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Charles Finney: The Way

One of my favorite books is Charles Finney’s Faith. Finney was a fiery evangelist who had a very low backslider rate due to using the Law in its proper place – as a means of convicting those outside of Christ. Here’s an excerpt:

The visible Christ embodied the true Godhead (Col 2:9). He is the way to God because He is the true God and the Eternal Life and Salvation of the soul.

Many seem to understand Christ in this role as nothing more than a teacher of a system of morality, by the observance of which we may be saved. Others regard this role as only implying that He is the way in the sense of making an atonement and thus rendering it possible for us to be forgiven. Still others understand this language as implying not only that Christ made an atonement and opened up a way of access to God through His death and mediation, but also that He teaches us the great truths essential to our salvation.

Now all this, in my understanding, falls infinitely short of the true spiritual meaning of Christ and the true spiritual significance of His role as the Way…He did not say, “I came to open the way,” “I came to teach the way,” or “I came to call you into the way,” but “I am the way” (John 14:6).

Do you know Christ by the Holy Spirit as the Living Way? Do you know Christ as a personal acquaintance? Or do you know Him only by report, by hearsay, by preaching, by reading, and by study? Do you know Him as in the Father and the Father as in Him? Have you had this revelation? And when He has been revealed to you as the True and Living Way, have you by faith personally entered the Way? Do you abide steadfastly in it? Do you know by experience what it means to live and move and have your very being in God?

Do not be deceived. He who does not spiritually discern and enter the Way, he who does not abide in it to the end, cannot be saved. See to it, then that you know the way to be saved, to be justified, to be sanctified. See to it that you do not mistake the way and take some other way… Christ in His own person is the Way. His own life living in and united to you is the Way and the only Way. You enter this Way by faith. Works of faith result from and are a condition of abiding in this Way, but the Way itself is the indwelling, living, personally embraced Christ, the “true God and eternal life” (1John 5:20).


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