If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 (ESV)
To whom is God faithful, us? Well, yes, but why? We don’t deserve God’s faithfulness and we certainly have done nothing to earn it. God is not beholding to anyone for anything. Our God is in the heavens and he does all that he pleases. (Psalm 115:3 ESV) So, the reason for his faithfulness has to go beyond being faithful to us. I believe when it says that God is faithful it is referring to God being faithful to his word, and even more specifically he is faithful to the new covenant he has made with his people.
The writer of Hebrews recalls the covenant. For he finds fault with them when he says: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah . . . For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:8, 10-12 ESV)
In chapter 10 the writer of Hebrews makes it plain that this covenant is for all those who are cleansed by the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 10:12-17). They are God’s called and chosen people of the new covenant. The writer exhorts, Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23 ESV) God promised to establish a new covenant with us. He promised to put his laws into our minds and write them on our hearts, to be our God and us his people and to be merciful toward our iniquities and remember our sins no more. And he is faithful to fulfill that promise.
Every time we feel convicted of sin to the point of confession it is because of God’s covenant. It is because God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, has put his laws into our minds and written them on our hearts. Had he not done so we would neither feel convicted of sin nor be willing to confess. Yet every time we acknowledge our sin to him he is faithful to forgive us. He is faithful to fulfill the promise of the covenant to be merciful toward us and remember our sins no more.
God is faithful and will not let us be tempted beyond our ability because of the covenant (1 Corinthians 10:13). God is faithful to keep us blameless at the coming of Christ because of the covenant (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24). The covenant is the reason that God is faithful even when we are faithless––he cannot deny himself (2 Timothy 2:13). God is faithful to forgive and cleanse us because his faithfulness is hinged on the covenant. And that covenant is guaranteed for all who come to faith in Jesus Christ.
Have you come to faith in Jesus Christ? Do you regularly express your gratitude to God for the covenant?
Scriptures for meditation:
1 Corinthians 1:9