Objective and Subjective

I have been asked to explain these terms which are so often used and so little understood. I do not know any terms that could be substituted for them, and certainly it is of the utmost importance that we should understand what they represent, and that we should keep objective truth and the subjective effect of it in their proper, relative places. The objective side of the truth is that which is presented to faith; it gives faith an object outside oneself. The subjective side is the effect that that objective truth has upon one's soul; it is what is done in us by the Holy Spirit. We become the subjects of His work, and thus an answer is produced in us to the truth presented objectively to our faith. For instance: "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16), is the objective; "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost that is given to us," is the subjective.

If the subjective side of things takes the prominent place in our thoughts, we are turned in upon ourselves and either become puffed up with spiritual pride or depressed, according to the measure in which we realize or fail to realize our ideals. Nothing spoils and paralyses our Christian living like the over-stressing of the subjective side of things. This is aptly illustrated in the fable of the centipede and the toad. First the subjective working without the objective and then the objective coming into its proper and paramount place.

"A centipede was happy quite
  Until a toad, in fun
Said, 'Pray, which leg goes after which?'
  This wrought her mind to such a pitch,
She lay distracted in the ditch,
  Considering how to run.
"While lying in this sorry plight,
  A ray of sunlight caught her sight,
She gazed upon its beauty long,
  Then bursting into happy song,
Unthinking she began to run
  And quite forgot the croaker's fun."

God, His greatness and grace and love; Christ, His unfading glory and surpassing loveliness, the deliverance He has wrought for us and all the great facts of the gospel, and the blessings that are ours in Him, the future glory, in fact all that covers the revelation of God in Christ and His great purposes of grace, and His ways, too, with His saints as recorded for us in the Word, all this is objectively preached and presented to us, for our faith, hope and love. The Holy Spirit has come that all these things might be real in us, and that the knowledge of them should work in us practical deliverance from the world, the flesh and the devil, and that Christ should be formed in us and dwell in our hearts by faith, and this is the subjective side of things. That that commands our faith and love, is objective; the Holy Spirit's work within us to bring us into moral conformity with this is the subjective. The objective must precede the subjective, or we get all sorts of error springing up from the natural mind. On the other hand if we take up the truth without sincerity of heart before God, we become mere theologians, and is different as to what is pleasing to God, and may even go so far as to turn the grace of God into lasciviousness. As the objective and subjective go together we shall be imitators of God as dear children.