Curtis A. Weyant, Charles Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.
[Illustration: DOUGAN CLARK, M.D.]
THEOLOGY OF HOLINESS.
DOUGAN CLARK, M. D.
PROFESSOR OF SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY AND CHURCH HISTORY IN EARLHAM COLLEGE, RICHMOND, INDIANA.
TO THE MEMORY OF
MY FATHER AND MOTHER,
DOUGAN AND ASENATH CLARK,
BOTH FOR MANY YEARS APPROVED
MINISTERS IN THE FRIENDS’ CHURCH,
AND BOTH LONG SINCE DEPARTED
TO BE WITH CHRIST, THIS
BOOK IS LOVINGLY
I. ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION A NECESSITY II. ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION OBTAINABLE
III. ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION IN PATRIARCHAL TIMES IV. ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION IN TYPE
V. ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION IN PROPHECY VI. ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION AS TAUGHT BY JESUS CHRIST VII. ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION AS TAUGHT BY PAUL VIII. ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION AS TAUGHT BY PETER IX. ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION AS TAUGHT BY JOHN X. ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION AS TAUGHT BY JAMES AND JUDE XI. SANCTIFIED BY GOD THE FATHER
XII. SANCTIFIED BY GOD THE SON
XIII. SANCTIFIED BY GOD THE HOLY GHOST XIV. SANCTIFIED BY THE TRUTH
XV. SANCTIFIED BY FAITH
ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION A NECESSITY.
Science is a systematic presentation of truth. Theology is the most important of all sciences. It is the science that treats of God and of man in his relation to God. It is a systematic presentation of revealed truth. As the basis of Astronomy is the universe of worlds revealed by the telescope, and as the basis of Geology is the crust of the earth, so the basis of Theology is the Divine revelation found in the Holy Scriptures. The Theology of Entire Sanctification, therefore, is a systematic presentation of the doctrine of entire sanctification as derived from the written word of God. Such a presentation we hope–with the help of the Holy Spirit, which we here and now earnestly invoke–to attempt to give in this book. May God bless the endeavor, and overrule our human weakness, to the glory of His Name. Amen.
It is a lamentable fact that there is a large class of Christians to whom the subject of entire sanctification is a matter of indifference. They hope, with or without sufficient reason, that their sins are forgiven. They propose to live moral and useful lives, and trust, again with or without sufficient reason, that they will go to heaven when they die. The subject of holiness does not interest them. They suppose themselves to be doing well enough without it.
There are others claiming to be Christians, to whom the subject is even positively distasteful. It is an offence to them. They do not want to hear it preached. They regard those who claim it as cranks. They look upon holiness meetings as being hotbeds of delusion and spiritual pride. They turn away from the whole subject not only with indifference, but with disdain.
There are still others, and these God’s children, as we may charitably believe, who do not even regard holiness as a desirable thing. They assert that it is needful and salutary to retain some sin in the heart as long as we live, in order to keep us humble. It is true that they are never able to tell how much sin it takes to have this beneficial effect, but a certain amount they are bent on having.
Another class takes the opposite view. They regard holiness as very desirable, and a very lovely thing to gaze upon and think upon, but they also regard it as quite impossible of attainment. They hope to grow towards it all the days of their lives, and to get it at the moment of death. Not sooner than the dying hour, do they believe any human being can be made holy. Not till death is separating the soul from the body can even God Himself separate sin from the soul. The whole doctrine of entire sanctification, therefore, they regard as a beautiful theory, but wholly impossible as an experience, and wholly impracticable as a life.
In general terms, we may say that carnal Christians, as described by Paul in I. Corinthians 3:1-4, are opposed to the doctrine of entire sanctification. “The carnal mind is enmity against God,” and the carnal mind is irreconcilably opposed to holiness. This opposition may take one of the forms already described, or, possibly, some other forms which have been overlooked, but the root of the hostility is the same in all. Wherever “our old man” has his home in a Christian’s heart, there entire sanctification will be rejected.
