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13 December, 2012

What Is Faith


 I found one of Spurgeon sermon which explains to us what faith is.

I am grateful for all the hits the post dated December 10 titled “Faith” has received and all the emails I received from all of you. Don’t you think for a second that I am not grateful even if I did not send an email back or visit your page back to write a thank you note. I would be careless in my ministry if I did not follow up with more details on what Spurgeon meant. You see, while I was sitting in the pews with some sort of idea in my mind that I too, was a believer, God got hold of me and brought me to a place where I became truly born again. But, I was not always a true convert because I had my idea of what believing meant, and that salvation is by grace, it is free and that’s all there is to it. While it is true, it is that simple and that’s all there is to it, but I did not know, even though I was part of a  big Church, no one ever told me that what the word “faith” amounted to in my life was extremely important to God, until He got hold of me.

There is a story about faith all over the internet, at one point I saw the name of Randall Price attached to it.  I like it because this is exactly what it feels like when God decides to test your faith. The story goes this way: “There was once a famous daredevil named Blondin who regularly thrilled audiences by walking a tightrope stretched across Niagara Falls with a man riding on his shoulders. One day just as he was about to start across, he asked a man in the audience if he believed that he could do it. “Yes,” the man replied you can do it! He then asked him if he were sure that he could do it. ‘Yes, I’m really sure that you can do it!” “Good,” said Blondin, “because my regular man isn’t here today and I need you to ride over on my shoulders.” Now the man was faced with the real issue of faith - he had said that he had believed, but was he willing to stake his life on it? You see, faith is not faith until it's all you’re holding onto.

While faith is a gift from God and we receive it through grace, but if there is one thing certain about God is that He will always, always, always test your faith. Even when He increases it for you, He once again puts you through the process of testing. When God tests your faith, it also feels as if what’s happening to you should be happening to someone else. When we look at the Israelites and how miserably they failed to the point where they died in the wilderness, we tend to separate ourselves from them and like to make ourselves believe that would not happen to us and we would have trusted God. At the end of the day, while we will not all have the same amount of faith, we got to at least past the first test He put us through.

Christianity is a mess because like the Israelites most of us fail over and over again. We want Christ as our Savior, but, we don’t want to hear about Him being the Master of our lives. We want to know nothing about surrendering to Him, but like Spurgeon said “Again: without faith it is impossible to be saved, and to please God, because without faith there is no union with Christ. Now, union to Christ, is indispensable to our salvation….Union with Christ is, after all, the great point in salvation.” We never quite grasp, that accepting Christ as the Master of our lives and totally surrendering to this life is part of what it means to be the grain that fell on the good soil, it surrenders to the soil, embrace it, dies and take root.  Somehow we managed to separate that from His grace.

One of the major differences you see in the Church is that those who have gone forward with God to receive the proper faith, by His grace of course are most of the time, filed under “false prophets”. Once we do that, we wash our hands and feel free to continue our empty walk. We do not recognize the false prophets are those who tells us that going forward with God to pass from rootless, to rooted in Him is also a work of grace. Even though Paul spent a lifetime telling us “just that,” we continue, even though we cannot truly explain three quarters of the verses in the Bible, vis as vis salvation by grace. But, through the eyes of those who have been with Him and appropriated true faith most of those verses make sense. And we know those verses applied to all of us Christians.

Spurgeon must have at least a dozen sermons on faith and they are anywhere from 12 to 20 pages long. This particular sermon is 19 pages and I felt it was important that I share his view as to what it means to have faith, as a follow up. In his sermon on faith, Spurgeon explained that true faith that brings salvation must possess three things “knowledge, assent and affiance to the truth” without all three we do not have faith. I wish I could say he is wrong, but that’s the faith I learned from God as well. The third part the Puritans called “affiance to the truth” is simply the testing part, that when we go through it with flying colors, faith is then imparted to us, only then, we own our faith.

I will leave you with Spurgeon Sermon Titled  “FAITH:”

"Without faith it is impossible to please God."—Hebrews 11:6.
I shall endeavour to pack my thoughts closely this morning, and be as brief as I can, consistently with a full explanation of the theme. I shall first have an exposition of what is faith; secondly, I shall have an argument, that without faith it is impossible to be saved; and thirdly, I shall ask a question—Have you that faith which pleases God? We shall have, then, an exposition, an argument, and a question.

    I. First, for the
EXPOSITION. What is faith?
    The old writers, who are by far the most sensible—for you will notice that the books that were written about two hundred years ago, by the old Puritans, have more sense in one line than there is in a page of our new books, and more in a page than there is in a whole volume of our modern divinity—the old writers tell you, that faith is made up of three things: first knowledge, then assent, and then what they call affiance, or the laying hold of the knowledge to which we give assent, and making it our own by trusting in it.

