Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner…
I. THE THRESHING-FLOOR MAY DE PROPERLY REGARDED AS THE CHURCH, INTO WHICH ALL PROFESSORS ARE GATHERED; or, even in a wider sense still, it may include all those who, though they have made no public profession of faith in Christ, yet secretly hold some theory of Christianity which they deem sufficient for themselves; or, even a step further, it may and does include those who respect Christ and build their own schemes of salvation. Indeed it includes every man who says, " By this creed, or by this philosophy, or by this life, I will abide the issue of eternity." Thus we see how wide this threshing-floor is, and that in fact, while it is true that Christ came not to condemn the world, but to save it, the very salvation that He brings and so freely offers to all condemns and blows away the rejected as chaff.
II. THE FAN IN HIS HAND MAY SUGGEST TO US THE INSTRUMENT BY WHICH HE PURGES HIS FLOOR, SEPARATING THE CHAFF FROM THE WHEAT. Christ had no sooner come and entered upon His public ministry than He began to "purge His floor."
1. His Word acts as a fan. Many of the multitudes that followed Jesus took offence at His words, as witness John 2:60. Many who approach the floor of Christ are swept away before they fairly come by His words; one cannot bear salvation by grace, another is blown away by the new birth, another by this and by that doctrine.
2. But there are others who are not blown away by the Word. When you hear them talk you wonder at their severe and unflinching orthodoxy. For such Christ has another fan. It is one that tests the character: the new birth. Many a chaffy professor of orthodoxy is blown away by this; for even if they do not recognize it themselves, others see how surely they are separated.
3. Still this is brought to another trial. Many say "Oh, yes; I know even the day and the hour of my regeneration." Well! if it is so, the fruits of your new birth will be seen in a new life. Salvation means separation from sin. The demand for a holy life oftentimes proves too much for the chaffy professor who can relate a glowing experience, and he is swept from the floor and heaped up with the rest of the chaff.
4. Again, the Master comes with the fan of affliction, and tries His wheat, as He did Job. There is much meaning in the words, "He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."
III. THUS IT IS THAT THIS PURGING PROCESS IS GOING ON ALL THE TIME, AND CONSTANTLY WE FIND THE CHAFF BLOWN AWAY. HOW many drop out of our churches, and go we know not where I But still much chaff remains among the wheat, and doubtless will remain until He come again, and then the floor will be thoroughly purged; the hail of that day will sweep away every refuge of lies, every hypocrite's cloak will be rent off, every self-deceived one will be undeceived, and the sheep shall be separated from the goats, the chaff from the wheat. "The wheat will He gather into His garner," &c. Who shall abide the day of His coming?
(G. F. Pentecost, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.