“And they said, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”
This morning, as I was reading a sermon from C. H. Spurgeon as part of my devotional reading I came across this extended quotation as Spurgeon was introducing a sermon in which he seeks to remove some stumbling blocks from the way of sinners on their way to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. In this quotation Spurgeon describes the nature of saving faith. It can be found at Spurgeon’s Sermons, Volume 7, p. 30-31 (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody Mass., 2011).
“The road to heaven, my brethren, is by faith in Christ Jesus. It is not by well doing that you can be saved, though it is by ill doing that you will be damned if you do not put your trust in Christ. Nothing that you can do can save you. Albeit that after you are saved it will be your delightful privilege to walk in the ways of God and to keep His commandments, yet all your own attempts to keep the commandments previous to faith will but sink you deeper into the mire, and will by no means contribute to your salvation. The one road to salvation is by faith in Christ. Or, to make it plainer still, as the countryman said, there are but two steps to heaven – out of self into Christ; and then, out of Christ into heaven. Faith is simply explained as trusting in Christ. I find that Christ commands me to believe in Him, or to trust Him. I feel that there is no reason in myself why I should be allowed to trust Him. But He commands me to do so. Therefore, altogether apart from my character or from any preparation that I feel in myself, I obey the command, and sink or swim – I trust in Christ. Now, that is faith; when, with the eye shut as to all evidence of hope in ourselves, we take a leap in the dark, right into the arms of an Omnipotent Redeemer.
Faith is sometimes spoken of in Scripture as being a leaning upon Christ – a casting of one’s self upon Him; or as the old Puritans used to put it (using a somewhat hard word), it is recumbency on Christ – the leaning of the whole weight upon His cross; ceasing to stand by the strength of one’s own power, and resting wholly upon the rock of ages. The leaving of the soul in the hands of Jesus is the very essence of faith. Faith is receiving Christ into our emptiness. There is Christ like the conduit in the market-place. As the water flows from the pipes, so does grace continually flow from Him. By faith I bring my empty pitcher and hold it where the water flows, and receive of its fullness, grace for grace. It is not in the beauty of my pitcher, it is not even its cleanness that quenches my thirst: it is simply holding that pitcher to the place where the water flows. Even so I am but the vessel, and my faith is the hand which presents the empty vessel to the flowing stream. It is the grace, and not the qualification of the receiver, which saves the soul. And though I hold that pitcher with trembling hand, and much of that which I seek may be lost through my weakness, yet if the soul be but held to the fountain, and so much as a single drop trickle into it, my soul is saved. Faith is receiving Christ with the understanding, and with the will, submitting everything to Him, taking Him to be my all in all, and agreeing to be henceforth nothing at all. Faith is ceasing from the creature and coming to the Creator. It is looking out of self to Christ, turning the eye entirely from any good that is here within me, and looking for every blessing to those open veins, to that poor bleeding heart, to that thorn-crowned head of Him whom God hath set forth “to be the propitiation for our sins, and not for our sins only, but for the sins of the whole world.””