(Article for publication week of 1-30-2014 AD)
"But 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).
As we continue our series of articles on saving faith, we will now with the help of the Lord show you some of the principle acts of saving faith. We have shown you that there is a kind of faith that is counterfeit and cannot save (see again James 2:19; Acts 8:13-23; Luke 8:13). The faith of devils, temporary believers and false converts will not save because such "faith" is not accompanied with love and worship of Christ. Devils and temporary believers and false converts do not repent of sin, and they have not other spiritual graces. Their faith is alone, without any good works to justify their faith. Such is the "faith" of most professed Christians and church goers in our county from all outward evidence. I pray daily that the Lord will send a great revival in our county and that He would save the lost church members and lost preachers in Simpson County, along with notorious sinners, and the young and tender. I often feel like Jeremiah as I weep over my kinsmen and neighbours that I love so much, and see them sinking down to an eternal and burning hell.
Now, let us go on to consider some of the principle acts of saving faith. And the first to be considered is receiving Christ. In our text this week , in John 1:12, "receiving Christ" is practically synonymous with believing on the name of Christ. This is the reason we call it a principle act of faith. God's elect receive Christ in the same way that we receive natural life. That is we receive it passively, before we are active. Dear reader, you received the gift of natural life from God through the agency of your natural parents apart from your will. So, you see , to receive Christ is not an act of man's natural will, but it is the outworking of God's grace working in an elect sinner.
Secondly, receiving Christ is to receive the Christ of the Bible. There are many who have been deceived (often self deceived) into thinking they are saved because they "believe" in a Christ of their own imagination. True saving faith is to believe in Christ as He is revealed in the inspired word of God which testifies of Him (John 5:39). The scriptures testify that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Eternal and Coequal Son of God. He is God manifest in the flesh. If you have not received the true Christ, you are lost world without end.
Thirdly, to receive Christ is to receive a whole Christ. That is you receive Him as Saviour and Lord. Unless you receive Christ as Lord to rule over you, you are not saved. If you are not now bowing your knee to Christ as His slave, you are not saved. You must receive Christ in all His offices. You need His priestly office to intercede for you. You need His prophetic office to teach you. You need His Kingly office to subdue your rebellion and protect you from the world, the devil and your own fallen nature. You see dear reader, salvation is not just fire insurance to keep out of hell. Salvation is to receive Christ for all that He is, and He is Lord and Saviour.
Finally, saving faith is to receive Christ with all of your being. You must receive Him with your heart, soul, mind and strength. When you receive Christ you surrender everything to Him. In reality, it is already His. But when you receive Christ , you acknowledge it. Saving faith is all of you, receiving all of Christ. Dear reader, have you received Christ?