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“The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with Him, we will also live with Him; if we endure, we will also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us; if we are faithless, He remains faithful—for He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:11-13).
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
Let’s face it: We have not been all that faithful to God. Need proof? Let’s run through the Commandments. As we do, I ask to examine your own heart and life. How faithful have you been?
The First Commandment: You shall have no other gods. What does this mean? We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.
Have you loved God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength? Do you see your worry and fretting as sin against trusting God? Do you complain about the troubles, people, work, and suffering God lays on you? Do you love the things God gives more than you love Him?
The Second Commandment: You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not curse, swear, use satanic arts, lie, or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thinks.
Have you used God’s name cheaply or for oaths that are frivolous or false? Do you pray with fervor in times of trouble? Is your life, marked with the Name of God in Baptism, characterized by thanksgiving and prayer?
The Third Commandment: Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.
Do you strive to make the day of rest holy, that is, set apart for God? Do you care about holy living? Do you honor the Word of God highly by studying it gladly, learning it by heart, and living it? Do you despise the Word of God by neglect, paying no attention to it when it is read or preached? Are you quick to make excuses for neglecting worship because of what someone else has said or done, or to do other things you like more?
That’s just the First Table of the Law—your love to God. What about the Second Table of the Law? Have you been faithful to your neighbor?
The Fourth Commandment: Honor your father and your mother. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents and other authorities, but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them.
Have you taught your children, prayed for them, brought them to worship, and instructed them in the baptismal life as God’s children? Has the fear and love of God shaped your honor and obedience to parents and others in authority over you? Do you pray for parents, leaders of the nation, schools and church?
The Fifth Commandment: You shall not murder. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, but help and support him in every physical need.
Have you treated your neighbor’s body and life as great gifts of God to him? Have you avoided giving help to your neighbor or getting involved with him in his difficulty? Do you abuse your own body with neglect of health care, excess use of food, drink, tobacco, or drugs?
The Sixth Commandment: You shall not commit adultery. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we lead a sexually pure and decent life in what we say and do, and husband and wife love and honor each other.
Have you used for your own pleasure your ears to hear stories that ridicule marriage or incite craving for the body of one who is not your spouse? Have you indulged your eyes in looking with longing for your sexual satisfaction from a man or woman who is not your spouse? Have you dishonored marriage by ridicule, divorce, or neglecting to encourage others to be faithful in the fear of God to their spouses? And have you neglected to worship, pray, and follow the fear and love of God in times of sexual temptations?
The Seventh Commandment: You shall not steal. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not take our neighbor’s money or possessions, or get them in any dishonest way, but help him to improve and protect his possessions and income.
Have you been lazy at work, doing poor work in school or at the job, or working hard only when the boss was around? Have you been stingy in paying your workers? Have your worked for yourself, rather than for Christ and for the benefit of your neighbor? Have you cared for the property in the neighborhood, school, or church, so that it was improved? Have you been greedy when it comes to returning to the Lord a generous portion of your money as a thankoffering?
The Eighth Commandments: You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest way.
Have you gossiped, delighting to tell others about the faults or mistakes of another? Have you found ways of explaining in the best possible way those works or actions of others that hurt you? Have you defended your neighbor when things said about your neighbor have made others think badly of him or her? Have you been faithful in keeping the secrets entrusted to you in confidence?
The Ninth Commandment: You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not scheme to get our neighbor’s inheritance or house, or get it in a way which only appears right, but help and be of service to him in keeping it.
Have you longed for the honor, wealth, happy life, or what seemed the ease of the lives of others? Have you rejoiced with a generous and good heart in the good things that come to your neighbors? Have you lived in grudging discontent with whatever God has given you, restless about what you don’t have and neglectful of thankful generosity with what you do have?
The Tenth Commandment: You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not entice or force away our neighbor’s wife, workers, or animals, or turn them against him, but urge them to stay and do their duty.
Have you wanted your neighbor’s spouse, his workers, or his property to be yours? Have you urged friends and spouses and workers to go back to their calling, holding their friendships, marriages, or work together?
God says of all these commandments: “I the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments.” (Exodus 20:5-6)
What does this mean? God threatens to punish all who break these commandments. Therefore, we should fear His wrath and not do anything against them. But He promises grace and every blessing to all who keep these commandments. Therefore, we should also love and trust in Him and gladly do what He commands.
