"Blessed is she that believed; for there shall be a fulfilment of the things which have been spoken to her from the Lord.' -- Luke 1:45
"I believe God, that it shall be even so as it hath been spoken unto me.' -- Acts 27:25
"Abraham waxed strong through faith, being fully assured that what He had promised, he was able also to perform.' -- Rom. 4:21
God has asked you to take and lay up His words in your heart. Faith is the proper avenue whereby the word is taken and received into the innermost depths of the heart. Let the young Christian then take pains always to understand better what faith is: he will thereby gain an insight into the reasons why such great things are bound up with faith. He will yield his perfect assent to the view that full salvation is made every day dependent on faith. (1 Chron. 22:20; Mk. 9:23; Heb. 11:33,35; 1 John 5:4,5)
Let me now ask my reader to read over once again the three texts which stand above, and to find out what is the principal thought that they teach about faith. Pray, read nothing actually beyond them, but read first these words of God, and ask yourself what they teach you about faith.
They make us see that faith always attaches itself to what God has said or promised. When an honourable man says anything, he also does it: on the back of the saying follows the doing. So also is it with God: when He would do anything, He says so first through His word. When the man of God becomes possessed with this conviction and established in it, God always does for him what He has said. With God, speaking and doing always go together: the deed follows the word: `Shall He say it and not do it?' (Gen. 21:1; 32:12; Num. 14:17,18,20; 23:19; Josh. 21:45; 23:14; 2 San. 7:25,29; 1 Chron. 8:15,24; Ps. 119:49) When I have a word of God in which He promises to do something, I can always remain sure that He will do it. I have simply to take and hold fast the word, and there with wait upon God: God will take care that He fulfils His word to me. Before I ever feel or experience anything, I hold fast the promise, and I know by faith that God will make it good to me. (Luke 1:38,45; John 3:33; 4:50; 11:40; 20:29; Heb. 11:11,18)
What, now, is faith? Nothing other than the certitude that what God says is true. When God says that something subsists or is, then does faith rejoice, although it sees nothing of it. (Rom. 1:17; 4:5; 5:1; Gal. 3:27; Eph. 1:19; 3:17) When God says that He has given me something, that something in heaven is mine, I know by faith with entire certitude that it is mine. (John 3:16,17,36; 1 John 5:12,13) When God says that something shall come to pass, or that He will do something for me, this is for faith just as good as if I had seen it. (Rom. 8:38; Phil. 3:21; 1 Thess 5:24; 1 Pet. 1:4,5) Things that are, but that I have not seen, and things that are not yet, but shall come, are for faith entirely sure. `Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the proving of things not seen.' (Heb. 11:1) Faith always asks only for what God has said, and then relies on His faithfulness and power to fulfil His word.
Let us now review again the words of Scripture. Of Mary we read: `Blessed is she that believed; for there shall be a fulfilment of the things which have been spoken to her from the Lord.' All things that have been spoken in the word shall be fulfilled for me: so I believe them.
Of Abraham it is reported that he was fully assured that that which had been promised, God was also able to fulfil. This is assurance of faith: to be assured that God will do what He has promised.
Exactly thus is it in the word of Paul: `I believe God that it shall be even so as it hath been spoken unto me.' It stood fixed with him that God would do what He had spoken.
Young disciples in Christ, the new, the eternal life that is in you is a life of faith. And do you not see how simple and how blessed that life of faith is? I go every day to the word and hear there what God has said that He has done and will do. (Gal. 2:20; 3:2,5; 5:5,6; Heb. 10:35; 1 Pet. 1:2) I take time to lodge in my heart the word in which God says that, and I hold it fast, entirely assured that what God has promised, He is able to perform. And then in a childlike spirit I await the fulfilment of all the glorious promises of His word. And my soul experiences: Blessed is she that believed; for the things that have been spoken to her from the Lord shall be fulfilled. God promises -- I believe -- God fulfils: that is the secret of the new life.
O my Father, Thy child thanks Thee for this blessed life of faith in which we have to walk. I can do nothing, but Thou canst do all. All that Thou canst do hast Thou spoken in Thy word. And every word that I take and trustfully bring to Thee, Thou fulfillest. Father, in this life of faith, so simple, so glorious, will I walk with Thee. Amen.
1. The Christian must read and search the Scriptures to increase his knowledge. For this purpose he daily reads one or more principal portions. But he reads the Scriptures also to strengthen his faith. And to this end he must take one or two verses to make them the subject of special reflection, and to appropriate them trustfully for himself.
2. Pray, do not suffer yourselves to be led astray by those who speak as if faith were something great and unintelligible. Faith is nothing other than the certitude that God speaks truth. Take some promises of God and say to Him: I know for certain that this promise is truth, and that Thou wilt fulfil it. He will do it.
3. Never mourn over unbelief as if it were only a weakness which you cannot help. As God's child, however weak you may be, you have the power to believe, for the spirit of God is in you. You have only to keep in mind this: no one apprehends anything before that he has the power to believe; he must simply begin and continue with saying to the Lord that he is sure that His word is truth. He must hold fast the promise and rely upon God for the fulfilment.