A Faithful God
Minister: Revd Dr. Ian Tutton
‘…How can I give you up…?’ (Hosea 11, 8a)
A powerful God; a God whose power is made manifest in creating out of nothing, a God whose power is revealed in the raising of Jesus from the dead. This is our God. A purposeful God; a God whose purpose it is to reconcile all things, to make all things cohere, to fashion the whole creation that it might conform to the Divine will, to love into relationship all whom God has made in the Divine image that we ‘might glorify God and enjoy God forever’; in short, a God whose purpose it is to redeem all that there is for God, according to God’s good pleasure. And now we consider a faithful God; a consistent God, a reliable God, a God who never wavers from the accomplishing of the Divine purpose, a God whose power will only ever be used to overcome that which would otherwise stand in the way of the fulfilment of the Divine purpose. The darkness of nothing, the nothingness itself was overcome when out from God went forth the command, ‘Let there be light’, and ‘there was light’. Aeons later, reflecting on the mystery of the incarnation, long after Jesus had lived and died and was believed to have been raised from the dead, the compiler of John’s Gospel declares that, ‘the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’ That which would reduce us to nothing; indeed, that which does reduce us to nothing, ‘the evil that men do’. In the face of which God consistently and reliably, even unceasingly, God is at work to overcome it. Faith dares us to believe that Jesus having been raised from the dead is the good deposit, the down payment against which is secured the fulfilment of the promise that we too shall triumph over evil, that we too shall conquer death…
’But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive…And now He has revealed this grace through the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus, who has abolished death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the gospel…He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the former things have passed away.” – And so, power and purpose are bound together as one; a faithful God, consistent, unwavering, determined, reliable. Hence, if we want evidence of God at work in the world, be it in an individual life, or in the whole world order, we ask ourselves thus, ‘Is what we witness a demonstration of light overcoming the darkness, of life triumphing over death?’ If so, then there is the power and purpose of God made evident. God can only be on the side of the angels; God can only say and do that which is good – that which is ‘loving, joyous, peaceable, patient, kind, wholesome, and disciplined’ – because such is the path to redemption; to reconciliation, to restoration, that is mapped out in the mind of God. It may be a narrow path that leads to salvation, but God will never deviate from the path; his ‘moral’ compass is true, and cannot be compromised, never mind how magnetic the forces that would come up against our God. But as surely as the Life of God is bound up with our common humanity in Jesus, so too is the Life of God bound up with the life of the individual believer, with you and with me…
God has promised that if we pray, God will hear our prayer and will answer our prayer. But, we needs must beware, prayer is not not so simple. We ask, God answers, but the answer God gives to our prayers is not necessarily the answer we want to hear. God promises to answer prayer, but only in a way that is consistent with the Divine purpose. God has the power to ensure that the answer given to us in prayer will be for our good, because our ‘good’ is consistent with the purpose of God in redeeming the good from that which would otherwise be evil.‘All things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to the purpose of God.’ Never be afraid to ask, in prayer, always be prepared for God to answer your prayer, always be prepared to accept the answer you receive from God.
God has promised that if we confess our sins, God will forgive us our sins. The forgiveness of sin goes to the very heart of the Divine purpose; it is the very thing that can only be accomplished according to the power of God because it is by definition beyond the sinner to forgive sin, at the same time it is the dynamic which is at the heart of the Divine purpose of redemption. So, if we fall, God will pick us up – if we are prepared to look to God for a helping hand – and however many times we fall back down, God is prepared to pick us up – but only if we are prepared to look to God for a helping hand. God cannot but be aa forgiving God because redemption is only possible through the process of forgiveness; yet forgiveness is the means by which redemption becomes effective as far as one’s relationship with God is concerned.
God promises that however many times we are unfaithful to God, God will always and forever love us. God will always be at work to win us back to God. How can God give us up? The answer simply, God cannot…We have all at some time or another given upon God, but God will never, never give us up.