Waggoner's take on righteousness by faith

Posted Jan 15, 2014 by Morry Stokes in General Hits: 2,596

I have been reading a set of studies by E.J.Waggoner on the book of Hebrews and in lesson #13 he gives this description of Righteousness by faith which I thought was helpful in the understanding of it, so I would like to share it with you all. In the beginning of the lesson he mentions that most Christians don't have a true concept of what it is, also many people at this time (1897 GC) we're saying that they must not take it too far, that there can be too much of a good thing. This is his rebuke of those sentiments:-

Do we accept the truth that there is no other way of becoming righteous, except by faith? Is there any other way of being righteous?—No. To every act in a man's life the term righteous or unrighteous may be applied; then if a man would be righteous, to how many acts of his life must faith come in as the source?—All of them. Righteousness by faith, then, does not mean that it is something that we will have at some point of our life, the goody goody part, but when we come to business, we want something better. Faith is not something to be put to one side and sneered at; faith is not imagination; faith is not fancy; faith is not sentimentalism; faith is not guess work; faith is an eternal fact. Therefore if a man be in business, and he would be a righteous man in business, that business, being an act, must be done by faith. Righteousness by faith therefore means, the life of Christ coming in to direct everything that man does, and especially in the cause of God, because as a matter of fact, if we are Christians we do not do anything that is not in the cause of God. As Christians we do not have two parts to our lives; it is all Christian, and if we say we have given ourselves to the cause of God, then we have no business to be in the cause of God a part of the time, and then a little part of the time do something else. Therefore as we are altogether in the cause, in the work, I say righteousness by faith means nothing less than that by faith everything that is done shall be done. It means that the Lord shall act. It means that we shall trust the Lord so that we shall understand; because, "by faith we understand." The word of God is true. Man is nothing. When God speaks, we are to take His word. It does not make any difference how it comes, when or by whom it comes, we are to say, that is true. Brethren, God has placed authority in the church. That authority is His word illumined by His Holy Spirit. That is the authority. That is the only authority there is. Christ is the leader of the church. "Behold I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader, and a commander to the people." He is the leader; we will follow him. His word is authority, and it alone is authority. When we take the word of God, it does not make any difference if some man in higher position says, "It does not mean that," or, "We cannot apply it; it would do all right in an ideal state, but God must take us where we are, and it cannot be applied here. It cannot be applied there." With all respect to that man, I do not believe a word of it. I know that the word of God is not visionary, and fanciful, simply dissolving into blue clouds and then into nothing, but God's word is for us to live upon. Brethren, there is that in that word, in the light which God gives to us,—there is that in that word, which will direct us in every thing which we have to do in this world, no matter in what capacity we act. There is instruction in this word for everything that we should do. Numbers who do not believe the truth do not have one iota of effect upon the truth. If ten thousand men do not believe the truth, that does not make it any less the truth. If somebody else cannot see it, that does not make it any the less true that I can see it.
And so God's blessing is upon us, and God is among us; and things that we ought to have known, every one of us, years ago, and have not known, and have deprived ourselves of, and in consequence have been weak, because of our not taking God by His Holy Spirit,—if we only get the key, if we only get the root, if we only get the thing for all that it is worth, we will have eternity for here and everywhere. Dependence upon God is everything. Righteousness by faith is the key that will unlock all these things. So God in His infinite mercy will teach us in a little while—O, how good He is!—that which we have been holding off for years; He will teach us, and we may go forth from this meeting with the power of God to proclaim the truth to the world. So, brethren, let us put our trust in Him.

I pray that this may help others as it did me