Life of Faith 17: Praying for Strength

By Richard Sibbes

 

Thus we seek every day to live our lives, as we not only live the life of faith in justification, but also of sanctification; how out of Christ’s fullness to attain and give to us grace for grace. Therefore in all our wants we go to him still.  He is not only a sacrifice satisfactory for our sins, but he is a storehouse also and treasure of all good things. He is made unto us sanctification, therefore beg favor from him, and endowments of grace conformable to his grace. And again, when we lack fullness, let’s not despair, but get the large vessel of faith, and we will have a share of the great graces which are in Christ, according to the greatness of our faith.

One may ask, “What is the reason that so few find strength and comfort in Christianity?” I say,  they set on the getting of grace, and killing of corruptions by their own strength, and so are ever lacking; but if a man depends on God, he shall have fullness out of Christ. God has sanctified his nature for this purpose, that out of his fullness we might have grace for grace.

And so again, every day go to God, and plead for strength against sin, power to lead a holy life, and imputation of Christ’s righteousness, to supply the defects of our sanctification. St Paul says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” (Philippians 4:13).  These are magnificent words, and is a great thing to have a man ready to suffer all things, and overcome all things. This will make us work wonderfully, if we have this strength supplied.

See in (Luke 27:3-4).  Our Savior tells his disciples, that they must forgive their brother seven times, and seven times, as often as he confesses his fault.  They thought this a very hard duty, for nothing is so sweet to a man as revenge, for he would willingly be his own maker in all things, and do things in his own strength.  The disciples on this fall to praying,  “Lord, increase our faith”; as though they had said. “We had need of faith to believe the pardon of so many sins, and to enable us to forgive so often.”  And so I say for the subduing of sin, we are in need of faith to have so many sins subdued; yet faith will do it.  Now in this great work, first, go to God, and beg his Spirit, and repent of all kinds of sin ; Second, then beg for faith. This will set all other graces to working.

It is like the blood and spirits which run all the body over. So in our spiritual life, this faith must run along in all graces, and set them a-working, yes, it sets God and all his attributes to working.  It runs to Christ, and prays, Lord, increase my faith, that can bear nothing as I should, resist nothing, believe nothing, and trust nothing.

This indeed must be all our strength, to see nothing in ourselves, but all in Christ. Since Adam’s fall, it was appointed that Christ must keep all our joy, our strength, and ability, yes, to be our life. God will not since that time trust us with it, for we would quickly lose all again. This is Christ’s office.  He has these gifts, as man, given him, to furnish us with all things fitting to a spiritual life.  Faith will go get all from God in Christ, who is made the mediator of the New Testament, to convey all these things to us. Yet further, let’s see some trials to discern whether we live this life of faith in sanctification.

 

 


Text modernized in places by this site.

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