‘And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ.’ 1 John 3:23
Suggested Further Reading: Acts 16:16–34
If we heartily trust our soul with Christ, our sins, through his blood, are forgiven, and his righteousness is imputed to us. The mere knowledge of these facts will not, however, save us, unless we really and truly trust our souls in the Redeemer’s hands. Faith must act in this wise: ‘I believe that Jesus came to save sinners, and therefore, sinner though I be, I rest myself on him; I know that his righteousness justifies the ungodly; I, therefore, though ungodly, trust in him to be my righteousness; I know that his precious blood in heaven prevails with God on the behalf of them that come unto him; and since I come unto him, I know by faith that I have an interest in his perpetual intercession.’ Now, I have enlarged the one thought of believing on God’s Son Jesus Christ. ‘Believing’ is most clearly explained by that simple word ‘trust.’ Believing is partly the intellectual operation of receiving divine truths, but the essence of it lies in relying upon those truths. I believe that, although I cannot swim, yonder friendly plank will support me in the flood; I grasp it, and am saved: the grasp is faith. I am promised by a generous friend that if I draw upon his banker, he will supply all my needs; I joyously confide in him, and as often as I am in want I go to the bank, and am enriched: my going to the bank is faith. Thus faith is accepting God’s great promise, contained in the person of his Son. It is taking God at his word, and trusting in Jesus Christ as being my salvation, although I am utterly unworthy of his regard. Sinner, if you take Christ to be your Saviour this day, you are justified.
For meditation: Abraham is our example of saving faith (Romans 4:11–12). In his head he was convinced that God could do what he had promised (Romans 4:21); in his heart he trusted God (Romans 4:20); God accepted his trust and attributed righteousness to him (Romans 4:22). This is how we are to trust in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 4:23–25). But is this what you mean by ‘faith’?
Sermon no. 531
20 September (1863)