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.  

 

 

R.C. Chapman’s S.O.S. 1:11

By R.C. Chapman

“We will make Thee borders of gold with studs of silver.” Song of Solomon 1:11

Thou, Lord art our portion, and we are Thine! Thou art a crown of glory and a diadem of beauty unto us; and we, in turn, are these to Thee.  Lord, not to us, not unto us, but to Thy name, give glory.  What Thou art to us (and Thou art our all), that Thou madest Thyself: for Thou gavest Thyself for us, and also to us: it was Thy own will to become our Brother and our slain Lamb.  But did we of our own will yield ourselves to Thee? Ah, no!  Thy grace we hated; Thy very cross and blood, which is our life, was an offence to us.

We hated the holy law of God, and yet more spitefully did we reject the gospel! By Thy word the dead were raised and quickened—our enmity was slain by the blood of sprinkling—and by wisdom to win souls, we, Thine enemies, we reconciled.  Now, therefore, our shout of joy is: Grace! Grace! And all its glory, be ascribed to Thee, our sure Foundation, Head of the Corner!  Thou art the Son of God, the giver, the object and the pattern of faith, working in us by the Spirit, both to will and to do Thy good pleasure.

Behold, then, our heart’s desire! Are we made alive by Thee, by the blood of Thy cross? Are we crucified with Thee and risen with Thee? We would live to Thee:  we would be the girdle which Thou causest to cleave to Thee for glory and for beauty—Thy jewels by Thine own hand shaped and polished!  O let our eye be single—let it ever suffice us for honor, that we serve the Lord Christ! In the fires we will glorify Thee, and take pleasure in necessities, distresses, for Thy sake; saying, in the midst of sorrow and tears, that every bitter cup is sweet, since Thou in love dost mix it, and in patient endurance we are conformed to Thine image.

If Thou sittest by the furnace, though no eye but Thine be upon us, we are content. O Thou Brother born for adversity! Who canst succor the tempted, who never forsakes Thy Church! At Thy feet we cast ourselves, with our burdens.  There with our ignorance we sit and wait for the grace of Thy lips, and would be sweetly nothing that we may delight in Thee, and admire and exalt Thee, Lord, alone! So shall we, Thy Spirit’s workmanship, be ever wearing the garment of humility; our oneness with Thee its golden brother; the life—giving death its studs of silver; and by thy glory and ornament of grace, even as Thou art our diadem of beauty and crown of glory.

Lord, our desire is before Thee—our aim is a grateful offering! Nor vow nor covenant can we make, for all our strength is gone; but our hungering and thirsting are Thy good work; do Thou, who gavest the desire, Thyself fulfill it.

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