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You must endeavor diligently to perform the great work of believing on Christ in a right manner, without any delay; and then also continue and increase in your most holy faith, that so your enjoyment of Christ, union and fellowship with Him, and all holiness by Him, may be begun, continued and increased in you.
Faith in Christ is the duty with which a holy life is to begin, and by which the foundation of all other holy duties is laid in the soul. It is before sufficiently proved that Christ Himself, with all abilities and powers necessary to enable us to a holy practice, is received actually into our hearts by faith. This is the uniting grace by which the Spirit of God knits the knot of mystical marriage between Christ and us, and makes us branches of that noble vine. This is the grace by which we pass from our corrupted sinful nature to a new holy nature in Christ. By grace we are raised from death in sin to the life of righteousness, and by which we are comforted, that we so may be established in every good word and work.
If we put the question: What must we do that we work the works of God? Christ resolves it, that we believe on Him whom He has sent. He puts us first on the work of believing, which is the work of God by way of supremacy, the work of works, because all other good works proceed from it.
We must be diligently endeavor to perform the great work of believing on Christ. This work requires Christ's power. Before we can by faith inherit the promises we need to be strengthened with might by the Holy Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith. This belief is pleasant and delicious because it is a taking of Christ and His salvation as our own. This is very comfortable and delightful because the soul is carried away in this by love to Christ and having this love shed abroad in our hearts makes keeping the commands of God simple and easy.
We can never possibly perform this great work in the right way, until the Spirit of God works faith effectually in us or gives us the strength to believe. The way the Spirit works faith in us is by stirring us up to persuade and encourage us to believe. It is impossible that the Spirit of God does effectually work faith or give strength to believe until we act on it. We can not see any such thing as love to God or man in our hearts before we act on it. We do not know of our spiritual strength by grace, until we have learned by experience from the use and exercise of it. We need assurance that God will absolutely give us strength to believe in the Gospel of grace. The Spirit will work faith in us by hearing and understanding the word. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. As soon as we know the duty of believing we are to apply ourselves immediately to our wholehearted performance of believing. In doing this we shall find that the Spirit of Christ has strengthened us to believe. We must begin the work before we know that the Spirit is actually working in us or for us.
Though we cannot possibly perform this great work in a right manner, until the Spirit of God work faith in our hearts by His mighty power, yet it is necessary that we should endeavor to act on it. Before we can find the Spirit of God working faith effectually in us, or giving us strength to believe we must preform our believing in the right way. This is very important because if we lack this it will make our faith ineffectual to sanctification and salvation. Love which is end of the law and the principal fruit of sanctification, must flow from the heart genuinely and unfeigned.
Saving faith contains two acts in it. One is believing the truth of the gospel, the other is, believing on Christ, as revealed and freely promised to us in the gospel for all holiness. Both of these acts must be preformed in the right way and manner. We must have the right belief so that we can be well furnished, disposed, and encouraged to believe on Christ. The most important step is for us to know and truly believe that there is no other way to get saved, without first receiving all the saving benefits of Christ. The truth is, that without first receiving all the saving benefits of Christ salvation is IMPOSSIBLE. We must receive His saving benefits as well as His perfection, sanctification and forgiveness of sins, by faith.
Many fail to receive Christ's true salvation for they trust in Christ for forgiveness of sin without any regard to holiness. These two benefits, forgiveness and holiness are INSEPARABLY JOINED IN CHRIST. It is IMPOSSIBLE to be free from condemnation by Christ without first receiving the ability, power and will from Christ to walk holy. There are so many people who consider themselves Christians and think they are heaven bound who are totally deceived. It is IMPOSSIBLE to be saved from the guilt of sin without receiving the benefits of holiness. Some look for holiness by their own efforts or by legalistic methods. We can never live to God in holiness, except we be dead to the law, and live only by Christ living in us by faith. We live to God in holiness, as well as forgiveness of sins. The glory of heaven will never be ours unless we receive this holiness and sanctification from Christ.
