Considering God “before the beginning” is, I find, a fruitful exercise. It helps me to clarify the character and nature of God which in turn increases my confidence in him and his promises.
I have the general impression, and maybe it is just my weakness, that when God is said to have steadfast love and faithfulness, such as in Psalm 118 that repeats the refrain, “his steadfast love endures forever,” that most of us have a warm and fuzzy feeling and interpret this to mean something like “God is a nice God.”
In Exodus 34:6 God reveals himself to Moses as “abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Steadfast love is the Hebrew word Hesed and is sometimes translated “covenant-faithfulness,” and the word faithfulness speaks of stability, something you can count on.
I love the idea of covenant-faithfulness.
A covenant is, in simple terms, an agreement or contract between different parties. Salvation is a product of the Covenant of Grace that began with Genesis 3:15 just as Adam and Eve were being ushered out of the garden. It was further developed with Abraham and is consummated in Christ. It is a covenant of promise made by God and fulfilled by God and makes those of us who believe the gospel the recipients of the promise. The strength of the covenant-promise is the one who made the promise, the one who is “abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”
By considering God from before the beginning, I realize that he was then abounding with steadfast love and faithfulness as well. Those aren’t Johnny-come-lately characteristics. This is the character of God as he stands in congruity with himself as a Triune reality. There is steadfast love and faithfulness among the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We normally think of these characteristics as to how God relates to us, but what about before there was an “us?” This was still God’s character, and he expressed his “steadfast love and faithfulness” in eternity as he made the covenant of redemption and stood as One in the anticipated performance of all the provisions of the covenant.
The Father is faithful to the Son in his promise to give him a people.
The Son is faithful to the Father as he committed and then performed his part of the covenant to be the redeemer of the people given to him by the Father.
The Spirit is faithful to both as he fulfills his duty to regenerate those whom the Father has promised to the Son and then works to conform them to the image of the Son who is a faithful representation of the Father.
As recipients of the gospel of grace, we stand assured in all the promises of God through the steadfast love and faithfulness of the promise-giver who is also the promise-performer.