Faith Necessary

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 must believe:
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.