By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Observe adoringly the fountain-head of our salvation, which is the grace of God. “By grace are ye saved.”
Remember this; or you may fall into error by fixing your minds so much upon the faith which is the channel of salvation as to forget the grace which is the fountain and source even of faith itself. Faith is the work of God’s grace in us. No man can say that Jesus is the Christ but by the Holy Ghost. “No man cometh unto me,” saith Jesus, “except the Father which hath sent me draw him,” John 6:44. So that faith, which is coming to Christ, is the result of divine drawing. Grace is the first and last moving cause of salvation; and faith, essential as it is, is only an important part of the machinery which grace employs. We are saved “through faith” but salvation is “by grace”―Faith occupies the position of a channel or conduit pipe. Grace is the fountain and the stream; faith is the aqueduct along which the flood of mercy flows down to refresh the thirsty sons of men.
PHILIP MELANCTHON (1497-1560): When thou art told that we are justified by faith think not that this takes place because faith is a virtue in us by which we secure the approbation of God, or because faith is the parent stock of other virtues; but be assured of this, whenever thou hearest the word faith, that what is offered is something out of ourselves.
C. H. SPURGEON: Faith is getting right out of yourself and getting into Christ.
JAMES HERVEY (1713-1758): The ground of our comfort, the cause of our justification, is not the grace of faith, but the righteousness which is of God by faith; not the act of believing, but that grand and glorious object of a sinner’s belief, the Lord our Righteousness. Faith recommends to God, and justifies the soul, not for itself or its own worth, but on account of what it presents and what it pleads.
C. H. SPURGEON: The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is the object of our faith. Faith is only the channel or aqueduct, and not the fountainhead, and we must not look so much to it as to exalt it above the divine source of all blessing which lies in the grace of God. Never make a Christ out of your faith, nor think of it as if it were the independent source of your salvation. Our life is found in “looking unto Jesus,” not in looking to our own faith. By faith all things become possible to us; yet the power is not in the faith, but in the God upon whom faith relies. Grace is the powerful engine, and faith is the chain by which the carriage of the soul is attached to the great motive power. The righteousness of faith is not the moral excellence of faith, but the righteousness of Jesus Christ which faith grasps and appropriates. The peace within the soul is not derived from the contemplation of our own faith; but it comes to us from Him who is our peace, the hem of whose garment faith touches, and virtue comes out of Him into the soul.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): Read the works of the Puritans and you will find that they devoted not only chapters but volumes to the question of “false peace.” Indeed, this danger has been recognized throughout the centuries. There is the danger of trusting your faith instead of Christ, of trusting your belief without really becoming regenerate. It is a terrible possibility.
C. H. SPURGEON: They attend a revival meeting, and they declare themselves saved, though they have not been renewed in heart, and possess neither repentance nor faith. They come forward to avow a mere emotion. They have nothing better than a resolve; but they flourish it as if it were the deed itself.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: No sinner ever really “decides for Christ.” That term “decide” has always seemed to me to be quite wrong…I can think of an old man who often used the following expression: “You know, friends, I decided for Christ forty years ago, and I have never regretted it.” What a terrible thing to say! “Never regretted it!” But that is the kind of thing people say who have been brought up under this teaching and approach.
C. H. SPURGEON: Do you not see at once that this is legality? that this is making our eternal life to depend on something we do? Nay, the doctrine of justification itself, as preached by an Arminian, is nothing but the doctrine of salvation by works, after all! for he always thinks faith is a work of the creature, and a condition of his acceptance. It is as false to say that a man is saved by faith as a work, as that he is saved by the deeds of the Law. We are saved by faith as the gift of God, and as the first token of His eternal favour to us; but it is not our faith as our work that saves, otherwise we are saved by works, and not by grace at all.
JOHN GILL (1697-1771): Faith is not the product of man’s free will and power, but it is the free gift of God.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: No man truly comes to Christ unless he flies to Him as his only refuge and hope, his only way of escape from the accusations of conscience and the condemnation of God’s holy law…The convicted sinner no more “decides for Christ” than the poor drowning man “decides” to take hold of that rope that is thrown to him and suddenly provides him with the only means of escape. The term is entirely inappropriate.
C. H. SPURGEON: Now you who have been looking to your faith, I want you to look to Jesus Himself rather than at your poor feeble faith…Mark, thy faith has nothing to do with anything within thyself; the object of thy faith is nothing within thee, but a something without thee. Believe on Him, then, who on yonder tree, with nailed hands and feet, pours out His life for sinners. There is the object of thy faith for justification; not in thyself―thou art to look to Christ and to Christ Jesus alone.
JOHN ANGELL JAMES (1785-1869): It is by faith, not for faith, that we are justified.
A. W. TOZER (1897-1963): Faith in faith is faith astray.
C. H. SPURGEON: If you trust to your faith and to your repentance, you will be as much lost as if you trusted to your good works or trusted to your sins. The ground of your salvation is not faith, but Christ; it is not repentance, but Christ. If I trust my trust of Christ, I am lost. My business is to trust Christ; to rest on Him.