GETTING AND LOSING
"A time to get and a time to lose". -Ecc 3:6.
The Lord, in answer to a question put by His disciples, declared that "The Father hath put the times and seasons in His own power". Thus there is appointed "a time to get". But let us consider some of the spiritual things that a living soul "gets".
A spiritual knowledge of God s holy character; a gracious sight into and a divine acquaintance with Jehovah s perfections, His purity, His holiness, His majesty, His greatness, His omnipotence-thus to know the only true God is a branch of heavenly getting. But this we cannot get without a corresponding discovery of our own deformity, our loss of the divine image, our alienation from the life of God through the ignorance that is in us, because of the blindness of our heart. Job had this discovery of the purity of Jehovah, when he said "I have heard of The by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth Thee. Wherefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes" Job 42:5,6. Isaiah, under a view of the glory of the Lord in the temple, cried out "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips" Isa 6:5; and all Daniel s comeliness was turned into corruption when he saw the Lord by the side of the great river Da 10:8 .
A knowledge of the spirituality of and breadth of God s holy law, a sound conviction of sin, a knowledge of the corruptions of our fallen nature, a knowledge of Satan s temptations, wiles and snares are other parts of this painful getting.
But there are gettings of a different kind, of a pleasurable kind. Such as: A spirit of grace and supplications; there is also a "time" to get faith. When the blessed Spirit is pleased to raise up this precious grace in the soul, He draws it out to lay hold of the promises that He applies, the blood that He sprinkles, the Saviour that He reveals, the love that He sheds abroad and the truth that He makes experimentally known. And to mention summarily other branches of this heavenly "getting", there is a time to get the pardon of sin, a knowledge of interest in the love and blood of the Lamb. There is a time to get a spiritual sight of the Lord Jesus Christ in His sufferings. There is a time also to get heavenly affections, spiritual delights, holy longings; there is "a time to get" everything which fits the soul for a glorious and happy immortality.
But there is also "a time to lose"; and the one season is set over against the other. And just as it is the blessed Spirit, and He alone, who brings about the time to get; so it is He and He alone, who brings about "the time to lose". But what does a man lose? Only that which were it not parted with, his soul would be the sufferer. For instance, there is a losing of our own righteousness. O how many there are who are building their hopes of heaven entirely upon this sandy foundation! But not so with the Lord s family. There is "a time" for them to "lose" this cobweb garment. And when is this time? When there is a discovery to the conscience of the perfections of Jehovah and of the purity of His law, which requires a righteousness pure, spotless and undefiled, and can accept no other. There is also a losing of our fleshly holiness, our own wisdom, our self-strength, self-confidence and self-dependence.
But now what have you got? How many years have you made a profession? Ten, twenty, thirty years? What have you got during all this time? Anything worth keeping? any religion that will stand the storm? And depend upon it if ever we have got anything from God, we have lost as well as got; There has been "a time to lose" as well as "a time to get".
Now when your religion is held up in these balances, how little, O how little remains! And yet that little will save. And sure I am, the man whose heart is made honest before God, never wants to have any religion but what God teaches him. No; he cannot go into eternity except with what the Lord has been pleased to work in his heart with power.