Life Through Believing
James Smith, 1842
"He who believes on the Son has everlasting life!" John 3:36
A believer on the Lord Jesus Christ is one who has been convinced of his totally ruined, wretched, and lost estate. He has heard the everlasting gospel, or the glad tidings of a Savior, who is able and willing to save — and, by the teaching of the Holy Spirit, has been led to embrace the same. The Lord Jesus being exalted before him, as the brazen serpent before Israel of old — he looks to Him as God's only way of salvation. Immanuel being set forth as the hiding-place from the wrath to come — he flies to Him for refuge and defense. Christ being revealed as precious, loving, and powerful — he ventures to rely upon Him, encouraged by the promises of the gospel. He is fully persuaded that Christ is what the gospel declares him to be — and acts according to that persuasion.
Being weary — he goes to Jesus for rest.
Being thirsty — he goes to Jesus for drink.
Being weak — he goes to Jesus for strength.
Being a sinner — he goes to Jesus for righteousness.
Being foolish — he goes to Jesus for wisdom.
Being unholy — he goes to Jesus to be sanctified.
Being hungry — he goes to Jesus to be fed.
Being exposed — he goes to Jesus to be sheltered.
Being troubled — he goes to Jesus for support.
Being at war — he goes to Jesus for defense.
Being lost, ruined, and undone — he goes to Jesus for a full, free, and eternal salvation.
His faith is a simple, constantly . . .
going to Jesus,
asking of Jesus, and
relying on Jesus —
for all that he needs, for present comfort and everlasting salvation.
It is the faith of the hungry man, who, believing his bountiful friend's promise — immediately goes for food. Or the poor man, who, having a promise of being made rich — goes for the promised riches. Or the sick man — who goes for healing where he believes it is to be had. And thus the Apostle Peter describes the faith and practice of primitive believers, "to whom COMING as unto a living stone." 1 Peter 2:4.
But the true believer is not satisfied with coming — for he must receive the blessings he seeks. And he comes, pleads, waits, expects, and rests on the faithfulness of God — until he obtains to his joy and satisfaction.
The word of God is the warrant of His faith; to the throne of grace he comes to receive freely, what God has promised faithfully, to all who seek; and at the Lord's gates he waits, until he receives what the free promise of God warrants him to expect. Thus his life is a life of transaction with God, of fellowship with his Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, under the teaching of the Holy Spirit. He is constantly going out of himself — to seek all that he needs in Jesus. And what he receives from God — he employs for God, and serves the Lord with His own, to the praise of the glory of divine grace.
Thus, you see, the believer is an active, diligent, God-glorifying character; engaged in the best pursuits, enjoying the best company, and fortified in the best way against all his foes. The true believer is a blessed, a most blessed character. All of God's purposes, promises, and providences — are ordained to work his good, and to issue in his glory.
He is now risen with Christ, from the death of sin, from the condemnation of the law, to sit in heavenly places. Colossians 2:12. Ephesians 2:6. He lives a new, spiritual, and holy life, by faith in the Son of God, who loved him, and gave Himself for him. And Christ lives in him, Galatians 2:20; dwells in him, Ephesians 3:17; walks in him, 2 Corinthians 6:16; and is to him the hope of glory, Colossians 1:27. He is now justified before God from all things, and nothing can be laid to His charge. Acts 13:39, Romans 8:33, 34. He shall never come into condemnation, John 5:24; but has eternal life, John 6:47:54.
Abiding in Jesus, 1 John 3:14, 15 — he has peace with God, Romans 5:1; boldness before God, Hebrews 10:19; and access with confidence into the presence of God. Ephesians 3:12. His heart is purged from prejudice, slavish fear, and the love of sin, Acts 15:9. And through the Spirit, the heart being purified, he sincerely loves the brethren. 1 Peter 1:22. He hears the gospel to profit, he is united to it by faith. Hebrews 4:2. He is proved, acknowledged, and walks as a child of the Most High God. Galatians 3:26. The blessing of Abraham comes upon him, through Jesus Christ; and he receives the promise of the Spirit through faith. Galatians 3:14. He asks mercies of God in faith, James 1:6, 7; mixes faith with God's word; Hebrews 4:2; and is kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. 1 Peter 1:5.
He resists Satan, steadfast in the faith. 1 Peter 5:9; stands fast in His profession of the truth by faith, 2 Corinthians 1:24; and the victory that overcomes the world is His faith. 1 John 5:4. He walks comfortably, consistently, and usefully, by faith and not by sight, 2 Corinthians 5:7; and performs acceptable obedience by faith. Romans 16:26, 1 Thessalonians 1:3. He receives salvation as a favor from God, through faith. Ephesians 2:8; and is daily sensible of the greatness of His obligations to Jehovah, Father, Son, and Spirit, as His Covenant Father, and the God of His salvation. He can never perish, John 15, 16; but has the witness of salvation in Himself. 1 John 5:10.
Thus he lives, believing what God has said in His word, resting upon the divine testimony and the faithfulness of his God, and walking before the Lord as a son in the presence of His loving father. He sees that all His spiritual privileges, relations, and prospects — springing from free and undeserved favor — flow to him through Immanuel's precious blood, and are to be realized by simple faith; that all things are his in Christ, that he is Christ's, not his own, and that all his present and future blessedness is sealed by the oath of the unchangeable God. He sees that God is his God, present with him wherever he may be; ready to help him, however perplexed; waiting to be gracious to him, in every time of his need. It is his privilege to know that he is a child of God, a joint-heir with Christ, and a temple of the Holy Spirit; that God . . .
delights in him,
rejoices over him,
walks with him,
will supply him,
and will never, never forsake him!
He believes that the eye of God is upon him for good, that the arms of God surrounds him as His defense, and that the affections of Jehovah yearn over him in love. He see that there is . . .
nothing too great for God to do for him;
nothing too good for the Lord to bestow upon him;
nothing too costly for Jehovah freely to give him;
for He who spared not His own Son — but delivered Him up for him, how shall He not with Him also, freely give him all things? Romans 8:32.
And is this the blessedness, are these the privileges of ALL who believe on Jesus? Yes, of ALL who believe in His dear name. But it is not every believer who enjoys all this; but few seek to live up to their privileges. They have plenty in Jesus — but they do not live upon and enjoy it. He says, "Ask and receive, that your joy may be full." Oh, believer, seek, earnestly, constantly, importunately seek — to receive, live upon, and enjoy all that is in Jesus for you! Look not at your poverty, deserts, or unworthiness — but look at the love, promises, and provision made for such as you in Jesus. Go to Him, plead with Him, wait before Him; and go, plead, and wait until you receive. Let no temptation hinder; no sense of sin prevent you. Arise! go, your Jesus calls you! Plead . . .
your poverty — and His promises;
your condition — and His loving invitation;
your needs — and His fullness;
your desire to glorify Him — and His own precious name.
Nor shall you plead in vain. Seek to live as . . .
in His presence,
beneath His eye,
under His protection, and
as an object of His love.
Seek to have the Lord God Almighty living in you, walking in you, and glorifying Himself by you — so shall you be happy.
But there are some, yes many, who believe not; who have no faith, or no such faith as that described above. My dear fellow-sinner, "he who believes not, shall be damned." This is God's word; without faith it is impossible to please God, obey God, or be accepted of God; for "whatever is not of faith is sin." Jesus is the author, the giver of faith; if you feel your unbelief, and desire to be delivered from your present condition — then look to Jesus, call on Jesus, beg faith of Jesus! It may be had for begging, though it never can be bought, or produced by human effort. May the Lord give you the Spirit of faith — so shall you believe, obey, rejoice, and be saved forever.