THE BRIEF GOSPEL
"Only believe." —Mark 5:36
The briefest of the "words of Jesus," but one of the most comforting. They contain the essence and epitome of all saving truth.
Reader, is Satan assailing you with tormenting fears? Is the thought of your sins—the guilty past—coming up in terrible memorial before you, almost tempting you to give way to hopeless despondency? Fear not! A gentle voice whispers in your ear—"Only believe. Your sins are great, but My grace and merits are greater. 'Only believe' that I died for you—that I am living for you and pleading for you, and that 'the faithful saying' is as 'faithful' as ever, and as 'worthy of all acceptance' as ever."—Are you a backslider? Did you once run well? Has your own guilty apostasy alienated and estranged you from that face which was once all love, and that service which was once all delight? Are you breathing in broken-hearted sorrow over the holy memories of a close walk with God—"Oh that it were with me as in months past, when the candle of the Lord did shine?" "Only believe." Take this your mournful soliloquy, and convert it into a prayer. "Only believe" the word of Him whose ways are not as man's ways—"Return O backsliding children, and I will heal your backsliding."
Are you beaten down with some heavy trial? Have your fondest schemes been blown upon—your fairest blossoms been withered in the bud? has wave after wave been rolling upon you? has the Lord forgotten to be gracious? Hear the "word of Jesus" resounding amid the thickest midnight of gloom—penetrating even through the vaults of the dead—"Believe, only believe." There is an infinite reason for the trial—a lurking thorn that required removal, a gracious lesson that required teaching. The dreadful severing blow was dealt in love. God will be glorified in it, and your own soul made the better for it. Patiently wait until the light of immortality be reflected on a receding world. Here you must take His dealings on trust. The word of Jesus to you now is, "Only believe." The word of Jesus in eternity (every inner meaning and undeveloped purpose being unfolded), "Didn't I tell you that you will see God's glory if you believe?"
Are you fearful and agitated in the prospect of death? Through fear of the last enemy, have you been all your lifetime subject to bondage?—"Only believe." "As your day is, so shall your strength be." Dying grace will be given when a dying hour comes. In the dark river a sustaining arm will be underneath you, deeper than the deepest and darkest wave. Before you know it, the darkness will be past, the true Light shining—the whisper of faith in the nether valley. "Believe! Believe!" will be exchanged for angel-voices exclaiming, as you enter the portals of glory, "No longer through a glass darkly, but now face to face!"
Yes! Jesus Himself had no higher remedy for sin, for sorrow, and for suffering, than those two words convey. At the utmost extremity of His own distress, and of His disciples' wretchedness, He could only say "Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me." Believe, only believe.
"Lord, I believe, help my unbelief."