Chapter 10 --The Simplicity of Faith
"The word is nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart." Rom. 10: 8.
The righteousness which is of faith saith
thus: "Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is,
to bring Christ down:) or, Who shall descend into the abyss? (that is,
to bring Christ up from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh
thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which
we preach." Thus does Paul describe the simplicity of faith and of the
salvation which is obtained by it. Not in the height above, not in the
depth below, not far off and to be sought for with great trouble: for
the word is nigh thee, in thy mouth and in thy heart. That is to say,
if you simply confess with the mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in
your heart, you shall be saved.
O that souls would give heed to such
words of God, and understand that it is the truth, what God says: "Hearken unto me, ye stout-hearted, that are far from righteousness: I bring near my righteousness: it shall not be far off."
(Isa. 46: 12-13). We are far from God, and yet we have no long road to
traverse in seeking God. For such a task we are too weak and too blind.
In sheer compassion He brings his salvation right up to us, yea, very
nigh. Not in the height and not in the depth, but in our own inmost
spirit He manifests His salvation. In our mouth and in our heart does
He give it, for in the preaching of the word of faith Christ abides and
He comes to us. And yet so many will always go about seeking it, as if
it were afar off. How is it that they sigh over the thought of the
majesty and the holiness of God and the impossibility of climbing up to
Him to bring thence a Savior for themselves? Or how is it that they
speak of the Lord Christ, as if He were still dead (although He did
indeed die for our sins), and did not now live to save them? Ah, no:
that was the righteousness which was of the law, and which prescribed
that man must do something before he can live. But the message of the
Gospel is: "Receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls." (James 1: 21). Helpless and wretched, man has only to be silent and to receive: God brings the blessing nigh.
The word is nigh thee, in thy mouth and
in thy heart. You mourn that it is still not in your heart. You are
afraid to take it simply in your mouth; but, soul, observe how gracious
God is. He will make the confession of the mouth for you the way and
the means to the faith of the heart. How often in the things of this
world do we teach our little children to utter words which they do not
yet fully understand, in the sure confidence that the thoughts and
feelings expressed in them will be gradually imprinted on their hearts.
How constantly do we see that idle and sinful words, which at the
outset are uttered carelessly, become forthwith rooted in the heart of
the speaker, and bear their own fruits. And what do we not observe in
prayer that the soul which is ever and anon uttering, for example, the
words, "Thy will be done," although the heart does not as yet fully
assent to them, shall at last, by means of the very use of the
expression, submit to the casting out of the unwilling and antagonistic
disposition. Would that we dealt not otherwise with the salvation which
is by faith. Take the word in your mouth, humbly and earnestly. Say the
words of grace after the Lord God, as if you heard Him addressing them
to you. Yield not to the unbelief of the heart: combat and overcome it
by attaching yourself to the Lord with the mouth: the consent of the
heart will surely be won. Yea, do this now, by continually thinking
over and speaking what the Lord God has said to you: "The word is
nigh." Confess with the mouth, with longing and with prayer, in order
that it may at length come to the faith of the heart, that Jesus is
your choice and your Lord: the Spirit of God will work with the word,
and you shall be able to believe with your heart. The word is nigh
thee, in thy mouth and then also in your heart.