like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4).
Hear this glorious announcement: that same divine power that raised up Jesus from the dead, has raised us up as well – raised us up who were dead in trespasses and sins – raised us up from sin and death – unto eternal life. This is not only good doctrine, but also glorious reality, for having partaken of the reality of Rom. 6:3 – “that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death” these all are the partakers of the reality of Rom. 6:4.
And as is the Apostolic manner, there are more good things to follow: “if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him: knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more (for) death has no more dominion over Him (Rom. 6:8-9).
Our Exhortation. Therefore, reckon ourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 6:11) – alive in waiting for the redemption of our bodies (Rom. 8:23), alive and looking for the glorious appearing of the great God and our savior Jesus Christ (Tit. 2:13), for when Christ, who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory (Col. 3:4).
Through the gospel proclamation pointing us to Jesus, let us grow in the persuasion that what God has promised He is faithful to fulfill. Amen.