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Obedience to the Death.

Obedience to the Death.

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Published by glennpease
By Rev. James Vaughan

"And became obedient unto death." — Philippians ii. 8.
By Rev. James Vaughan

"And became obedient unto death." — Philippians ii. 8.

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Published by: glennpease on Apr 24, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Obedience to the Death.
By Rev. James Vaughan
"And became obedient unto death." — Philippians ii. 8.^T'OU will notice a distinction, — a distinction entirelyborne out in the original, — which lies in that word" became." It is not, Christ was " obedient unto death,"but Christ " became obedient unto death." Was not Christthen, always, and in His own essential being, " obedient ? "Unquestionably; but even in Him, obedience was agrowing grace. We have the highest and most expressauthority for saying, that Christ, in His human nature,grew in obedience. " Though He were a Son, yet learnedHe obedience by the things which He suffered ; and beingmade perfect."We are actually permitted to see the growth. We seeHim, more than once, — at first struggling with a willreleased, — and then that will, with wonderful rapidityindeed, but still gradually and perceptibly, flowing intothe higher current of the Father's will. "The hour iscome, and what shall I say? Father, save me from thishour ; but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father,glorify Thy name." " Father, if it be possible, let thiscup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but asThou wilt." " If this cup may not pass away from me^except I drink it. Thy will be done." "The cup whichmy Father hath given me, shall I not drink it ? "Obedience to the Death. 235The fact is, that Christ grew in every g-ood thing. Hecould not have been a man, and not have done it. As Hegrew in stature, so He grew in wisdom. As He grew inwisdom, so He grew in obedience. And so we arrive, Iconceive, at the exact sense of the passage we are going-to consider, — Christ was always obedient, but He "becameobedient unto death."This progressive character of the submission of our
Lord is a thought of exceeding comfort. Christ Himself,travelling to His perfect obedience^ can sympathize withus in the growth, — the often painful growth of our obedi-ence. It is much to have the fellowship of such a mind asSt. Paul's, — "I have learnt," — to him it wcis a slow process, — " I have learnt in whatsoever state I am, therewith to becontent." But this is consolation almost incredible, — MySaviour, my Lord, and my God " became obedient." Heknows the hardness, — the conflict, the weariness, even tothe very end.And perhaps, we little conceive all that went to makethat " became." Why even in a poor, sinful fellow-crea-ture, we often litde think and little heed all that has goneon within to produce that calmness on the surface, andthat holy bearing, which looks so very easy, and so verynatural. And was it not so, think you, even with thatmeek One? We shall never estimate, because we cannever fathom, what the sinless infirmity of a humanshrinking — what the tremendousness of sin never accepted,often presented — what the absorption of the human into thedivine, was to Him I But of this we have proof, — it is athought so true, that if we leave it out, we shall miss agreat part of the beauty and the marvel of the instructionand the peace.236 Obedience to the Death.You must plainly understand, then, that when it says,"obedient unto death," it does not mean obedient to thekind of death, but obedient to the point, to the extent, tothe degree of dying". His obedience stopped not short of obedience's latest boundary. In the same way as it saysin the epistle to the church at Smyrna, — " Be thou faithfulunto death," — be thou faithful to the death point, — to self-mortification, — to crucifixion, — to the utmost abandonment,and the intensest suffering, — " Be thou faithful unto death,and I will give thee a crown of life."What we have to look at, then, is this, — ^What is" obedience to the death ? " For that is the level of ourreligion; and no lower standard ought to satisfy thosewho have learnt at the cross of Jesus. Is it not this week'sproper lesson ? For the great thing that will strike every-one is, that there is very little of dying about the way in
which we are' keeping God's commandments. ThoughSt. Paul said, " I die daily."ow if I had to select the first thing that has to die, Ishould certainly say self. For we well know, how, in ourgreat Pattern, this would be His true history, — He had noself. Therefore, the great business of life is to destroyself. And self, — self comes in everywhere. There isthinking of self, — indulging self in the lower appetites, — pleasing self, — exalting self, — talking of self, — loving self, — there is self-righteousness, and there is self-conscious-ness, and there is self-excuse, and there is self-approbation.And all these forms of self must be crucified, before obe-dience can be complete. Therefore, look upon thediscipline of life to be the extermination of self. You willmeet every day with mortifications, unkindnesses, losses,privations, injuries, trials. Accept them as opportunities toObedience to the Death. 237kill self. Wherever self lifts up its head, crush it. Yournatural self has to die out; that is your passion. Andpassion is a beautiful thing. For passion is "obedienceunto death."But specially, your besetting sin, whatever it be. Christwas representing sin all the way through His sufferings.And in like manner, your sin must be euraigned, condemned,sentenced, bound, scourged, nailed, crucified, slain. Youmust not take your hand off from that pride, that temper,that envy, that malice, that covetousness, that self, till it isdead, dead.ow I believe, and am sure, that you do, to a certainextent, battle with your sin ; but it is not severe enough,it is not to the life; you have not a sufficiently highestimate of what that war is, — its difficulty, its pertinacity,its violence. So long as there is life in the sin, it is notall the other things you ever do will make you an obedientperson. There must be *' death." When there is noentire dying in one sin, there is no real living to God.ow I take my stand before the cross of Christ to-day,and I ask you, — Is there anything, at this moment, livingin you which made Him die? Are you really loving

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