So, how did you do? Are you a little faithful? Pretty faithful?
It doesn’t really matter, does it? God’s standard is 100% faithfulness. And none of is perfectly faithful. And a person who isn’t perfectly faithful is a sinner. And the truth be told, none of us sinners is as faithful as we ought to be. And that statement is true for all of humanity, from the fall of Adam and Eve to this very day.
But that’s not quite right, is it? History has seen one single, special, solitary exception to that rule. That exception is Jesus Christ, God’s Son, the world’s Savior. This is good news for you. “If we are faithless, He remains faithful.”
Read through Scripture and you’ll see how faithful the Lord is. God created everything and declared it very good. But Adam and Eve turned away from God’s will and accepted Satan’s sinful suggestions. Their disobedience brought death and darkness into the world, even as it made certain that we could never again, by our own power, be reconciled with God. Our sins guaranteed we would never be more than “pretty faithful people” destined for hell. That’s the way it was, and that’s the way it would have remained if God hadn’t intervened and promised to send His Son to be the sinner’s substitute and Savior. Much of the rest of the Old Testament tells of how God, in spite of what His people did, remained faithful to His promise.
When His people refused to enter the land He’d promised, God remained faithful and waited for the Holy Spirit to raise up a generation who would obey. When His people preferred to follow other gods, He faithfully brought them back. When they forgot the promise they’d been given, God remained faithful and sent prophets to call them to repentance. No matter what His people did, God stayed faithful and committed to sending the Savior, who would bring forgiveness, reconciliation, and redemption.
Then, when the fullness of time had come, God faithfully kept His promise to send His Son, our Savior. He remains faithful.
Jesus remains faithful to His neighbor.
Jesus honored His father and mother. At age 12, even though He knew He was to be about His heavenly Father’s business, when Mary and Joseph found Him in the temple, He went with them back to Nazareth and was submissive to them. Even as He was dying on the cross, Jesus made sure that His mother was taken care of. He submitted to earthly authorities even as they planned His death.
Jesus helped and supported His neighbor in need, showing compassion to the hungry and healing the blind, deaf, sick, and lame. When His disciples asked, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” Jesus rebuked them. When one of them cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant, Jesus healed the man.
Jesus instituted marriage in Eden, honored marriage at Cana, and offered marriage as an earthly picture of His love for His bride the Church.
During His temptation, Jesus was offered the riches of the world, but He turned them down and lived in poverty that you might be spiritually rich.
Jesus defends and praises the “sinful” woman who anoints Him at Simon’s house (Mark 14:3-9). He praises the widow’s sacrificial giving (Mark 12:41-44).
Jesus does not covet what His heavenly Father has not seen fit to give Him. When hungry after forty days in the wilderness and tempted to turn stones into bread. Jesus tells Satan, “Man shall not live by bread alone” (Luke 4:4).
Jesus remains faithful to God. Only He has loved the Lord perfectly with all His heart and with all of strength and with all of His soul and with all of His mind.
Each Sabbath you could find Jesus in the synagogue or temple, holding God’s Word sacred, gladly hearing and learning it. When Satan tempted Jesus with all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall not worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.’” In agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from Me. Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.”
Jesus remains faithful to God unto death, even death on the cross.
Jesus remains perfectly faithful in doing all that is needed to forgive your sins and save your soul. That means He didn’t respond when He was spit on, when He was beaten, when He was whipped, and when He was crowned with thorns. And if that isn’t incredible, when He was nailed to the cross, He forgave those who had put Him there. Look in the Gospels. Verse after verse shows us that Jesus remains faithful. No matter what others do, Jesus is always perfectly faithful in fulfilling His Father’s promise to save sinners. “If we are faithless, He remains faithful—for He cannot deny Himself.”
It is a faithfulness that continues today. Today, risen and ascended, the living Lord is still fully committed to calling and keeping His people in the faith. He is there in the adoption service we call Baptism. He is present to bless the vows of bride and groom. He sits beside every family that mourns. He provides faith as we hear His Word and receive His body and blood. He is here, even now, for you. Faithfully, He hears your prayers, understands the great concerns of your heart, and wishes to calm your fears. He is here now, even as He will be here tomorrow and the next day and every day until that day He returns for you.
He remains faithful—for He cannot deny Himself.
Go in the peace of the Lord. You are forgiven for all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.