I’ve found several of Octavius Winslow’s (d. 1878) brief meditations to be a great help while comforting the dying saint. They are short, gospel-centered, soul-warming devotions that point the Christian to his/her living Savior. Here’s one I used just last week, based on 1 Tim. 1.15 (The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners– of whom I am the foremost [NRSV]).
“He came into the world to save sinners, and he is willing to save you. His compassion inclines him to save sinners, his power enables him to save sinners. And oh, how easy it is to be saved when the Holy Spirit draws the heart to Christ! It is not great faith, nor deep experience, nor extensive knowledge that are required. The dimmest eye that ever looked to Christ, the feeblest hand that ever took hold of Christ, the most trembling step that ever traveled to Christ, has in it present salvation and has in it life eternal. The smallest measure of real faith will take the soul to heaven. Yes! There is hope for the trembling penitent. Jesus suffered to the uttermost, therefore ‘He is also able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him’ (Heb. 7.15).”
Amen! Even a tiny, trembling, and feeble faith saves because the object of faith is strong: a risen and living Savior. Even a pipe that is small, brittle, and a tad leaky can carry life-giving water. The pipe is simply the instrument through which the water is received. Faith saves not because it is a virtue, but because it receives all the benefits of Christ.
Especially on our deathbeds we need to remember to rest on and hope in Jesus, not the strength or virtue of our faith [or faithfulness]. When we take stock of our life as we face death, we say, “I am a filthy bag of sins, but Christ came to save sinners like me. Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief.”
One Reply to “A Feeble, Trembling Faith…Saves!”
This reminds me of a quote in the prelude to Bavinck’s Doctrine of God (the old edition, not the Baker one) which he either said or wrote at a time very near to his death:
“At this point all my knowledge avails me nothing; neither does my dogmatics; faith alone will save me.”
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