If the Lord were to get to work to empty us of ourselves in order to make room for the Lord Jesus, the devil would begin to say: “You are under condemnation, God is against you, these very dealings of God with you are proofs that your salvation is not certain.” And so it is with a great many in whom the Lord begins to work out things. They allow the enemy to jump in and take hold of the very work of God and turn it against God by bringing up doubts in their hearts as to their salvation.
Do you see that? So often that is done, and the peril is there, running right alongside of the greatest blessing all the time. It is thus that the enemy tries to use God’s truth against God. Now the subjective side of God’s work demands for its effective outworking that we are settled once and for all as to our salvation; that comes first! If you have only the one side; the objective, and all your emphasis is upon that, you may be shallow and you may not grow spiritually. If you dwell only on the subjective, you become introspective and begin to doubt your salvation; your eyes are always turned in upon yourself, and the result is that you begin to look for something in yourself that can commend itself to God; and therein lies a denial of the perfect work of salvation accomplished by the Lord Jesus.
You see it is an undermining and undercutting of the whole of the work of Calvary. These two things must go together. On the one hand fully and finally in Christ we are as perfect in the hour when we believe as ever we shall be. On the other hand all that is in Christ is going to be made, not THEORETICALLY true, but ACTUALLY true in us by the Holy Spirit. But the second demands the first, and we must keep the balance. We must rejoice always in the fact that our names are written in heaven, that we are saved with a perfect salvation; but, on the other hand, we must remember that there is something that the Lord wants to do not to make salvation true, but to make the image of Christ an inward thing. That is the outworking of salvation.
So this balance is necessary, and we must give equal emphasis. It is a matter of the work of God in Christ, and the purpose of God in Christ: and these two things must both have their place.
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