Faith in the Blood of Jesus –Essential to Salvation

Taken from, “The Blood of Jesus Christ”
Written by, William Reid, 1814-1896.

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What Faith Is…

It is our belief of God’s testimony concerning His own grace and Christ’s work that brings us into possession of the blessings concerning which that testimony speaks. Our reception of God’s testimony is confidence in God Himself and in Christ Jesus His Son; for where the testimony comes from a person or regards a person, belief of the testimony and confidence in the person are things inseparable. Hence it is that Scripture sometimes speaks of confidence or trust as saving us (see the Psalms everywhere, e.g., Psalms 13:5, 52:8; also 1 Timothy 4:10, Ephesians 1:12), as if it would say to the sinner, “Such is the gracious character of God, that you have only to put your case into His hands—however bad it be—only to trust Him for eternal life, and He will assuredly not put you to shame.” Hence, also, it is that we are said to be saved by the knowledge of God or of Christ; that is, by simply knowing God as He has made Himself known to us (Isaiah 5:3,11; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 2:20)—for “this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:2). And, as if to make simplicity more simple, the apostle, in speaking of the facts of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, says, “By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you” (1 Corinthians 15:1-2).

God would have us understand that the way in which we become connected with Christ so as to get eternal life is by “knowing” Him, or “hearing” Him, “trusting” Him. The testimony is inseparably linked to the person testified of; and our connection with the testimony, by belief of it, thus links us to the person. Thus it is that faith forms the bond between us and the Son of God, not because of anything in itself, but solely because it is only through the medium of truth known and believed that the soul can take any hold of God or of Christ. Faith is nothing, save as it lays hold of Christ, and it does so by laying hold of the truth concerning Him. “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).

Faith, then, is the link, the one link between the sinner and God’s gift of pardon and life. It is not faith and something else along with it; it is faith alone; faith that takes God at His word, and gives Him credit for speaking the honest truth when making known His message of grace, His “record” of eternal life concerning “the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

“If you object that you cannot believe, then this indicates that you are proceeding quite in a wrong direction. You are still laboring under the idea that this believing is a work to be done by you, and not the acknowledgment of a work done by another. You would willing to do something in order to get peace, and you think that if you could only do this great thing, ‘believing’—if you could but perform this great act called faith—God would at once reward you by giving you peace. Thus faith is reckoned by you to be the price in the sinner’s hand by which he buys peace, and not the mere holding out of the hand to get a peace that has already been bought by another. So long as you are attaching any meritorious importance to faith, however unconsciously, you are moving in a wrong direction—a direction from which no peace can come.

“Surely faith is not a work. On the contrary, it is a ceasing from work. It is not a climbing of the mountain, but a ceasing to attempt it, and allowing Christ to carry you up in His own arms. You seem to think that it is your own act of faith that is to save you, and not the object of your faith—without which your own act, however well performed, is nothing.

Accordingly, you bethink yourself, and say, ‘What a mighty work is this believing, what an effort does it require on my part, how am I to perform it?’ Herein you sadly err, and your mistake lies chiefly here, in supposing that your peace is to come from the proper performance on your part of an act of faith—whereas it is to come entirely from the proper perception of Him to Whom the Father is pointing your eye, and in regard to Whom He is saying, ‘Behold my servant whom I have chosen, look at Him, forget everything else—everything about yourself, your own faith, your own repentance, your own feelings—and look at Him!’ It is in Him, and not in your poor act of faith, that salvation lies; and out of Him, not out of your own act of faith, is peace to come.

