"We must understand that faith does not justify and save us by itself. . . . but as an instrument, whereby we lay hold of and apply to ourselves Christ with His righteousness and merits, by which only we appear just before God.
A small and weak hand, if it be able to reach up the meat to the mouth, as well performs its duty for the nourishment of the body as one of greater strength, because it is not the strength of the hand but the goodness of the meat which nourishes the body."
George Downame, A Puritan Golden Treasury, compiled by I.D.E. Thomas (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1989), 104.
For the cross saves completely, or not at all. Our faith does not divide the work of salvation between itself and the cross. It is the acknowledgment that the cross alone saves, and that it saves alone. Faith adds nothing to the cross, nor to its healing virtue. It owns the fulness, and sufficiency, and suitableness of the work done there, and bids the toiling spirit cease from its labours and enter into rest.
Faith does not come to Calvary to do anything. It comes to see the glorious spectacle of all things done, and to accept this completion without a misgiving as to its efficacy. It listens to the ‘It is finished!’ of the Sin-bearer, and says, ‘Amen.’ Where faith begins, there labour ends, — labour, I mean, ‘for’ life and pardon.
Faith is rest, not toil. It is the giving up all the former weary efforts to do or feel something good, in order to induce God to love and pardon; and the calm reception of the truth so long rejected, that God is not waiting for any such inducements, but loves and pardons of His own goodwill, and is showing that goodwill to any sinner who will come to Him on such a footing, casting away his own performances or goodnesses, and relying implicitly upon the free love of Him who so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son.”
- Horatius Bonar, “Not Faith, But Christ”