Our Faithful God
“Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.” 1 Peter 4:19
This morning I was reading New Morning Mercies by Paul Tripp. In a writing discussing the battle that rages for the rulership of our hearts, Tripp made a comment, “We still tend to credit God with faithfulness only when things in our lives seem to be working.” Ouch! I cannot think of an instance when I have given God credit for, nor encouraged someone with, God’s faithfulness through events that are trying or hurtful. God has a plan, yes. God is working all things out for the good of those who love him, yes. But faithful? What does that even mean, really?
Pondering this brought to mind 1 Peter 4:19. In this context, Peter is writing a letter to the churches in Asia who are under persecution during the reign of Nero. This was not peacetime. This was not when all was going their way. This time for Christians was horrid. Christians were suffering brutal persecution. The Christians Peter is addressing may not only die for their profession of faith in Christ, they had a likely chance of being severely tortured along the way to their death, and yet Peter encourages them that while they suffer, they should entrust their souls to a faithful creator.
In the Greek, the word “faithful” here is pistos (1) which, besides faithful, can mean trustworthy or reliable. I think this is so helpful. As a mom, I change my mind a lot. I mean, a lot. Just ask my frustrated children. My kids love the fact that God is immutable. His solid, steadfast, unchanging character gives them such security. While mommy may change her mind and flip-flop our course last minute, God never does. He means what He says, says what He means, and none of it ever, ever changes. Mommy’s changing ways can leave them with a sense they cannot always depend (or rely) on what I say, but they know they can always depend on God and His word. His faithfulness is his reliability.
This means that in good times, God is faithful. This means when I get my way, God is faithful. This means when I am lost or confused or lonely, God is faithful. This means that in trial and suffering, God is faithful. He is trustworthy and reliable and dependable. Always. And how do I know this? Because “all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” (2 Corinthians 1:20, NKJV).
Before the foundation of the world, God had me (and all his elect) in mind, and he had a rescue plan in place. He made a promise and he was faithful, reliable, trustworthy to fulfill it. He had in mind to send his only begotten Son who would condescend to earth, live the perfect life I can’t come close to on my best day, to be slaughtered in my place, and to rise and conquer death to the praise of his Glory, and for the benefit of all who call upon his name.
His promises are signed and sealed with the blood of His son. That is faithfulness.
And so what is my response? Well, in this verse, Peter tells me it is: 1) to entrust my soul to this faithful God, and 2) to do it while doing good. I don’t need to understand God’s purpose or the reasons why. I don’t need to know all the answers or facets to a situation. I don’t need to know the beginning, end, or reasons for the plan. My responsibility is to trust God and His promises (remembering 2 Corinthians 1:20), and to walk in obedience to Him, knowing that in all circumstances, I can credit Him with faithfulness.