Friday, February 18, 2011

Faith as a Masticator

"The Gospel is addressed to human responsibility. It demands a believing acceptance from those who hear it. The proclamation that Christ is a Saviour for Hell-deserving sinners avails me nothing, until I make personal appropriation of it. It avails me nothing, until I regard the Gospel as being addressed to me indi­vidually. It avails me nothing until I mix faith (Heb 4:2) with it—that is, until I accept God's verdict that I am a Law-condemned, lost, and bankrupt sinner, and come to Christ owning myself to be such, and put my trust in the sufficiency of His atoning sacrifice. Then, it is that—on the authority of Him who says, "Be­lieve on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall be saved" (Act 16:31)—I have Divine warrant to be assured that He is my own Saviour, and to say with Job, "I know that my redeemer liveth" (Job 19:25)—not because I deem myself of God's elect, but because I have received the sinner's Saviour.

God's Word, whether it be the hearing or the reading of it, only profits the soul as it is "mixed with faith" (Heb 4:2). Faith is so many-sided, and its opera­tions so diverse, that (in condescension to our weakness) it has pleased the Holy Spirit to use quite a number of varied figures to set forth its operations and acts. It is likened unto looking (Isa 45:22), unto setting to our "seal" (Joh 3:33), flee­ing "for refuge" and laying "hold upon the hope set before us" (Heb 6:18), eating (Jer 15:16), drinking (Joh 7:37), and committing "unto him" (2Ti 1:12). In our text, the similitude of mixing faith (Heb 4:2) is taken from the mingling of the saliva with our food, which—through chewing it thoroughly and rolling, it about in our mouth—is an aid unto digestion; and to the mixing of the juices of the stomach, so that the food is duly assimilated and becomes part of our bodies.

If our food be not properly chewed and mixed with our saliva, it will cause indigestion, and so far from being assimilated and nourishing the body, it will upset us. So it is with our hearing of the Gospel: If we mix not faith therewith, not only will the soul receive no profit, but it will add to our condemnation in the Day to come. We may listen to God's servant and be duly impressed with his solemnity, or stirred by his earnestness, we may admire the logic of his ar­guments and the eloquence of his diction, we may be moved by the forcefulness of his illustrations and brought to tears by his descriptions of Christ's suffer­ings—and yet, obtain no spiritual benefit therefrom. Why? Because we were occupied only with the preacher and his preaching, admiring a sermon. Because we failed to mix "with faith" the Word—and faith has to do solely with God.

Faith, my reader, brings in God. He is its sole Object. Faith has to do not with reasonings, feelings, or inward impressions and impulses—but with God and His Word. When a convicted sinner hears the Gospel and mixes faith with it, he realises that God is speaking through the minister, that God is speaking directly to him, that God is addressing his own immortal soul. It is now that he begins to realise the force of that Word, "he that hath ears to hear, let him hear" (Luk 8:8). "Let him hear" means "let him heed": Let him take home to himself what he hears and be suitably affected thereby. It is the same if I am reading the Word. If we would "mix [it] with faith," then I must regard that Word as God speaking through it, speaking directly and personally to me, speaking that which is true and for my good, and 1 must respond thereto and act accordingly.

The Feast is spread and the broad call is made, "Come; for all things are now ready" (Luk 14:17). That invitation is freely made to all who hear it, and there is a place assured at that Feast to every one who responds. In order to re­spond, I must mix faith with it—that is, I must thankfully recognize that invitation is made to me, utterly unworthy and unfit though I feel myself to be. I must believe that God means what He says, and promptly avail myself of His gracious overture. "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief (ITi 1:15). It is not as one who has reason to believe his name is written in the Book of life, nor as one who feels a qualifying work of grace has begun in him, but simply as a sinner, I am to come to Christ for salvation. Receive that Truth into your heart as a little child, as addressed to you, and you have mixed faith with it, and masticated the Gospel."

Taken from A.W. Pinks
STUDIES in the SCRIPTURES
July 1945

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