But we must not forget that there are many exceptions. There are thousands of sincere, believing hearts in all Christian denominations, in whom inbred sin still exists, but not with the consent of the will. They are tired–very tired of the tyrant that rules them, or of the ceaseless struggles by which, with God’s added and assisting grace, they are enabled to keep him under. They long for deliverance. They are hungering for full salvation, and rejoice to hear the message of entire sanctification through the baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire. The Lord bless all these hungering multitudes, and give them the desire of their hearts by saving them to the uttermost, and may their numbers be vastly increased, so that the banner of Christ’s church may everywhere be unfurled–the banner on which is inscribed the glorious motto of Holiness to the Lord.
Now we meet all objections to the doctrine of entire sanctification– whether in the form of indifference, or dislike, or undesirableness, or impossibility–with the simple proposition, It is necessary. If this proposition can be established, all objections, of whatever character, must fall to the ground, and the eager cry of every Christian heart must be, How can I obtain that priceless blessing which is essential to my eternal bliss, which is indispensable, and without which I shall never see the Lord?
For this is the language of the Holy Ghost in Heb. 12:14, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness without which no man shall see the Lord,” and in the Revised Version, “Follow after peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no man shall see the Lord.” This can mean nothing short of entire sanctification, or the removal of inbred sin. And, surely, it is hardly necessary to argue the question as to the indispensableness of this blessed experience, in order to gain an entrance into heaven. Everyone will admit that God Himself is a perfectly and absolutely holy Being, and He has ever told His followers in all ages, “Be ye holy for I am holy”–making His own perfect and entire holiness the sufficient reason for requiring the same quality in His people. And, although the holiness of the highest created being will always fall infinitely short of that of the Infinite God, as regards quantity, it will be the same in quality, for Jesus
tells us, “Be ye perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect,” not, of course, with the unmeasurable amount of perfection which appertains to Him, but with the same kind of perfection so far as it goes. And again in Rev. 21:27, we are told that “There shall in no wise enter into it” (the heavenly city) “anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination or maketh a lie.” Heaven is a holy place, and occupied with none but holy inhabitants.
But if holiness of heart is a necessity in order that we may reach the blissful abode of the glory land, when is this stupendous blessing to be obtained? It is by no means, thoughtlessly, that I write obtained and not attained. It is very generally spoken of as an attainment, and this form of expression has a tendency to discourage the seeker by magnifying the difficulty of receiving this blessing. The thought contained in the word attainment is that of something earnestly striven for, struggled after, persistently pursued with much labor and toil and effort, until, at last, the coveted prize is attained. A very few of the multitudes who went to California, soon after gold was discovered there, attained fortune; but it was after years of hard labor and privation and hardship. The majority died on the way, or while mining for the precious metal, or returned as poor as they went.
On the other hand, the idea of an obtainment is simply that of a gift. And entire sanctification is precisely a gift, “merely this and nothing more.” It is not received by struggle, nor effort, nor merit of our own; it is not a great and laborious enterprise to be undertaken; not the fruit of a long journey or a perilous voyage; not by doing, nor trying, nor suffering, nor resolving, nor achieving, but by stretching out the hand of faith and taking. Praise the Lord.
And, therefore, we ask again when is this indispensable gift to be obtained? The Roman Catholic and the Restorationist answer, in purgatorial fire, or in some kind of a second probation after death. But the Holy Scriptures tell us absolutely nothing either of a purgatory or a post-mortem probation. On the contrary, they clearly teach us that our destiny for all eternity is to be determined in one probation, which is allotted to us in the present life. Let no one suppose, for a moment, that he can be made fit for heaven at any time, nor in any place, nor by any means, after he has left this mundane sphere. “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
But all the Calvinistic churches by their creeds, and also a large portion of the membership of Arminian denominations, without regard to their creeds, if asked when are we to obtain entire sanctification as an essential meetness for heaven, would answer, at death. The prevailing idea on this subject, among Christian believers, seems to be as follows: First, through repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, we are converted. Our past sins are pardoned, and we are born again. After that, our sole business is to grow in grace, and by this growth to approach nearer and nearer to the standard of entire sanctification, but never even suppose that we can reach that standard until the moment of death.
