The Place of Faith, the Work of Faith, and the Present Reward of Faith.

Hebrews 6.

1866 173 As we have no place on earth, but are called out of it, our place now must necessarily be only known to faith and held by faith; and if I am not in faith, I must lose sight of my place. The word of God gives me my place, declares it to me, and it is by faith that I abide in it. If I am "going on to perfection," I am discerning things good and evil: the favours of God have not been in vain to me. I am not like the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, only to bring forth thorns and briers. I hold by faith the place which God has given me, and I abide therein, occupied with the interests of God and not my own. If 1 am in a place of faith, I must be dependent on God, and therefore taking thought for myself is a divergence from the place of faith.

Now if I am not in the place of faith, I cannot properly engage in the works of faith. If I depart from the place to which alone I am called, it is plain that I cannot do the things suitable or incumbent on me in that place; but, on the contrary, every attempt that I make at them must tend to damage and hinder others. Abram was called to a place in Canaan, by faith simply depending on God for it; therefore he could not choose any place for himself. Lot chose one and dropped out of the place of faith; therefore he could not serve others. If he attempted to do so, it would be but to lead them in the same downward road with himself. The works of faith did not belong to the place which he had chosen. Abram abides in the place of faith and is secure from the troubles in which Lot is involved, which is ever true even now. It may be said that a faithful Christian does not escape from the effects of tumults in the world. True, he does not escape as to temporal things; but if he be by faith in heaven in Christ, he does in the spirit of his mind escape from the effects of tumults down here. Like Abram I am to have faith and patience. To abide in heaven in Christ is my place. My faith is exercised here, and the suffering here may be prolonged and continued; but I abide there, and while abiding I engage myself with everything connected with God, and with reference to the place He has set me in. In that region where He has set me, and where He alone can keep me, and where I am simply dependent on Him, it is His interests alone which engage me, and thus it is that I ministered to the saints and do minister. I do the things which accompany salvation, I am engaged with works connected with the place of faith. Thus did Abram. He gathers together all his resources, and, at his own risk, by night uses and exerts them to deliver his brother Lot. God's love is towards men, and as I am in the power of it, I must act according to the power of it, and in the direction in which it works. If I am in the place of faith, God's interests must occupy me, for if I serve Christ, I follow Him, and when I follow Him, I am serving best. Serve Him I cannot, unless I am in the place of faith; and if I am there, I am, though "enduring afflictions," I am occupied with His interests according to His own mind. Peter, like Lot, diverged from this place when he said "I go a fishing." And seven went. Instead of serving, he was then hindering and damaging others. Thus did Moses at first, and thus did Saul. They failed to help when they themselves were off the ground of faith. How could they lead others right when wrong themselves? If Lot wants well-watered plains, surely he is off the ground of faith, and he is found helpless among the unrighteous. If Peter is restless, he is off faith — goes a fishing and has company enough; but anything but blessing follows them. If Saul wants distinction, he is off faith and is rash and extreme in everything. Abraham abides in faith and patience. Paul abides in faith and patience, and they serve truly and well to the end.

And not only so, but their own souls know it. And this is the present reward of faith. Abram is refreshed and blessed by Melchisedec. Paul knows himself to be "possessed of all things." What a reward for the work of faith! What wages, if we may so say! It is the "fulness of joy," which the Lord pronounces to be the portion of the one who keeps His commandments and abides in His love. (John xv.) Serving Christ the soul is cheered and refreshed on the way. How much greater is the cheer that Christ pours into the heart of the true servant than Melchisedec could to Abram! Thus the true servant is not depressed and complaining, or comparing present things with the past; dissatisfied and discontented, retiring into corners to unburden his murmurings; but, on the contrary, he is so truly from the place of faith doing the works of faith, according as the interests of Christ are presented to him, that he knows in his own soul the reward of faith. He has his wages — fulness of joy — Christ unfolding Himself to him in blessed nearness, and he knowing the fellowship of the Holy Ghost; and what the kingdom of God is — even righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.