LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Friday, December 05, 2008

Spurgeon On Saving Faith

(from sermon 979)
"Now we go a little further. True faith is reliance. Look at any Greek lexicon you like, and you will find that the word pisteuein does not merely mean to believe, but to trust, to confide in, to commit to, entrust with, and so forth; and the marrow of the meaning of faith is confidence in, reliance upon. Let me ask, then, every professor here who professes to have faith, is your faith the faith of reliance? You give credit to certain statements, do you also place trust in the one glorious person who alone can redeem? Have you confidence as well as credence? A creed will not save you, but reliance upon the Anointed Saviour is the way of salvation. Remember, I beseech you, that if you could be taught an orthodoxy unadulterated with error, and could learn a creed written by the pen of the Eternal God himself, yet a mere notional faith, such as men exercise when they believe in the existence of men in the moon, or nebulae in space, could not save your soul. Of this we are sure, because we see around us many who have such a faith, and yet evidently are not the children of God."


"A Call to Holy Living"—a sermon first preached on Sunday morning, 14 January 1872, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle.
It is a very great fault in any ministry if the doctrine of justification by faith alone be not most clearly taught. I will go further, and add, that it is not only a great fault, but a fatal one; for souls will never find their way to heaven by a ministry that is indistinct upon the most fundamental of gospel truths.The merit by which a soul enters heaven is not its own; it is the merit of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am quite sure that you will all hold me guiltless of ever having spoken about this great doctrine in any other than unmistakable language; if I have erred, it is not in that direction.

At the same time, it is a dangerous state of things if doctrine is made to drive out precept, and faith is held up as making holiness a superfluity. Sanctification must not be forgotten or overlaid by justification. We must teach plainly that the faith which saves the soul is not a dead faith, but a faith which operates with purifying effect upon our entire nature, and produces in us fruits of righteousness to the praise and glory of God.

It is not by personal holiness that a man shall enter heaven, but yet without holiness shall no man see the Lord. It is not by good works that we are justified, but if a man shall continue to live an ungodly life, his "faith" will not justify him; for it is not the faith of God's elect; since that faith is wrought by the Holy Spirit, and conforms men to the image of Christ.We must learn to place the legal precepts in their right position. They are not the base of the column, but they are the capital of it. Precepts are not given to us as a way to obtain life, but as the way in which to exhibit life.

The commands of Christ are not upon the legal tenor of "this do and live," but upon the gospel system of "live and do this." We are not to be attentive to the precepts in order to be saved, but because we are saved. Our master motive is to be gratitude to him who has saved us with a great salvation.I am sure that every renewed heart here will feel no opposition to the most holy precepts of our Lord. However severely pure that law may seem to be which we have read just now from this fifth chapter of Matthew, our hearts agree with it, and we ask that we may be so renewed that our lives may be conformed to it. The regenerate never rebel against any precept, saying, "This, is too pure;" on the contrary, our new-born nature is enamoured of its holiness, and we cry, "Thy word is very pure, therefore thy servant loveth it. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes."Even though we find that when we would do good evil is present with us, yet our inmost soul longs after holiness, and pines to be delivered from every evil way. At any rate, Dear friends, if it be not so with you, you may well question whether you are indeed the children of God. My desire, this morning, is to insist upon the precepts which tend to holiness, and I pray the Holy Spirit to excite desires after a high degree of purity in all believing, hearts.



Blogger jazzycat said...

We must teach plainly that the faith which saves the soul is not a dead faith, but a faith which operates with purifying effect upon our entire nature, and produces in us fruits of righteousness to the praise and glory of God.

Since faith itself flows from God's intervening grace, it follows that a saved soul will be influenced positively by the work of the Holy Spirit in sanctification. Calvinism precludes any human effort in being saved, but non-Calvinism depends on the initiative and decision of an unregenerate man to wisely choose his own salvation. Little wonder that such a view produces the idea that human effort is the primary cause of sanctification. Calvinism acknowledges human cooperation in sanctification, but asserts that the Holy Spirit is the engine that drives the process. All the glory and credit goes to God and there is absolutely no boasting involved.

December 05, 2008 9:08 AM

Blogger mark pierson said...

I'm gonna turn your comment here into a post tomorrow. It was so very RIGHT-ON!!!

December 05, 2008 10:44 AM

Blogger Rose~ said...

What purpose, if any, in the plan of God has human effort?

or human thought?
or human emotion or will?

Does God have any use at all for these in salvation or sanctification?

I am curious.

December 05, 2008 11:18 AM

Blogger mark pierson said...

Rose asks,
"What purpose, if any, in the plan of God has human effort?"
There is nothing the human can do to please God. His heart is not even so inclined. He is bent on selfishness - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is the driving force.
"or human thought?
or human emotion or will?"
Man's will is under the influence and sway of the devil. He is by nature a child of wrath, led about by the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.
"Does God have any use at all for these in salvation or sanctification?"
God works in the individual both to will and to do His good pleasure. The renewed will seeks God in prayer, fellowship with the saints, Bible study, serving Christ in obedience to the Word - the very things that make-up progressive sanctification.

Your friend!

December 05, 2008 11:33 AM

Blogger mark pierson said...

And Rose, even Ryrie holds that Eph. 2:8-9 teaches that faith is a gift, as does McGee.

December 05, 2008 11:37 AM

Blogger jazzycat said...

Thanks. Good questions and I think Mark's answers are excellent. I believe the Bible teaches a before and after salvation disposition of the human heart. This in no way denies free will, emotions, or thoughts.

As Mark said, before man is regenerated he is hopelessly lost and spiritually dead, and after regneration he is a new creation in Christ.

December 05, 2008 4:54 PM

Blogger Daniel said...

If I walk into the kitchen and find my son eating from the bag of chocolate chips (for baking), there are two ways he can ask for forgiveness. The first way is by doing so in order to restore the brokenness of our relationship.

"Dad, I know these are not mine to eat, and I am sorry I was eating them. I was selfish, and it was wrong, I want to be forgiven Dad, so that we can pick up from where we left off before I did this selfish thing"

That is, he can seek forgiveness because he wants to restore the broken relationship.

Alternately he could say,

"Oh Dad?! What are you doing here? <munch munch> I guess you caught me, huh? <munch munch> Well, I am sorry for taking what was not mine, <munch munch>, would you please forgive me? <munch munch>"

Here my son is not interested in being restored to me, he just wants to escape the anticipated consequences of his actions.

In the first scenario my son is actually sorry for the broken relationship, and it is that which he seeks to heal through pursuing forgiveness. In the second scenario he is simply guarding his own comfort - that is, his desire to be forgiven is really a desire to be excused from the penal consequences of his offense, rather than a desire to have a broken relationship healed.

There is a "faith" that pursues the latter forgiveness rather than the former - it stresses "believing" and ignores repentance, it doesn't see the link between repentance and faith, since it doesn't understand the purpose of forgiveness in the first place.

I am being overly simplistic here, for the sake of brevity. I am a bit long winded.

December 05, 2008 5:01 PM


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