Yesterday’s Morning and Evening is full of truth, but requires an ounce or two of discernment. Spurgeon was not a “word of faith” or “name it and claim it” preacher. And yet he says, “If we want blessings from God, nothing can fetch them down but faith.” How are we to interpret such a statement without injecting the worst of all presuppositions?
First of all, we should remember that asking for spiritual blessing is not sinful. In fact, we are encouraged to ask. But what we ask for (and why) determines everything. How often do we pray for an escape plan out of trial instead of praying for God’s grace to bring us through it? James 4:2-3 states,
You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
Spurgeon’s devotional is not intended to promote a self-centered attitude of worldly entitlement. The Apostle Paul did not speak words of prosperity into his own life either. In Philippians 3:10, he says that he wishes to…
…know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death…
To his son in the faith, he wrote in 2 Timothy 1:8,
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God.
So what is Spurgeon saying? To better understand the nature of faith, we should consider God’s servant Job. Job 1:8 says,
And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?”
Notice that God puts Job on Satan’s radar… not because Job had sinned… but because he was righteous. He even says “there is none like him on the earth.” That’s high praise from creation’s Creator. Who doesn’t want God to say that about them? And yet, Job was in the perfect position for his faith to be showcased through affliction. After losing his sons, daughters, and wealth, he reacted as a true man of faith. Job 1:20 says,
Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped.
Who worships God when they lose everything? Those of faith.
Faith is not believing hard enough until God gives us what we want. Faith is trusting God that He is in control of all things and has our best interests in mind. Without faith, we are without hope. We have no access to the faithful promises of God, unless our faith in Christ is that of genuine stock. He alone knows all things, including the unseen circumstances that surround our situation. He will not hand us a snake when we ask for bread, but He will allow the serpents to come when they are needed. When that happens, let’s fall to our faces like Job and stand with the Apostles who begged, “Increase our faith!”
Here is Alistair Begg’s modern phrasing of the Spurgeon classic.
* * * * *
…strong in his faith… — Romans 4:20
Christian, take good care of your faith, for faith is the only way in which you can obtain blessings. If we want blessings from God, nothing can fetch them down but faith. Prayer cannot draw down answers from God’s throne unless it is the earnest prayer of the man who believes. Faith is the angelic messenger between the soul and the Lord Jesus in glory. Let that angel be withdrawn, we can neither send up prayer, nor receive the answers. Faith is the telegraphic wire that links earth and heaven—on which God’s messages of love fly so fast that before we call He answers, and while we are still speaking He hears us. But if that telegraphic wire of faith is snapped, how can we receive the promise? Am I in trouble? I can obtain help for trouble by faith. Am I beaten about by the enemy? My soul leans on God by faith. But take faith away—in vain I call to God.
There is no road between my soul and heaven. In the deepest wintertime faith is a road on which the horses of prayer may travel—ay, and all the better for the biting frost; but blockade the road and how can we communicate with the Great King? Faith links me with divinity. Faith clothes me with the power of God. Faith engages on my side the omnipotence of Jehovah. Faith ensures every attribute of God in my defense. It helps me defy the hosts of hell. It makes me march in triumph over my enemies. But without faith how can I receive anything from the Lord? The one who wavers—who is like a wave of the sea—should not expect to receive anything from God!
So, then, Christian, pay attention to your faith; for with it you can win all things, however poor you are, but without it you can obtain nothing. “If you can! All things are possible for one who believes.”1
1 Mark 9:23