You must be assured of the sufficiency of Christ for the salvation of yourself. Christ's blood cleanses from ALL SIN. No matter how great and horrible our crimes of sin may have been, He is fully able and willing to deliver and set us free from our corrupted nature. The bible has examples of idolaters, adulterers, drunkards, murderers, fornicators homosexuals and the like that all have been saved by Jesus Christ. Many have fallen into great sins and remain in them because they do not consider the grace of Christ sufficient for their pardon and sanctification. The works and merits of Christ are more than sufficient for all that seek Him for mercy by believing.
Some people fall in despair because they never got any victory over their corrupted nature by their own vows and resolutions. They have tried many wholehearted and difficult attempts against their own lusts without ever getting the victory. They see all their efforts are in vain and foolish. All these people need to do is persuade and assure themselves that the grace of Christ is more then sufficient for them to be actually set free. Those that despair, by reason of the greatness of their guilt and corruption, do greatly dishonor and undervalue the grace of God. God is rich in mercy and Christ has shed His own blood that you can be free in Him. No matter how wicked and awful our sins and corruptions have been, they are but a small matter compared to the Grace of Christ. Christ offered up Himself as a sacrifice of INFINITE VALUE for our salvation.
You must be assured and persuaded that the truth of God's free promise actually applies to you now, in your present condition. The offer of salvation is made to you when you are living in your sinful corrupted condition. You need to know that if you believe on Christ sincerely you will receive Him and have His life inside you. This life is a free gift and cannot be received by any efforts or works.
Rom. 9:33 "Whosoever believes on Him shall not be ashamed."
John 3:14-18 "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
These promises are without exception. You can not exclude yourself no matter how vile and unworthy you are, if you come to God through Christ you will be fully accepted. If you are dead in sin and have no grace or holiness within you, then Christ came to save you. He came to seek and save the lost. If a dead man in his sins cannot be saved then no one can be saved for no one has any spiritual life in them until they receive it by believing on Christ.
It is the design of God to show the exceeding riches of His grace in our salvation. The sinner is dead in trespasses and sin. His mind is enmity to God and is not subject to the His law, nor indeed can be. Every imagination of the thoughts of their hearts are continually evil. Christ came to save the chief of sinners.
If you are lost, dead in sin and have a corrupted sinful nature then you are totally qualified to receive Christ and His complete salvation. The truth is, your only qualification or requirement that you can possibly have is the fact that you need Christ for His complete salvation. You must believe steadfastly that Christ and all His salvation is offered graciously and freely on those who do not deserve it and could never earn it.
Not only is it the will of God that you get saved it is also His will that you believe in Christ and have eternal life by Him. This believing is the ONLY ACCEPTABLE DUTY to God. God Himself will help you in this work because He calls and commanded you by the gospel to believe in Christ. Now we can cheerfully and gladly believe on God and Christ to receive His great and wonderful life. We must abandon all thoughts that would hinder us from coming to Christ.
When we realize the glory of Christ and the riches in Him that will fill our life with love, joy, peace, we will count all other things as trash and rubbish. His goodness will attract us and incline our wills and affections to chose and embrace Christ as the chief good. When you see Christ's true value and worth you become willing to sell everything you have to gain Him.
It is by an act of faith by which Christ Himself, and His Spirit, and all of His saving benefits are actually received into the heart. This is believing on Christ, as revealed and freely promised to us in the gospel for all salvation. The Spirit of God disposes and inclines our heart to a right performance of this act. We are enabled to preform the act by believing assuredly those great things of the gospel.
You must believe that Christ alone is more than sufficient for your complete and total salvation. We must be as a dead person to all other confidences and consider them as absolutely nothing to gain Christ. You can have NOTHING to trust on besides Christ for your salvation. If you seek to be saved some other way it will profit you nothing. You are to receive Christ simply as a free gift, given to sinners that are dead in sin. You must come to Him as a lost sinner and ungodly creature, fully expecting that He will actually save you from your corrupted nature. Your only hope or basis for your salivation must have its foundation and be established totally on the free grace and loving-kindness of God in Christ.
