2008-10-09 Oswald Chambers - Building on the Atonement
(From “My Utmost for His Highest”)
“... present ... your members as instruments of righteousness to God.” (Romans 6:13)
I cannot save and sanctify myself; I cannot make atonement for sin; I cannot redeem the world; I cannot right what is wrong, purify what is impure, or make holy what is unholy. This is all the sovereign work of God. Do I have faith in what Jesus Christ has done? He has made the perfect atonement for sin. Am I in the habit of constantly realizing it? The greatest need we have is not to dothings, but to believethings. The redemption of Christ is not an experience, it is the great act of God which He has performed through Christ, and I have to build my faith on it. If I construct my faith on my own experience, I produce the most unscriptural kind of life - an isolated life, with my eyes focused solely on my own holiness. Beware of that human holiness that is not based on the atonement of the Lord. It has no value for anything except a life of isolation - it is useless to God and a nuisance to man. Measure every kind of experience you have by our Lord Himself. We cannot do anything pleasing to God unless we deliberately build on the foundation of the the atonement by the Cross of Christ.
The atonement of Jesus must be exhibited in practical, unassuming ways in my life. Every time I obey, the absolute deity of God is on my side, so that the grace of God and my natural obedience are in perfect agreement. Obedience means that I have completely placed my trust in the atonement, and my obedience is immediately met by the delight of the supernatural grace of God.
Beware of the human holiness that denies the reality of the natural life - it is a fraud. Continually bring yourself to the trial or test of the atonement and ask, “Where is the discernment of the atonement in this, and in that?”
NOTE: Through the years (since 1962) I have noted the unusual understanding Oswald Chambers had of God and man, and the things pertaining to them both. He died at 43, with some 50 books under his belt, over 47 of them published posthumously by his wife Biddy.
Redemptionbased on Atonement is the great theme around which he built his understanding. Obedience - complete obedience to God - on his part - established a conduit through which God could reveal simple but deep insights.
Through the years I have marveled at the extraordinary insight God was able to reveal to this man. He died in 1917 serving as a YMCA chaplain to British troops in Zeitoun, Egypt. By all means read his biography by David McCasland, “Oswald Chambers: Abandoned to God.”
Soldiers, students and believers who set themselves to understand and walk in a parallel path with God as this man, likewise entered into a dimension far about the average. Our age in America desperately needs to let God lift it up by its bootstraps into that same level of understanding, that Chambers reached. He reached it through travail of soul almost unto death. But - isn't thiswhat Jesus said was necessary for a true disciple? “If any wouldcome after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:34b, NNT). - Jim Watt