Saving Faith Through the Word
John 17:20-21
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;…


1. In the very passage of this prayer, in which He designs expressly to set forth the wide exercise of His mediation, He yet, in most positive terms, confines it within this limitation. Nor was this the first or the only occasion in which He stated and maintained the same truth. To Nicodemus, to Martha, to the Jews, and in the commission which He gave to His apostles He strongly asserted this fundamental principle. In fact this is the universal language of Scripture on this subject.

2. And the same language, which is thus used in respect to salvation in general, is equally used in respect to every blessing of the gospel. Is it pardon? "Through His name whosoever believeth on Him shall receive remission of sins." Is it justification? "By Him, all that believe are justified from all things." Is it adoption? "As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." Is it sanctification? Saints are "sanctified in Christ Jesus." Is it spiritual support and strength? "He that believeth on Him shall not be confounded." Is it spiritual light and knowledge? "I am come a Light into the world, that whosoever believeth on Me, should not abide in darkness." Is it spiritual peace and joy? "Now the God of hope fill you with all peace and joy in believing."


1. They are the foundation on which it is built. "Faith the substance of things hoped for," &c. But it is evident that such a belief supposes a certain degree of previous information. To believe then in Jesus Christ, and in the efficacy of His mediation, implies that we have a certain degree of previous knowledge on these subjects. And where is this knowledge to be obtained but from the Scriptures? Here only are we taught the way of salvation.

2. They are the instrument by which it is wrought in the heart. Faith is itself the gift and operation of God. It is the work of the Holy Spirit. But the great instrument by which He works and operates is the written Word, which is, therefore, emphatically styled "the Sword of the Spirit."Conclusion:

1. Has Christ limited the benefits of His mediation to those who believe on Him? How strikingly does this truth show the importance of faith! How clearly does it point out the wide distinction between believers and unbelievers!

2. Do those who believe on Jesus Christ believe through the Word? Then how invaluable are the Scriptures!

(1) Are they the foundation of faith? Then how thankful should we be to God for this inestimable gift, how diligent should we be in the perusal of it, how widely should we disseminate it!

(2) Are they the instrument by which it is wrought? How powerfully should this consideration operate on our minds and conduct! Let us remember, when we read or hear the Word of God, that though we thus attain to a knowledge of the truths to be believed, yet the actual believing of them must be the effect of a Divine operation on our hearts.

(E. Cooper.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

WEB: Not for these only do I pray, but for those also who believe in me through their word,

Prayer for Persuaders and Persuaded
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