Salvation would be a sadly incomplete affair if it did not deal with this part of our ruined estate. We want to be purified as well as pardoned. Justification without sanctification would not be salvation at all.
Remember that the Lord Jesus came to take away sin in three ways. He came to remove the penalty of sin, the power of sin, and last, the presence of sin. At once you may reach the second part, the power of sin may immediately be broken, and so you will be on the road to the third, namely, the removal of the presence of sin. We “know that he was manifested to take away our sins” (1 John 3:5).
If, however, you are troubled about the power of sin and about the tendencies of your nature, as you well may be, here is a promise for you. Have faith in it, for it stands in that covenant of grace which is ordered in all things and sure. God, who cannot lie, has said in Ezekiel 36:26, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” You see, it is all “I will” and “I will.” “I will give” and “I will take away.” This is the royal style of the King of kings who is able to accomplish all His will. No word of His shall ever fall to the ground.
The Lord knows very well that you cannot change your own heart and cannot cleanse your own nature, but He also knows that He can do both. He can cause the Ethiopian to change his skin, and the leopard his spots. Hear this and be astonished: He can create you a second time; He can cause you to be born again. This is a miracle of grace, but the Holy Spirit will perform it. It would be a very wonderful thing if one could stand at the foot of the Niagara Falls and could speak a word which would make the Niagara River begin to run upstream and leap up that great precipice over which it now rolls down in stupendous force. Nothing but the power of God could achieve that marvel, but that would be more than a fit parallel to what would take place if the course of your nature were altogether reversed. All things are possible with God.
WHAT IS THIS FAITH concerning which it is said, “By grace are ye saved, through faith”? There are many descriptions of faith, but almost all the definitions I have heard have made me understand it less than I did before I saw them. Someone said when he read the chapter that he would confound it, and it is very likely that he did so, though he meant to expound it. We may explain faith till nobody understands it. I hope I shall not be guilty of that fault. Faith is the simplest of all things, and perhaps because of its simplicity it is the more difficult to explain. What is faith? It is made up of three things—knowledge, belief, and trust.
Let me try again. Faith is believing that Christ is what He is said to be and that He will do what He has promised to do, and then to expect this of Him. The Scriptures speak of Jesus Christ as being God in human flesh, as being perfect in His character, as being made a sin offering on our behalf, as bearing our sins in His own body on the tree. The Scripture speaks of Him as having finished transgression, made an end of sin, and brought in everlasting righteousness. The sacred records further tell us that He “rose again” (1 Corinthians 15:4) from the dead, that He “ever liveth to make intercession for us” (Hebrews 7:25), that He has gone up into glory and has taken possession of heaven on the behalf of His people, and that He will shortly come again “to judge the … world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity” (Psalms 98:9 American Standard Version). We are most firmly to believe that it is so, for this is the testimony of God the Father when He said, “This is my beloved Son; hear him” (Luke 9:35). This also is testified by God the Holy Spirit, for the Spirit has borne witness to Christ, both in the inspired Word and by diverse miracles and by His working in the hearts of men. We are to believe this testimony to be true.
Surely the cross is that wonder-working rod which can bring water out of a rock. If you understand the full meaning of the divine sacrifice of Jesus, you must repent of ever having been opposed to One who is so full of love. It is written, “They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn” (Zechariah 12:10). Repentance will not make you see Christ, but to see Christ will give you repentance. You may not make a Christ out of your repentance, but you must look for repentance to Christ. The Holy Spirit, by turning us to Christ, turns us from sin. Look away, then, from the effect to the cause, from your own repenting to the Lord Jesus, who is exalted on high to give repentance.
It is not great faith but true faith that saves, and salvation lies not in the faith but in the Christ in whom faith trusts. Faith as a grain of mustard seed will bring salvation. It is not the amount of faith but the sincerity of faith which is the point to be considered. Surely a man can believe what he knows to be true; and as you know Jesus to be true, you can believe in Him.
All Of Grace (Moody Classics) C .H. Spurgeon
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