And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?…
I. WHAT IT PRESUPPOSES. As distinguished from faith in Christ historically, and from what Scripture affirms of Him doctrinally (James 2:17-20), it presupposes a certain belief with respect to ourselves — viz., that we are sinners, and with a sincere sorrow because of it, and a sincere desire to forsake sin.
II. IN WHAT IT CONSISTS.
1. Intellectual assent to the fact that Christ is the Saviour of men. Thus far saving faith is the same as that by which we buy, sell, eat, drink, and travel. Faith is not a new element in the soul life of man, superadded by God, upon an after thought to the moral constitution at the time of conversion. What is then given is grace to see —
(1) Self undone.
(2) Christ sufficient.
2. Trustfulness superadded to intellectual assent. Heart belief must accompany head belief. A drowning man cannot be saved by a lifeboat simply by believing in its life-saving capabilities; he must trust himself to it. So self is given to Christ in every case of saving faith.
3. Faith in a person. Some people trust in a creed or a ritual; because trust in them flatters rather than interferes with self-love. My creed is orthodox, my service ornate is the expression of some men's faith. Further, it is faith in a Divine person. It is not necessary that we should be able to theorise about the Incarnation or philosophise about the Atonement; but our trust must be in the Son of God, in opposition to being in human priests, whatever their claims. But remember that we are not saved by our faith as something meritorious, but by Christ; yet we cannot be saved without faith, because remaining in unbelief —
(1) We make God a liar, and fail to comply with His law of love.
(2) We cannot secure and develop the character necessary to fit us for heaven, nor the capacity for its enjoyments.
III. THE EXTENT OF THE SALVATION WHICH FAITH SECURES.
1. Salvation from the punishment due to past transgressions.
2. Deliverance from the power and principle of sin.
(J. S. Swan.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?