There came a time during the LORD’s ministry upon the earth when the popularity of HIS message began to fade with the multitudes and many of HIS erstwhile “followers” forsook HIM because they began to think that HIS message was a bit too radical. The LORD asked HIS twelve disciples, “Will ye also go away?” (John 6:67) Then, Simon Peter gave a classic answer, which is the very embodiment of true faith when he said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:68-69)
Upon another occasion, as HE taught in Caesarea-Philippi, HE asked them another question and got this response, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.” (Mat 16:13-14) HE further queried them with a far more probing question, “But whom say ye that I am?” (Mat 16:15) To this once again Simon Peter replied with the only answer true faith knows, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matt 16:16)
In neither of these cases did the LORD ask these questions in order to gain information which HE was not already aware of. Rather HE posed these questions for the benefit of HIS followers, so that HE might demonstrate the principle upon which the very foundation of HIS kingdom rests. “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” (Rom 1:17) “But without faith it is impossible to please him.” (Heb 11:6)
When Peter had given his answer the LORD clearly told him that his knowledge of and faith in the LIVING CHRIST did not arise out of his own power or ability of reason, when HE said, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” (Mat 16:17) This is exactly what Paul said to the Ephesians, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” (Eph 2:8)
Apart from a clear understanding of the SOURCE of true faith it is impossible that men should ever have a right understanding of the basis of faith in the children of GOD or the operation of faith in the manifesting of the LORD’s kingdom here in the earth. There is much talk of “faith” in this hyper-religious age in which we live but most of it centers on trying to stir men up to believe, rather than a clear and unwavering message that declares true faith to be the result of the operation of the HOLY GHOST, according to the sovereign grace of GOD who has determined to manifest HIS saving grace and the fruits of HIS redemptive work in the sons of GOD whom HE loved from before the foundation of the world.
The LORD plainly spoke of the blessed privilege which was given to Peter to be able to believe when HE said, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona”. It is no different even now as the SPIRIT of GOD is pleased to grant unto the heirs of grace, eyes to see and ears to hear the glorious gospel of the blessed GOD, and to fall upon their faces in adoring wonder at the revelation of JESUS CHRIST as the DIVINE REDEEMER of HIS people. “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” (John 1:18) “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:44) “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (II Cor 4:6) We see HIS sovereign electing grace unto salvation revealed in the book of Acts as the gospel was preached to the Gentiles, “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” (Acts 13:48)
Over and over again, throughout the scriptures, we see the hand of GOD’s mercy set upon HIS people as HE causes them to believe HIM and to receive the glorious blessings of HIS promise to give them a new heart. (see Ezek.36:26) The evidence of the work of the SPIRIT in HIS people is true faith, and it is the only currency which is recognized in HIS kingdom. This is that which Solomon spoke of when he said, “Buy the truth and sell it not”.
The religious hucksters and physicians of no value continually try to make merchandise of men by persuading them that they can make a deal with GOD by “exercising faith” and thereby purchase for themselves the blessings of GOD in the present time and that which is to come. And there is no shortage of those who believe that by, much or little, religion that they shall purchase for themselves a spot in the kingdom and a share of its bounty. Yet they possess only “reprobate” (counterfeit) silver (see Jer.6:30) and it is not that which is refined in the furnace of GOD and bestowed upon beggars and the afflicted who know themselves to be void of any money of their own. This is exactly what the LORD meant when HE said, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” (Isa 55:1)
Those who are poverty stricken feast well in the kingdom of Heaven because they are given priceless treasures by HIM who sets a banquet table for the poor. “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Mat 5:3) HE has indeed “hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” (Mat 11:25) Yes, those with no money shall fare sumptuously at the table of the LORD but those who come bearing riches and treasures of their own shall be cast out. “Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.” (Mat 21:31) For it is “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” (Tit 3:5)
But alas, this falls upon deaf ears. Only by the grace of GOD can and shall a man be awakened to see his own innate poverty. Otherwise he shall either have no regard to the kingdom of GOD at all or he shall seek to attain its blessings by his own endeavors. The end result is still the same. There are multitudes who are convinced that salvation by grace alone cannot be true, and they shall continue to seek to purchase its bounty by the contents of their own purse, convinced that they must do something or obey some law, to inherit the kingdom.
Yet mercy drops fall from the Throne of GOD, and here and there a man is awakened to see his lost estate and helplessness before the ALMIGHTY. Little does he know that this revelation is actually the beginning of great blessings, for at that moment he can but feel himself shut out of the kingdom and hopelessly lost apart from a crumb of mercy bestowed by the LORD. Yet such is the mercy of GOD that all of those upon whom HE is pleased to cause these mercy drops to fall HE will (in HIS own time) fill their pockets with treasures that they could never have imagined nor even sought by their own power.
They will be made rich in the only currency of this kingdom. And it will not matter whether that faith is timid or bold. “According as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (Rom 12:3) If it be that currency which is accepted in the kingdom it does not matter whether it be much or little because this currency is backed by a STANDARD of righteousness which is complete for all who are included therein. “Sell it not”. “And they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” (Rev 17:14)mam