Chapter 6 – The Spirit of Faith

“But having the same Spirit of faith . . . we also believe.” 2 Cor. 4: 13.

For the hundred times that in the word of God we are exhorted to faith, or that faith is spoken of as an act of man, it is but in some few instances that it is expressly said that faith is the work of the Spirit. And thus, when we insist on faith as a work in which man must be active and in which he must trustfully and perseveringly use means, it may sometimes appear as if we forget who the Author of faith is. This, however, is by no means the case. We believe that those who feel most deeply the truth about the complete dependence of man on the Spirit, as the Spirit of faith, will also be the most eager to fall in with the exhortation addressed to man. He who knows that there is a Spirit to actuate to faith knows also that man may, with spirit and hope, strive to exercise faith.

The right understanding of this truth is, for anxious souls, of great importance. They must especially know that when they wait for the influence of the Spirit to carry them on to faith, they must not expect that this influence shall be unveiled to them in a conscious and sensible manner. The beginnings of life are hid in darkness: the first workings of the Spirit are not known or observed. The soul must work on, although it be not conscious that the Spirit is in it: it must as readily in the dark as in the day, and that too in its own strength, obey and strive to believe; it must hold fast the word in confidence that the Spirit will, through the word, work in it, expecting that sooner or later the Spirit will be recognised as the power that has put it in a position to believe. That faith will then be to it the first sure token that it has the Spirit. He is always the Spirit of faith. Faith is his internal manifestation, the form in which He reveals Himself, and by which He becomes known. It cannot be, “If I once have the Spirit then I believe,” but, “when I believe, then I know that the Spirit has wrought this result in me.”

In this way the right desire of the soul to know that it has the Spirit of faith may be fully gratified. It will learn that there is something more in it than its mere faith, that faith is not its own work: it will learn that the divine Creator of the new life is in it, According as the trustful soul is in itself unreservedly surrendered to live through faith, shall the Spirit witness with its spirit which was active in faith, according to the word of God, that after we believe we are sealed with the Spirit: “Ye know Him, for He abideth with you and shall be in you.” (John 14: 17). By His divine, indwelling power, he always stirs up the soul more and more to faith, carrying it into all the riches of the promises of God, and giving it confidence to appropriate every blessing to itself. And thus the one influence always operates upon the other; the more fully the soul believes, the more clear becomes the revelation of the Spirit; the more fully the Spirit works in it, the more does the soul grow in the life of faith and confidence. And thus at length, but not by the way which most of us had pictured for ourselves, we come to the experience of the blessedness of which we are speaking, namely, of having the Spirit of faith.

Seeker of salvation, why do you not believe? The Spirit of God is a Spirit of faith. It is the Spirit of God that has broken your slumber and made you anxious to believe. It is the Spirit who will help you in the conflict for faith, in which you think that you are abandoned by Him. He is given in answer to prayer. Let the thought encourage you, that where there is a soul desirous of salvation the Spirit will certainly work faith in it. At the outset you are not yet in a position to recognise His working. You are not yet accustomed to His ways; His tokens are still unknown to you. Hidden, but really existing, He is at hand to help you, if you but pray for Him and do your work, relying upon His operation. In this exercise and conflict of prayer, and in the desire to believe, it is He that all unconsciously draws on and strengthens the soul. Believe, for the Spirit will give faith within you. Work, “for it is God that worketh in you.”

And, when you have believed and have become known to Him as the Spirit of faith — O, be thou only faithful to Him. Yield yourself wholly to Him; set your heart entirely open for Him; through Him, let there be a progress “from faith to faith,” until, with full certitude, you are able to witness: “We have the same Spirit of faith, therefore we also believe.”