This week’s devotional classic is from Charles Spurgeon. Spurgeon was a Baptist preacher who was probably the greatest preacher of the 19th century. Thousands came to hear him Sunday by Sunday and his sermons were transcribed and published around the world. Here is part of one of his sermons when he is talking about faith. In this exert from a sermon on the woman who anointed Jesus, Spurgeon describes saving faith.
The sentences that really made me think were these ” The faith that never kisses his feet is a faith that he will tread under his feet. The faith that never anoints him is a faith that will have no fragrance in his esteem, and he will not accept it. We are not saved by works and faith combined, much less by works alone; but, nevertheless, the faith which saves is not a barren faith; it produces the good fruit of love and service for Christ,” Read what Spurgeon says and reflect on which passage stands out to you and why?
There are several things concerning this faith, which I want you to notice, and I will put them under the same letter that I used before, so that it may be the easier for you to remember them.
First, this woman’s faith was a personal faith: “Thy faith hath saved thee.” O dear friends, I implore you to give up all idea, of being saved by anybody else’s faith! Thou must believe in Jesus for thyself, or thou wilt be a lost man for ever. What a dreadful falsehood it is when men stand up, as sponsors for a child, and promise and vow various things, none of which are within their power to perform! As to anything that anybody ever promised with regard to your soul, what can another person do for you in such a matter as that? The most earnest faith in your parents can never bring you to heaven, unless you also have faith in Jesus. There is a great blessing which may come to us through the faith of others, if they exercise it in prayer on our behalf; but, still, salvation can never come to us apart from our own personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He said to the woman, “Thy faith hath saved thee;”—not Peter’s faith, nor James’s faith, nor John’s faith, but her own; and thou also must have faith for thyself, or thou wilt assuredly be lost. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved;” but if thou dost not personally believe on him, thou canst not be saved.
Notice, next, that this woman’s faith was a practical faith. She was saved by faith, and not by works; but, she was not saved by a faith which did not produce works. Think of her works,—she washes the Master’s feet with her tears, and wipes them with the hairs of her head; she kisses them repeatedly, and anoints them with her precious ointment. I may truly say of her, “She hath done what she could.” All that her affection prompted, her devotion performed; for she had the faith which works by love; and if you, dear friends, have a faith that never works for Christ, I beg you to get rid of it at once, for it will turn out to be a bastard faith. The faith that never kisses his feet is a faith that he will tread under his feet. The faith that never anoints him is a faith that will have no fragrance in his esteem, and he will not accept it. We are not saved by works and faith combined, much less by works alone; but, nevertheless, the faith which saves is not a barren faith; it produces the good fruit of love and service for Christ,
So this woman’s faith was personal and practical. It was also a penitent faith. While she stood at Christ’s feet, behind him, her eyes showered tears upon them as she wept over her sin. I am always doubtful of the genuineness of a dry-eyed faith. The longer I live, the more I am afraid of those people who profess to leap into faith without any repentance; and there seem to be some, in these days, who do not believe in the old-fashioned sorrow for sin. I would rather see some men less confident than they are if they were more humbled on account of their past transgressions. This woman manifested a truly penitent faith.
And, once more, it was a pure faith;—I use that word pure to help your memory, and I mean that her faith was perfectly simple. She wept, but she did not trust in her weeping. She anointed Christ’s feet with the ointment, but she did not rely upon her self-sacrifice. She kissed his feet, but she did not depend upon her kisses. Where was her trust all placed? Why, upon Christ, and-upon him alone. I do not know that she had ever read the Old Testament; certainly, she could not have read the New Testament, for it was not written then. She may not have known much about the Bible, but she knew him who is the very sum and substance of the Bible. I have heard people talk about a Body of Divinity; but there never was but one in the highest sense of the term, and Jesus Christ is that Body of Divinity. He is, in the truest sense, “the Word of God.” This woman had seen him, she had learned to know him, he had forgiven her sin, and she had come into that house full of love to him, and full of trust in him, and now from his own lips she receives this gracious assurance, “Thy faith hath saved thee.” It was faith in him, and in nothing else. There was not, and there could not, have been, in her case, anything to trust to but Christ. She was, in a very emphatic sense, a sinner; she had not set herself up as being a person of good character; there were, no doubt, scores of people in the city who could have borne lamentable evidence of her sinfulness. But she trusted herself absolutely to Jesus Christ, the sinners’ Saviour, and she trusted him alone, and so her faith was proved to he of that pure kind that saves all who exercise it. Let yours be like that, dear friend,—personal, practical, penitential, and pure.
Further, upon this first point, note that salvation may be a matter of assurance. This woman had the assurance from Christ’s own lips, “Thy faith hath saved thee.” Those of you who were at the prayer-meeting here, last Monday night, will remember that one of our brethren, when he was giving an address, made you smile when he said, “He that believeth On the Son hath everlasting life,” and then added, “h-a-t-h,—that spells ‘got it.'” That is a queer mode of spelling, which is not taught at the Board School; yet it is a heavenly way of spelling, and it is perfectly correct. “H-a-t-h;—that spells ‘got it.'” If you have the blessing of salvation, there is a possibility of knowing that you have it. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life;” he has got it; he has got it now.