You must come to Christ for a new holy heart and life as well as forgiveness for sin and from everlasting punishment. You must draw near with full assurance of faith by trusting on Christ confidently for your own particular salvation. You must not delay in believing because until you preform it, you will continue under the power of sin and the devil. Remember that without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE GOD. The great sin of unbelief in Christ is seldom thought of when a person considers his past sins. Many make light of or overlook the duty of believing, and some even consider it as foolishness. By doing this, they despise and defame the whole counsel of God revealed in the Scripture. The gospel of grace and Christ Himself will have no effect in our lives without faith. Unbelief is the most deadly and lethal sin of all.
Some delay believing because they are resting in an expression upon the outward methods of grace and salvation. They think they are waiting upon God at the doors of His grace and salvation. This is not the right waiting on God, but is rather disobedience and sin. God requires us to be not just a hearer but also a doer of the word. If we are hearers only we deceive ourselves. We should endeavor to receive Christ by faith because we are convinced of the truth of the gospel
Others delay and wait before performing this duty of believing because they think they need more knowledge of the gospel. The only way to increase your knowledge is to act and use the knowledge you already have now. Believe heartily on Christ for all thy salvation according to the little knowledge of the gospel that you have now. Believe now that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Do not wait for any feeling or manifestations or gushes of God's saving love. The only way to obtain this is by believing, so that the God of hope can fill you with all joy and peace in believing. You now have sufficient manifestations of God's love to your soul by the free promises of life and salvation by Christ. Do not wait for any qualifications to prepare yourself for the work of believing. All true and good qualifications are the RESULT of believing. It is IMPOSSIBLE to have any of these BEFORE FAITH, they only exist in the nature of faith and are the fruits of it.
We can never stop believing, remember that the just shall live by faith. We must continue and increase in this most holy faith. We must receive Christ and a new holy nature by faith and then live and walk in it every day. We must resist the devil and quench his fiery darts. We must grow in grace and perfect holiness in the fear of God for we are kept by the mighty power of God through faith unto salvation. All of our spiritual life and holiness continues and grows only as our faith continues and grows.
You must strive for more faith, that you may receive Christ in greater perfection and measure. This work of believing in Christ must increase in degrees because our faith always needs to grow and mature. You always need to pray, Lord I believe, help my unbelief. You must trust in His free grace and Christ's accomplishments for you. Make sure that you find sanctification and salvation by grace and faith only. Never attempt to justify yourself by your own works or by your own efforts. Make sure that you do not just put your trust on faith itself, as a work of righteousness, instead of trusting on Christ by faith.
If you find that your faith does not produce the fruits of holiness, you need to increase your believing by your confidence in Christ for salvation by His simple grace. It is the weakness of your faith that hinders its fruitfulness. The greater your confidence is concerning God's great love for you in Christ, the greater will be your love to God and to His service.
If you fall into any gross sin, after the work is begun in you, do not think that you must cast away your confidence and expect nothing but wrath from God and Christ. Do not refuse to be comforted by the grace of Christ because this refusal would make you even more weak, and prone to fall into other sins. You must strive to believe more confidently that you have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and the He is the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 2:1-2). And let not the guilt of sin remain at all upon your conscience, but wash it away with all speed in the fountain of Christ's blood. The blood of Christ is always open for you, made ready for your use on any such occasions. The blood is freely offered so you may be humbled for your sins in a gospel way, and may hate your own sinfulness, and be sorry for it with godly sorrow, out of love to God.
If you have many doubts and get deeply depressed because you can see no grace at all in yourself, still trust on Him that justifies the ungodly, and came to seek and save them that are lost. Say like Job, though He slay me, yet I will trust Him. Always strive to keep faith and to increase faith by faith by acting faith frequently. Trust on God to keep and increase your faith, being very confident that He which has began a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.