CHARLES G. FINNEY
Articles in THE INDEPENDENT of NEW YORK
CONSCIOUS EFFECTS OF FAITH.
BY PRES. CHARLES G. FINNEY.
NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 3, 1874
In an article on the Psychology of Faith I defined saving faith to be trust in a personal Divine Saviour. This trust carries with it the affections, so that it may perhaps more properly be said to be a loving trust. This is attested by consciousness. In that article I mentioned some of the immediate results of faith, as they appear in consciousness. But upon this point it is important to enlarge, as in this article I propose to do. The conscious effects of faith will necessarily depend very much upon the intelligence of the person exercising it. So far as there is a clear apprehension or understanding of what Christ is to us faith will produce very decided results in our mental states. Faith produces rest of soul; not apathy, not quietism, but a freedom from anxiety or carefulness and a very decided state of mental satisfaction. The soul is led through faith to rest, in the sense just explained, from many bondages, anxieties, and fears; and in certain great essential facts and truths and in the personal attributes, love, and official relations of an almighty Saviour. I will in this article specify some of these, and just refer the reader to certain passages of Scripture, by turning to which he may assure himself that the Scripture relating to these points is at one with his consciousness.
I. from what the truly believing mind rests.
a. From doubts and fears in respect to its saving interest in and knowledge of Christ. Rom. viii, 15.
b. From remorse and a sense of condemnation for past sin. True faith brings the soul into a state of justification and wipes out all sense of condemnation and remorse for past sin. Rom. v,1 and viii, 1.
c. True faith brings the soul into a state of rest from present sinning. I John iii, 6.
d. True faith produces an immediate rest of soul from all carefulness and anxiety and settles it in great peace. This state of freedom from carefulness and anxiety will be as broad as the intelligence of him who exercises faith. Ignorance of the promises, and of Christ's official relations, and of what we may expect of him may prevent or break the soul's rest under certain circumstances or in certain emergencies. For example, suppose the soul to be ignorant of the declaration that "all things work together for good to them that love God"; or of this, "My grace is sufficient for thee"; or of this, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee"; or this, "As thy day is so shall thy strength be." Then certain trials may throw the soul into a state of unrest and anxiety. I mention these merely as examples of how ignorance or a want of thoughtfulness may embarrass the spiritual life and break up the rest of a true believer; until he is informed or remembers what he has in the fullness of his blessed Saviour. Isaiah, xxvi, 3.
e. The truly believing soul rests from its own works. It sees its salvation secured in Jesus Christ and has no longer any motive to legal works. It works not from self nor for self; but its works are from Christ and for Christ. Christ works in the believing soul "to will and to do," and, having no longer any occasion to work for self, the soul delights in rendering to Christ a full-hearted love service. True faith works love, and love does all for Christ. Thus the believing soul ceases from its own works. Heb., iv, 10.
f. The truly believing soul rests from legal bondage. The true believer does not serve as a bondman. He does not obey because he must, but has great delight in obedience. Faith makes the moral law, instead of a yoke of bondage, the law of liberty. Gal., v, 1; Rom., vi, 14.
g. The believing soul rests from constrained performance of heartless duties. it is consciously constrained by the love of Christ, and not goaded to obedience by the pressure of a sense of obligation and duty. II Cor., v, 14.
h. The believing soul rests from a restless longing for evidence of acceptance by Christ. I John, v, 10.
i. It rests from the burden, doubt, and anxiety of a 7th of Romans experience. Rom., viii, 1.
These are some of the things from which the soul rests that truly embraces Christ as a personal Saviour. Of this the believer will be conscious, and by examination he will find that this conscious experience is recognized in Scripture as Christian experience.
II. What true faith rests in.
a. In the love of God, or God as love, anxiously shed abroad in the heart. Faith throws the heart open to God. It opens the door, and Christ, as love, comes in and sups with the believing soul. Faith, or trust in a personal Christ, instantly settles the question of Christ's love to us. We know that he loves us, just as we know that we love him, by direct consciousness. His presence as love in us is recognized as not merely an exercise of our own minds, but as a divine love, a divine presence, revealed to consciousness; so that the mind rests from all anxiety in regard to the question of Christ's love to us. We not only believe that he loves us, but we know that he loves us, as we know anything else that is revealed in consciousness. Rom., v, 5.
b. True faith rests in the divinity and sufficiency of the Saviour. Read Hebrews, vii, 25.
c. In the sufficiency and efficacy of the atonement of Christ. II Cor., v, 14,15.
d. True faith rests in the fullness of Christ's official relations to the soul. In this respect the soul sees nothing left to desire. In him dwells the fullness of the Godhead and in his official relations he stands face to face over against our every possible want. Faith rests in this assurance. Col., 1, 19.
e. In him as our Mediator. I Tim., ii, 5,6.
f. As our Advocate. I John ii, 1.
g. In his perfect truthfulness. John, xiv, 6.
h. In his professions of love and regard for us. John, xv, 9; Eph., ii, 4.
i. In his exceeding great and precious promises. II Peter, i, 4.
j. In the all-sufficiency of his grace. II Cor., xii, 9.
k. In him as "our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption." In his infinite fullness in all these. I Cor., i, 30.
l. Faith rests in hope that is an anchor to the soul. Col., i, 5; I Peter, i, 3.
m. Faith rests in the assurance that "all things work together for good to them that love God." Rom., viii, 28.
n. Faith rests in the true Christian liberty of love. The highest form of liberty consists in the right to do and in the actual doing of that which we supremely love to do. Faith works by love--or, rather, works love--and love supremely delights in obeying the will and seeking the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ; so that the true believer does that which he supremely prefers to do in making his whole life and offering to Christ. This is the true Christian liberty in which the believing soul rests. Gal., v, 1; John viii, 32, 36. Hence,
o. Faith rests in rendering to Christ a delicious love service. II Cor., v, 14.
p. It rests in soul-satisfying communion with God the Saviour. John, xiv, 23; Rev., iii, 20.
1. These hints will suffice to show the ample ground for rest which is the heritage of every believing soul.
2. We can see who really believe in Christ. If the foregoing are truly the scriptural and conscious results of true faith, it follows that where these are not true faith is not.
3. It is easy to see that the foregoing are the natural and conscious results of an implicit trust in a personal Christ.
4. Observe the rest into which the believing soul enters is not apathy, but a sweet and joyful repose of soul in the love and fullness of Christ.
5. Rest is as broad as faith. No faith, no true rest. No true rest, no faith. Partial faith, partial rest.
6. Let it not be forgotten that ignorance, as well as unbelief, is a source of unrest.
7. True rest is naturally impossible without faith.
8. With an intelligent faith rest is inevitable.
9. Mere opinion gives no rest. Trust is naturally essential to true rest of soul.
10. Here let me say to the believer: Whenever you get out of rest your faith is defective. Implicit trust is the universal and only remedy for unrest.
11. Unrest dishonors the Saviour.
12. We cannot trust Christ too confidently.
13. What a miserable state is unbelief. Many are miserable and they know not why. They have little or no repose of soul, and yet they overlook the fact that they are guilty of unbelief. Dear Christian, let your trust be implicit and universal and you will be kept in perfect peace.
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