But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is…
I. THE APOSTLE ASSERTS THAT FAITH IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL TO THE PLEASING OF GOD.
1. For, first, without faith there is no capacity for communion with God at all. The things of God are spiritual and invisible; without faith we cannot recognise such things, but must be dead to them.
2. Without faith the man himself is not pleasing to God. Faith in Christ makes a total change in our position towards God — we who were enemies are reconciled; and from this comes towards God a distinct change in the nature of all our actions: imperfect though they be, they spring from a loyal heart, and they are pleasing to God.
3. Remember that, in human associations, want of confidence would prevent a man's being well-pleasing to another. When the creature dares to doubt his Creator, how can the Creator be pleased?
4. Unbelief takes away the common ground upon which God and man can meet. According to the well-worn fable, two persons who are totally different in their pursuits cannot well live together: the fuller and the charcoal-burner were obliged to part; for whatever the fuller had made white, the collier blackened with his finger. If differing pursuits divide, much more will differing feelings upon a vital point. It is Jesus whom Jehovah delights to honour; and if you will not even trust Jesus with your soul's salvation, you grieve the heart of God, and He can have no pleasure in you.
5. Want of faith destroys all prospect of love.
6. Want of faith will create positive variance on many points.
7. By what means can we hope to please God, apart from faith in Him? By keeping all the commandments? Alas! you have not done so. If you do not believe in Him you are not obedient to Him. We are bound to obey with the mind by believing, as well as with the hand by acting. Remember the impossibility of pleasing the Lord without faith, and do not dash your ship upon this iron-bound coast.
II. THE APOSTLE MENTIONS TWO ESSENTIAL POINTS OF FAITH. He begins by saying, "He that cometh to God must believe that He is." Note the key-word "must": it is an immovable, insatiable necessity. Before we can walk with God, it is clear that we must "come to God." Naturally, we are at a distance from Him, and we must end that distance by coming to Him, or else we cannot walk with Him, nor be pleasing to Him. Believe that God is as truly as you are; and let Him be real to you. Believe that He is to be approached, to be realised, to be, in fact, the great practical factor of your life. Hold this as the primary truth, that God is most influential upon you; and then believe that it is your business to come to Him. But there is only one way of coming to Him, and you must have faith to use that way. Yet all this would be nothing without the second point of belief. We must believe that "He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." We seek Him, first, when we begin by prayer, by trusting to Jesus, and by.calling upon the sacred name, to seek salvation. Afterwards we seek God by aiming at His glory, by making Him the great object for which we live.
III. WE WILL NOW GATHER A FEW LESSONS FROM WHAT THE APOSTLE HAS TAUGHT US.
1. First, then, the apostle teaches us here by implication that God is pleased with those who have faith The negative is often the plainest way of suggesting the positive.
2. Learn, next, that those who have faith make it the great object of their life to please God.
3. Next, note, the apostle teaches us here that they who have faith in God are always coming to God; for He speaks of the believer as "He that cometh to God." You not only come to Him, and go away from Him, as in acts of prayer and praise; but you are always coming; your life is a march towards Him.
4. God will see that those who practise faith in Him shall have a reward. God Himself is enough for the believer.
5. Those who have no faith are in a fearful case.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
WEB: Without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to him, for he who comes to God must believe that he exists, and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him.