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“If I may be permitted to touch the hem of his garment, I shall be made whole.” But there arises this bitter question, “BUT CAN I? I know that I may if I can, but I cannot.” Now that is the question I am going to answer. The will to believe in Christ is as much a work of grace as faith itself, and where the will is given and a strong desire, a measure of grace is already received, and with it the power to believe. Do you not know that the will to commit adultery is, according to Scripture, reckoned as adultery? He “hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Now, if the very thought of uncleanness and the will towards it is the thing itself, then a desire or will to believe contains within itself the major part of faith. I do not say that it is all, but I do say this—that if the power of God has made a man will to believe, the greater work has been done, and his actually believing will follow in due course.
The entire willingness to believe is nine-tenths of believing. Inasmuch as to will is present with you, the power which you do not find as yet will certainly come to you. The man is dead, and the hardest thing is to make him live; but in the case, before us, the quickening is accomplished, for the man lives so far as to will: he wills to believe, he yearns to believe, he longs to believe; how much has been done for him! Rising from the dead is a greater thing than the performance of an act of life. Faith in Christ is the simplest action that anybody ever performs. It is the action of a child; indeed, it is the action of a new-born babe in grace. A new-born babe never performs an action that is very complicated. We say, “Oh, it is such a babyish thing,” meaning that it is so small. Now faith comes at the moment that the child is born into God’s family; it occurs at the same time as the new birth. One of the first signs and tokens of being born again is faith; therefore it must be a very, very simple thing. I venture to say that faith in Christ differs in no respect from faith in anybody else, except in the person upon whom that faith is set. You believe in your mother: you may in the same way believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. You believe in your friend: it is the same act that you have to do toward your higher and better Friend. You believe the news that is commonly reported and printed in the daily journals: it is the same act which believes Scripture and the promise of God.
The reason why faith in the Lord Jesus is a superior act, to faith in anyone else, lies in this fact—that it is a superior person whom you believe in and superior news that you believe; and your natural heart is more averse to believe in Jesus than to believing in anyone else. The Holy Spirit must teach your faith to grasp the high things of Christ Jesus; but that grasp is by the hand of a simple, childlike faith. But it is the same faith. It is the gift of God in so far as this—that God gives you the understanding and the judgment to exercise it upon his Son, and to receive him. The faith of a child in his father is almost always a wonderful faith, just the faith that we would ask for our Lord Jesus. Many children believe that there is no other man in the world so great and good, and right and kind, and rich and everything else, as their father is; and if anybody were to say that their father was not so wonderful, they would become quite grieved; for if their father is not a king, it is a mistake that he is not. Children think like this about their parents, and that is the kind of faith we would have you exercise towards the Lord Jesus Christ, who deserves such confidence, and much more. We should give to Jesus a faith by which we do him honor and magnify him greatly.
Just as the child never thinks where the bread and butter is to come from tomorrow, and it never enters its little head to fret about where it will get new socks when the present ones are worn out, so you must trust in Jesus Christ for everything you want between here and heaven—trust him without asking questions. He can and will provide. Just give yourself up to him entirely, as a child gives itself up to a parent’s care, and feels itself to be at ease. Oh, what a simple act it is, this act of faith! I am sure that it must be a very simple act, and cannot require great wisdom because I notice that the wise people cannot do it; the strong people cannot do it; the people who are righteous in themselves cannot reach it. Faith is a kind of act which is performed by those who are childlike in heart, whom the world calls fools, and ridicules and persecutes for their folly. “Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God … hath chosen the weak things of the world … And base things … and things which are despised hath God chosen” (1 Cor 1:26, 27). There are people with no education whatever who just know their Bibles are true and have an abundant faith: they are poor in this world, but rich in faith. Happy people! Alas, for those wise people whose wisdom prevents faith in Jesus! They have been to more than one university, and have earned all the degrees that carnal wisdom can bestow upon them, and yet they cannot believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Oh, friend, do not think that faith is some difficult and puzzling thing, for then these senior wranglers and doctors of divinity would have it. It is the simplest act that the mind can perform.
“But shall I not have to do many good works?” says somebody. You shall do as many as you like when you are saved, but in this matter of your salvation, you must fling all self-righteousness away as so much devilry that will ruin and injure you, and come simply to Christ, and Christ alone, and trust in him.
“Oh,” says another, “I think I see a little light. If I am enabled—if I get enough power to trust in Jesus, I shall be made whole.” I will ask another question: Do you not know that you are bound to believe in Christ—that it is Christ’s due that he be believed in? My own conviction is that a great many of you can and that already, to a large extent, you do; only you are looking for signs and wonders which will never come. Why not exert that power a little farther? The Spirit of God has given to you a measure of faith; oh, believe more fully, more unreservedly. Why, you shiver at the very thought of doubting Christ. You felt how unjust and wrong it was; there is latent in you already a faith in him. “He that believeth not God hath made him a liar” (1 John 5:10). Would you make Christ a liar? Why not bring faith to the front and say, “I do believe, I will believe, that the Christ who is the Son of the Highest, and who died for the guilt of men, is able to save those who trust him, and therefore I trust him to save me. Sink or swim, I trust him. Lost or saved, I will trust him. Just as I am, with no other plea but that I am sure that he is able and willing to save, I cast my guilty soul on him”? You have the power to trust Jesus when you have already yielded to the conviction that he is worthy to be trusted. You have only to push to its practical conclusion what God the Holy Spirit has already wrought in you, and you will at once find peace.
Still, if you think that there is something that prevents your having faith in Christ, though you know that if you had it you would be saved, I earnestly entreat you not to stay contentedly for a single hour without a full, complete, and saving faith in Christ; for if you die as an unbeliever, you are lost, and lost forever. Your only safety lies in believing in the Lord Jesus Christ with all your heart and obeying his commandments.
by C. H. Spurgeon
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