James Smith, 1860
FAITH is a solemn assenting to what God says, and a cordial consenting to what Christ proposes. God says, "I have so loved the world, that I have given my only begotten Son, that whoever believes on him should not perish, but have everlasting life. My Son shall be the Savior, the only Savior, the Savior of sinners in all places, under all circumstances, for all time. He shall save sinners as sinners, not in their sins, but from them. He shall save you, if you are willing to be saved by him, and will venture your soul on him." "I agree to this. I assent to what God says, and I therefore commit my soul into the hands of Christ, to be saved by him."
This is faith. Faith is consenting to Christ's proposals. Christ proposes to be a perfect Savior, to take the sinner just as he is, and save him fully, freely, and for ever. He says, "I will pay all your debts, and give full satisfaction to Divine Justice for all your sins. I will provide you a righteousness, and procure your justification at the bar of God. I will answer all the claims that may be made upon you, and all the charges that may be brought against you. I will overcome your foes, clear your way, advocate your cause, supply your needs, deliver you from death, and raise you to immortal life and glory. You shall entrust yourself and your all to me, and I will answer for your salvation. I will be your Surety — to pay all you owe; your Substitute — to do all that law and justice requires of you; your Savior, to save you with an everlasting salvation. You shall trust me with all, trust me to do all, and commit yourself entirely into my hands; so doing, I answer for your salvation." This is Christ's proposal.
"I consent to take Christ to be my Surety, Substitute, and Savior — to do all for me, and all within me, to save me by his grace, and to have all the glory of my salvation." This is faith.
If I assent to what God says in the gospel, and consent to what Christ proposes, thereby taking him as God's gift to be my Savior — I am a believer; and as a believer I am justified, I have peace with God, and I am assured of everlasting life.
For me Jesus lived a life of obedience;
for me Jesus died to make an atonement for my sins,
for me Jesus intercedes that I may be with him where he is, to behold his glory.
His life was given for my life, his person for my person — so that I am saved from wrath, through him. He represents me, answers for me, and will keep what I have committed unto him, against the great day. Accepting his proposal, I leave myself in his hands, I am satisfied of my salvation, and only live to honor and glorify his dear name.
Reader, have you faith? Do you heartily assent unto God's plan of salvation, revealed in the gospel? Do you consent to Christ's proposal, take him to be your Savior, and commit yourself unreservedly into his hands? If so, you are safe, and the ruling desire of your soul will be to glorify God for his mercy, and to honor Jesus for his wondrous grace. To please God, will be your daily aim; and to do good to all around you for Christ's sake, will be your constant delight. You will live, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. You will walk, as Jesus walked, who has left us an example, that we should follow in his steps. The life you live in the flesh will be a life of faith in the Son of God; and a life of faith, is a life of holiness, a life of usefulness, and a life of happiness. In one word, if you are a believer, you will live not unto yourself, but unto him who died for you and rose again — and living in faith, you will die in faith, and so be forever with the Lord.