Life of Faith 7: Faith Throughout

By Richard Sibbes

Now we have come to the main thing intended, how we live by the faith of the Son of God.  We will not approach the depths of such a profound mystery; only I will endeavor to give you some heads, where faith principally exercises her powers and functions.

  • The life of faith is exercised in our effectual calling.
  • In the state of justification, through which comes reconciliation.
  • In a vigorous life, arising on the comfort of our justification, our being credited right with God.
  • In our sanctification; in those supplies faith finds out to make up the imperfection thereof, faith works to make itself and us more perfected.  
  • The life of faith in glorification.

We live by faith in all the several passages of this life, as we will see when we come to them.  Thus we live continually by the faith of the Son of God, and so we must live until we come to heaven.

We live the life of faith in our effectual calling.  The Spirit works it, the Spirit is God’s hand.  This makes our eyes to be bent upwards to see a better life, to see a calling, to a holy and righteous living in all things,  to see what a rich means is provided to reconcile God and man, to satisfy justice, and so to draw us in a new way and course of life, to rely on God, and look to him in all our actions.

Then the grace of union is given.  God’s Spirit works our hearts by this faith, to have first union and then communion with God.  Thus the soul being seasoned, and seeing the excellency and necessity of another life, touches Christ, and begins to live the life of faith in effectual calling; for at first we are dead and unlovely creatures, estranged from grace and gracious actions, until, in this state, Christ is discovered by the Spirit, and faith to unite us to him.


This common domain work modernized in few places, words in italics added by this site.  



Life of Faith 3

By Richard Sibbes

always carrying in the body the putting to death of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. —2nd Corinthians 4:10

…So the apostle shows the aim of a Christian is to be in sufferings of this life for the increase of a better, 2nd Cor. 4.10, says he, “always bearing about in our body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.”  When the body is weakest, the spirit is strongest.  Take a man who doesn’t have this spirit and hope, he is à la mort  at the apprehension of death, because he has no faith, no knowledge, no new life, no sense or taste of more excellent things; he doesn’t know if there is a Holy Spirit or not:  or if he is convinced in conscience, yet he is taken up with horrors, and fears condemnation at hand and for evermore.  Oh what are we without this life?  Otherwise an unbeliever or non-Christian were as happy as we.

A Christian given this spiritual life can see Christ and glory, beyond all the things of this life; he can look in backwards, make use of all things past, see the vanity of things so admired by others; he can taste things nature does not relish; he has strength of reasons beyond all the understanding of reason; he is a man of strong working.[God’s working]  This should stir us up above all things to get this spiritual life in us, lest, like St. Paul’s living dead widow, we be dead while we are alive, 1st Tim.5.6.  Therefore, unless we will be dead, we must labor for a spiritual life,[see footnote] for there is another death that follows the first death.  We not only lose God and Christ, life and glory, eternal life, communion with saints and angels, but also we come to eternal torments with the devil and his angels.  Therefore above all things we go to Christ, that we may live in his sight.


Excerpt from Works of Richard Sibbes, Kindle edition, Loc. 53740. [Language modernized in few places by this site][mine]

“labor for a spiritual life” , working for salvation, as in earning salvation? no, Sibbes, I believe, has the right understanding, we stir ourselves up to seek God, trusting that God is behind our own motivations to seek and labor for Him.  We trust that God’s working (His Spirit) on and in us is compelling us to seek and labor after Him, it is His strong working on and in us, causing our own work and labor for a spiritual life.  (Philippians 2:13)

Life of Faith 2

Life of Faith 4: He is Life

Excerpts of Mercy

Life of Faith 2

By Richard Sibbes

…There is a life besides the natural life, and the root of it is Christ, who is our life.  Life is the best thing in the world, most valued by us; as the devil said concerning Job, “Skin for skin, and all that a man has he will give for his life,” Job 2:4.  Life is the foundation of all comforts; life is the energy proceeding from soul and body.  So the spiritual life is nothing else but the excellent energy, and strong connected strength of the soul and body renewed, grounded on supernatural reasons, which makes it follow the directions of the word, conquer the flesh, and so by degrees be transformed into the image of Christ, consisting in holiness and righteousness.

First point then is, that there is a better life than a natural life, because there is something in a man that aspires and looks to a better state.  A child in the mother’s womb has life and senses in that dark place, but it is not contented there, but is restless as in a prison, tumbles and turns up and down; this life that it has is not to dwell there, but a beginning-life to fit it to live in the more open and spacious world, where it must shortly be sent forth.  So in this dark life of ours there is a divine instinct, power, and thinking in men, that nothing here is enough for us.  Which shows, that there is a place to satisfy the will and the understanding, and fill the affections; that there is a condition that shall make a man fully happy.  That there must be a spiritual life which is this spiritual life; for this life which we live in the flesh is a thing of nothing.

Our little life we live here, what is it?  To live a while, to eat and drink and enjoy our pleasures, and then fall down and die like a beast?  Oh no but to make a beginning for a better life.  If this life be such a blessing, what is then that most excellent spiritual life we speak of? It holds out beyond all.  By this spiritual when one is most sick, you will see him most lively and spiritual.  When sense, and spirit, and sight, and all fail, yet by reasons drawn from spiritual life he comforts himself in Christ, the glory to come, and what he has done for him.


Excerpt from Works of Richard Sibbes, Kindle Edition, Loc. 53722 [Language modernized in places by this site.]


Life of Faith 1
Life of Faith 3
Excerpts of Mercy