Now, grace is the gift of God, and we cannot, possibly, grow in grace until we receive it. And we can never grow into grace, but grow in it after we get it. We can grow, it is true, in the grace of justification to a limited degree and for a limited time. The degree is limited because of the presence of inbred sin, which is the great, if indeed, not the only hindrance of growth. The time is limited in most cases, at least, because if the justified Christian is brought to see the need and the possibility of entire sanctification, and yet fails, as so many do, to enter into the blessing, because of unbelief, he is very prone either to backslide, in which case, of course, there will be a cessation of growth, or, like the Galatians, he will submit to the bondage of legalism, and after having begun in the Spirit, he will seek to be perfected in the flesh; in which case Paul’s verdict to that beloved church was not ye are growing in grace, but, “ye are fallen from grace.”
It is plain, therefore, that we can never grow into the blessing of entire sanctification. That blessing is to be received by faith, as the gift of God in Christ Jesus and through the Holy Spirit; and when the grace has once been obtained in this manner, then we can grow in it indefinitely and for a lifetime, possibly even for an eternity. Growth in grace is a most blessed thing in its right place, and when rightly understood and experienced, but it can never bring us to the death of the old man, nor to the experience of entire sanctification.
And as growth cannot do this, neither can death. Death is nowhere mentioned in Scripture as a sanctifier. Death can separate the soul from the body, but to separate sin from the soul is a work which God can only do. Jesus Christ is our sanctification, and the Holy Spirit is our sanctifier, and even if the work is performed in the article of death, it is still the Holy Spirit and not death that performs it. And if He can perform it in the hour and article of death, where is the hindrance to His performing it a week, a month, a year, or forty years before death–if only the conditions are fulfilled on our part. Do we say that He cannot perform it before death; then where is His omnipotence? Do we say that He will not do it before death; then where is His own holiness? In either case, we dishonor God and rob ourselves of an inestimable and indispensable blessing. God save us from such folly.
Scripture, reason and experience, therefore, all unite in the sentiment that entire sanctification is to be sought and obtained now, and if now, then it is to be obtained instantaneously, and if instantaneously and now, it follows, also, that it is to be obtained by faith, and from these premises the further conclusion is logically deducible, that we cannot make ourselves any better in order to receive it, but that we must take it as we are. And so we arrive at and adopt the pithy precept of John Wesley, “Expect it by faith–expect it as you are–expect it now.”
In these remarks we have necessarily anticipated some things which belong more accurately to the next chapter; but we are not seeking so much for a perfectly methodical arrangement, as for a clear and Scriptural presentation of the subject. And we proceed to affirm now that entire sanctification is not only essential as the condition of entering heaven, but that it is also necessary for the highest results of the Christian life on earth. It is not only an indispensable blessing to die by, but, if we would fulfill our Father’s will in this world, it is indispensable to live by.
But before leaving entirely the subject of growth in grace, having demonstrated, as we trust, that we can never grow into entire sanctification, we ought, perhaps, to explain what we mean by the statement that we can grow indefinitely in that precious grace after, and not before, we receive it. Entire sanctification has two sides or aspects. It has a positive side and a negative side. Its negative side is the removal of inbred sin, and is, therefore, a matter of subtraction. And herein, we may remark in passing, is a characteristic difference between entire sanctification and regeneration. The latter is a matter of addition, because it implies the impartation of a new life to the soul which has hitherto been “dead in trespasses and sins.” Now in this negative aspect of entire sanctification there can be no growth. If a heart is pure it cannot be more pure. If it is free from sin it cannot be more free from sin. An empty vessel, as some one has said, cannot be more empty. There can be no increase in purity.
But the positive side of entire sanctification is perfect love, and this is a relative expression. It does not mean that all who possess it must have an equal amount of love. Perfect love to each individual is just his own heart–not some one else’s heart–being filled with love. One individual may have a greater capacity of loving than another, just as he may have a greater capacity of seeing or of working. Perfect love in a child would not be perfect love in a man; and perfect love in a man would not be perfect love in an angel. And perfect love may increase in the same individual so that what is perfect love today may not be perfect love to-morrow. As we commune with God and work with Him, as we get more and more acquainted with Christ and With the Holy Spirit, and see more of the infinite attractions of the Triune God, how is it possible that we should not love Him more and more? “There will never be a time in earth nor in Heaven,” says the late Dr. Upham, “when there may not be an increase of holy love.” On the positive side of entire sanctification, then, there may be and will be growth indefinitely and everlastingly. And this is the true growth in grace, about which much more could be said, but we leave it for the present, to resume our main theme of the necessity of entire sanctification in this life as well as the life to come.
