By A.T. Jones
This morning we will study some texts that speak to us of faith, what we are to do with it and what it will do for us. Romans 5:1 to be justified is to be accounted righteous and this by faith. Romans 4:5; Romans 3:22. This righteousness is to take the place of all our sins, remember. Now see what the Lord will do with our sins, Isa. 1:18. The latter condition is just the opposite of the first--the sins no matter how deep the colour will be made white as snow. We are to be clothed with white raiment, our scarlet sins to be changed, our filthy stained garments to be changed like wool, white as snow. When we ask to have our sins taken away it is asking to be cleansed. What does it mean to be made white as snow? Mark 9:3. That is the garment that is to be put upon us--whiter than any fuller can make them. This is the blessed promise. Faith says that this is so, Isa. 44:22. The Lord has paid the ransom by the death of Christ, now he says return unto me, I have redeemed thee. All the thick, black clouds have gone--blotted out. Micah 7:18, 19 passed by the transgression of what? The remnant? Those who keep the commandments and have the faith of Jesus. That is a promise to us. He is fixing them up for Himself. He is taking their sins from them. He delights in treating them better than they deserve. He delights in us when we believe in Him. All our sins are to go into the depths of the sea, the deepest depth we can conceive of. Is not that a blessed promise? Psalm 103:11,12. Who can conceive the distance of heaven from us, so great is God's goodness and mercy towards us. Don't we want to worship such a Lord as that? Do we want to offend such a God as that? No, we want to be like Him. Now how far is the east from the west? Suppose we walk out looking for the west, how long shall we seek it? Eternally. Then so far are sins to be from us, as long as we believe it. Have faith then and keep them eternally away from you. Why should we not have peace? Faith then gives us peace. God gives us the Holy Spirit as a seal of his righteousness. We must ask for the Holy Spirit to receive it. Luke 11 9-13. How must we ask? James 1:6, Gal. 3:13, 14, the blessing of Abraham was righteousness through faith, Rom. 4:21-25.
What does God promise us in reference to our sins? They shall be white as snow. Then we are righteous. He says he will blot out the thick clouds of our sins. If we believe it then, we are righteous. By Micah he says our sins shall go into the sea. Do we believe it? Then we are righteous. Our sins are to go from us an eternal distance. Do we believe God can do this? Then we are righteous. Now the promises were not written out for Abraham's sake alone, but for our sakes to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead. Romans 10:10. Then how are we to have righteousness? By faith. Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God--now read Galatians 3, again. We receive the seal of it by faith. Another step we want to take when we receive the promise by faith. Romans 5:1-5, we get into the grace of God by faith (whatsoever is not of faith is sin), and we must rejoice. Why should we not? What have we to complain of? What have we to do but rejoice? The Lord is good. Rejoice anyhow. Rejoice in tribulations also, because the Holy Ghost sheds abroad the love of God in our hearts. Don't get a wrong turn here. It is not love for God (though that will be there), but the Holy Spirit puts God's love in our hearts. God gave his Son when man was enmity toward him, because he loved them, and when his love is in our hearts they will go out towards mankind in love as his great heart has done. The evidence we want is to have the love of God in our heart.
