Apr 12, 2010

John 14:1 - William Styles

[continued from John 8:46 exposition] One utterance only of Jesus on the subject can cause difficulty. Ye believe (or, believe ye) in God: believe (or ye believe) also in Me. John 14:1. The Revised Version wisely retains the old rendering. How are these words to be understood?

Some with Israel Atkins (“Faith,” p. 114) regard them as meaning, “Ye believe in God (respecting earthly things): believe also in me (respecting heavenly things).” “Divine promises of good have been made to fallen man under a dispensation of favour wholly apart from the mediatorial headship of Christ. For such good God, through His promises, entirely apart from Christ, has been in all ages, with much advantage, man’s object of Faith.” To such natural Faith he conceives the first clause to refer—while the second he regards as referring to spiritual Faith in Christ as one with His Father.

Does not the word “also,” however, oppose this idea—and necessitate the conclusion that though the objects are different, the Faiths are one.

John Hazelton evidently is of this opinion, and regards the word “believe” in both clauses as referring to spiritual Faith.

“‘Ye believe in God.’ This Jesus knew, for He is the searcher of the hearts of men.” He beheld the principle and operation of a heaven-born Faith in their bosoms. ‘I know that ye believe in God, for I am the great Author and Finisher of your Faith.’”

“He added, ‘Believe also in Me.’ In different respects, but with the same Faith. ‘Ye believe in God’, believe also in Me, as the only Mediator between you and God.” Sermons, vol. 2, page 42.

Thus the text is not a command to unregenerate Jews to believe, but an injunction to those who already believed in God through grace, to extend their trust to Jesus as the divine, and altogether reliable object of their confidence. It may be regarded as specially referring to the Apostles. Much was about to transpire which would cause them perplexity and sorrow, and shake their Faith. But, “Let not your heart by troubled;” continue to confide in Me. It may be regarded as striking the key-note of the Gospel dispensation. Hitherto God had been the exclusive object of the Faith of His saints. Now Jesus was to be included in all acts of spiritual confidence. He here, then, claims His Divine rights and mediatorial honours. Henceforth Faith’s eye must be directed to Me, and all approaches to God must be by Me.. (See “The Name of Christ our Plea in Prayer,” page 83; and pages 193, 203.)

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