We make a definite statement as follows, viz: No Christian can do all that God would have him do, nor enjoy all that God would have him enjoy in this world, without the grace of entire sanctification. In the beautiful language of metaphor the Saviour says, “I am the true Vine and My Father is the husbandman. Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away, and every branch in Me that beareth fruit He purgeth it that it may bring forth more fruit.” And again, “Herein is My Father glorified that ye bear much fruit: so shall ye be My disciples.” Now the abundant fruit requires for its production the abundant life, and these are both found in the Lord Jesus Christ. “I am come,” says He, “that ye might have life (in regeneration) and that ye might have it more abundantly” (in entire sanctification). The abundant life and the abundant fruit, therefore, can only be found in connection with purity of heart.
It is doubtless true that every living branch, that is to say, every justified and regenerated believer, may and should and must, if he would retain his religion, bring forth some fruit. And it is precisely these branches that are bearing fruit, whom the Great Husbandman “purges”–sanctifies–that they may bring forth the more abundant fruit by which He Himself shall be glorified. And here we might rest our case with a Q. E. D., but another remark or two will be in place.
The late Lord Tennyson could perceive, with the genius of a poet, the intimate connection between purity and power. He puts into the mouth of Sir Galahad, one of his heroes, these beautiful words, viz:
“My strength is as the strength of ten, Because my heart is pure.”
Now one of the most common complaints among Christians of all denominations, is because of their weakness and their leanness. And yet nothing is clearer than that God has promised to make His people strong, that He has commanded them to be strong in the Lord, and that not to be strong is even blameworthy, not to say criminal in His sight. The reason, then, of our weakness and our leanness and the meagreness of our fruitage, can be nothing else than because we do not fulfill the conditions on which He promises to make us strong. One of these conditions, and an indispensable one, is that we be entirely sanctified. It is they that know their God, both in conversion and entire sanctification, both in pardon and purity, that shall “be strong and do exploits.” Beloved, if you would accomplish the work that God has given you to do, and not have to regret its non-accomplishment in eternity, even if you are saved so as by fire, seek and find that which is the essential condition, and ask at once to be wholly sanctified.
And if you would have the fullness of joy, even the joy of an uttermost salvation, the peace that passeth understanding, the fellowship with the Father and with His son, Jesus Christ, the sealing and anointing of the Spirit, the white stone and the new name, the abiding presence of the indwelling Comforter, then pray that the very God of Peace may here and now sanctify you wholly. Amen.
ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION OBTAINABLE.
This would seem to follow as a necessary corollary from what has been said in the preceding chapter. If entire sanctification has been proved to be not a matter of option but a matter of necessity; if we cannot attain to the highest results in Christian privilege, nor in Christian enjoyment, nor in Christian service without this blessed experience, and if, at the end, we cannot be admitted into the celestial city unless we possess it, surely we cannot doubt for a moment that our gracious Heavenly Father has provided a way by which this indispensable requisite both for time and for eternity may be received.
But before discussing this proposition in detail let us have a clear understanding of what is meant by entire sanctification, and, as a preliminary, let us study a few simple theological definitions.
In the first place, my reader will have no difficulty in believing that I fully accept the Arminian doctrine of the universality of the atonement. The sacrifice of Christ is sufficient for the salvation of all mankind, and its benefits are offered to all. “He tasted death for every man.” But it does not follow that all men will be saved, and this for the reason that the atonement is not unconditional but conditional. It is offered to all, and all are invited and entreated to accept it. But it is available only in the case of those who believe. “He that believeth shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be condemned.” A universal atonement, therefore, does not by any means imply a universal salvation.
Redemption is a term of broad and varied application. It is either general or special. In one sense it is as broad as atonement. Atonement is for sin; redemption is from sin and from all the sad results of sin. In its more special meaning it is applicable only to those who accept the atonement. For these it implies release from the bondage of the will under the law of sin and death, or justification and regeneration. It brings also release from the power and existence of depravity or entire sanctification. It promises, in the future, the complete glorification of the saints in body, soul and spirit at God’s right hand, and the deliverance of the creation itself from the “bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.”
