“To as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12).
This is one of many promises of God held out to believing souls. It is a sad fact, however, as C.H. Spurgeon once pointed out, that fear to believe is “an odd product of our unhealthy nature.” The Word of God states that “whosoever believeth” in the Lord Jesus shall not perish, and yet we search for arguments why we should perish if we did believe. The problem with some is fear that they may not
be included among those for whom God’s promise is intended. As Spurgeon put it, “Do not be alarmed by that idle suspicion. No soul ever came to Jesus wrongly.” When it comes to saving faith, the Bible says several important things.
The Origin of Faith
Scripture teaches that faith is “the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8; Philippians 1:29). Why do some believe while others do not? Our text (John 1:12) is followed by verse 13. Those who receive Christ, who “believe on His Name” are “born…of God.” The originator of spiritual life is not man, but God. The work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration—the New Birth—produces a reliance upon, and trust in, Jesus Christ. Men come to believe “through grace” (Acts 18:27). The only reason anyone comes to Christ is that he has been drawn by the Spirit, and enabled to lay hold upon the promise of God by faith. While no sinner has power to create faith, yet saving trust in Jesus is granted by God to him, whereby he is enabled to embrace Christ freely offered to him in the gospel. Thus he believes and is saved.
The Operation of Faith
While it is the gift of the Holy Ghost, faith is an act of man. The regenerate soul lays hold upon Christ. By faith he receives and rests upon Jesus Christ, and His work alone for salvation. Paul preached “Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). Believing is the action of the renewed heart: a conscious activity of the quickened soul. Everywhere in Scripture it is taught that the benefits of Christ’s death are received by faith. Faith is not a work; it has no merit in it. The Bible never says a man is saved on account of his faith, but always “through” his faith. It is a ceasing from work, and a resting upon what Christ has done. As J.G. Machen said: “Faith consists not in doing something, but in receiving something.” It is an activity of the whole soul, a conscious act.
The Object of Faith
The general object of faith—that to which faith looks—is the promise of God’s Word. The specific object is Christ. There is in saving faith a receiving of Him, and a believing on His name. Faith looks to Jesus only. This is spoken of in various ways in the New Testament.
A believer comes to Christ, looks to Christ, rests upon Christ, leans upon Christ, trusts in Christ, and calls upon Christ. It is His spotless Person, and sacrificial work alone, that the believer depends upon. Have you looked to Christ to save your soul? In the gospel there is a full, free invitation to do so: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts16:31). Fear not to approach Him. He has promised never to cast out the soul that comes to Him (John 6:37).
Only trust Him, only trust Him, only trust Him now;
He will save you—Hallelujah! He will save you now!