by Arthur W. Pink
Perhaps the reader is already a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Yet that, of itself, is no proof he has been born again and is
journeying to Heaven.
The New Testament tells us "many believed in His name when
they saw the miracles which He did. But Jesus did not commit
Himself unto them" (John 2:23, 24). "As He spoke these words
many believed on Him" (John 8:30), yet v. 59 shows that a little
later they sought to stone Him! "Among the chief rulers also
many believed (not simply 'about', but) on Him." Ah! but note
what immediately follows: "but because of the Pharisees they did
not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue;
for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God"
(John 12:42, 43) -- what a proof that they were utter strangers
to a saving work of God in their souls: yet they were "believers"
in the Lord Jesus!
There is a faith in Christ which is saving, and there is a faith in
Christ which is not saving. Possibly the reader says, "But I know
that mine is the former: I have seen myself as a lost sinner, realize
I can do nothing to gain acceptance with God, and have put my
trust in the finished work of His Son." Ah! my friend, the heart is
terribly deceitful (Jer. 17:9) and Satan deludes many (Rev.
12:9). So much is at stake that it behooves each of us to make
sure. Only a fool is ready to give himself the "benefit of the
doubt" in an issue so momentous as this.
Probably many a reader is ready to continue, "But I know that
my faith in Christ is a genuine and saving one, for it rests upon
the sure Word of God." Dear friends, others who were equally
sure as you are now in Hell! Allow us to inquire-- Have you
tested your faith by Scripture? Have you taken the trouble to
ascertain whether your faith is accompanied by those evidences
which are inseparable from a saving faith? A saving faith is a
supernatural thing, and brings forth supernatural fruit.
Is this true in your case?
Do these questions somewhat puzzle?
Then let us try to explain.
In Acts 15:9 we read, "purifying their hearts by faith" --
(compare Matt. 5:8; 1 Pet. 1:22.) A purified heart is one that has
been purged of all impure idols and turned to a pure object
(1 Thess. 1:9). It loathes all that is sinful, and loves all
that is holy. A pure heart is one that has been cleansed from
the love of all that is evil.
Another characteristic of saving faith is that it "works by love"
(Gal. 5:6). Faith is a mighty principle of operation by which the
Christian lives unto God, by which he treads the path of
obedience, by which he resists the Devil and denies the flesh.
And this, not from fear, but "by love." Perfectly?
In this life, No, but actually and in the main, Yes.
"Whosoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is
the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith" (1 John
5:4). God has opened the eyes of the Christian to see the
hollowness and worthlessness of the best that this poor world
has to offer; and has weaned his heart from it by satisfying with
spiritual and heavenly things.
Now, dear reader, is it not evident that as a fountain is known by
the waters which issue from it, so the nature of your faith may be
ascertained by what it is bringing forth? Have you been saved
from a dislike of God's commands and a disrelish for His
holiness? Have you been saved from pride, from covetousness,
from murmuring? Christ died not to procure the pardon of our
sins and the taking us to Heaven, while our hearts still remain
clinging to the things of earth. No, He lived and died so that His
Spirit might quicken His people into newness of life, making
them "new creatures", and causing them to sojourn in this world
as those who are not of it, but as those whose hearts are already
departed from it.
But do we not read, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you
shall be saved" (Acts 16:31)? Yes, but note the apostles did not
tell the jailer to "rest on the finished work of Christ"; instead,
they set before him a Person. Nor did they say "Believe on the
Saviour", but "on the Lord Jesus Christ."
Saving faith necessarily involves the renouncing of our own sinful,
"lordship", the throwing down of the weapons of our warfare
against Him, and the submitting to His yoke and rule. And before
any sinful rebel is brought to that place, a miracle of grace has to
be wrought within him. Saving faith consists of the complete
surrender of my whole being and life to the lordship of Christ:
"they first gave their own selves to the Lord" (2 Cor. 8:5).
Have you? Have you?