William Gadsby Sermons (Complete)

38 The Faithful God

“The faithful God.”—Deuteronomy 7:1

With what inexpressible satisfaction can the people of God sit at the feet of Jehovah, who is all holiness and purity and greatness; for what a ground of contentment it is to them to have this God as their faithful God; not merely believing it in their judgment, but feeling the truth in their hearts, that he is the faithful God. This couches in it many particulars, a few of which we will notice; the promises expected from him—his power, his covenant engagements. God is faithful in the relationship he bears to his church.

In what relation, let us ask ourselves, do we stand to this faithful God? He is our Creator and Preserver. Nothing is left by him in a precarious state. The ravens fed the prophet at the brook. See the lilies of the field. They toil not, neither do they spin; yet Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these. Not a sparrow falls to the ground without his notice; even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

“Life, death, and hell, and worlds unknown,
Hang on his firm decree;
He sits on no precarious throne,
Nor borrows leave to be.”

In what does he prove this faithful relationship? He has declared that the wicked shall be cast into hell. He will be found faithful and true. If you live and die without matchless grace, without repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, his infinite wrath will be poured upon you; his threatenings will be executed.

Let me, then, urge upon youth to look at this solemn warning: “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth; but know thou that for all these things God will bring thee to judgment.” How many of you set at defiance the faithfulness of God! Your carnal inclinations, wantonness, and dissipation are all your cares, and you say, “How does God know?” The Spirit of God is everywhere. He sees your every action; you cannot hide yourselves from him; and without repentance “ye shall all likewise perish.” out of Jesus Christ there is no salvation. Young men and young women! Think of this. Ask yourselves, are you in possession of the precious promises which are treasured up in Christ for those who love him? Are you prepared to meet him at his coming? Ah! My dear young friends! Trifle not with eternity! Think upon these solemn truths; ponder them over in your hearts; and may you be made sincere and honest, forsaking the follies of youth, and live entirely to his glory. God will not be mocked; he knows your hearts, and will not be deceived. He is faithful; the faithful God in his threatenings.

[O what solemn words he would sometimes address to ungodly young men and young women at the close of a “funeral sermon” for their godly parents! “Young man, you have lost a praying father; he will pray for you no more. You, who have laughed at his prayers and scoffed at his tears, and wished the old fool would be quiet, or that he was far enough away, so that you might have your fling in sin; young woman, you who have seen your mother’s tears and heard your mother’s prayers, but have turned your hardened hearts and backs away; if grace prevent not, you will sink into black despair.]

Aged men and women, remember that he who has seen your every action is faithful; and how many of you aged have lived in sin from your youth, careless about your own salvation and the ordinances of God, and breaking his commandments. And now are even more hardened in your crimes than ever. How often have you been the means of destroying even the principles of virtue in youth. You have not so much as restrained them from attending those haunts of vice which are destructive even to their temporal welfare. This is neglect. But how many amongst you have done more? Have you not led your sons and daughters thither? O, let me beseech you to stay your mad career; for there is a time coming when God will prove faithful. If you have thus violated his laws and neglected his ordinances, you will find he is for ever the faithful God.

The people of God have God for their Husband and Father. And do some of you say, “Can I be so intimately connected with Christ, — with Him who is infinitely holy, infinitely pure; and I so unholy, so base, so vile?” Hear, poor soul, who art ready to faint under the pressure of thy guilt, he has declared, “Thy Maker is thy Husband.” It is realized to thee in Christ; thou art redeemed by his blood; thou wast created out of the dust of the earth; and art, in mercy and faithfulness, preserved unto this moment. And art thou still repining, and he so good and true? Pause a moment and reflect upon the faithfulness of God. How merciful! how kind! how good! and how great! how faithful is our God! And we still remain ungrateful for all these mercies, and forget the gracious Giver? Bring the matter home to yourself, as between God and conscience. Ask, “What evidence have I that he has betrothed mo to himself? Where are my affections? Are they toward the faithful God? What can God find in me that is worthy of his notice; nay, more, that I should be married to him in love? Alas! I am abashed and confounded.” Ah! You may indeed wonder. Did you not promise him you would return his love, and have you not broken your vows? Frail creature! You have indeed proved unfaithful; but have you not found Him to be ever faithful? Can you not say, in faith and feeling, “The faithful God?” How much, then, the reverence due to him! Stand in awe at his word; for you have need to cry out, “I am for ever lost if God is not faithful!” And may you be enabled to trust in God and his promises. He has further declared for your consolation, ho will never leave nor forsake you. He will not deal with you according to your deserts. And in this have you not proved him faithful? Are you not deserving of his righteous indignation? And has he not had compassion upon you, and pardoned your offences? Keep this blessed truth in view: “You are the body of Christ;” and if it were possible for one member of his mystical body to perish, you think you would be that one. But no. If even you were lost, there would be a blank in heaven. But, honours crown his brow! He is the faithful God. He is your Husband; and will he be content to be in heaven and see his bride in, hell?

