1 Thessalonians 5:24
Faithful is he that calls you, who also will do it.
1. The highest object of man's existence is to hold communion with God. For this his nature was framed, and in this alone will it find repose.
2. But the vital tie that connected us with heaven is broken. We are as a limb of the body separated by paralysis, or any other internal cause, from the benefits of the general circulation. God is the heart: we have insulated ourselves from God, and deadened the nerve that conducted his influences. We have a name to live but are dead.
3. This is a state of things deeply to be lamented; but no one ever lamented that the brute creation was shut out from the converse of angels — because there are no faculties in brutes that point to a higher destiny; no traces of a fall, nothing about them which makes it a practical contradiction that they should be as they are and yet what they are. But even in the natural man there are faint gleams of a something over and beyond his present state, a perpetual unhappiness, proving his designation for a different state of things originally.
4. Now without some notion of the extent of the loss, you can never estimate the value or nature of the restoration. It is by the length of the dark shadow that you compute the height of the elevation beyond it. It is by summing up the long catalogue of woe that you will be able to conceive the importance of that manifestation of mercy, whose object is, by the descent of God, to bind once more the broken links of communion.
5. The nature of this restoration. Man is separated from God as a criminal, and as unholy; the communion is restored by free pardon on God's part for Christ's sake, and the acceptance of that pardon upon man's, and by the process of sanctification which makes a lost and ruined soul at length "meet for the inheritance of the saints."
6. Of this union with God the first great characteristic must be one which concerns both intellect and heart. It must behold God's holiness, justice, and mercy, and must love the holiness, dread the justice, desire the mercy. This complex act of knowledge and affection is faith.
7. But in every perfect union there must be mutual confidence, and a strict fulfilment of enjoyments on both sides. If man be trustful, God must be "faithful." This is the affirmation of the apostle. Thus faith in man and faithfulness in God are the two members of our spiritual harmony.
I. THE DIVINE FAITHFULNESS IS GLORIOUSLY CHARACTERISTIC OF THE SPIRITUAL SYSTEM TO WHICH WE BELONG. No words can go beyond the confidence of David in the faithfulness of God, and no doubt high and spiritual meanings belong to his expressions of such confidence. Holiness was to be the foundation of all, but yet a holiness triumphant in visible majesty and regal pomp. But the faithfulness of our text has exclusive reference to sanctification. It was no relief from temporal evils that Paul promised; the mercy of God might send them to the lions; it was still His mercy, if it but kept them unspotted from the world. How many are content with such faithfulness as this? Is this the tenor of your prayers? Is your heart busy in pleading with God His own eternal faithfulness in behalf of your sanctification and spiritual safety?
II. THE DIVINE FAITHFULNESS EXTENDS TO THE WHOLE MAN. The entire, if feeble humanity, is sheltered under this canopy of Divine protection. The body is subdued into its place as minister to the soul; the soul is guarded from its own special corruptions; and the spirit is preserved undecayed amid an hostile world. Of a surety the sacred Trinity that occupies the throne of heaven will not forget this humble image of Their ineffable mystery. Surely the soul will be pre served by that creative Deity who first infused it into the frame; the body by that Eternal Son who was pleased to assume it; and the spirit, by that ever blessed Spirit who bestows it and may well guard His own inestimable gift.
III. THIS FAITHFULNESS IS OF HIM "THAT CALLETH YOU." It is a fidelity to His own gracious engagement. He without destroying human freedom or responsibility, of His free grace commences, continues and ends the whole Christian work. Yet so faithful is His compassion that He represents Himself as bound and tied to the impulses of His own unconstrained mercy. There is no bond but His own love, yet that bond is stronger than iron; and He, whom the universe cannot compel, commands Him self.
IV. WITH SUCH A GOD, SUCH PROMISES AND FAITHFULNESS, WHY IS THERE A DELAY IN APPROPRIATING SO GREAT SALVATION? If we believe that these things are true where is the earnest active faith, and where the life that answers to it?
(W. Archer Butler, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.