I once knew a father who displayed an alarming lack of consistency. When he was in a happy frame of mind, he allowed his children to get away with anything short of complete mayhem. But when he was in a foul mood, the slightest provocation could ignite a severe reaction from him. His children learned to take a quick look at Dad when he walked in the door. Then they made themselves scarce or greeted him enthusiastically, depending on what they saw. Even the dog seemed to notice the difference.
God is not like such a father. He is thoroughly consistent and just. This is the theme of the “faithful saying” Paul quoted in 2 Timothy 2:11-13.
God always rewards faith and perseverance. Likewise, He always punishes faithlessness and disobedience. The words “If we are faithless, He remains faithful” are a warning against presumption, not a reassuring word to the faithless. God’s faithfulness means that He follows through on His threats as well as His promises.
The one thing God cannot do is act contrary to His nature. Although He will fulfill His threats to those who continue to deny Him, He will also fulfill His promises to the faithful.
What a warning this is to the faithless! But what a comfort to those who put their faith in Christ!
For Further Study
What does Psalm 103:6-10 say about God's character?
What do verses 11-14 say about the scope of His mercy?
To whom is that mercy extended? (vv.17-18).
God keeps His Word—you can count on it!