The profession of our faith is made by deed. A man that cannot speak may make a profession of his faith. He cannot make it by words, but he may make it otherwise; I acknowledge not so easy, for the tongue is man’s glory.
1. The outward attending on the means of grace is a profession of faith. Whoever they be that give but their bodily presence unto prayer and preaching of the word of God, and other institutions of Christ’s appointment, they profess their faith of the gospel. A great many are liars in so saying; for they profess what they have not, and God will judge them accordingly. There is more need to be afraid, than people commonly are aware of. It is the most dangerous employment that an unbeliever can be taken up in, to make a secure attendance on the means of faith, when the man knows in his own heart, that he neither hath faith, nor would have it.
2. People may and should make a profession of their faith in their conversations in their families. This is one part of Christian profession, that every one that has a family, that he is master or she is mistress of, are obliged to make profession of their faith there. The Christian conduct of a family is a very honourable way of professing faith. I will behave myself wisely, says David, in a perfect way: O when will thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect hearty, Psal. 101:2. Several good words he speaks there of his purpose of owning of God, and declaring his respect to him, by his conduct in his family.
3. People make a profession of their faith by joining to and embodying themselves with the church of Christ. If there were no more but twenty believers in a city, I am persuaded that within a little time these twenty believers would quickly scrape up acquaintance one with another, and would unite themselves in the profession of their faith. Shall we receive faith, this great gift, and the honour of so near a relation to God and Christ Jesus as faith brings us to, and shall we not own it? It is remarkable the apostle takes notice of this, 2 Cor. 9:13. They glorify God, says he, for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ. The word in the Greek is more emphatical; it is for the subjection or stooping of your profession to the gospel of Christ, and your acknowledgment of it. Pray what great subjection is there here? Is it so low a stooping for a man to make profession of his faith, that it must be called a stooping? Is it any wonder that the apostle called it stooping to be subject to the gospel, when he says, Rom. 10:3 that the proud self-justiciary will not submit to the righteousness of God? And it is the same word with subjection in the other place.
4. People make a profession of their faith by an holy conversation. A walk as it becometh the gospel, is a profession of our faith, an outward confession of it. All manner of godly conversation, and the adorning of the gospel of God our Saviour in all things, is what is required even of servants, Titus 2:10. But, say you, what will the gospel be adorned, is there an ornament added as it were to the gospel, by the faithfulness and obedience of a poor mean servant? Yes, says the Spirit of God, you are to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. We find it instructed in several very like things. There is the giving of charity to the relief of the saints: That is, says the apostle, by the experiment of this ministration, they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ: and you prove your subjection by your liberal distribution to your poor brethren. Nay, to bring the matter yet lower, and I cannot bring it much lower, and that is even in womens apparel: says the apostle, 1 Tim. 2:9. Likewise let women adorn themselves, not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array, but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. Let the ornament of a Christian that seeks to adorn the gospel be good works, rather than the vanities of this world, that are utterly unbecoming the gospel; that the gospel never taught, and that it frequently rebukes; for these vanities always bring reproach upon it, and upon mens profession too.
5. The last profession of our faith is the last thing we can do; that is, dying in faith. After profession, and adorning our profession all manner of ways, as long as we live; in due time, when God calls us, we are to make profession of our faith in dying. There is a dying faith, as the apostle says of the Old Testament saints, Heb. 11:13. These all died in faith. They confessed themselves, all their life long, to be strangers and pilgrims on the earth; and in the same faith that they professed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth, in the same faith they died, and went to heaven. This is the noblest of all; and if it be not only dying in faith, but dying for the faith, it is so much the more amiable. The time of my departure is at hand, says the apostle, 2 Tim. 4:6, 7. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Well, had he no more to do with faith? No, but one bit. Henceforth is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, &c. I will die in the expectation of the crown, I will have no more to do with faith. So Stephen, the first confessor, the first professor of faith by his blood, Acts 7:59. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon the Lord, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. “I have confessed thy name before these enemies, and they are driving this soul of mine out of my body; now, Lord, receive it; I have believed on thee, I suffer for thy sake, I commit this expelled soul unto thy care and conduct; Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
Traill, R. (1810). The Works of Robert Traill (Vol. 3, pp. 10–12). Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust.