Our unbelief and His faithfulness

Our unfaithfulness or unbelief has absolutely no bearing on God’s faithfulness. When thinking about this we should also understand that we primarily live according to our perception of reality, not reality itself. It’s a bit like driving through fog. You and I have no way of seeing or knowing everything, which is why it’s always quite funny to me when people try to tell me they only live according to reality and evidence.

Getting back to my subject, while people behaving badly in Jesus’ name does reflect poorly on Him, and can turn people away from Him, it only demonstrates how much these offenders are not like Him.

Even when His followers are talking about Jesus it’s always going to be like drinking water through a garden hose. The water (God and His Word) will be flavored like the condition of the hose (us).

I was struck by this contrast this morning while reading through Romans 2-3. Here’s a for instance:

But what if some were unfaithful to their divine calling? Does their unbelief weaken God’s faithfulness? Absolutely not! God will always be proven faithful and true to his word, while people are proven to be liars. This will fulfill what was written in the Scriptures:

Your words will always be vindicated
    and you will rise victorious
    when you are being tried by your critics! (Rom. 3:3-4 TPT)

It’s remarkable to me how relevant this passage is to us today. There are many people criticizing Christianity and turning away from Christ, but most of the reasons I’ve heard have to do with atrocities done in Jesus’ name in church history or with particular groups or leaders behaving badly.

We want to pronounce God’s guilt by association.

But what Paul is saying here is that these criticisms don’t even address God’s character at all. They address the character of whoever is being “unfaithful to their divine calling.”

However, there is a tension that we who follow Christ need to take into account. Here’s what Paul said to his Jewish brethren earlier:

21 So let me ask you this: Why don’t you practice what you preach? You preach, “Don’t steal!” but are you a thief? 22 You are swift to tell others, “Don’t commit adultery!” but are you guilty of adultery? You say, “I hate idolatry and false gods!” but do you withhold from the true God what is due him? 23 Even though you boast in the law, you dishonor God, the Lawgiver, when you break it! 24 For your actions seem to fulfill what is written:

“God’s precious name is cursed among the nations because of you.” (Rom. 2:21-24 TPT)

While we’re not under the Law, the principle still applies.

Mahatma Gandhi famously said something along the same lines: “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

And this is why it’s so important for us as followers of Christ to understand that it’s not about them, it’s about us.

So, people’s criticism of us is fair as long as they realize they’re not talking about God. This is why Paul quoted Psalm 51:4 about God’s character in the following:

Your words will always be vindicated
    and you will rise victorious
    when you are being tried by your critics!

As we think about this tension, I believe the lesson is two-fold. First, we need to stop looking at people or circumstances when we want to criticize God’s goodness and faithfulness. Our perception, our experience, or even our ability to discover anything in the natural world, does not address the reality of God at all. Second, we as believers need to take a good look at ourselves and make sure that people aren’t getting the wrong idea about God because of us. Selah.

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 39 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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2 Responses to Our unbelief and His faithfulness

  1. Great post and very timely, too! I needed that affirmation. Good analogy about drinking through a hose. We’re all conduits of God’s word, so to speak. If one hose tastes funny, find another, or better yet, start talking directly to God yourself, start reading what He has to say.

    I also really like how you said, “how much these offenders are not like Him.” That indicates that there is a standard, that we know He is good. These offenders who offend us have fallen short of who He is.

    • Mel Wild says:

      “These offenders who offend us have fallen short of who He is.”

      Exactly! And this reality only proves, again and again, why we all need a Savior, for Jesus came to save us from ourselves! None of us are what we know we should be, and our cooperation with Jesus’ life in us is the only comprehensive solution to this problem. 🙂

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