Now Gal. 5:22. How shall we be good? Have the spirit of God in our hearts. Do we want the other virtues? These are all the fruit of the spirit of God. We can't have the fruit unless we have the tree--for it is God that works within us both to will and to do of his good pleasure. John 14:21-28. The Lord went away but promised to send the Holy Spirit to manifest him. Is that not what we learned yesterday? Where do we abide? At our homes. We are sojourning here. "We will come unto him and abide with him." Eph. 3:14-21. We begin, then, at the 16th verse, which speaks of the family of God, not two, but only one, some in heaven, the balance on earth--this is a prayer for us--that we be strengthened by the spirit, that Christ may dwell with us by our faith. How can we know that which passeth knowledge? Why, only by faith and then we know it. Now verse 20. Paul could not find words to tell what he wanted to, and failed to express it all. The Lord says he will do all we ask or think. Do we believe it? Then we can get from him all we ask or think, further exceedingly abundantly beyond what we can ask for or think, according to what power? The power working within us. And what is this? Our faith. Well, then, that is all the limit put upon God--the power of God being limited only according to the measure of our faith. Then, brethren, let us have faith. God is able to do all he promises. Romans 1:16-17. Many do not know what this expression "from faith to faith" means. We begin with faith, and the exercise of that faith will develop the capacity to exercise faith tomorrow--so that we grow from faith to faith, from today's to tomorrow's --therefore we grow in faith, and from grace, favour, power with God, to grace, and in knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord. Let us exercise our faith then, and it will develop power--the power of God unto eternal salvation. Why, then, should we not rejoice? Now faith works, Galatians 5:6. Here is where the work comes in, and is the only work acceptable to God, for it is of God, but works without faith are our own. James 2:18. Well let it do this for it is true, the man who has the most faith will do the most acceptable work to God. Work is of no value except it have faith, and faith without works is valueless. Works will tell the amount of faith we possess, 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 2 Thessalonians, 1:11. Now comes obedience. Where? Romans 16:25-26, all made manifest for the obedience of faith--then all short of this faith is sin, that is, "comes short" of the perfection of the law of God, according to the view of God--not intentional sin, perhaps, but short of the glory of God, and is not obedience--for without faith it is impossible to please God. So, then, our obedience comes in after we have faith, and God's spirit is dwelling within us. Do you not see now that we have to be made good before we can do good? If then you want to do better get more of Jesus Christ in your heart. It is all well enough to want to do better, but go first to Jesus to be made better. Romans 1:5, margin, also Timothy 6:12.
A battle is to be fought, and the beauty of it all is there is a victory to be won, 1 John, 4:4. Mark what "overcome" means; "to conquer," "veni, vide, vice." I came, I saw, I conquered, is what Caesar wrote home to the senate. I came, I overcame, I conquered is the literal translation. Then to overcome is to conquer--but it does not protect from temptation and battles, but it fits us up and enables us to fight, and gives us the victory, all through faith. Is not faith, then, a glorious thing? Ephesians 6:10-18. After having conquered be able to stand when the battle is over (see margin of verse 13), having the righteousness of God as our armour, and above it all the shield of faith to not only stop the fiery darts of the enemy (which if they strike us create a flame within us), but it quenches them--puts them out. Hebrews 2:5 to Hebrews 2:1-3 (sic). Paul says Christ partook of our suffering and took upon him the bondage of death to rescue us from death, and took upon him our nature that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest, so that having stood in our place, remember that he stood there before we did, and if we put him between us and the temptation, it vanishes, and we conquer in him. That is the shield of faith. Another thing, brethren, the heart is purified by faith and the pure shall see God. Matthew 5:8; Acts 5:8-9. It is made pure and kept pure by him. How is it done? There is no "how" to faith; but let us read Luke 8:13-18. Why did he not say before this who touched him? Because the touch of the woman was the touch of faith and drew virtue from Him. Faith reaches out to Christ and virtue comes in response as surely as it did on that woman, and this is not all. Luke 6:19: Touch him by faith and virtue will come to all and make you faithful, i.e., full of faith.
Christ was faithful; his faithfulness comes to us in answer to our faith and that makes us faithful. It is only by his obedience that we are made righteous. Then when I have anything to do, let my faith reach out to him and bring faithfulness from him to enable me to do it. Faithfulness, that only can do it. If we want to be good let our faith touch him, and goodness comes to us and makes us good; if we want to be righteous, in answer to our faith, power comes to us and makes us righteous. In answer to our faith as it grows, more and more of his power and goodness will come to us, and just before probation closes we shall be like him indeed, and then we shall be keeping the commandments of God in fact, because there will be so much of him in us that there will be none of ourselves there. That is when we get to the place where we keep the commandments of God, and there is the beautiful promise, "Here are they that keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus." We must reach that place yet. There is too much self glorification, too much self confidence, but let our faith come to him. Then that is sanctification, that is what the 26th chapter of Acts tells us, verse 18; also John 17:19. That is genuine sanctification. When that comes it will be all right. Get all that kind of sanctification you can. Faith is actually a something, a reality, and when it touches Jesus Christ, in response to it virtue comes from him and makes us what we want to be. Get that into your minds, brethren, and let us understand what faith is. Let our faith touch him and draw from him virtue, goodness, righteousness, and every good and perfect gift will come to us. Then the glory, the praise and the honour is Christ's, and let us give it to him. Then if there be any virtue at all it is Christ's virtue that makes us acceptable to God in any way whatever. A text to sum up this matter is Heb. 10:37, 38.