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The Faithfulness of Jesus to God the Father

Hebrews 3:1-2 reads as follows: "Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the


heavenly calling, consider the apostle and high priest of our confession, Christ
Jesus, who was faithful to him who appointed him, as Moses also was faithful
in all his house." (NKJV)

Reading this passage and its surrounding context awhile back got me to
thinking about the faithfulness of Jesus. We seldom think about Jesus being
"faithful," that is in the sense of being faithful to God, even though we know
he lived a sin free life. I think there is profit to be had in looking into this
subject in as much as Jesus is to be our example. It is Jesus who said, "If
anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross,
and follow me." (Matt. 16:24 NKJV) Following Jesus would include following
him in faithfulness.

While Jesus was in the beginning with God and the Holy Spirit when the words
were uttered, "Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness"
(Gen. 1:26 NKJV, see also John 1:1-11) once Jesus entered the world, sent
by God the Father (John 17:18), he became not only the Son of God but also
the Son of Man and became subject to the Father. Paul said, in speaking to
the Corinthians, "I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the
head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God." (1 Cor. 11:3 NKJV)
Paul said earlier, in the same book, "And you are Christ's (speaking of the
Corinthian Christians-–DS), and Christ is God's." (1 Cor. 3:23 NKJV) When
Paul wrote those words Jesus was back in heaven but if he was then subject
to the Father then certainly he was subject to him earlier while on earth.

We also know that when this world comes to an end and the Day of Judgment
has come to be history that Jesus who now sits at the "right hand of the
majesty on high" (Heb. 1:3 NKJV) ruling "till he has put all enemies under his
feet" (1 Cor. 15:25 NKJV) will then himself "be subject to him who put all
things under him, that God may be all in all." (1 Cor. 15:28 NKJV)

We are really talking here about decisions made by the Godhead before the
creation of the world itself. Sometime before the foundation of the world the
Godhead made the decision that once the world was created and man placed
upon it that Jesus would, at some future point in time, a time known only to
God, take upon himself the form of man, enter into the world, and become its
Savior by the sacrifice of himself on the cross for the sins of man. Yes, God
knew his creation, man, would sin before man was created.

Jesus was our Savior chosen to be so before the foundation of the world.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us
with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as he chose
us in him before the foundation of the world (read that again a second time
for emphasis-–DS), that we should be holy and without blame before him in
love." He was "foreordained before the foundation of the world." (1 Peter
1:20 NKJV)
Jesus was born into the world to be a sacrifice for man's sin. "But we see
Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death
(emphasis on what you have just read-–DS) … that he, by the grace of God
might taste death for everyone." (Heb. 2:9 NKJV) Jesus came into the world
for the express purpose of dying "for everyone." This was by God's gracious
act. Jesus was the Lamb of God (John 1:29), "The Lamb slain from the
foundation of the world." (Rev. 13:8 NKJV)

Yes, Jesus was and is God. Only God can save us. Jesus was our Savior
chosen to be so by the Godhead before the foundation of the world.
However, while Jesus was/is God (see Heb. 1:8, John 1:1-2, Phil. 2:6, and
other passages) when he took on the role of the Son of Man coming to earth
in bodily form he himself became subject (willingly) to the Father.

The Hebrew writer makes this clear when he says:

"But to the son he says: 'Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter
of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved
righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, your God, has anointed
you with the oil of gladness more than your companions.'" (Heb. 1:8-9 NKJV)

Jesus who was himself God (read the verse above again) had a God. Who did
Jesus pray to if not to his God and Father? Who did he sing praise to (Heb.
2:12) if not to his God? Who did he put his trust in (Heb. 2:13) if not in his
God?

It was "in all things he had to be made like his brethren" (Heb. 2:17 NKJV)
and thus his faith in and dependency upon the Father, God in heaven. Now
please do not misunderstand. The most difficult subject that a man can study
and never really understand is how both deity and humanity dwelt within
Jesus at the same time. I am avoiding that subject in this article like the
plague. I am only saying here that in Jesus' role as the Son of Man he had a
dependency on God the Father just as all men do. Even as the Son of God
sons are subject to their fathers and must always show them honor and
respect.

The Bible says Jesus was "faithful" to God who appointed him as the apostle
and high priest of our confession (Heb. 3:1-2). The text also points out how
Moses had also been "faithful." What does the word faithful mean? What
makes a person faithful? When we speak of the faithfulness of Jesus what
does that mean?

A good synonym for faithful would be the word "reliable." Other synonyms
might be "dependable" or "trustworthy." My Merriam-Webster's Pocket
Thesaurus says of the word faithful, "firm in adherence to whatever one is
bound to by duty or promise."
The Bible speaks of God being faithful. "Therefore know that the Lord your
God, he is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy." (Deut. 7:9
NKJV) What does that mean? It means if God said it you can depend on it.
God cannot lie (Titus 1:2), neither can he grow weary and tired or weak and
unable to fulfill what he has said. When God makes a covenant with man,
that man enters into with him, God will keep his part right down to dotting
every i and crossing every t. He will fall short in nothing in keeping his part
of the covenant. Man must remember, however, that the covenant God has
made with his people is conditional, not unconditional.

In speaking of the children of Israel that came out of Egypt with Moses the
Psalmists says, "For their heart was not steadfast with him, nor were they
faithful in his covenant." (Psalms 78:37 NKJV) They entered into a covenant
relationship with God at Mt. Sinai in the desert but they proved unfaithful in
keeping their part of the covenant and thus were not allowed to enter the
Promised Land due to disobedience (Heb. 3:18, 4:6). Jesus, who came many
years afterwards, did not prove unfaithful in keeping that very same
covenant.

