V. THE POWER OF GOD'S WORD
`Faith cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.' -- Rom. 10:17
`Receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.' -- James 1:21
`We also thank God without ceasing, that, when ye received from us the word of the message, even the word of God, ye accepted it not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God, which also worketh in you that believe.' -- 1 Thess. 2:13
`For the word of God is living and active.' -- Heb. 4:12
The new life of a child of God depends so much on the right use of God's word, that I shall once again speak of it with my young brothers and sisters in the Lord.
It is a great thing when the Christian discerns that he can receive and accomplish all only through faith. He has only to believe; God will look to the fulfilling of what is promised. He has every morning to trust in Jesus, and the new life as given in Jesus and working in himself; Jesus will see to it that the new life works in him.
But now he runs the risk of another error. He thinks that the faith that does such great things must be something great, and that he must have a great power in order to exercise such a great faith. (Luke 17:5-6; Rom. 10:6-8) And, because he does not feel this power, he thinks that he cannot believe as he ought. This error may prove a loss to him his life long.
Come and hear, then, how perverted this thought is. You must not bring this mighty faith to get the word fulfilled, but the word comes and brings you this faith which you must have. "The word is living and powerful." The word works faith in you. The Scripture says, "Faith is by the word." (Rom. 10:17; Heb. 4:12)
Think on what we have said of the heart as a temple, and of its two divisions. There is the outer court, with the understanding as its gate or entrance. There is the innermost sanctuary, with the faith of the heart as its entrance. There is a natural faith -- the historic faith -- which every man has; with this must I first receive the word into my keeping and consideration. I must say to myself, "The word of God is certainly true. I can make a stand upon it." Thus I bring the word into the outer court, and from within the heart desire reaches out to it, seeking to receive it into the heart. The word now exercises its divine power of life; it begins to grow and shoot out roots. As a seed which I place in the earth sends forth roots and presses still deeper into the soil, the word presses inwardly into the holy place. The word thus works true saving faith. (1 Thess. 2:13; Jas. 1:21; 1 Pet. 1:23)
Young Christian, pray understand this. The word is living and powerful; through the word you are born again. The word works faith in you; through the word comes faith. Receive the word simply with the thought that it will work in you. Keep yourselves occupied with the word, and give it time. The word has a divine life in itself; carry it in your inmost parts, and it will work life in you. It will work in you a faith strong and able for anything.
O be resolved then, pray, never to say, I cannot believe. You can believe. You have the Spirit of God in you. Even the natural man can say, This word of God is certainly true or certainly not true. And when he with a desire of the soul says, "It is true; I will believe it," the living Spirit, through whom the word is living and powerful, works this living faith. Besides, the Spirit is not only in the word, but also in you. Although you do not feel as if you were believing, know for certain you can believe. (Deut. 32:46,47; Josh. 1:7,9) Begin actually to receive the word; it will work a mighty faith in you. Rely upon it, that when you have to do with God's word, you have to do with a word that can be surely trusted that it of itself works faith in you.
And not only the promises, but also the commands have this living power. When I first receive a command from God, it is as if I felt no power to accomplish it. But if I then simply receive the word as God's word, which works in those that believe, -- if I trust in the word to have its working, and in the living God which gives it its operation, -- that commandment will work in me the desire and the power for obedience. When I weigh and hold fast the command, it works the desire and the will to obey; it urges me strongly towards the conviction that I can certainly do what my Father says. The word works both faith and obedience of faith. I must believe that through the Spirit I have the power to do what God wills, for in the word the power of God works in me. The word, as the command of the living God who loves me, is my power. (Rom. 1:3; 16:6; Gal. 6:6; 1 Thess. 1:3; Jas. 1:21)
Therefore, young disciples in Christ, learn to receive God's word trustfully. Although you do not at first understand it, continue to meditate upon it. It has a living power in it; it will glorify itself. Although you feel no power to believe or to obey, the word is living and powerful. Take it, and hold it fast; it will accomplish its work with divine power. The word rouses and strengthens for faith and obedience.
Lord God, I begin to conceive how Thou art in Thy word with Thy life and Thy power, and how that word itself works faith and obedience in the heart that receives and keeps it. Lord, teach me to carry Thy every word as a living seed in my heart, in the assurance that it shall work in me all Thy good pleasure. Amen
1. Forget not that it is one and the same to believe in the word, or in the person that speaks the word, or in the thing which is promised in the word. The very same faith that receives the promises receives also the Father who promises, and the Son with the salvation which is given in the promises. Pray see to it that you never separate the word and the living God from each other.
2. See to it also that you apprehend thoroughly the distinction betwixt the reception of the word "as the word of man" and "as the word of God, which works in you that believe."
3. I think that you now know what is necessary to become strong in faith. Exercise as much faith as you have. Take a promise of God. Say to yourself that it is certainly true. Go to God and say to Him that you rely on Him for the fulfilment. Ponder the promise, and cleave to it in converse with God. Rely upon Him to do for you what He says. He will surely do it.
4. The Spirit and the word always go together. I can be sure concerning all of which the word says that I must do it, that I also can do it through the Spirit. I must receive the word and also the command in the confidence that it is the living word of the living God which also works in us who believe.