Humility: The Beauty of Holiness # 2
Humility: The Secret of Redemption
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, made in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:5-7).
No tree can grow except on the root from which it sprang. Through all its existence it can only live with the life that was in the seed that gave it being. The full understanding of this truth in its application to the first and the second Adam help us greatly to grasp both the need and the nature of the redemption there is in Jesus.
The Need. When the old serpent, he who had been cast out of heaven for his pride, whose whole nature was pride, spoke his words of temptation into the ear of Eve, these words carried with them the very poison of hell. When she listened, and yielded her desire and her will to the prospect of being as God, knowing good and evil, the poison entered into her soul, blood, and life. This destroyed forever that blessed humility and dependence upon God, which would have been our everlasting happiness. Instead of this, her life and the life of the race that sprang from her became corrupted to its very root with the most terrible of all sins and curses - the poison of satan's own pride. All the misery of which this world has been the stage, all its wars and bloodshed among the nations, its selfishness, and suffering, all its ambitions and jealousies, its broken hearts and embittered lives, and all its daily unhappiness, have their origin in what this cursed, hellish pride, either our own or that of others, has brought us. It is pride that made redemption necessary. Most of all, it is from our pride that we need to be redeemed. Our awareness of the need for redemption will largely depend on our knowledge of the terrible nature of the power of pride that has entered our being.
No tree can grow except on the root from which it sprang. The power satan brought from hell, and into man's life, is working daily, hourly,and with mighty power throughout the world. Men suffer from it. They fear, fight, and flee it, yet they don't know where it comes from or where it derives its power. No wonder they do not know where or how it is to be overcome. Pride has its root and strength in a terrible spiritual power, outside of us as well as within us. As necessary as it is that we confess and deplore it as our own, it is essential to know its satanic origin. If this leads us to utter despair of ever conquering or casting it out, it will lead us more quickly to the supernatural power of the redemption of the Lamb of God, in which alone our deliverance is to be found. The hopeless struggle against the demonstration of self and pride within us may become still more hopeless as we think of the power of darkness behind it all. Utter despair will prepare us realize and accept a power and a life outside of ourselves, the humility of heaven as brought near by the Lamb of God, to cast out satan and his pride.
No tree can grow except on the root from which it sprang. Even as we need to look to the first Adam and his fall to know the power of the sin of pride within us, we need to experience the second Adam and His power to form within us a life of humility as real, abiding, and conquering as that of pride. We have our life from and in Christ, more truly than from and in Adam. We are to walk, "holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, fed and united by its joints and bonds, grows in the increase of God" (Colossians 2:19). The life of God, which in Jesus Christ entered human nature, is the root in which we are to stand and grow. It is the same almighty power that worked when Jesus Christ entered human nature, and then onward to the resurrection, which works daily in us. Our one need is to study, know, and trust the life that has been revealed in Christ as the life that is now ours, and waits for our willingness to submit in order to gain possession and mastery of our whole being.
In this view, it is of incredible importance that we should have correct and accurate thoughts of who Christ is, what really makes Him the Christ, and especially what may be considered His chief characteristic, the root and essence of all His character as our Redeemer. There can only be one answer: it is His humility. What is the incarnation but His heavenly humility, His emptying Himself and becoming man. What is His life on earth but humility. His taking the form of a servant. What is His atonement but humility. He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death. What is His ascension and His glory, but humility exalted to the throne and crowned with glory. "He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death. Therefore, God also has highly exalted him" (Philippians 2:8-9). In heaven, where He was with the Father, in His birth, His life, His death, and in His sitting on the throne, it is all nothing but humility. Christ is the humility of God embodied in human nature. He is eternal love humbling itself, clothing itself in the garb of meekness and gentleness, to win, serve, and save us. As the love and superiority of God makes Him the protector, helper, and servant of all, it was necessary for Jesus to become incarnate humility. He is still in the midst of the throne, the meek and lowly Lamb of God.
If humility is the root of the tree, its nature must be seen in every branch, leaf, and fruit. If it is the first, the all-including grace of the life of Jesus, if it is the secret of His atonement, then the health and strength of our spiritual life will entirely depend on our putting this grace first too. We must make humility the chief thing we admire in Him, the chief thing we ask of Him, and the one thing for which we sacrifice all else.
Is it any wonder that the Christian life is so often feeble and fruitless, when the very root of our life in Christ is neglected and unknown? Is it any wonder that the joy of salvation is felt so little, when the humility in which Christ found joy and brings it to us, is so rarely desired? Until a humility which will rest in nothing less than the end and death of self; which gives up all the honor of men as Jesus did, to seek the honor that comes from God alone; which absolutely makes and counts itself nothing, that God may be all, that the Lord alone may be exalted, until such a humility is what we seek in Christ above our most important joy, and welcome at any price, there is very little hope of a religion that will conquer the world.
I cannot plead strongly enough with my reader, if his attention has never been specifically directed to the need for humility within him or around him, to pause and ask whether he sees very much of the spirit of the meek and lowly Lamb of God in those who are called by His name. Let him consider how all lack of love; all disregard for the needs, feelings, and weakness of others; all sharp and hasty judgments and words, so often excused under the plea of being outright and honest; all manifestations of temper, touchiness, and irritation; all feelings of bitterness estrangement, have their root in nothing but pride, that only seeks itself. Will he open his eyes to see how a dark and devilish pride creeps in almost everywhere? Even the church assemblies of the saints are not exempt. Let him begin to ask what would happen, if in himself, around him, towards fellow saints, and the world, believers were really permanently guided by the humility of Jesus. Let him acknowledge that the cry of our whole heart, night and day, should be for the humility of Jesus in ourselves and all around us! Let him honestly fix his heart on his own lack of the humility which has been revealed in the likeness of Christ's life and in the whole character of His redemption,and he will begin to feel as if he had not yet fully known Christ and His salvation.
Believer, study the humility of Jesus! This is the secret, the hidden root of your deliverance. Sink down into it deeper day by day. Believe with your whole heart that this Christ, whom God has given you, will enter in to live and work within you too, in order to make you into what the Father would have you to be.
(continued with # 3 - The Humanity of Jesus