I have refined you, but not like silver. I have tested you in the furnace of suffering. (Isaiah 48:10 GW)
The furnace of affliction is for those who by faith are inChrist. What happens in the furnace of affliction? What is itthat is dealt with in the fire? Is it you, and is it I, that arerefined in the fire? Are you refined in the fire? Am Irefined in the furnace of affliction? I say, No! emphaticallyNO!! If we say, "Yes!" well, let us look at the furnace ofaffliction, the fire with the metal in the crucible. What are youdoing with that metal? Well, you say, you heat the fire intenselyand all the uncleanness, the corruption, comes to the surface;this is skimmed off, and when that process has been carriedthrough to its end, there is left pure gold! Then if you say thatis you or that is me you will have to abandon your doctrine oftotal depravity, and you will have to come back to the placewhere you say there is good in us, after all! You will have tosay there is good and bad in us, and the furnace of affliction isto get the badness out of us and leave the goodness! Is that truedoctrine? No!
The furnace of affliction is not for the removal ofthe bad out of us so as to leave the good that is in us, andsecure it! Then what is its purpose? Is it to refine Christ inus? We need not discuss that! Christ needs no refining! What isit for? It is to divide between what is us in fallen nature, andwhat is Christ, and to get rid of the one in order to give fullplace to the other! The furnace of affliction is the applicationof the Cross to the getting rid of you and me, in order to leavethe whole place for Christ. It is the measure of Christ that Godis after, not to cut in between the good and bad in us, but tocut in between what is Christ, and what is ourselves. That iswhat the Lord is doing. He is after increasing Christ, and inorder to do that He has to displace self, the old creation. It isall the measure of Christ in this realm. The realm of God is notgoing to be refined self, reformed self, or any kind of patchingup of self. It is going to be none of self,and all of Christ.
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