James Smith, 1855
"Without faith it is impossible to please God: for he who comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him." Hebrews 11:6
"So we make it our goal to please Him." 2 Corinthians 5:9
Our principal business on earth is to please God.
This is the grand end of our creation — we were formed to glorify him.
This was the great design in our redemption — to show forth his praise.
On this one object our attention should be fixed, to this end all our efforts should be directed.
In every enterprise, our first inquiry should be — will this please God? And after every engagement, the point we should strive to ascertain is — Have I in this business pleased God?
And if this is true — then how have we been living? Day after day has passed away — and we have never once thought about pleasing God. One engagement has succeeded another — but it has never been our aim to please God. In this we are truly guilty! And this, while it proves our depravity — also accounts for our unhappiness. We never can be happy, but as we have a well-grounded conviction that we are pleasing God.
Reader, has this been the object of your life? Have you been habitually aiming at this one end? Or, rather have you not entirely forgotten it, and busied yourself about almost everything beside?
"Without faith it is impossible to please God." We
That God exists.
That he is just what he has declared himself to be in his holy word — the infinite, intelligent, ever-present, almighty, just, holy, gracious, and glorious God. That . . .
his greatness is unsearchable,
his hatred to sin is eternal,
his justice is immutable,
and his mercy is infinite!
That he cannot be merciful at the expense of his justice, or think lightly of sin in any of his creatures.
We must believe that his nature is one — but that there
are three distinct persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy
Spirit: that each person is equally, eternally, and immutably God; and yet
there are not three Gods — but ONE GOD. This we can believe — but not fully
understand. We must believe it, because God has revealed it; and we do not
believe in the existence of the TRUE GOD, if we deny it: for "there are
three that bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit;
and these three are one." We must believe that God created all
creatures, that he supports all he has created, and that everything
is designed in some way to promote his glory. We must believe that . . .
God is — or he exists in and of himself,
He has no equal,
He comprehends all things — but no one can comprehend him.
FAITH is confidence in God. Without some degree of confidence in him — it is impossible to please him. Distrust and suspicion always displease. We cannot please an earthly father if we distrust him — and nothing grieves a friend like suspicion and distrust. We must feel confident that God exists, and that he is gracious, merciful, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and in truth.
The gospel is intended to awaken and foster confidence in God. Is his word true? Examine and see if he has not performed it. Is his nature generous? Read his word and mark what he has promised, what he has done, and what he has given to those who trust in him. Look at his providence, what kindness is evident, though we only see a part of his ways. Look at his promises, and see is there one good thing which he has not promised to bestow. Look at the gift of his Son, and say could he give a greater or a costlier proof of his love! Ask his people, they know him best, they have trusted in his word, and have proved his faithfulness and veracity. He cannot lay a firmer foundation for our confidence than he has laid. He cannot give a stronger proof of his love than he has given.
It is therefore impossible to please him if we distrust him — unless he can be pleased with our suspecting his kindness, disbelieving his word, and doubting his veracity. We must believe that God is love, that his word is true, and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.
None of us know him by nature — we must therefore seek to
know him. We are all afar off — we must therefore come to him. Real religion
is coming to God — and seeking to know, love, enjoy, and serve God. He bids
us to seek him, and says, "Seek me — and you shall live." He invites us to
come unto him, and says, "Come now and let us reason together." He
will have us seek him diligently, as those who are sincere and in earnest.
We must seek him in faith, believing that he is what his word declares, and
will do what he has promised in that word. We must so seek him as to come
to him — as to come to him on a throne of grace. We must come to him
expecting . . .
that he will honor his word — by fulfilling it;
that he will honor his Son — by hearing and answering our prayers for his sake;
and that he will honor his name — by illustrating it in our experience, proving that he is still gracious, merciful, and abundantly good.
Thus coming to God — we please him. He is pleased . . .
with the credit we give to his gospel,
with the confidence we place in his promises, and
with our dependence on his faithfulness and truth.
Being pleased with our approaching him thus — he will
reward us. Not that our giving credit to his word, or placeing confidence in
his faithfulness, or coming to him to ask favors at his hands — can by any
possibility merit or deserve anything. But to show that he is
pleased with us, and approves of our thus coming to him — he will reward us
by . . .
answering our prayers,
granting our requests,
manifesting himself to our souls,
and giving us joy and peace!
My dear friend, have you faith in God? Do you know what
he has revealed concerning himself in his word? Do you really
believe what you there read? Are you diligently seeking him? Are
you coming to him as a poor, lost, and ruined sinner — that you may obtain .
the pardon of your sins,
the justification of your person,
and the sanctification of your nature?
Have you any confidence in God? Do you think he will hear
you? He has said that he will. Can you trust him to save you? If you believe
in his Son, he has promised to do so. Unless you . . .
believe what God has said,
renounce all dependence on anything and everything of your own,
look to Jesus only for salvation,
come to God in his name,
expect pardon, and on the ground of what he has done and suffered alone — you cannot please God.
He is pleased when you . . .
take him at his word,
come at his call,
expect what he has promised,
do what he commands, and
exercise confidence in his character and love.
You have been either pleasing God — or displeasing God every moment of your life. If you have lived without prayer, or if you have prayed, without relying on the finished work of Jesus alone for acceptance with God; then every action of your life — and every thought of your heart has been displeasing to him. He is displeased with you at this moment, and nothing that you can do will please him — until you renounce self, flee to Jesus, and come to him in his name for life and everlasting salvation.