Friday, October 04, 2013

Applications of the Truth that the Just Shall Live by Faith, part 3--“The just shall live by faith”— A Study of the Relationship of Faith to Salvation in its Justifying, Sanctifying, and Glorifying Fulness, part 26

All Christian ministry and service must be grounded in faith.  Faithlessness will eliminate the blessing of Jehovah.  Furthermore, your spiritual enemies are not merely natural, but supernatural—you have the world, the flesh, and the devil to fight, and you cannot overcome them on your own.  How will you slay the indwelling lusts that, before your regeneration, held you in an unbreakable grip, without the strength of the Lord through faith?  Do you think you will defeat the devil and his vast hosts of demons without taking to yourself the “shield of faith” (Ephesians 6:16)?  How necessary it is to trust in the Lord your God in all situations—and also how sweet it is so to do!  He is a sure and unfailing confidence.  Do not fear, but place all your confidence in Him.  He is a certain refuge, a strong rock, and a high tower.  Men may, and will, fail, as will their devices, but the counsel of the Sovereign and Almighty One shall stand.  Indeed, the righteous trust in the Lord—not in outward action only, in their inward disposition.  Do you act like the righteous when times are easy, but abandon their Rock in times of trial?  What, then, is this weakness of faith?  Meditate upon the revelation of the character of God as the faithful God, as your own God in covenant with you, for He reveals Himself, and gives His people precious promises, to quicken and strengthen their trust in Him.  He is a good Father, who gives abundantly to His own children out of His overflowing abundance.  He will strengthen you in your weakness, strengthen your wavering faith, and fill you abundantly with His grace.
Trust, without doubting, that you have from your Father what you ask, and God will answer your prayers.  His promises indicate His desire to hear and answer you:  “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matthew 21:22).  His character is such that He will certainly fulfill His promises.  Therefore, meet the conditions for answered prayer:  1.) Ask!  “Ye have not because ye ask not” (James 4:2).  You will not receive if you do not ask;  therefore “ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24).  2.) Ask in faith.  This is impossible unless you have an upright heart.  “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18).  You cannot ask in faith if you are wilfully cherishing sin.  If you are right with God, then you can always ask in faith for anything that God has promised you in His Word, for you can know without a doubt that all such promises are as certain as God’s own self-testimony.  Do you lack wisdom?  “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5).  Are you being tempted?  “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).  Do you long for holiness?  “[H]is divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:3-4).  Furthermore, you are encouraged to pray about everything, since God “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).  When it is His will (2 Corinthians 12:9) to fulfill your request, your Father can give you faith for that need (James 5:15).  Christian, do you come to your Father with confidence, or are you vacillating and doubting when you cry to Him?  Do you even cry?  Do you seek the Lord in prayer in such a manner as befits your deep duty and astonishing privilege of coming to Him?
            Faith is the instrumentality through which God fills you with spiritual joy and peace, as well as other holy attributes (Romans 15:13).  Saint of God, you have tasted that the Lord is good.  You know that you possess a rich spiritual banquet that the world knows nothing of, and cannot even comprehend.  Would you be filled with greater measures of this blessed joy and peace?  Such sweet spiritual treasures are part of the glorious inheritance of life that those who are just receive by faith.  Exercise your faith, so that it will grow!  Moreover, do not just grit your teeth and seek to endure trials, but value them as occasions for the strengthening of faith.  The “trial of your faith” is far more precious than “gold that perisheth,” and the fact that the successful passage of such trials will bring “praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” can bring you, believing, an anticipatory “joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:3-9) even before the certainly coming final consummation of joy.
            Since life in all its blessed fulness comes to those who entrust themselves to the Lord, and greater measures of life are found in those who more closely trust their God, how essential it is that you entrust yourself to Him!  The worldly pleasures that the wicked prefer to God, that keep them from trusting in Him, will not last.  These rebellious ones are living on borrowed time;  life, even in its physical sense, is not promised to them.  The physical, as well as the incomparably glorious spiritual delights, that will be partaken of forever in the New Jerusalem are inconceivably superior to anything possessed in this present time, but they will be shut out from them all.  They chose to go from iniquity to iniquity, and wrath will fall upon them to the uttermost.  In contrast, in the regenerate, spiritual life increases as they go from faith to faith.  Therefore, by God’s grace, grow in faith, for then you will receive greater measures of life from God.  What a blessing that, instead of going, as by nature you would certainly have done, from iniquity to iniquity, you can go from faith to faith, receiving from the fulness of Christ grace for grace!  What is there in this dying world that could be better than this?  Eternal glory is but the consummation of that spiritual and eternal life you can possess, in growing measure, now.  Do you treasure spiritual life as you ought?  Are you increasing in your possession of this blessed life?

This post is part of the complete study here.


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