    1. Let us begin, then, at the beginning. The first thing in faith is knowledge. A man cannot believe what he does not know.  That is a clear, self-evident axiom. If I have never heard of a thing in all my life, and do not know it, I cannot believe it. And yet there are some persons who have a faith like that of the fuller, who when he was asked what he believed, said, "I believe what the Church believes." "What does the Church believe?" "The Church believes what I believe." "And pray what do you and the Church believe?" "Why we both believe the same thing." Now this man believed nothing, except that the Church was right, but in what he could not tell. It is idle for a man to say, "I am a believer," and yet not to know what he believes; but yet I have seen some persons in this position. A violent sermon has been preached, which has stirred up their blood; the minister has cried, "Believe! Believe! Believe!" and the people on a sudden have got it into their heads that they were believers, and have walked out of their place of worship and said, "I am a believer."…

    2. But a man may know a thing, and yet not have faith. I may know a thing, and yet not believe it. Therefore assent must go with faith: that is to say, what we know we must also agree unto, as being most certainly the verity of God. Now, in order to faith, it is necessary that I should not only read the Scriptures and understand them, but that I should receive them in my soul as being the very truth of the living God, and I should devoutly with my whole heart receive the whole of the Scripture as being inspired of the Most High, and the whole of the doctrine which he requires me to believe to my salvation. You are not allowed to halve the Scriptures, and to believe what you please; you are not allowed to believe the Scripture with a half-heartedness, for if you do this wilfully, you have not the faith which looks alone to Christ. True faith gives its full assent to the Scriptures; it takes a page and says, "No matter what is in the page, I believe it;" it turns over the next chapter ands says, "Herein are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable do wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, to their destruction; but hard though it be, I believe it." It sees the Trinity; it cannot understand the Trinity in Unity, but it believes it. It sees an atoning sacrifice; there is something difficult in the thought, but it believes it; and whatever it be which it sees in revelation, it devoutly puts its lips to the book, and says, "I love it all; I give my full, free and hearty assent to every word of it, whether it be the threatening or the promise, the proverb, the precept, or the blessing. I believe that since it is all the Word of God it is all most assuredly true." Whosoever would be saved must know the Scriptures, and must give full assent unto them.

True faith gives its full assent to the Scriptures; it takes a page and says, "No matter what is in the page, I believe it;" it turns over the next chapter and says, "Herein are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable do wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, to their destruction; but hard though it be, I believe it." It sees the Trinity; it cannot understand the Trinity in Unity, but it believes it. It sees an atoning sacrifice; there is something difficult in the thought, but it believes it; and whatever it be which it sees in revelation, it devoutly puts its lips to the book, and says, "I love it all; I give my full, free and hearty assent to every word of it, whether it be the threatening or the promise, the proverb, the precept, or the blessing. I believe that since it is all the Word of God it is all most assuredly true." Whosoever would be saved must know the Scriptures, and must give full assent unto them.

    3. But a man may have all this, and yet not possess true faith; for the chief part of faith lies in the last head, namely, in an affiance to the truth; not the believing it merely, but the taking hold of it as being ours, and in the resting on it for salvation. Recumbency on the truth was the word which the old preachers used. You will understand that word. Leaning on it; saying, "This is truth, I trust my salvation on it." Now, true faith, in its very essence rests in this—a leaning upon Christ. It will not save me to know that Christ is a Saviour; but it will save me to trust him to be my Saviour. I shall not be delivered from the wrath to come by believing that his atonement is sufficient, but I shall be saved by making that atonement my trust, my refuge, and my all. The pith, the essence of faith lies in this—a casting one-self on the promise. It is not the lifebuoy on board the ship that saves the man when he is drowning, nor is it his belief that it is an excellent and successful invention. No! He must have it around his loins, or his hand upon it, or else he will sink. To use an old and hackneyed illustration: suppose a fire in the upper room of a house, and the people gathered in the street. A child is in the upper story: how is he to escape? He cannot leap down—that were to be dashed to pieces. A strong man comes beneath, and cries, "Drop into my arms." It is a part of faith to know that the man is there; it is another part of faith to believe that the man is strong; but the essence of faith lies in the dropping down into the man's arms. That is the proof of faith, and the real pith and essence of it. So, sinner, thou art to know that Christ died for sin; thou art also to understand that Christ is able to save, and thou art to believe that; but thou art not saved, unless in addition to that, thou puttest thy trust in him to be thy Saviour, and to be thine for ever. As Hart says in his hymn, which really expresses the gospel—

"Venture on him, venture wholly;
Let no other trust intrude;
None but Jesus
Can do helpless sinners good."

This is the faith which saves; and however unholy may have been your lives up to this hour, this faith, if given to you at this moment, will blot out all your sins, will change your nature, make you a new man in Christ Jesus, lead you to live a holy life, and make your eternal salvation as secure as if an angel should take you on his bright wings this morning, and carry you immediately to heaven. Have you that faith?


This was part of Spurgeon sermon #107 which was delivered on on Sabbath Morning, December 14, 1856, at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.