The Present Truth | June 21, 1894
“WHATSOEVER is not of faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23).
Faith is of God and not of ourselves (Eph. 2:8); therefore whatsoever is not of God is sin.
Whatsoever is of God is righteousness: faith is the gift of God: and whatsoever is of faith is therefore righteousness, as certainly as that “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”
Jesus Christ is the Author and Finisher of faith (Heb. 12:2), and the word of God is the channel through which it comes and the means by which it operates. For “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Where there is no word of God there can be no faith.
The word of God is the most substantial and most powerful thing in the universe. It is the means by which all things were produced. It carries in itself creative power. For “by the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.” “For He spoke and it was; He commanded and it stood fast” (Ps. 33:6, 9). And when this world was thus made, and darkness covered all the face thereof “God said, Let there be light: And there was light” (Gen. 1:3).
Thus the word of God is self-fulfilling, and of itself accomplishes the will of God in every one who receives it as it is in truth the word of God. “When ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (1 Thess. 2:13). Thus to receive the word of God; to yield the heart to it that thus it may work in the life; this is genuine belief, this is true faith. This is the faith by which men can be justified, made righteous indeed. For by it the very will of God, as expressed in His own word, is accomplished in the life by the creative word of Him who has spoken. This is the work of faith. This is the righteousness—the right doing—of God which is by faith. Thus “It is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). Thus the character, the righteousness, of God is manifested in the life, delivering from the power of sin, to the saving of the soul in righteousness.
This is justification by faith alone. This is justification by faith, without works. For the faith being the gift of God, coming by the word of God, and itself working in man the works of God, needs none of the work of sinful man to make it good and acceptable to God. The faith itself works in man that which is good, and is sufficient of itself to fill all the life with the goodness of God, and needs not the imperfect effort of sinful man to make it meritorious. This faith gives to man good works, instead of being itself dependent upon man for “good works.” It is not expressed by “faith and works;” but by “faith which works,” “for in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love” (Gal. 5:6). “Seest thou how faith wrought?” (Jas. 2:22). “Remembering without ceasing, your work of faith;” “and the work of faith with power” (1 Thess. 1:3; 2 Thess. 1:11). And, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent” (John 6:29). This is “the faith of God” which Jesus exhorts us to have (Mark 11:22, margin); which was manifested in him; and which by his grace is a free gift to every soul on earth.