[The life of faith] is faith in the divine protection for the security of the present. The solemn promise has been given, that all things shall work together for good, to those who love God [Rom. 8:28]. In the assurance of the truth of this promise, the person in Christ rests, with simple and entire confidence. He realizes the presence of an unseen, Almighty God,–a living present Saviour and Friend,–who is about his path, and sees all his ways. The simple dependence of his soul upon the divine promise and presence, settles all possible anxiety about his outward, temporal concerns.
In the degree in which he is enabled to exercise it, [the believer] comes boldly to the throne of grace, feeling able in every condition to say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not fear what, man can do to me” [Heb. 4:16; Psalm 118:6]. There is in his mind, an assurance of an all-sufficient, and all-controlling Providence, whose never-failing power orders all things both in heaven and earth. It is a Providence which has a special reference to the vessels of divine mercy, the heirs of salvation [Rom. 9:23]. He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. He can with sincere affection and confidence, say of the Lord, “He is my refuge, and my fortress; my God: in Him will I trust” [Psalm 91:1,2]. He is therefore without anxiety; but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, he makes known his requests unto God [Phil. 4:6,7].
His filial faith in divine protection answers every anxious question and concern of his soul. It covers all the possible contingencies of human life, and keeps him in perfect peace, while his mind is stayed on God [Isaiah 26:3,4]. Whatever persecutions arise, and whatever sorrows press him,–whatever he may be required to lose, or to bear,–there is an unseen power ever at hand, going with him through the waters, and through the fire, making even enemies at peace with him, and bringing light out of darkness in his path. This faith is the grand practical principle of his life. It brings every event into a direct connection with a gracious ruling Lord. It constitutes every hour and place, as a time and occasion of spiritual worship. It enables him in everything to give thanks [1 Thess. 5:18]. Though all present appearances may be against him, it leads him forward with confidence to an approaching hour, when the ways of God shall be made plain, and he shall receive the full reward of the faith in which he has endured;–an hour in which not only his Benjamin and Simeon shall be restored, but his long lost Joseph also shall be found again;–when God shall render him consolations double for all his trials, and his present light affliction shall bring out its far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory [Gen. chs. 45,46;2 Cor. 4:17].
The same spirit of faith quiets also his inward conflicts, by presenting before him the assured upholding, renewing, and sanctifying power of the Spirit of God, as the Saviour’s covenanted gift to him. He has been enabled to cast himself entirely upon the power of a Saviour, whose promises of sufficient grace are all bestowed upon him; and he is confident that God is able to perfect the work which He has begun within his servant’s soul, and to keep that which his servant has committed unto Him, unto the great day [Phil 1:6;2 Tim. 1:12].
The Christian thus feels himself kept by the power of God, through faith, unto salvation ready to be revealed in God’s own appointed time [1 Pet. 1:5; Eph. 1:6; 1 Pet. 2:11]. In the exercise of this faith, there are many conflicts to be endured, and many objections to be encountered. Sin, too frequently indulged and conscious sin,–not loved, desired, or willful sin,–rises up in a thousand shapes in the soul, to unsettle its confidence, and overturn its hope. But faith enables the person in Christ to see himself accepted in the Beloved; and still to rejoice in the assurance of divine acceptance, though he find much to war with in himself [i.e., the flesh].
[The believer] sees that God regards him not as he is in himself, but as he is in Christ; and accepts him not for his own merit, but for the perfect righteousness of Christ. He confides in God as a faithful God, keeping His promises forever. He thus finds strength for waiting upon Him, for contending with every corruption of his own [fleshly] nature, and for cleaving closely and humbly to Him. Thus faith in divine protection overcomes all the arts of the adversary, keeps the soul in peace in the midst of its inward trials, and makes the person in Christ to rejoice in the assurance of the Lord’s goodness and favour to him.
It is in this [faith] operation [that] the principle of new obedience, and the fountain of holiness [is realized] in the heart. While it is maintained, love, joy, peace, and every virtue flow out from it. If it can be undermined, and God be no longer regarded with confidence and affection–but with fear and distrust,–every fruit of the Spirit in the life and temper fades and dies. The Christian walks in holiness, only in the degree in which he walks in faith. It is this faith which brings him and keeps him in [conscious] union with his Lord, and thus overcomes the world around, and purifies the heart within. Resting everything concerning him without and within, upon the covenanted protection and acceptance of a faithful God, his path is a path of conquest and of peace; and he cheerfully presses forward to the hour, when he shall receive the end of his faith, even the salvation of his soul [1 Pet. 1:9].
Part 2 of 3. From In Christ, chapter 9
This was published in 1849 in New York. The book is provided courtesy of www.peterwade.com/
Some generic use of “man” has been replaced, and some archaic words have been updated. Bracketed biblical references and some italicized emphasis added.- JBW