“Thus mistaking the meaning of faith, and the way in which faith saves you, gets you into confusion, and makes you mistaken everything else connected with your peace. You mistake the real nature of that very inability to believe of which you complain so sadly. For that inability does not lie, as you fancy it does, in the impossibility of your performing aright this great act of faith, but of ceasing from all such self-righteous attempts to perform any act, or do any work whatsoever, in order to your being saved. So that the real truth is that you have not yet seen such a sufficiency in the one great work of the Son of God upon the cross, as to lead you utterly to discontinue your mistaken and aimless efforts to work out something of your own. As soon as the Holy Spirit shows that you have this entire sufficiency of the great propitiation, you cease at once from these attempts to act or work something of your own, and take, instead of this, what Christ has done. One great part of the Spirit’s work is not to enable the man to do something that will help to save him, but so to detach him from his own performances that he shall be content with the salvation that Christ finished when He died and rose again.

“But perhaps you may object further, that you are not satisfied with your faith. No, truly, nor are you ever likely to be. If you wait for this before you take peace, you will wait till life is done. The Bible does not say, ‘Being satisfied about our faith, we have peace with God’; it simply says, ‘Being justified by faith, we have peace with God’ (Rom 5:1). Not satisfaction with your own faith, but satisfaction with Jesus and His work—this is what God presses on you. You say, ‘I am satisfied with Christ.’ Are you? What more then do you wish? Is not satisfaction with Christ enough for you, or for any sinner? Nay, and is not this the truest kind of faith? To be satisfied with Christ, that is faith in Christ. To be satisfied with His blood, that is faith in His blood. What more could you have? Can your faith give you something that Christ cannot? or will Christ give you nothing till you can produce faith of a certain kind and quality, whose excellences will entitle you to blessing?

“Do not bewilder yourself. Do not suppose that your faith is a price, a bribe, or a merit. Is not the very essence of real faith just your being satisfied with Christ? Are you really satisfied with Him, and with what He has done? Then do not puzzle yourself about your faith, but go upon your way rejoicing, having thus been brought to be satisfied with Him, Whom to know is peace, life, and salvation.

“You are not satisfied with your faith, you say. I am glad that you are not. Had you been so, you would have been far out-of-the-way indeed. Does Scripture anywhere speak of your getting peace by your becoming satisfied with your faith? Nay; does it not take for granted that you will, to the very last, be dissatisfied with yourself, with your faith, with all about you and within you—and satisfied with Jesus only? Are you then satisfied with Him? Then go in peace! For if satisfaction with Him will not give you peace, nothing else that either heaven or earth contains will ever give you peace. Though your faith should become so perfect that you were entirely satisfied with it, that would not pacify your conscience or relieve your fears. Faith, however perfect, has of itself nothing to give you, either of pardon or of life. Its finger points you to Jesus. Its voice bids you look straight to Him. Its object is to turn away from itself and from yourself altogether, that you may behold Him, and in beholding Him be satisfied with Him; and, in being satisfied with Him, have ‘joy and peace.’

“Faith is not what we feel or see, it is a simple trust
in what the God of love has said of Jesus as the ‘Just.’
“What Jesus is, and that alone, is faith’s delightful plea,
It never deals with sinful self, nor righteous self, in me.
“It tells me I am counted ‘dead,’ by God, in His own Word,
It tells me I am ‘born again,’ in CHRIST, my risen Lord.
“If He is free, then I am free, from all unrighteousness;
If He is just, then I am just; He is my righteousness.”

Regeneration through the Blood of Jesus

Taken and adapted from, The Blood of Jesus
Written by, William Reid, 1814-1896.

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Necessity of Regeneration

Jesus spoke of regeneration as being essential to salvation, and it is possible you may feel as if that this experience stands between you and the “precious blood of Christ ” (1 Peter 1:19). It seems as if it does, but it really does not—for we are saved by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which is “shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:6).

It can do you only good to consider the necessity of being born again, for it will show you at once your utter helplessness and the all-sufficiency of the blood of Jesus alone to give you peace with God and a new heart.

