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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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OBEDIENCE REQUIRES HUMILITY

And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:8 ESV)

In the verse above, we see that Jesus left His glory in heaven to become a human man. He came in the form of a servant; not a ruler. He was a man like other men, but He did not sin. Yet, He humbled Himself in obedience to die on the cross. Such a death was considered the most degrading and most humiliating kind of death. This was the penalty for the most wretched of slaves and the wickedest of criminals who were considered cursed by God.

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Martin Luther: We Have A Great Confidence And Refuge In God Through Christ

People are sometimes presumptuous and disrespectful of God when they put themselves, too easily, forward in lightheartedness or pride as a Christian. Martin Luther believed that Christians should be serious about their relationship with Christ and approach the subject with more humility:

Those who only cry: “Christ is my brother! Christ is my brother!” are not true Christians. A Christian acts quite differently, and it is very wonderful, so that the flesh shudders at it and dares indeed neither speak of it nor confess it.

We should bestir ourselves to hear this, not only with the natural ear, but also to experience it in our hearts, for then we would not be so forward and impudent, but would be surprised and amazed over it. True and godly Christians go along in life in contempt of themselves and in fear; they think thus: Ah, shall I, a poor, miserable person, who am steeped in sin, be now so exalted that God’s Son becomes my brother? Ay, how is it that I, a miserable poor creature, am thus honored? I am at once confounded before it and feed upon it; for it truly requires a great effort to believe it; yea, when one experiences it thus, how it is in truth, he must from that hour die; for man, since he is flesh and blood, cannot understand it. Here in this life man’s heart is in too great straits to lay hold of it; but after death, when the heart becomes larger and broader, we experience what we have heard through the Word.

In the Gospel of John, Christ tells Mary Magdalene of the benefit and use of his death and resurrection still more plainly, when he says: “But go unto my brethren, and say to them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God.” Jn 20,17. This is one of the great and comforting passages upon which we can venture, and of which we dare boast. As if Christ had said: Go hence, Mary, and say to my disciples who have deserted me on the field of battle, and who have well merited punishment and eternal condemnation, that my resurrection has taken place for their benefit; that is, by my resurrection I have brought it to pass that my Father is their Father, and my God is their God. These are few words and very short; but they contain a great thought, namely, that we have as great a confidence and refuge in God as Christ his Son himself has. Who can grasp such exceeding joy, unless one speaks of himself when he says a poor, corrupt sinner can and may call God his Father and his God, just like Christ himself does? (“The Fruit and Power of Christ’s Resurrection”)

The Way Of Humility

In the words of Andrew Murray:

The greatest test of whether the holiness we profess to seek or to attain is truth and life will be whether it produces an increasing humility in us. In man, humility is the one thing needed to allow God’s holiness to dwell in him and shine through him. The chief mark of counterfeit holiness is lack of humility. The holiest will be the humblest.

Richard Baxter On The Need For Pastoral Humility

Richard Baxter

In this excerpt from The Reformed Pastor, Richard Baxter exhorts pastors to humble themselves in order to be a faithful instrument of God:

Humility is not a mere ornament of a Christian, but an essential part of the new creature: it is a contradiction to be a sanctified man, or a true Christian, and not humble. Is not pride the sin of devils, the firstborn of hell? Is it not that wherein Satan’s image doth much consist? and is it tolerable evil in a man that is so engaged against him and his kingdom as we are? The very design of the gospel doth tend to self-abasing; and the work of grace is begun and carried on in humiliation. Humility is not a mere ornament of a Christian, but an essential part of the new creature: it is a contradiction to be a sanctified man, or a true Christian, and not humble. . . .

Alas! what is it that we have to be proud of? Of our bodies? Why, are they not made of the like materials as the brutes, and must they not shortly be as loathsome and abominable as the dung? Is it of our graces? Why, the more we are proud of them, the less we have to be proud of. And when so much of the nature of grace is in humility, it is a great absurdity to be proud of it. Is it of our learning, knowledge, abilities, and gifts? Why, surely if we have any knowledge at all, we must needs know much reason to be humble; and if we know more than others, we must know more reason than others do to be humble. How little is it that the most learned knows, in comparison of that which yet they are ignorant of? And to know that things are past your reach, and to know how ignorant you are, one would think should be no great cause of pride! However, do not the devils know more than you? And will you be proud of that which the devils do excel you in? Our very business is to teach the great lesson of self-denial and humility to our people, and how unfit is it then that we should be proud ourselves! We must study humility, and preach humility, and must we not possess and practice it? A proud preacher of humility is at least a self-condemning man.