O, ye husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved his bride—-the church. And ye wives, love your husbands. Are you fretful and peevish with each other? You thus plunge yourselves into deeper misery. This is because, by nature, there is no soundness in you. But Christ promises to present you a glorious church, —more glorious than the angels in heaven. May the sweet savour of his precious promises be never lost to you. Christ is ever the same immortal and faithful God. He is thy God and thy glory for ever. Then is it not amazing we should be so fretful and repine at our few trials and difficulties? It is. But-it is the mystery of godliness that, though we are so far unfaithful to each other, and more so to him, yet he abideth faithful.

We have now entered on another year. Let us take a retrospect of the past, and ask ourselves what has been our conduct during the past year. We have sinned against God, and have greatly failed in the performance of our various duties. Ah! Could we meet God on the ground of our own works.’ Alas! If this must be the covenant, we must perish. But he has safely brought us through, and we are here now, living testimonies of his love and faithfulness. O, then, may we sink before his footstool, adore his goodness, trust him for the future, and glorify him with our bodies and spirits, which are his. He has promised to supply all our needs. He does not say he will supply all our wants, but our needs: and he is wise in not supplying all our wants; for our wants are often foolish; so in wisdom lie withholds them. You say, “If I had an abundance of food and raiment, I should be content.” If you had this, then you would want a comfortable house to dwell in; if you had that, you would want a larger one and a servant or two; and by-and-bye you would want a carriage to ride in, as walking would feel too fatiguing for you. And thus your wants would never end. Our needs are very little, as it respects these temporary matters; our greatest needs in this respect are a grateful heart and contented mind. This would make us so far happy. Moreover, then, may we put our trust in God, who is ever faithful in supplying our needs. He is the faithful God.

The Lord stands in relation to his church as a father to his son; and as a father chasteneth his son, in whom he delighteth, so doth the Lord them who fear him. And how often do you deserve the divine chastisement? He says, “If ye forsake my ways, I will visit your iniquities with a rod, and your transgressions with stripes.” O, see what follows: “But my loving-kindness will I not take away from him.” He fails not in so many tokens of his affection to his children. A professor without chastisement, one who lives at ease, is of that character who are styled “bastards.” For “whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” And thus are they made partakers of his holiness, and are brought to live nearer to him. He is faithful in all this.

David was enabled to view the matter clearly, when he cried out, “I know that in very faithfulness thou has afflicted me.” And can you and I say anything to the contrary? If we do, we murmur against him, and bring upon ourselves a sharper correction. And for what purpose? To hide pride from our eyes.

Sometimes the Lord is pleased to leave us for awhile to ourselves; ‘but if he were to leave us entirely to ourselves we should be ruined. It is to humble us, and to bring us to know our own weakness, and to teach us to confide in him. Wherever we may be, we have to do with a faithful God; and in whatever situation we are placed, it is only to prove God’s faithfulness. Who would have dreamed of God sending ravens to feed the prophet, increasing the widow’s oil, and sending bread from heaven to feed the children of Israel for forty years? All our poverty and distress are ordered by him to show his faithfulness, and for our good, that we may cry out, in the real exercise of faith, “My faithful God! Mine Holy One! All is well!”— Manchester; Jan. 5th, 1840.