We do not shrink from the fullest statement of the truth of Scripture on this point, for it will be found that it does not clash in the very least with the truth, which I am specially desirous to impart, that we are not accepted as righteous in God’s sight otherwise than in Christ; for, says the Word, “He made him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). The necessity of being born again will show us only the more clearly that we must be saved by faith in Jesus Christ alone. Turn to and read the third chapter of the Gospel by John, and then ponder the following thoughts on this vitally important subject and see how you are stripped of every plea for mercy arising from yourself, and laid down as a lost sinner at the cross of Christ, needing to be saved by “grace” alone.

Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, asserts the absolute necessity of regeneration when He says, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). And farther on He says, as solemnly and decidedly, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). He gives a fact as the reason of this necessity: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh” (John 3:6). “Flesh” or corrupt human nature—man as he is—is unfit to enter God’s kingdom, and will ever continue so. No self-regeneration is to be expected. The total depravity of human nature renders a radical spiritual change of absolute necessity. The whole race, and every individual “man,” is utterly depraved in heart, his will averse from good; his conscience is defiled, his understanding is darkened, his affections are alienated from God and set upon unworthy objects, his desires are corrupt, his appetites ungoverned. Unless the Holy Spirit impart a new nature, and work an entire change on the whole faculties of his mind by “the washing of water by the word” (Eph 5:26), cleansing away his filthiness of spirit as water cleanses away outward defilement, he must remain an unfit subject for God’s holy kingdom.

Our Depravity

And observe that Jesus spoke of two classes only—those who are “fleshy” and those who are “spiritual.” We are naturally connected, as are all mankind, with those who are “born of the flesh,” who, on that very account, cannot even so much as “see the kingdom of God”—and we can get out of our natural state only by a spiritual birth, for only “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). All of us being born of parents who were themselves fallen and corrupt, are necessarily infected by the hereditary taint of depravity of nature. Besides, “the carnal mind is enmity against God, and is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:7-8), and cannot enter into His kingdom.

Attempts at morality are of no account with God.

A moral Nicodemus was told he required something deeper and more comprehensive than conformity to a certain standard that passes with the world for morality (John 3). God’s standard of holiness is not morality, but spirituality.

But some may say that, by publishing such extreme views, we may make many well-meaning persons feel disgusted at religion, and go off from it altogether. But it is not our fault if they do so on account of the insufferableness of divine truth. Are you convinced that Scripture is right when it says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer. 17:9)? Do you believe that, as a man in the flesh, you are more like Satan than God?—incapable of knowing, loving, or serving God, and, although in reputation for the highest morality, utterly unfit for entering into His holy kingdom?

It is, no doubt, hard to believe that one’s own self is so bad as I have indicated, and none but the Holy Spirit can truly convince us of it; but does not Jesus represent our condition as utterly depraved, as “flesh”? Does He not solemnly say that, without a new birth from above, not one—no, not even a moral, learned, inquiring Nicodemus—can see or enter the kingdom of God? He does not say that he may not, but that he cannot enter—leaving it to be inferred that it is morally impossible.

And this arises from the fact of its being a kingdom, as well as from the fact of our depravity. An anarchist has a decided dislike to constitutional and settled government; so a man, who hates the laws by which God’s kingdom is governed, cannot be a loyal subject of His holy administration. God would require to change His nature before He admitted any of us into His kingdom with our nature unchanged. But as God cannot change, we must be changed if we would see or enter His kingdom. Before we can be happy and loyal subjects of it, we must be “born again”; and, being new creatures, have its laws written in our minds and hearts. “It is a principle of our nature that, in order to happiness, there must be some correspondence betwixt the tastes, the dispositions, the habits of a man, and the scene in which he is placed, the society with which he mingles, and the services in which he is employed.

A coward on the field of battle, a profligate in the house of prayer, a giddy worldling standing by a death-bed, a drunkard in the company of holy men, feel instinctively that they are misplaced—they have no enjoyment there.”

