Open A Print Ready Copy
BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH
"By grace are ye saved, through faith" (Ephesians 2:8 ).
Think IT WELL to turn a
little to one side, that I may ask my reader to observe adoringly the
fountain-head of our salvation, which is the grace of God. "By grace are
ye saved." Because God is gracious, therefore sinful men are forgiven,
converted, purified, and saved. It is not because of anything in them, or
that ever can be in them, that they are saved, but because of the
boundless love, goodness, pity, compassion, mercy, and grace of God. Tarry
a moment then, at the well-head. Behold the pure river of water of life,
as it proceeds out of the throne of God and of the Lamb!
What an abyss is the grace of God! Who can measure its breadth? Who can
fathom its depth? Like all the rest of the divine attributes, it is
infinite. God is full of love, for "God is love." God is full of goodness.
The very name "God" is short for "good." Unbounded goodness and love enter
into the very essence of the Godhead. It is because "his mercy endureth
for ever" that men are not destroyed; because "his compassions fail not"
that sinners are brought to Him and forgiven.
Remember this, or you may fall into error by fixing your minds so much
upon the faith that is the channel of salvation and forget the grace which
is the fountain and source of faith itself. Faith is the work of God's
grace in us. No man can say that Jesus is the Christ but by the Holy
Ghost. "No man cometh unto me," saith Jesus, "except the Father which hath
sent me draw him." So that faith, which is coming to Christ, is the result
of divine drawing. Grace is the first and last moving cause of salvation;
and faith, essential as it is, is only an important part of the machinery
which grace employs. We are saved "through faith," but salvation is "by
grace." Sound forth those words as with the archangel's trumpet: "By grace
are ye saved." What glad tidings for the undeserving!
Faith occupies the position of a channel or conduit pipe. Grace is the
fountain and the stream. Faith is the aquaduct along which the flood of
mercy flows down to refresh the thirsty sons of men. It is a great pity
when the aquaduct is broken. It is a sad sight to see around Rome the many
noble aqueducts that no longer convey water into the city, because the
arches are broken and the marvelous structures are in ruins. The aquaduct
must be kept entire to convey the current; and, even so, faith must be
true and sound, leading right up to God and coming right down to
ourselves, that it may become a serviceable channel of mercy to our souls.
Still, I again remind you that faith is only the channel or aqueduct, and
not the fountainhead, and we must not look so much to it as to exalt it
above the divine source of all blessing, which lies in the grace of God.
Never make a Christ out of your faith, nor think of it as if it were the
independent source of your salvation. Our life is found in "looking unto
Jesus," not in looking to our own faith. By faith all things become
possible to us; yet the power is not in the faith, but in the God upon
whom faith relies. Grace is the powerful engine, and faith is the chain by
which the carriage of the soul is attached to the great motive power. The
righteousness of faith is not the moral excellence of faith, but the
righteousness of Jesus Christ, which faith grasps and appropriates. The
peace within the soul is not derived from the contemplation of our own
faith; but it comes to us from Him who is our peace, the hem of whose
garment faith touches, and virtue comes out of Him into the soul.
See then, dear friend, that the weakness of your faith will not destroy
you. A trembling hand may receive a golden gift. The Lord's salvation can
come to us though we have only faith as a grain of mustard seed. The power
lies in the grace of God, and not in our faith. Great messages can be sent
along slender wires, and the peace-giving witness of the Holy Spirit can
reach the heart by means of a thread-like faith which seems almost unable
to sustain its own weight. Think more of Him to whom you look than of the
look itself. You must look away even from your own looking, and see
nothing but Jesus, and the grace of God revealed in Him.