Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 10, 1967
NUMBER 14, PAGE 11-12a

The Just Shall Live By Faith

George Pennock

Once when Napoleon had dismounted and was reviewing his troops, his horse bolted. It was quickly caught and returned by a common soldier.

"Much obliged to you captain," said the emperor.

"Of what regiment sir?" replied the soldier.

Napoleon, delighted with his quick perception and absolute trust in his word, replied, "Of my guards," and rode away.

The soldier threw away his heavy musket and headed straight for the officers quarters to don the uniform of his new rank; but there he was confronted by the commander of the guards who inquired by whose authority he donned the uniform of a captain in the emperor's guard.

"The emperor's authority sir." was the immediate reply. That settled it! If the Emperor said it was so, then it was so.

If men can have such confidence in the word of another man, how great should be their confidence in the word of the living God! Yet, strange as it may seem, even God's people, give the distinct impression at times, that they have little confidence in His word. They worry, stew and fret, even after He has assured them that He has removed the cause of their anxiety. Will I go to heaven? or will I be turned away? Is my name written in the Lamb's Book Of Life? or is it not? If I should die within the hour, would I be ushered through the portals of glory, or banished to the region of everlasting shame and disgrace? So many of God's children are tossed about upon the sea of doubt and uncertainty. Yet, to a large extent, those doubts and uncertainties grow out of a lack of faith and confidence in God's word. Brethren, this ought not to be.

Jesus said, "He that believeth and is baptized SHALL BE SAVED!" He shall be what? - SAVED! The influence of his past sins can never drag him down to the dark and dismal pit of hell. He has been SAVED from the punishment, which because of those sins, he so justly deserves! It is so, for God has declared it to be so! Who can doubt it?

Do you doubt it? Do such sins still rise to haunt your memory and burden your conscience? Do you still cry unto the Lord for the forgiveness of those sins? Oh, ye of little faith! What the Lord has promised, He can and will fulfill! Has he not promised salvation from alien sins? Be assured! It has been done! Banish such sins from your mind, even as God has banished them from His. Waste not time nor energy grieving over the past, but have full assurance and confidence that those sins do not pose any threat to your soul - not now, nor can they ever again!

But, you object, it is not sin committed before baptism that weighs so heavily upon my conscience. But rather, sins committed since that time.

My good brother or sister! The fact that you sinned since baptism does not make you different from others, nor should it be a source of undue distress. Indeed, "If we (Christians) say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (I John 1:8.) Try as we might, we will never achieve sinless perfection in this life. But, never allow this fact to dishearten you. Be constant in the struggle for perfection, yet never be discouraged or dismayed by your inability to stamp out sin once and for all. Sin will be with you for the rest of your life. Learn to live with it!

And just how can a Christian learn to live with sin? Imitate that French soldier. Put your absolute confidence and trust in God, your commander, and accept His word. Listen to Him: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to FORGIVE OUR SINS, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (I John 1:9.) What will he do is we confess our sins? He will FORGIVE! Note: He WILL forgive. He did not say that he MIGHT forgive. He WILL. There is absolutely no question about it. If you have confessed, He HAS forgiven and cleansed you from that unrighteousness. That sin should never trouble your mind again. It should be banished from your conscience forever!

Yet many Christians go through life filled with despair and despondency! - wringing their hands, while repeatedly crying unto God for the forgiveness of some sin. Never able to achieve peace of mind, they seem determined to storm the gates of heaven with their continual pleas and wrest by force that FORGIVENESS and peace of mind which they have never been able to accept by faith.

Such are to be commended for their godly and pious motives, yet let it be gently pointed out that such action is indeed an insult to God. Imagine for a moment that I have sinned against you. I come begging your forgiveness, and you, without hesitation, grant it. The next day I come again, and seemingly oblivious of what transpired the day before, again implore-your forgiveness. Once again you assure me that you have, and do forgive me. The third day I return, the fourth, the fifth, the sixth and so on. How long will you continue to have patience with me? Will you not soon conclude that I have no confidence in you or in your word? Certainly you would! And you would be justified in such a conclusion.

Oh, we of little faith! What a needless waste of time and energy! How greatly the cause of Christ has suffered because of our faithlessness! Service for the Master, springs not from the depths of despondency or despair, but from confidence and assurance.

Let us CONFESS our sins; REPENT of our sins; and then FORGIVE our sins. Each night as you lay your head upon the pillow, confess and seek forgiveness for the sins of the day. Then in full assurance of faith, and a conscience void of offense, face the darkness of night and the light of a new day, secure in the knowledge that your name is written in Heaven! There is a crown of life laid up for you! How can you be certain?

He who cannot lie, and Him in whom we must place absolute confidence and trust has declared, "YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN YOU! for His names sake." (I John 2:12. )It is so, for God has declared it to be so! Who can doubt it?