I received a package the other day of samples of Telescopes, and other glasses. Of course I examined them to see if they were the right things or articles. When it began to be dark, I unwrapped one of the Telescopes to try it; after arranging the slides, I placed it to my eye, when to my astonishment a star was quite visible. I took away the glass again, and I found there was no star to be seen with the natural eye; but through the glass it was seen plainly, and seemed to be near. Well, thought I, the Telescope that gives such a sight of a star where to the natural eye there is not one, must be the right sort of glass.
True faith is exactly like this Telescope. The mind of fallen man is in darkness as to the things of God; and without faith, man gropes in darkness and knows not whither he goeth. Now the moment the Holy Ghost imparteth faith to the soul, Christ is seen as the star was seen in the sky. And oh! what a sight! when Christ is seen by faith. If that is the right glass which reveals the unseen star; that only is true faith which reveals the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. "The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not." The natural eye without the glass could not see the star. Man without faith cannot understand why the glory of God shines in the face of a risen man in heaven; the Lord Jesus Christ; without faith he cannot see this glorious Christ. "What is faith?" said a doctor to his patient, who was an evangelist. "Well, doctor," said he, "when I came to you I put myself entirely in your hands; that is faith. When a lost sinner trusts himself entirely in the hands of Christ; that is faith."
I Have you, my reader, seen Christ to be your Saviour; crucified for your sins; raised from the dead for your justification? Do you see Him to be all that you need, without a single make-weight? Oh! the wickedness of thinking of adding anything of our own, such vile worms as a make-weight to the worth of Christ. God sees the sacrifice of Christ the shedding of His blood, that which puts sin and sins away for ever. Are you in this light of God? And can you say, The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth me from all sin? Then most assuredly you have true faith. For the natural man without the faith of Christ will never believe this.
Another thing as to the Telescope: it did not make the star; it had nothing to do surely at all in producing the star; it only enabled me to see the star, and know that it was there. This illustrates a most important fact as to salvation. Many, when seeking salvation, though they know it cannot be had by works, yet suppose that salvation is in some way suspended, or incomplete in itself, until they have believed rightly! And thus they make faith to have something to do with producing salvation, and thus they are led to look at faith, instead of the finished work of Christ. They say, "Oh, that I was sure I had the right faith, or believed enough, then I should be saved!" This is making faith a Saviour. Faith has no more to do with producing salvation, than my glass had to do with producing the star. That star was created and shone in the heavens ages before I was born. I speak now of all those who through grace shall be saved. These were all certainly foreknown of God in eternity, before ever light twinkled from that distant star. "Who hath saved us and called us with an holy calling not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began; but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ." Surely it is plain that our faith had nothing to do with producing the grace that was given us in Christ Jesus, before the world began. And when Jesus was manifested, it was not our faith that induced Him to become the substitute and surety of all who should through grace be saved.
No, not our faith; it was His love. It was God who laid on Him the iniquity of us all; and it was God who justified Him from the iniquity of us all, when He raised Him from the dead. He sat down having purged our sins from the sight of God; long, long before we were born. Our faith had nothing to do with Christ thus purging our sins, or with God justifying us in Christ. This was absolutely finished long before we had actual existence. God saw in the blood of Christ the perfect and eternal satisfaction for all our sins, and this one sacrifice put away all our sins from the sight of God. You will say then, "If Christ thus finished the work of salvation for all who through grace shall believe, what does take place when the sinner believes? Just what took place when I looked through my glass; I saw the star I had never seen before, and I knew it to be there. Just so when the Holy Ghost reveals the salvation already finished by Christ. I know now salvation my salvation is there, though I never knew it before. Sin was purged from before God, when Christ died and arose from the dead; this saved me; it is now purged from my conscience by faith in that blood, when God calls me. God who justified me then in my representative, Christ, now gives me, by faith, the knowledge of justification in my own soul. Faith does not produce this complete salvation, but sees it to be in Christ, and knows it is mine on the testimony of God. "Be it known unto you, that through this man (Christ crucified and risen) is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him all that believe are justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses." (Acts 13:38.) Do you believe what the Word of God says here? I do not ask what sort of faith have you; there is only one true faith, all else is unbelief; but I ask, Do you know in power this forgiveness of sins through Christ Jesus? Do you thus see Jesus? If you do, you have true faith as certainly as I had a good glass, when I saw the star. Oh! look nowhere but to Jesus. Is he seen? Do you believe the forgiveness through Him, not through the merit of your faith but through, Jesus? If you thus see Him, thus believe in Him then you are justified. You say from your heart you believe in Jesus, then God says, you are justified. What do you make of that? Will not that give you peace? Cannot you now say, looking steadily through the glass of faith at Jesus, "Who was delivered for our offences" (hold steady and look at the cross), "and was raised again for our justification."
Stretch out your slides, and gaze at His glory. Oh! let faith take its utmost survey of the glory of the risen man, and as you look at Him, remember all you see is yours, as certainly as you see Him by faith; all, all is yours. The peace of Jesus is yours; yours for ever. Can there be condemnation laid on Him now? Never. And you are justified with Him; sanctified with Him; what shall I say? for ever blest with Him. Now do not let the glass shake with doubts and fears. Look again on His cross and resurrection. Cannot you now say, with holy confidence, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." If you do not thus see Jesus, and know that you are justified, and have peace with God then I beg, do not pretend to have the true faith. There are many in this day who do not know Jesus at all; who do not know that they are justified; who do not know anything, in fact, and yet say they have the only true faith.
If my reader is one of these, wilt thou tell me how it is, that all who did believe in the days of the Apostles knew they were justified, and had peace with God; whilst thou sayest that thou art a believer, and yet thou neither knowest that thou art justified, or that thou hast peace with God? May God reveal His Son to thee, so that being justified, and having peace with God, thy whole being, body, soul, and spirit, may be cheerfully devoted to His service of love.