November 5th 2018 – Ephesians 1:13-14

"In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory."

Ephesians 1:13-14

Next, we must look at the other phrase, 'trusting in Christ'. As has already been indicated, it is the work of the Holy Spirit to create faith in Christ in our hearts. This is what happens when the gospel grips us. As the Shorter Catechism puts it, 'we are persuaded and enabled to embrace Christ as He is offered to us in the gospel'. Anders Nygren, the Swedish scholar, defines faith thus: 'When one hears the gospel, and is mastered by it, that is faith'. When we look at it in this way we see that it is beside the point, and indeed absurd, to think of faith in terms of some natural trait within us, or of an aptitude that some folk have by nature, and are therefore 'good at' in a way that others are not - in the way that some folk have a bent for, say, train spotting or bird watching. Not so: if we have a genuine faith it is something that the finger of God has planted in our hearts and imparted by the Holy Spirit in and through the hearing of the gospel. There are three main terms used in Scripture to describe the soul's relation to God - 'trust', 'belief', 'faith'. Here, the AV uses 'trust', but the word is not the usual one but one which has the meaning of 'to hope', and the sense here seems to be 'to pin one's hopes on Christ', and that gives a very good meaning to the nature of true faith, for it is not an intellectual exercise, or the expression of a natural trait, but an act of committal of oneself to Him. We shall say something further about this in tomorrow's Note.