The Process of Stripping and Emptying The Saints – by C.H. MacKintosh, Ireland, 1820-1896
HERE is no more fruitful field of study than the history of God’s dealings with souls. It is full of interest, and abounds in instruction and profit. One grand object in those dealings is to produce real brokenness and humility . . . to strip us of all false righteousness, empty us of all self-confidence, and teach us to lean wholly upon Christ. All have to pass through what may be called the process of stripping and emptying. With some this process precedes, with others it follows, conversion or the new birth. Many are brought to Christ through deep plowings and painful exercises of heart and conscience . . . exercises extending over years, often over the whole lifetime. Others, on the contrary, are brought with comparatively little exercise of soul. They lay hold, speedily, of the glad tidings of forgiveness of sins through the atoning death of Christ, and are made happy at once. But the stripping and emptying come afterward, and, in many cases, cause the soul to totter on its foundation, and almost doubt its conversion.
This is very painful, but very needful. The fact is, self must be learnt and judged, sooner or later. If it be not learnt in communion with God, it must be learnt by bitter experience in failures and falls. “No flesh shall glory in His presence;” and we must all learn our utter powerlessness, in every respect, in order that we may taste the sweetness and comfort of the Truth, that Christ is made of God unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. God will have broken material. Let us remember this. It is solemn and necessary truth, “Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, Whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isa.57:15). And again, “Thus saith the Lord, ‘The heaven is My throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build Me? and where is the place of My rest? For all those things hath Mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word’” (Isa.66:1-2). These are seasonable words for all of us.
Do You Know Anything? -- By Jack Shanks
“If any man think that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.”– I Corinthians 8:2
HILE reading, I saw this quote: “I have learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.” So I made a copy of this and put it in front of my computer, feeling very self-satisfied that the lesson was well-learned. But the longer I looked at it, the more I thought it did not ring true somehow. Today I changed it to read: “I am learning that when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.”
Only pride would cause a depraved sinner to be satisfied with what he has learned. Paul wrote, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: I press toward the mark . . .” (Phil.3:13-14). Therefore we are always pressing onward, without full knowledge of anything.
Thinking they know something, men write books on “How To.” This is the epitome of sinful arrogance. The idea of me telling anyone “How to” is absurd. Now, I can say, “This may help.” Perhaps what I have to say might help, and it might not. The only “How to” book I could write is, “How to be filled with sinful pride.” Now, brother, if you want to know about that, yours truly is well taught.
The biggest idiocy of this “How to” business is, “How to be saved.” Do you really know that? If someone asks me how to be saved, all I can answer is, “Flee to Christ; trust Him and His shed blood.” How do you do that? I have no “steps” or “formula.” But I do know that salvation is in the Redeemer. This I must learn anew every day. How do you do this? How do you do that? I don’t know! It would be wise to ask God Almighty to give you knowledge, and search the scriptures daily whether these things be so.”
“If any man think that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.” I will have to learn even that again tomorrow.