What does it profit, my brothers, though a man say he has faith, and have not works? can faith save him?…
The fundamental article of Christian belief is the existence of the one only living and true God. Unless this fundamental principle be admitted, there can be no such thing as personal accountableness — no such thing as either religion or morality in the world.
I. First, then, we call your attention to the infallible proofs by which we evince THE EXISTENCE OF GOD.
1. And first, we appeal to the works of God, in creation and in Providence.
2. I refer you, secondly, for proof to the Word of God, or that inspired testimony which He has granted of His mind and will.
3. This truth may be further evinced by a distinct consideration of the human structure, both in body and in mind.
4. We evince the existence of God from the consent of all nations, from the earliest period of time, in all habitable parts of the universe, down to the present hour.
5. I have only one more evidence to produce, which is this: that even Satan himself, who is the father of lies, never yet ventured to impugn the great truth for which I am contending.
II. Now, secondly, let me inquire WHAT WE BELIEVE CONCERNING THIS GOD, whose being is indubitably certain.
1. First we believe that God is one.
2. Secondly, we are taught to believe that God exists in a mode altogether unsearchable and incomprehensible; so that in the simple and undivided essence there are three distinguishable subsistences — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
3. Again, we believe that this God is a Being of all possible excellence, and of infinite glory and blessedness; infinitely good and infinitely great; of unsearchable wisdom, of inviolable truth, of immaculate purity, of exhaustless patience, of unbending equity, of incomparable benignity, and of boundless love.
4. We believe in the relations which this high and holy God sustains towards the human family. I must believe not only what God is, but what God is to me; and therefore say, "I believe in God the Father Almighty." I believe in Him as the creating Father; as the preserving Father, whose "tender mercies are over all His works." As the redeeming Father, as the governing Father.
III. THE CHARACTER AND INFLUENCE OF THAT BELIEF in the being of a God whenever it is sincere.
1. This belief must be personal.
2. This faith must be the result of knowledge, discernment, and conviction.
3. This faith must be fiducial and filial. It must be associated with complacency, love, trust — yes, and appropriation too.
4. Once more, this faith must be practical. It must issue in devotion, worship, communion, fellowship, holy fear of God, a cautious avoidance of all that will displease Him, and a conscientious performance of all that will be acceptable in His sight. It must be discovered by patient submission, and by an earnest desire after the present and everlasting enjoyment of Him as the supreme and all-satisfying Good.Conclusion:
1. I infer from this subject the folly and criminality of doubting and denying the existence of a God.
2. In the next place, we may infer the paramount duty of extending the knowledge of God, and promoting faith in His being, and government, and laws.
3. Finally, we infer the happiness of those who have the prospect of seeing God face to face, and enjoying Him as the supreme Good through eternal ages; to have the mind fixed upon Him, absorbed in Him, for ever serving and enjoying Him as the ultimate happiness!
(G. Clayton, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?