Examining the Heart 83

Search the Scriptures daily as mines of gold in which the heart of Christ is laid open. Watch against sins to which you are prone, see them in their vileness, and they shall never break out into act. Keep always an humble, empty, broken frame of heart, sensitive to any spiritual misconduct, observing all inward workings, fit for the highest communications. Keep not guilt in the conscience, but apply the blood of Christ immediately. God charges sin and guilt upon you to make you look to Christ, the brazen serpent.     Thomas Willcox

The Scriptures should not just be seen as words to be discovered as one reads a book or can be opened by academic study alone. The Scriptures cannot be understood apart from seeing them and seeking an understanding of them in light of Christ and the heart of Christ. The Scriptures and the heart of Christ revealed in them are far greater than mines of gold, yet we know how hard men work to get gold. How eagerly we would search the Scriptures if we understood or believed even a little what riches there are in them when the heart of Christ is set out in them. How diligent we should be to seek Christ in our hearts as we meditate on the Scripture and on Christ Himself. The Scriptures are not set out that we may learn things about them, but that we may learn about Christ and know Christ Himself. Knowing Christ and His precious blood is of far more value than gold.

Part of knowing Christ is to search our own hearts and to watch against sin because they are against Christ Himself. It is hard to claim true love for Christ if we will not watch our hearts and ask Him to teach us those things which are against Him and displease Him. We should ask God and seek to see sin in their vileness so that we would be moved not to sin, but also that we would see the glory of His grace in forgiving us our sin. The vileness of sin will not be seen as an intellectual fact alone, but it will only be seen in the light of His grace and glory.

While we should see humility before Him and an empty, broken frame of heart, we should know that this is a work of grace as well. We should strive for these things, but our striving will never obtain them since these things come from Christ and His life in the souls of the regenerate. Humility is not just some virtue that is the work of the natural man, but instead humility is the life of Christ in the soul of one He indwells. Emptiness of self cannot be obtained by a work of self since a work of self just strengthens self, but instead this emptiness of self can only come from a stronger hand and that can only come by grace. A broken heart is necessary for Christ to dwell in His people, but a heart that is spiritually broken cannot be obtained by the work of natural self. Only Christ, as the inward Teacher, can do this great work.

In observing all inward workings, which alone is fit for the highest communications from the Lord, the soul must be emptied of self and to know that it is the work of Christ by His Spirit to teach us about our hearts. The spiritual sin in our hearts cannot really be understood by the natural man, but instead spiritual eyes must be opened and the inward man must be taught by the Spirit. If we really want to know our hearts and the inward workings of them, we must become those who want to know out hearts and our deep poverty in spiritual things. We must be willing to accept just how helpless we are and the fact that we have no spiritual sufficiency in ourselves. It is in the deep things of this working in the heart that we will come to understand our utter need of grace in all things.

The quote (above) can seem a bit of a puzzle if we are not careful. It tells us that when we have guilt on our conscience, we should apply the blood of Christ immediately. This is not to say that it is in our power to do so, but we are to seek Christ and to look to His blood to take away our guilt rather than turn to trying to earn righteousness to make up for our sin or try to suffer for our sin. We must know that God makes us feel the weight of our sin in a fatherly way and He does his in order to make us look to Christ for healing. In His glorious sovereignty He will turn us over to sin in order to deliver us from religious pride and self-sufficiency so that we will seek Christ and Christ alone. True love seeks the spiritual best for others, and that is what God in His infinite wisdom does. So we should search our hearts for sin that we may know Christ and His grace more and more.

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