The Purifying of God's Remnant Church
“Know Yourself” was the main motto of the illustrious teacher, Socrates, in guiding his students. But more importantly, the Heaven-inspired apostle Paul tells us something similar—that we need to examine ourselves to see if we are truly abiding in the faith of Christ. He bids us, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves” (). As we consider this matter, we come to the conclusion that knowing ourselves is quite essential to life—and above all, to our eternal salvation.
There are two ways to examine ourselves. One is the method of the Pharisees. Why did they consider themselves to be good and righteous people? Because they compared themselves among themselves. The worse the people were with whom they compared themselves, the better the Pharisees felt. This is a very dangerous method. Paul wrote to the Corinthians brethren: “We dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” ().
The second method—and the only safe way—to know ourselves is by knowing God and Christ. Jesus prayed to His Father in our behalf: “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” ().
“[quoted.] These words mean much. It is only by knowing Christ that we can know God. The Sent of God calls upon all to listen to these words. They are the words of God, and all should give heed to them; for by them they will be judged. To know Christ savingly is to be vitalized by spiritual knowledge, to practice His words. Without this, all else is valueless.”#cit1
Only by knowing Christ through the prayerful study of His Word—and obeying it—can we really know ourselves. This results in a clear diagnosis of our sinful condition and a realization of our need of a Saviour. It helps us to love God and our neighbors as ourselves. Our self-exaltation then melts into the dust. This will lead us to submit our whole life to Jesus as our only hope of salvation and as our only true Pattern.
Writing to the Hebrew believers, Paul urges us to be “looking unto Jesus the author and finisher or our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down as the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” ().
The apostle doesn’t say that just one look to Christ is enough. We need to keep looking to Him. As we do that, we learn to know our sinful condition, but we do not become discouraged because we consider His love for us, and we are transformed by this constant looking.
“We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” ().
“The sense of unworthiness will lead the heart to hunger and thirst for righteousness, and this desire will not be disappointed. Those who make room in their hearts for Jesus will realize His love. All who long to bear the likeness of the character of God shall be satisfied. The Holy Spirit never leaves unassisted the soul who is looking unto Jesus. He takes of the things of Christ and shows them unto him. If the eye is kept fixed on Christ, the work of the Spirit ceases not until the soul is conformed to His image. The pure element of love will expand the soul, giving it a capacity for higher attainments, for increased knowledge of heavenly things, so that it will not rest short of the fullness. ‘Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled’ ().”#cit2
Knowing the Father through Christ, knowing Christ through His Word, we can know ourselves and find full salvation in the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world ()—especially our own sins. To Him be the glory!