Faith – The Believer’s Rule
If the letter of the law be the only rule that the believer is to walk and live by, then he walks by sight, not by faith; he looks at the things that are seen, not at the things that are not see. It is by faith that Moses saw him who is invisible, and by faith we must look at the things that are not seen, which are eternal.
Paul says, that “he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him;” then faith must be the rule of his coming. “We have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand,” Romans 5:2 – then faith is the rule of our approach to God. “The just shall live by his faith” Habakkuk 2:4 – then faith is the just man’s rule of life. “We walk by faith, not by sight,” 2 Corinthians 5:7 – then faith is our rule of walk. “Thou standest by faith,” says Paul, Romans 11:20 – then faith is the rule of a believer’s standing. “Whatever ye ask believing ye shall receive,” says Christ; – then faith is the rule of that branch of worship. “By faith Enoch had this testimony, that he pleased God; but without faith it is impossible to please him,” Hebrews 11:5-6 – then faith is a rule that God approves of and is pleased with. “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin” – then faith is a perfect rule of holiness. ‘He that believes is justified from all things, from which he could not by the law of Moses’ – then faith is our rule of righteousness. It is by faith that we overcome the world. To lay hold on eternal life, is to fight the good fight of faith, according to Paul; “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” – then faith was the rule of his warfare, and the rule of his race; and it was the grace of God that made Paul obedient to that rule. “We have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith,” Romans 1:5; that is, by Christ we have received grace to save our souls, and apostleship to be of use to the church, not as a reward of our obedience but to furnish us with power, to make us obedient to the faith, among all nations for his name, Romans 1:5 – then faith is the rule of apostolic obedience; for it cannot be called receiving grace for obedience to the faith, if faith be not the gracious man’s rule of obedience.
Paul counts all things but dung that he may win Christ, and be found in him; not having his own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, and tells us to “walk by the same rule, and mind the same thing” Philippians 3. If you take this rule of Paul’s to be his pressing forward, or any of his attainments, it is answered, by faith he pressed forward, and by faith he attained; for else his pressing and attaining had been nothing but sin; for whatsoever is not of faith according to Paul’s doctrine is sin.
By faith Christ dwells in our hearts and by faith we dwell in him; and in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything nor uncircumcision, but a new creature, which is Christ formed within us: “and as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them and mercy, and upon the Israel of God,” Galatians 6:15-16. Faith is the rule of life according to the revealed will of God in Christ Jesus: “and this is the will of him that sent me, that everyone that seeth the Son and believeth on him, may have everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day,” John 6:40. Thus faith appears to be the believer’s rule of life, according to the will of God in Christ Jesus and the letter of the law is the bond-children’s rule of life – “he that doeth these things shall live in them.” Let him do according to this rule and he shall live. The law is not the rule of believing, but of doing; “the law is not of faith but of works, and the man that doeth them shall live in them,” Galatians 3:12.
If to see the Son, and believe on him, entitles us to everlasting life according to God’s will, then faith must be the rule of that life; and one would think that, if he that liveth and believeth shall never die, faith must be a safe rule to live by.