And what enjoyment could unregenerate men have in God’s kingdom, on earth or in heaven? Even the outward services of the sanctuary below are distasteful to them in proportion to their spirituality. As long as preachers keep by the pictorial and illustrative—and speak of the seasons of the year, the beautiful earth and the ancient sea, mountains and plains, rivers and lakes; fields, flowers and fruits; sun, moon, and stars—they comprehend the discourse and applaud it. But when the deeply spiritual and eternally important form the theme, they feel listless, and characterize it as dull, prosy, and uninteresting. But if we cannot enjoy a highly spiritual discourse, it must be because we are “carnal” and want the spiritual “sense” that always accompanies the new birth; for “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Being Made New

And is it not an alarming truth that this being “born again” is not a making of ourselves better, but a being made anew spiritually by God Himself! This appears evident from what Jesus said during His conversation with Nicodemus. His words are these, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). This great change is effected by the Holy Spirit, through means of the living “water” of the Word of God—the testimony of Jesus—and is of a spiritual nature, “for that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” It consists not in outward reformation, but inward transformation. We must be regenerated in soul in order to be truly reformed in life. The change is of such a nature that it is sure to be manifested outwardly if it exists inwardly. If you wish to have a holy life, you must be born again. Praying, weeping, striving against sin, and obeying God’s laws, is just so much labor lost unless you have in the first place this “born-again” experience.

Through Christ

Ah! but you say, as you read this hard saying, “This lays me entirely prostrate before God, a sick and dying sinner; and I may give myself up to despair at once, for such an experience is utterly beyond my reach.” No, not at all! You may well despair of self, for self is incurably bad, but you are by this shut up to trust in “Jesus only” (Mark 9:8). For remember, Jesus continued to lay before this Jewish ruler atonement through Himself, lifted up as a Mediator and God’s free love to a perishing world, embodied in the gift and work of His Son. You want to be born again? Well, Jesus would have you look to the Son of man lifted up, as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness (Numbers 21:8-9), and you will thus be pardoned and made to live. You say you are prostrated and helpless, with the poison of the serpent coursing through you, sick and dying—and you want to live, to experience such a new life as shall prove not only a present counteractive to the virus of this terrible death-poison, but also an enduring spiritual reality? Well, Jesus says, in this conversation with the inquiring ruler, that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

God sent His Son not to condemn the perishing men of the world to lie in their corrupt and diseased condition and to perish forever, but that He Himself might die that they might be pardoned and saved! 

And those who are recovered from the disease of corruption, tell us that they were “born again” not by lying in their corruption and crying for a new nature, and expecting it to come in some arbitrary and different way from that of faith; but their uniform testimony is, “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth” (James 1:18). We are new creatures, “being born again by the word of God” (1 Peter 1:23); and “whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (1 John 5:1).

The realization of regeneration being by faith in Jesus, you must fill your eyes with the atoning cross if you would have your guilt removed, and you must direct your eyes to the risen Living One at the right hand of God; and through Him get out of the old creation with its condemnation and death, into the new creation with its justification and life, if you would know what it is to be “born again” and have your heart filled with divine life (see Rom 6 and Ephesians 2). This is the truth that Jesus taught in His conversation with Nicodemus; and the whole drift of the Gospel in which it occurs is a copy of the mind of Christ on this point—for the writer says, towards its close, “These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:31).

If you still feel that you know nothing of being “born again,” bring your mind into broad and immediate contact with the whole of this conversation. Do not moan over the misery of your state, as it is now discovered to you by the awakening truths contained in John 3:3-9; but go on until you take in the discovery of the plain, gracious, free, and righteous way of getting out of your death and misery, as you have it laid down by Jesus, when He speaks (from John 3:14-17) of His own all-sufficient sacrifice, His Father’s unexampled love and gracious purpose towards perishing sinners, and His willingness to save and give eternal life to everyone who believes in Him. “He that hath the Son hath life”(1 John 5:12).

The Breadth, Heighth, and Depth of God’s Forgiveness

Taken and adapted from GOSPEL TREASURES
Written by J. C. Ryle.
Edited for thought and sense.