What a sad case is it, that so vile a sin is no more easily discerned by us! But many that are most proud, can blame it in others, and take no notice of it in themselves. The world takes notice of some among us that they have aspiring minds, and seek for the highest rooms, and must be rulers, and bear the sway wherever they come, or else there is no standing before them. No man must contradict them that will not partake of the fruits of their indignation. In any consultations, they come not to search after truth, but to dictate to others that perhaps are fit to teach them. In a word, they have such arrogant, domineering spirits that the world rings of it; and yet they will not see it in themselves. . . .

For what is true holiness but devotedness to God, and a living to Him? And what is a wicked and damnable state, but devotedness to our carnal selves, and a living to ourselves? And doth any man live more to himself, or less to God, than the proud? (An excerpt from “The Reformed Pastor”)

True Faith And Humility

Source: http://homepage.mac.com/shanerosenthal...

A. A. Hodge

A. A. Hodge, in the following article, discusses how the assurance of salvation and humility go hand-in-hand:

I think the first essential mark of the difference between true and false assurance is to be found in the fact that the truth works humility. There is nothing in the world that works such satanic, profound, God-defiant pride as false assurance; nothing works such utter humility, or brings to such utter self-emptiness, as the child-like spirit of true assurance. Surely this can be known. If a person is self-confident, there is self-assurance; if there is any evidence of pride in connection with his claim, it is a most deadly mark- it is the plague-spot which marks death and corruption. But if there is utter humility, you have the sign of the true spirit.

This will manifest itself in connection with another mark. If one is really united to Christ in a union so established that Christ is indeed in possession of the soul, the whole consciousness will be taken up with what I would call Christ-consciousness, and there will be no self-consciousness. Little children are very prompt to show their character. There is a great difference in them. Bring a child into a room. She comes thinking about nothing in particular, looking at her mother, and then looking at the guests or anything that objectively strikes her, not thinking of herself. That is pure, sweet, and lovely. She grows older, and she comes to think of herself and what people think of her, and her manner has lost its unconsciousness. A great deal of what you call bashfulness is rottenness at the heart; it is self-consciousness. Nothing in the world so tends to defile the imagination, to pervert the affections, and to corrupt the morals, as self-consciousness. You know it is connected with every diseased and morbid action of the body.

A young woman told me that she wanted the witness of the Spirit, and she talked about it everlastingly; she wanted to tell her own experience and feelings always. I told her she must forget herself, not think of her own feelings. The man who is talking about his love unceasingly has no love; the man who is talking about his faith unceasingly has no faith: the two things cannot go together. When you love, what are you thinking about? Are you not thinking about the object of your love? And when you believe, what are you thinking about? Why, the object that you believe. . . .

A great deal of Perfectionism is rotten to the core. All self-consciousness is of the very essence and nature of sin. Then, again, true confidence leads necessarily to strong desires for more knowledge and more holiness, for unceasing advances of grace.

I was told once, in a congregation where I preached, that I need not tell a certain young man anything about religion; he had finished it – that is, that, having finished it, he found nothing else to do. That is what the word ‘perfect’ means. Now, when a man has finished eternal life, when he has finished learning all the revelation of God, when he has experienced all the infinite benefits of Christ’s redemption, when he has finished all the mysterious work of the Holy Ghost in his heart, he ought to be annihilated. There is no place in heaven or on earth for such a man.

But a man who really has the love of God in his heart is always reaching forward to the things which are before. The more he loves, the more he wants to love; the more he is consecrated, the more consecration he longs for. He has grand ideas and grand aims, but they lie beyond him in heaven.

“HUMILITY”

11 The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23)

10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4)

We must view humility as one of the most essential things that characterizes true Christianity. (Jonathan Edwards)

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