| || |The Berean Expositor Volume 43 - Page 108 of 243 Index | Zoom | |
On the Threshold
pp. 99, 100
"If any man will come after Me,
let him . . . . . take up his cross and follow Me" (Matt. 16: 24).
There is an important omission in the verse as quoted above. Before the statement to
taking up the cross, comes the injunction to "deny self". As in all things, we must begin
at home. Little things indicate the direction of the current. Both the actions are
voluntary. Let him deny himself, and take up his cross. There is much talk of following
the Lord amongst us, but where is either the denying of self or the taking up of the cross?
It is noticeable that this statement comes in the section which speaks of Christ's
sufferings, (Matt. 16: 21), and glory (verse 27 and 17: 1-3). The denial and the cross
are but for a time; glory is ahead, and as Christ has suffered in our stead, no wrath can be
ours. Our cross is not the curse of a broken law. Phil. 3: 1-12 seems to give a similar
thought, the denial of self, counting all things as loss and the fellowship of His sufferings,
with resurrection in view. May we not "follow afar off" as Peter did who denied his
Lord, but follow closely by denying self.
"That ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;
being filled with the fruits of righteousness" (Phil. 1: 10, 11).
In verse 9, abounding love leading to knowledge and judgment and discernment, leads
right on to the day of Christ, when we shall stand before Him. We know that so far as
our eternal salvation is concerned, we shall be without blemish (Eph. 5: 27 & Phil. 1: 6).
Phil. 1: 6 says what the Lord will do until the day of Christ comes but 1: 10, 11, what we
are to seek to be till that day. The word translated `sincere' means `tested by sunlight';
our every action and thought will be laid bare. Oh to remember this! The word is
suggestive; it teaches us to avoid any appearance of sham, all must be genuine to please
the Lord. "Without offence." This includes two things: (1) that we shall be able to
stand before the Lord, and receive His "well done", and (2) that we have not caused our
brethren to stumble. How difficult is the path, and how can we even commence this life
of consistency? Verse 11 gives an answer--filled with the fruits of righteousness. We,
as Christians, have reckoned to us the righteousness of God through Christ, and this
secures our entrance into the joys of eternity, but to be rewarded, not to be ashamed, to
avoid suffering loss with regard to the Judgment Seat, sincerity and fruitfulness are
required. Note it is the "fruits" of righteousness. Blessed be God, He has planted the
tree. May we not hinder the bringing forth of much fruit (Eph. 2: 10; Hosea 14: 8
"From Me is thy fruit found").