Isa 43:10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Night Of Weeping~Selfishness

All seek their own, not the things that are Jesus Christ's.

This was Paul's complaint, not of the ungodly, but of the churches of Christ.

It was the selfishness he saw in the saints that gave occasion to these sorrowful words.

This selfishness is of various kinds, and shows itself in various ways.

It is selfishness in reference to the things of Christ; or in reference to the Church of Christ; or in reference to the work given us to do;

Or in reference to the sacrifices we are called upon to undergo, and the toils we are called upon to endure.

It would be easy to show how God's chastisements are pointed at all these forms of selfishness, aiming deadly blows at each one of them from the outermost to the innermost circle.

But this is too large a field. We shall merely take up the first, and even it we can only touch upon.

It is the most important of them all, and stands so connected with the rest that whatever uproots it destroys the other also.

Selfishness, in reference to the things of Christ, obviously springs from coldness towards Christ Himself.

A preference of self to Christ is its root and source.

Anything, therefore, that tends to obscure or keep out of view the person of Christ must lead to selfishness.

It may be the love of the world; it may be the love of the creature, it may be the love of man's applause.

These are the dark bodies that eclipse the glory of a living Savior and nourish self.

But these are not all. Satan has deeper devices still.

He brings in religion between us and the Savior!

Religious acts, ordinances, duties, are all turned by him into so many instruments for exalting self and lowering the Savior.

But even this is not all. He has a subtler device still for these last days.

He is trying to make the work of Christ a substitute for His person, to fix attention so much upon the one as to exclude the other.

The result of this is a thoroughly selfish and sectarian religion.

I know this is delicate ground, but the evil is an augmenting one and ought to be made known.

There are not a few who are so occupied with truth that they forget "the true one," so occupied with faith that they lose sight of its personal object...

So given to dwelling upon the work of Christ that they overlook His person.

They seem to regard the latter subject as a matter, if not beyond them, at least one about which it will be time enough to concern themselves when they see Him face to face.

What He is seems a question of small importance, provided they know that He has accomplished a work by which they may secure eternal life. 

We are forgiven, they say, "we have peace- all is well."

They take but little interest in the person of Him who has purchased these blessings.

The redemption is all, and the Redeemer is nothing, or, at least, very little!

The sufficiency of His work is all, the glory and excellence of His person, nothing!

What is this but selfishness?

We get all the benefit we can out of the work of Christ, and then leave Him alone!

And this selfishness introduces itself everywhere into the actions and thinking of this class. 

We can trace it in the mold of their doctrines.

Their views of the atonement are selfish, being framed not upon the principle of how God is to get His purpose fulfilled and His glory displayed, but simply of how a sinner is to be saved.

Their views of Jehovah's sovereignty and electing grace are selfish, being just so many devices for taking the sinner out of God's hands, and leaving him in his own control.

Their views of the Spirit's work are selfish, being just an attempt to make His aid appear less absolutely indispensable and man's own skill and strength of very considerable avail in the matter of salvation.

But even where those selfish views of doctrine have not been adopted, there is a latent tendency toward selfishness among many, which can only be ascribed to their neglect of the person of Christ.

But what has chastisement to do with this?

Much every way. Chiefly in this that it throws us more entirely for consolation and strength upon the person of the Savior. 

Never do we feel more brought into contact with a living personal Savior than in our days of sorrow.

It is Jesus- Jesus alone- Jesus Himself- whom we feel to be absolutely necessary.

The truth is precious; His work is precious; but it is with Him that we have chiefly to do it is to Him that we pour out our sorrows.

Thus by creating a necessity for our leaning on the person of Jesus (blessed necessity!) affliction strikes at that which was the root of selfishness.

By bringing before us another and far more glorious self, it absorbs our own miserable self, until in the person of Jesus we lose sight of our own selves altogether. 

There is nothing that so makes us acquainted with Christ Himself as sorrow; and hence, there is nothing so efficacious in eradicating self.

It is God's cure for selfishness.

It is His way of making us seek, not our own, but the things that are Jesus Christ's.

It is His way of carrying us beyond truth even to "him that is true."

Truth is precious, but in itself it is cold. But the glory of the Gospel is this that it carries us up beyond truth to its living fountainhead.

No, it brings us into the very bosom of Him who came out of the Father's bosom and has now returned to it carrying with Him all those whom the Father has given Him, there, with Him to abide in happy fellowship, world without end.

~Horatius Bonar~

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