Chapter 16 – The Power of Faith

“By faith even Sarah herself received power since she counted Him faithful who had promised.” Heb. 11: 11.

See here again one of the examples, so simple and intelligible of what faith is: “She counted Him faithful who had promised.” There was a time when Sarah doubted, for she looked to nature, and it said to her that she should no longer bear. Through the repeated promises of the Lord she was nevertheless led to look to Him who had given the promises, and keeping in mind His divine faithfulness she found there was no alternative for her but to believe; and the only account which she could give of the supernatural expectation of faith was this: “He is faithful that promised.” (Heb. 10: 23).

The same way must still be followed by those Christians who desire to be liberated from their doubts and to reach the blessed experiences of the life of faith. We must learn to have done with the reasonings of the understanding; with the questions which nature would have first answered, such as, “How can these things be?”, “Whereby shall I know it?”, with calculations as to whether our own wisdom and power are perchance sufficient to bring us where we must know; and we must hold ourselves content with the view expressed in this sentence: “He is faithful that promised.” The only thing which one has to ask is this, “Is there a promise also for me?” If the word of God gives us the answer: “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners of whom I am the chief,” then that is sufficient to bring us down before the Lord and to make us expect that He will perform the promise to us: “He is faithful that promised.”

O, if souls would only keep themselves occupied with the consideration of God’s faithfulness, how would unbelief be ashamed. Whenever anxious feelings multiply in you, and you fear for yourself and your work, go, O soul, bow down in silent meditation and adoration before your God as the faithful One, until your whole spirit becomes filled with the thoughts and the peace that spring from this attribute. Go over all the assurances in the Scriptures, so glorious and clear, that the unchangeable One Himself shall fulfil His counsel, and that He simply desires of souls the stillness which observes and expects the performance. Take counsel with the believers of the old and new covenants, reflect on their ways and their leadings, and they will tell you with one accord that their strength and their peace have been — the faithfulness of God. O, pray, accustom yourself, every day, with every promise of God that you read, with every prayer that you make for the attainment of what God has spoken to you of, with every fear that arises in you as to whether you shall be indeed partaker of the offered salvation, — pray, accustom yourself to fasten your eye undividedly on that word, to let your whole heart be filled with it: “He is faithful that promised.” And, above all, even when you are not yet able to appropriate everything to yourselves, forget not to praise and to thank God for His faithfulness; praise and adore Him as the Faithful One: adoration will confirm you in faith in Him. Nor must you set your hope on the divine faithfulness only when you are taking the first steps on the way of conversion, seeking for forgiveness and acceptance, but, especially in the midst of the struggle, to be confirmed unto the end and to be unreprovable in the day of our Lord Jesus. It is with his eye fixed on this hope that Paul says “God is faithful, through whom ye were called into the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 1: 8, 9); just as in that glorious work about sanctification that finds so little belief, “The God of peace sanctify you wholly,” he also immediately adds: “Faithful is He that calleth you, who will also do it.” (1 Thess. 5: 23, 24).

It was by this faith, this loyal esteem of the faithfulness of her God and reliance upon it, that Sarah received power to bear. So far is this faith also from leading to sluggishness and indifference that it will increase activity. It teaches the soul to wait upon God spiritually and earnestly, that He may point out to it what it must do, and that it may learn by experience to understand the deep significance of that word: “Work, for God worketh in you.” Believing in His faithfulness also to work in it, it has courage to work after Him. “By faith she received power, since she counted Him faithful who had promised.”