We can see then that being faithful means, on man's part, being obedient to
the covenant he is under with God. Have you ever read or paid any attention
to the cover page or title page of your New Testament? The New Testament I
am using as I write says on its cover page "The New Testament of Our Lord
And Savior Jesus Christ." The older versions used to read differently. I am
now looking at the cover page for the old American Standard Version of 1901
and that cover page reads "The New Covenant Commonly Called The New
Testament Of Our Lord And Savior Jesus Christ."

God has had two covenants with man. The first he made with the Jewish
nation. This was the Law of Moses delivered on Mt. Sinai and is the covenant
that Jesus kept faithfully and under which the thief on the cross lived and died
(mentioned for benefit of those who think he died under the Christian
dispensation of time). The second covenant is the New Covenant commonly
called the New Testament which all of mankind has lived under or put another
way been subject to since the cross. Much of the books of Romans,
Galatians, and Hebrews are devoted to this very subject of the change of the
law or the covenants under which men live.

As has been said to be faithful is to be obedient to the covenant under which


one lives, in our case the New Testament. The New Testament, or New
Covenant, is God speaking to you and me his will. He speaks through his
word. I cannot be faithful to God while disregarding his words directed to me.
If he gives me a command and I try and keep it you can call that an attempt
on my part to work my way to heaven, some feel that way about obedience,
but your calling it that will not make it so. It is, instead, an effort on my part
to be faithful to the one who has spoken to me his word, one who is telling
me what his desire for me is.
We say truthfully that Jesus was the Lamb of God for John the Baptist called
him that (John 1:29, 36) and the Hebrew writer says he "offered himself
without spot to God." (Heb. 9:14 NKJV) He was "a lamb without blemish and
without spot," says Peter. (1 Peter 1:19 NKJV) The only thing that brings
blemishes and spots to a man's soul is sin. Sin is "the transgression of the
law." (1 John 3:4 KJV) The faithfulness of Jesus was such that it led to a
perfectly sinless life. Peter says of him that he, "committed no sin, nor was
guile found in his mouth." (1 Peter 2:22 NKJV) He was "without sin." (Heb.
4:15 NKJV) Was Jesus trying to work his way back to heaven by being
obedient? Should I not try and be obedient?

While living on earth Jesus was under commandment from God not just
pertaining to those things contained in the Law of Moses but more. Jesus had
been commanded to speak the words he spoke. "For I have not spoken on
my own authority; but the Father who sent me gave me a command, what I
should say and what I should speak." (John 12:49 NKJV)

In Hebrews 3 Jesus' faithfulness is contrasted with the unfaithfulness of the


Israelites who left Egypt led by Moses as they headed to the Promised Land.
They did not enter into the Promised Land because they did not obey and
they did not obey because they did not believe (Heb. 3:18-19). The warning
given to the Hebrews then living, to whom the writer of Hebrews was writing,
was not to "fall after the same example of disobedience." (Heb. 4:11 NKJV)
Disobedience is unfaithfulness.

I ask a question easily enough answered. Was Jesus under a command from
God to give up his life on the cross for the sins of men?

Jesus answers himself. After the last supper Jesus made this statement, "But
that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me
commandment, so I do. Arise, let us go from here." (John 14:31 NKJV) At
that point in time the only thing left was the cross. They left their present
location for the garden where Jesus prayed and was later arrested.

Another passage that tells us the same thing in different language is Heb.
10:5-7.

"Therefore, when he came into the world, he said: 'Sacrifice and offering you
did not desire, but a body you have prepared for me. In burnt offerings and
sacrifices for sin you had no pleasure. Then I said, 'Behold, I have come—in
the volume of the book it is written of me written of me—to do your will, O
God.' ' " (NKJV) It was God's will that Jesus die on the cross for man's sins.

"By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus
Christ once for all." (Heb. 10:10 NKJV) Jesus came into the world for one
purpose--to fulfill the will of God which was that we be "sanctified through the
offering of the body of Jesus Christ." (Heb. 10:10 NKJV)
John 10:17-18 also helps clarify:

"Therefore my Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it
again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to
lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received
from my Father." (John 10:17-18 NKJV)

What command was it that Jesus had received? The command to lay down
his life and take it again--the command to go to the cross.

Jesus was obedient (faithful) unto death. "And being found in appearance as
a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even
the death of the cross." (Phil. 2:8 KJV) The words "the point of" are italicized
in the NKJV Bible meaning they were added by man (the translators) and are
not in the original so the actual text should read, "And being found in
appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death,
even the death of the cross." Yes, the cross was a commandment given to
Jesus. It can be difficult sometimes for a man to obey, to be faithful, but
ultimately unfaithfulness is far more costly.

What then can we learn from Jesus' faithfulness that will help us to be
faithful? It seems to me the big lesson is the total surrender of the life, the
will, to God. We as human beings are always thinking about "what I want to
do." Jesus did not live that way. It was for him and must be for us "not My
will, but yours, be done." (Luke 22:42 NKJV) A total surrender of one's life to
God is the answer to faithfulness.

And, I ask in closing, what is the command that God has given you and me?
We find it in what Jesus said to the angel of the church of Smyrna, quoting
from the original King James Version, "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will
give thee a crown of life." (Rev. 2:10 KJV) So we see there is a sense in
which we too are under the commandment of death—when faithfulness
requires it. Jesus was/is our example. Polycarp, a second century Christian,
was burned at the stake for his faithfulness. How strong is your faith today?
Is it strong enough to be faithful? No doubt we all need to work on both our
faith and our faithfulness.