“But when it pleased God... to reveal His Son in me”.
(Galatians 1:15a and 16a)
When the Lord Jesus Christ is revealed in the heart, then a man can see that he has always tried to find it in the Law. No one would ever have been able to convince him of this. Did he not sometimes find himself in a very pleasant frame of mind? Sometimes he could cry so wholeheartedly. There were times when it seemed as if he would cry himself to death owing to the fact that he missed God. And who or what would have been able to convince him that all of this was the work of the Law? It is impossible to convict a man of this! However, when the Lord Jesus has been revealed in the heart, he is completely convinced that this too, so the best of what he possessed, had never been anything else than the works of the Law. But also, that making use of the Gospel, making use of Christ, has its origin from the indwelling and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
When the Lord Jesus Christ has been revealed unto the heart, then a man understands the difference between his work and God’s work. He had never had any knowledge of what this difference really is. What would he have done, had it been allowed him? Then he would have ascribed all his religious works to the Holy Spirit. You can hear this everywhere: man ascribes his praying, his reading the Bible, his seriousness, and I do not know what else, to the Holy Spirit, as long as it is allowed him. He had not known the difference between the flesh and the Spirit, and no one had ever been able to show it him.
But when the Lord Jesus has been revealed unto the heart, there is no need for anybody to show it him, for he sees it! He can see how he had been working from below to the top. But at the same time he sees that God is come down from above; He came so low down, that He was beneath him. It is only then that man understands the difference between the flesh and the Spirit, the difference between his own work and God’s work.
(From: Meditations, 1 February. Sermon on 1 Peter 1:3-4, 3 October 1938 in Delft.)