Are you one who feels that his sins are not yet forgiven?
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Are you that person?

There is forgiveness in Jesus Christ for every one that is willing to receive it.  There is every encouragement that your soul can need, to confess your sins and lay hold on this forgiveness this very day. Here is the treasure of Gospel forgiveness.  Its riches are indeed unsearchable (Eph. 3:8).  But if you will turn away from it you shall not be able to say in the day judgment, you did not at all know what it was.

Consider, then, for one thing, that the forgiveness set before you is a great and broad forgiveness… 

Hear what the Prince of Peace Himself declares: “All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies where with soever they shall blaspheme” (Mark 3: 28); “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall become as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).  Yes! though your trespasses be more in number than the hairs of your head, the stars in heaven, the leaves of the forest, the blades of grass, the grains of sand on the sea shore, still they can all be pardoned.  As the waters of Noah’s flood covered over and hid the tops of the highest hills, so can the blood of Jesus cover over and hide your mightiest sins.  “His blood cleanseth from’ all sin” (1 John 1:7).   Though to you they seem written with the point of a diamond, they can all be effaced from the book of God’s remembrance by that precious blood.  Paul names a long list of abominations which the Corinthians had committed, and then says: “Such were some of’ you: but ye are washed” (1 Cor. 6: 11).

Furthermore, it is a full and complete forgiveness… 

It is not like David’s pardon to Absalom,—a permission to return home, but not a full restoration to favour (2 Sam. 14:24).  It is not, as some fancy, a mere letting off, and letting alone.  It is a pardon so complete, that he who has it is reckoned as righteous as if he had never sinned at all.  His iniquities are blotted out.  They are removed from him as far as the east from the west (Psalm 103: 12).  There remains no condemnation for him.  The Father sees him joined to Christ, and is well pleased.  The Son beholds him clothed with ‘His own righteousness, and says, “Thou art all fair, …there is no spot in thee” (Song of Solomon 4:7).  Blessed be God that it is so.  I verily believe if the best of us all had only one blot left for himself to wipe out, he would miss eternal life.  If the holiest child of Adam were in heaven all but his little finger, and to get in depended on himself, I am sure he would never enter the kingdom.  If Noah, Daniel, and Job had had but one day’s sin to wash away, they would never have been saved.  Praised be God that in the matter of our pardon there is nothing left for man to do.  Jesus does all, and man has only to hold out an empty hand and to receive.

Furthermore, it is a free and unconditional forgiveness…  

It is not burdened with an “if,” like Solomon’s pardon to Adonijah: “If he will show himself a worthy man (1 Kings 1: 52).  Nor yet are you obliged to carry a price in your hand, or bring a character with you to prove yourself deserving of mercy.  Jesus requires but one character, and that is that you should feel yourself a sinful, bad man.  He invites you to “buy wine and milk without money and without price,” and declares, “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Isaiah 45: 1; Rev 22:17) ‘Like David in the cave of Adullam, He receives everyone that feels in distress and a debtor, and rejects none (1 Sam. 22: 2).  Are you a sinner?  Do you want a Saviour?  Then come to Jesus just as you are, and your soul shall live.

Again, it is an offered forgiveness…

I have read of earthly kings who knew not how to show mercy,—of Henry the Eighth of England, who spared neither man nor woman; of James the Fifth of Scotland, who would never show favour to a Douglas.  The King of kings is not like them.  He calls on man to come to Him, and be pardoned.  “Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of men” (Prov. 8: 4).  “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters” (Isaiah 4: 1) “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink” (John 7: 37).  “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).  Oh, reader, it ought to be a great comfort to you and me to hear of any pardon at all; but to hear Jesus Himself inviting us, to see Jesus Himself holding out His hand to us,—the Saviour seeking the sinner before the sinner seeks the Saviour,—this is encouragement, this is strong consolation indeed!

