Faithfulness & Kindness – Part 2

In our last post, we connected the ideas of faithfulness and kindness and started to understand that God is kind even when we don’t deserve it. It’s this character, this never-changing nature, that leads us to repentance. God’s kindness doesn’t prevent sin, it simply serves as a beacon that lights our path of return.

God’s Kindness

Obedient people, even though they don’t always obey perfectly, remember their king’s loyalty. The child returns to a father who hasn’t provoked him or her to anger. Why? Because true wisdom embodies kindness, which is faithfulness. 

God’s kindness doesn’t prevent sin, it simply serves as a beacon that lights our path of return. Click To Tweet

Alone in destitution, the prodigal son remembered the light of his father’s goodness. He put his foot to the path of repentance, willing to be nothing more than a servant when he arrived. But, his father never stopped being faithful. As a kind and generous judge, the father pronounced forgiveness over his son and restored him to a place of honor. This is the faithfulness of the father, not the son. And whatever faith the son had  it was in his father’s faithfulness not his own actions.

We see this same faith in God’s faithfulness in Psalm 103:14-15 when David wrote:

“Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our form; He is mindful that we are nothing but dust.”

The Bible says without faith it is impossible to please God. But this cannot be confused with saying something like ‘without perfect faithfulness it is impossible to please God.’ What’s the difference? The first has as its focus God’s faithfulness, the latter our faithfulness—this is earning one’s place. The first is faith in God, the second is faith in our own faith(fulness).

The Bible says without faith it is impossible to please God. But we cannot confuse this with something like without perfect faithfulness it is impossible to please God. Click To Tweet

Let’s look at this idea in the parable of the talents found in Matthew 25. The servant entrusted with one talent hid his talent in the ground because he was afraid of his master. He said, “I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.”

This servant didn’t understand that though his master was a shrewd man, he was also a kind and faithful man. The servant had trusted in his own ability rather than in the character of his master. Even more, he trusted in a faulty view of his master’s character which led him to trust his own actions. The servant believed that if he failed, his master would be harsh.

Whatever his action or inaction from this point on, he was trusting in himself. But if the servant had merely placed his master’s money in the bank, his master would have been good to him. We know this because the master said as much. 

Some might ask, ‘Isn’t placing the money in the bank a work?’ No. No more than having faith in God’s faithfulness is a work. You don’t personally make your money grow in a bank. You simply place your trust in those who invest for you. You also don’t save yourself by some force called faith. We are saved by grace—by having faith that the grace giver is faithful.

Christian Faithfulness

In the Christian life our faithfulness is only ever a result of trust in God’s faithfulness. His kindness and faithfulness leads us to repentance. What is repentance? Turning. Turning from what? Sin and death. Turning to what? Faith and life. Is repentance a once-and-done thing? What happens if we act foolishly over and over? Proverbs 26:11 says, “Like a dog that returns to its vomit, so is a fool who repeats his foolishness.” Is there any hope for this?

Yes. In Matthew 18 we read, “Then Peter came up and said to Him, “Lord, how many times shall my brother sin against me and I still forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy-seven times.” 

In Luke 17 we read, “And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”

In the Christian life our faithfulness is only ever a result of trust in God's faithfulness. Click To Tweet

If this is how we are to treat those who sin against us, how much more will our Father forgive us? Our job is to repent and trust him to be what he is—our kind master. Our faithfulness is only ever a result of trust in God’s faithfulness. This is how the scripture can say that there is no condemnation for those in Christ and that if we sin and confess He is faithful and just to forgive ALL unrighteousness. 

Let’s Talk

Have you trusted in God’s kindness or your own faithfulness? Comment below or email me at nathan@nathanfranckhauser.com.

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