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Mornings and Evenings with Jesus
Devotional: January 25th
And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him. - John 11:15.
IN the estimate of our Saviour there is nothing so valuable or important as faith. There is nothing he is so much concerned to promote in his people as their faith. “To the intent ye may believe.” Observe: First, From our Saviour’s language, it is obvious that faith is no easy matter. They who think so have never made the trial. Oh, to take God at his word-to hang on an invisible arm-to confide in a Being we have never seen, and to confide in him when we are conscious that we have sinned against him, and deserve to suffer his righteous displeasure! Oh, where is the Christian that has not often cried out, with the father of the lunatic, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief ”? We may see the difficulty of believing from the means he employs to promote it, so expensive, and from the persons for whom he here wishes it. Persons who had been with him from the beginning, and had seen his miracles,-these are the persons whom he upbraids for their unbelief, who cry, “Lord, increase our faith.”
The language shows-Secondly, That faith admits of increase. Why, they believed already, or they would not have forsaken all to have followed him. But they did not believe enough. What a difference there is between the faith of two Christians, and even in the same Christian at different periods! At one time it is like the mustard-seed, how small! At another time it is like the mustard-tree, how large! Some tell us that there is no such thing as growing in grace, though we are commanded to grow in grace, and though Paul says, “Your faith and love groweth exceedingly.” And may not faith be more powerful in its degree, and more free in its sacrifices? While this humbles it should stimulate us. The dawn is good, but our path should be that of “the just, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”
Thirdly, The importance of faith is to be gathered from these words of our Lord. Some persons seem afraid to say much on faith, as if it were prejudicial to morality. Why, they should know that faith is the tree that bears all the fruits of holiness, the spring from whence all holiness flows. No Christian is so celebrated for his faith as was Abraham; and there are none so celebrated for obedience. And this should not surprise us; it is what we should reckon upon. We read of the “analogy of faith”-the “law of faith”-the “work of faith” -the “obedience of faith”-the “fight,” the “prayer,” the “joy” of faith. Everything has to do with this.
In proportion as we believe, God is glorified; for strong faith giveth glory unto God. We are filled with all joy and peace in believing. Are we sanctified? It is “by faith that is in me.” Are we purified? “Purifying their hearts by faith.” Do we conquer? “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” Do we stand? “We stand by faith.” Do we walk? “We walk by faith.” Do we live? Have we boldness and confidence? It is by faith. What says the apostle to the Ephesians? “Above all, taking the shield of faith.” What says Christ to Peter? “I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not.”
Here we see what it was the enemy’s aim to injure, and what Christ designed to save-it was faith; and then Jesus and Satan both proclaim the importance of faith. Hence Christ said to his patients, “Be it unto you according to your faith,” and to his disciples, “Where is your faith?”
We which have believed do enter into rest. - Hebrews 4:3.
HEAVEN is a state of blessedness. All are capacitated for enjoying happiness, but there are some who have found it. These are they to whom the ever blessed God has assigned “the path of life,” and who are now in “his presence,” where “there is fulness of joy,” and at his right hand, where “there are pleasures for evermore.” We do not question their happiness, nor are Christians here strangers to all that blessedness which they above are now enjoying.
They also have attained to the glorious liberty of the sons of God, the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus having already made them free from the law of sin and death; they are upheld by God’s free Spirit; they run in the way of his commandments with enlarged hearts. Is there a rest that remaineth for the people of God? We, says the Apostle, which believe, do even here “enter into rest.” Have the blessed multitude in heaven entered into pure, complete, and eternal peace? Why even here, the Apostle tells us, Christians are possessed of the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keeping their hearts and minds through Jesus Christ; even now their minds are kept in perfect peace, being stayed upon God. Are they not blessed because they are still with the Saviour, dwelling where he is, and beholding his glory? And do not Christians now enter into glory by the eye of faith?
Do not they hold sweet communion with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ, even now? Yes, blessed be God, these are the earnests and foretastes of that blessedness which is begun on earth and perfected in heaven.
“Blessed are the sons of God,
They are wash’d in Jesus’ blood;
They are happy now, and we
Soon their happiness shall see.”
the Third Week after Epiphany
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