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Many people who follow the tradition of men still feel empty. Jesus pointed out the influence of false and dry teachings on the soul. He said, “No man also having drunk old wine immediately desires new: for he says, the old is better” (Luke 5:39). All the truth that has been known to the world through the Patriarchs and prophets shone out in new splendor in the words of Christ. But the scribes and Pharisees didn’t want the new wine because of their traditions. They adhered to the dead forms, and spun away from the living truth and the power of God.
A legal religion can never lead souls to Christ; for it is an unhappy, Christ-less religion. Fasting or prayer that is activated by a self-justifying spirit is an abomination in the sight of God. The earnest assembly for worship, the round of religious rituals, the external humiliation, and the impressive sacrifice, announce that the doer of these things esteems himself as righteous, and as eligible for a heavenly place; but it is all a deception for he feels empty. For man’s works can never secure salvation (Romans 11:6; Ephesians 2:8-9).
To those that depend on their own righteousness, the Lord says, “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see” (Rev. 3:17, 18).
To them it is said, “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Revelation 2:4, 5)
Man must let go of self before he can be, in the completest sense, a believer in Jesus. When self is surrendered, then the Lord can make man a new creature. New bottles can contain the new wine. The love of Christ will move the believer to a new life and he will not feel empty. In him who looks unto the Author and Finisher of our faith, the character of Christ will be revealed (1 Corinthians 2:10).
In His service,