The Life of Faith (part 3)

[The life of faith] is faith in the divine promises, for the comfort of the future. The person in Christ is an individual of strong and precious anticipations. Whatever may be his present condition of blessing and comfort, he looks constantly forward for far better things to come, than he now enjoys. But all his hopes are regulated by the divine promises, and are resting upon them. In the concerns of the present life, these promises cover all his necessities and cares. He can be placed in no condition, which God has not already prepared, and for which He has not already made provision.

As he looks forward to days to come, he seeks not great things for himself; and all things which are necessary for life and for godliness, God has promised to supply, out of the riches of His grace and glory in Christ Jesus. Bread shall be given him, and his water shall be sure. His Heavenly Father knows that he has need of all these things before he asks Him. This faith in the certainty and sufficiency of the divine promises keeps him free from distracting cares for his future time; and enables him to commit to his Holy and Almighty Helper, every want and every fear, as it arises to his mind. How precious and comforting he finds this simple confidence in the divine provisions! He presses forward in the path of apparent duty, leaving all results to Him who watches about his path, and sees all his ways,–and who, when He has tried him, shall bring him forth as gold. Clouds may arise over his transient prospects,–darkness may endure for the night,–but light is sure to spring up for him from its thickest glooms, and joy comes in the morning. In all these anticipations, he walks by faith [2 Pet. 1:3; Phil. 4:19; Matt. 6:8; Job 23:10}.

God has spoken to him in every variety of shape of illustration;–uttering promise upon promise;–filling up His sacred word with blessed assurances of providing mercy, upon which he has caused his heart to rest. Each of these promises, to whomsoever among the servants of God they may have been particularly, originally addressed, he feels a right to appropriate to himself:–they belong to all the servants of God, who are in the circumstances, to which they are adapted. They are like blank [checks] already signed and sealed, in which each one in Christ, by a faith which embraces them, and gives them reality for him, writes his own name, and thus uses them, and walks in perfect confidence of their fulfillment to him.

But these divine promises reach far beyond the present life. God has laid up for His people in future and unseen world, such glories as pass our understanding. There is a crown of life, a crown of righteousness,–a kingdom which cannot be removed,–an inheritance which fades not away. These, and more than these, are secured by the gracious promises of God, to those who first trust in Christ. They are all the reward of a Saviour’s merit, and the purchase of a Saviour’s obedience. They are the gifts of grace to all who believe in Him. The hope with which the believer in Christ embraces and enjoys them, is founded entirely upon the gracious power and fidelity of this Glorious Saviour [2 Tim. 4:8; 1 Pet. 1:4;5:4].

Confiding in His exceeding great and precious promises,–resting upon His all-sufficient and justifying righteousness,–the Christian strong in faith, looks forward without fear, to an eternal world before him. Whatever earthly hopes may fail, and whatever griefs the disappointments of earth may bring, these heavenly promises abide secure. Not one word can pass from them, until all be fulfilled. The assurance of this keeps the mind peace, and awakens the purest and liveliest joy, in the expectation of the hour when mortality shall be swallowed up of life; and man in the perfect possession of eternal glory, shall need the support of promises no more. In this walk of faith, in the divine promises, to live, is Christ, and to die, will be gain. And as faith thus brings to the soul, and prepares for its enjoyment, forgiveness for the past, and protection for the present,–so it also completely and securely provides, all comfort and abounding consolation for the future [Phil. 1:21].

These three operations of faith may be considered as comprising the principles of the walk of the person in Christ. By the one he embraces the Gospel, as the fountain of all his consolations. By another, he applies this Gospel in its blessed provisions of grace, to his daily recurring present wants. By the third, he expects and waits for the fulfillment of all its promises and provisions for him, in a future world of glory…

The one assuages the griefs which memory creates from the records of the past. The other tranquillizes the anxieties which present endurance calls up from the facts now passing. The third sustains the heart in the anticipations which spring from the unknown futurity. In the employment of them all, the believer in Christ walks by faith,–stands by faith,–and overcomes by faith, in his journey to a Father’s home.

These are the principles of practical truth, and of spiritual strength, which I have desired to press upon the notice and acceptance of my readers, in these pages. Happy is the one who understands and employs them. They open a free, consistent, rational, and adequate path to eternal life, making Christ to be all for guilty people, and showing the actual present connection of Christ with His redeemed in the work of their personal salvation. 0h that every one…might be led in simple affectionate confidence to Him…

Part 3 of 3 From In Christ, chapter 9

This was published in 1849 in New York. The book is provided courtesy of

Some generic use of “man” has been replaced, and some archaic words have been updated. Bracketed biblical references and some italicized emphasis added.- JBW

For further study on this theme see the GN, From Faith to Faith.

(This study is being re-sent because the bulk mailing of January 23rd was mostly undelivered due to technical difficulties.)

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