"This in his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment." — 1 John 3:23
The injunction of the latter of these, has given rise to no difficulty. But much dispute has been occasioned by the commanding of the former. It is undeniable, however, that the one is enjoined as well as the other in the same passage, and by the very same authority. He that commands us to love one another, commands us equally to believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ.
And if so, then faith is a duty. Indeed, if it be not a duty, we are not bound to obey God. If it be not a duty, unbelief is not a sin. Yet the Holy Ghost convinces us of sin; and of sin, because we believe not on Christ. Accordingly, in conviction, with the discovery of this guilt, we are principally affected, and look on him whom we have pierced, and mourn for him. Hence, unbelief is punishable, and destroys the soul, under the gospel; for provision is there made for our fallen condition, and pressed upon our acceptance; but we neglect so great salvation, and turn away from him that speaketh from heaven. It is true, divine influence is necessary. But why is it not possessed? If there be any truth in the Bible, it is sinful to be without it. But why should we seek after, or be thankful for, assistance to enable us to do what we were under no obligation to do?
This justifies ministers, in calling upon sinners to believe. There are some who condemn and ridicule them for this. But Ezekiel, in the name of God, prophesied to the dry bones, and said unto them, "Live." Paul made no scruple to admonish Simon Magus, though in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity, to repent and pray. And to the Jailer he said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved; for he then was not.
As the love of God renders our duty our privilege, so the authority of God renders our privilege our duty. And is not this an advantage? For thus we are not left to the calls of self-love, and our own interest, but are bound to pursue our welfare by the command of God, and the peril arising from a neglect of it.
This also meets the state of the conscience, and affords encouragement to awakened sinners. These, under a sense of their unworthiness and guilt, will be sure to ask, "But may I go to him, and trust in him? What warrant have I?" Now here is the warrant — the command of God. I may doubt my title to a promise, but I cannot question my obligation to obey a Divine command. This fully authorizes me; yea, it not only secures me from presumption if I comply, but renders me chargeable with disobedience if I refuse. I am not afraid to love another. I never inquire, may I do it? I know that I ought to do it, because he has commanded it. Why then should I fear to apply to the Saviour? And why ask, May I believe on him to life everlasting? since this also is his commandment, "That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ."
"Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief."
Morning Exercises For Everyday In The Year
|< Prev||Next >|