Again, it is a willing forgiveness…  

I have heard of pardons granted in reply to long entreaty, and wrung out by much importunity.  King Edward the Third of England would not spare the citizens of Calais till they came to him with halters round their necks, and his own Queen interceded for them on her knees.  But Jesus is “good and ready to forgive” (Psalm 86: 5).  He delighteth in mercy (Micah 7:18) Judgment is His strange work.  He is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9).  He would fain have all men saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4)  He wept over unbelieving Jerusalem.  “As I live;” He says, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.  Turn ye, turn ye, from your evil ways: why will ye die?” (Ezek 33:11).  Ah, reader, you and I may well come boldly to the throne of grace!  He who sits there is far more willing and ready to give mercy than you and I are to receive it.

Besides this, it is a tried forgiveness… 

Thousands and tens of thousands have sought for pardon at the mercy-seat of Christ, and not one has ever returned to say that he sought in vain; sinners of every name and nation,—sinners of every sort and description, have knocked at the door of the fold, and none have ever been refused admission.  Zacchæus the extortioner, Magdalene the harlot, Saul the persecutor, Peter the denier of his Lord, the Jews who crucified the Prince of Life, the idolatrous Athenians, the adulterous Corinthians, the ignorant Africans, the bloodthirsty New Zealanders,—all have ventured their souls on Christ’s promises of pardon, and none have ever found them fail.  Ah, reader, if the way I set before you were a new and untravelled way, you might well feel faint-hearted!  But it is not so.  It is an old path.  It is a path worn by the feet of many pilgrims, and a path in which the footsteps are all one way.  The treasury of Christ’s mercies has never been found empty.  The well of living waters has never proved dry.

Beside this, it is a present forgiveness… 

All that believe in Jesus are at once justified from all things (Acts 13:38).  The very day the younger son returned to his father’s house he was clothed with the best robe, had the ring put on his hand, and shoes on his feet (Luke 15).  The very day Zacchæus received Jesus he heard these comfortable words “This day is salvation come to this house” (Luke 19: 9).  The very day that David ‘said, “I have sinned against the Lord,” he was told by Nathan, “The Lord hath also put away thy sin” (2 Sam. 12: 13).  The very day you first flee to Christ, your sins are all removed.  Your pardon is not a thing far away, to be obtained only after many years.  It is nigh at hand.  It is close to you, within your reach, all ready to be bestowed.  Believe, and that very moment it is your own.  “He that believeth is not condemned” (John 3:18).  It is not said, “he shall not be,” or “will not be,” but “is not.”  From the time of his believing, condemnation is gone.  “He that believeth hath everlasting life” (John 3:36).  It is not said, “he shall have,” or “will have,” it is “hath” It is his own as surely as if he was in heaven, though not so evidently so to his own eyes.  Ah, reader, you must not think forgiveness will be nearer to a believer in the Day of Judgment than it was in the hour he first believed!  His complete salvation from the power of sin is every year nearer and nearer to him; but as to his forgiveness and justification, it is a finished work from the very minute he first commits himself to Christ.

Last, and best of all, it is an everlasting forgiveness…  

It is not like Shimei’s pardon, a pardon that may sometime be revoked and taken away (1 Kings 2: 9). Once justified you are justified forever.  Once written down in the book of life, your name shall never be blotted out.  The sins of God’s children are said to be cast into the depths of the sea,—to be sought for and not found,—to be remembered no more,—to be cast behind God’s back (Mic. 7: 19; Jer. 1. 20; 31: 34; Isaiah 38:17).  Some people fancy they may be justified one year and condemned another,—children of adoption at one time and strangers by and by,—heirs of the kingdom in the beginning of their days, and yet servants of the devil in their end.  I cannot find this in the Bible.  As the New Zealander told the Romish priest, “I do not see it in the Book.”  It seems to me to overturn the good news of the Gospel altogether, and to tear up its comforts by the roots. 

I believe the salvation Jesus offers is an everlasting salvation, and a pardon once sealed with His blood shall never be reversed.