RICH IN FAITH
"Rich in faith." James 2:5
Among the titles which describe the present condition of the people of God, this is very important. If they are pilgrims, and a little flock, and partakers of all the infirmities of flesh and blood, they are rich in faith. All things are theirs, because they are Christ's. They are full. They reign as kings, through the riches of his grace. Poor in this world always. Its best provisions are a poor treasure. But heirs of the kingdom which God has provided, and for which he has chosen them. How can any condition be more exalted or encouraging? This is their present prospect. It will attend them through life, wherever they may be. If I am one of them, this great privilege belongs to me. I cannot be poor. I can never be destitute. As one of God's chosen people,
1. I am rich in the POSSESSION of this faith itself. Faith is a gift--a very precious and important gift of God. It has been given to me to believe on his name. My natural mind was an unbelieving one. I lived by sense. I walked by sight alone. But God has brought me out of this state of darkness, and given me a precious faith--a like precious faith with all his people. I could never have believed in his word without his gift. Now I can know him; I can trust in him; I can love him; I can seek him; I can realize his presence; I can follow him; I cannot be happy without him. I have freely exchanged everything which is seen and temporal for the things which are unseen and are eternal. But this is all his gift. It does not come from any exercise of my power, or any pre-eminence in my reason or will. It is God who has enlightened my understanding, and has brought me to a knowledge of his truth. And in the very possession of a simple filial faith in him, am rich.
2. I am rich in the SECURITY which faith reveals. He that believes cannot be confounded. Nothing can overturn the mind which abides in faith. Nothing can destroy me which does not first unsettle and destroy my faith. While I continue to believe, I am secure against every danger. Faith in God meets every charge and every foe with perfect success. Does conscience accuse? Faith reveals divine forgiveness in the blood of Christ. Does the law condemn? Faith proclaims everlasting righteousness in the obedience of Christ. Does the world persecute or tempt? Faith assures of triumphant protection in the power of Christ. Does Satan threaten? Faith announces unlimited victory in the kingdom of Christ. Faith meets every objection. It says, "Only believe--all things are possible to him that believes." Thus it makes everything secure. It brings good out of all evil. It makes all things work together for good to those who love God. What perfect security is this! And though I am a poor journeying pilgrim in a little flock, compassed with infirmities; yet how perfectly secure am I, while thus believing--rich in faith!
3. I am rich in the OBJECTS which faith proclaims. What an amazing inheritance does it display! Things present and things to come. Divine promises covering every condition of life. Meeting every human sorrow, and every earthly trial. Spanning over the whole journey to the grave. Planting blessings in anticipation, in every place where I am to come. Illuminating the valley of the shadow of death. Creating the brightest and most blessed hopes in the darkest hours. Unveiling glories inconceivable in a world to come. Spreading out before me an immortality of rest and active joy in the presence of God. Sealing all with an eternity of happiness in Christ my Lord. Surely I am rich if all these things are mine. And as surely they all are mine, if I am believing in Christ. To whom else are they promised, but to him that believes? And to what else in him are they promised, but to his faith? The Holy Scriptures are overflowing with these exceeding great and precious promises. And they are all the property of those whom God has chosen, however poor in this world, as the heirs of his kingdom. Well may the Spirit call them rich in faith.
4. I am rich in the PEACE which faith imparts. The effect of righteousness is peace. God will keep those in perfect peace who stay on him, because they trust in him. This is a precious gift in my earthly pilgrimage. A mind at peace. At peace, amid the storms of earth, the hostility of men, the adversities of human life, the consciousness of inward sin. Nothing can be more valuable. He that believes, shall not be confounded--shall not make haste. Why should he? All things are naked and open to him with whom he has to do. All things are ordered and settled by his authority and will. My days are numbered, and my ways are ordered by his wisdom. What have I to do, but simply to obey, calmly to trust, patiently to wait, earnestly to love, faithfully to follow my Glorious Head? There are no evils, there can be none, to him that believes. Here will I rest, until my Lord appear. Lord, I believe--help my unbelief.
5. This is wealth indeed! There are no other riches. A divine gift, divine security, divine treasures, divinely-imparted peace! Surely this is to be rich in faith. Here do I desire and purpose to abide, in simple, humble confidence in God to the end. I commit myself to him. I cast myself upon him. I trust myself to him. By his grace sustaining me, I will never forsake him.
Thus when the Christian pilgrim views
By faith his mansion in the skies,
The sight his fainting strength renews,
And wings his speed to reach the prize.
The hope of heaven his spirit cheers;
No more he grieves for sorrows past;
Nor any future conflict fears,
So he may save arrive at last.