The first condition on which the benefits of the atonement are offered to the sinner is repentance. Both the Saviour Himself and His forerunner began their public ministry with words of like import, viz: “Repent ye and believe the gospel.” Repentance does not mean penance– not a voluntary sacrifice in our own will for an expiation of sin–nor is it merely sorrow for our past sins, although “godly sorrow” is one of the elements of true repentance. The sorrow of the world may produce remorse, that continual biting which tortures the soul of the lost; but remorse is not repentance, and the sorrow of the world worketh not life but death. True repentance involves a change of mind, a change of purpose, a change of will, and implies not only a godly sorrow for sin –sorrow not only because the sin has resulted in physical or mental or financial or reputational disaster–but because it has grieved the Spirit of our God; and it implies not only sorrow for our sin but the determination to forsake it as well. It is the afterthought, and involves both regret for what we have done and the purpose to do so no more.
The next, and specially indispensable, condition for receiving the benefits of the atonement is faith. This means nothing more nor less than taking God at His word. We are assured that without faith it is impossible to please God, for he that cometh to God must believe “that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” “Faith is the substance of things hoped for,” because it makes them real. It is “the evidence of things not seen” because it convinces the mind of their actual existence. It is true that all men believe something, and, therefore, that all men have faith. It is not true that all men believe God, and, therefore, not true that all men have saving faith.
And here we must make a distinction. Faith is often said to be the gift of God, and in the sense of the grace of faith, or the power of believing, this is true. But the act of faith is the actual exercise of the power of believing, which God has given us. It involves the putting forth of the choosing power of the human will, that we may accept the salvation which is offered us. God has given to us all the faith faculty, just as He has given to us the seeing faculty. In the one case, as in the other, we are responsible for the exercise of the faculty thus given. The proper object of the seeing faculty is the world around us, with all its multiplicity of existences. We may open our eyes and see or we may close them and fail to see. The proper object of the faith faculty is truth, and especially gospel truth, the truth of salvation through a crucified and risen Lord. We may exercise our believing power and accept this great salvation or we may close our faith-eyes, and fail to see and believe, and this to our eternal loss.
For God commands us to believe and holds us responsible for obedience to that as to all other of His commands. The fact of the command involves the power to obey. Our will, therefore, our choosing power, must be put on the believing side, and not on the side of unbelief. It is not that we are required to believe without evidence. It is that our depraved hearts are not willing to believe when the evidence is ample. And, therefore, our eternal destiny is made to hinge on our obedience to the positive command, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” The great and crying sin of our fallen humanity is unbelief. It is this that has sundered us, as a race, from our union with God, and it is faith which is to be the bond by which we may again be reunited to Him. “He that believeth not the Son is condemned already.”
Repentance and faith are the conditions on which God promises to give us the grace of justification. This is pardon for all our past sins. God, for Christ’s sake, looks upon us as though we had not sinned. He accounts us just, for Jesus’ sake, although we are not just in reality. And herein it is that gospel justification differs from legal justification. The individual who is accused of crime and who is brought into court and determined, by a jury of his peers, not to be guilty, is at once acquitted and released from all penalty. He is justified solely on the ground of his innocence. But no man ever has been or ever will be justified in the court of heaven on the ground of his innocence. Every responsible human being has broken the law of God. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” And none of those who have broken the law can be justified by the law, that is to say, not one. The law justifies those, and those only, who keep it. None of us have kept it, not one of the race of men save only the man Christ Jesus. The law condemns all those who break it. All the race of men have broken it save only the man Christ Jesus. Therefore, all are under condemnation. But condemnation is incompatible with justification. Therefore, again, “by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
Are we not, then, in an absolutely hopeless condition? We should be so but for Christ. But, blessed be God, “He hath found a ransom.” “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Jesus Christ “Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree.” And so it comes to pass that we can be freely justified by His grace, not because of our innocency but because He bore the penalty in our stead. He took the place which was rightfully ours and that is on the cross. He procured for us the place which was and is rightfully His, and that is at God’s right hand. He suffered what we deserved, and by that very suffering He made us partakers of what He deserves. Glory forever to His Holy Name!
By the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, therefore, justice is satisfied, and the penalty of the broken law is removed. God is infinitely merciful, but He is also infinitely just. He loves the sinner with a boundless love, but He hates the sin with a boundless hate. He is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, and will not look upon sin with the smallest degree of allowance. His mercy and His love may compassionate the sinner, but this will be of no avail so long as His justice is against him. “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
But in the marvelous plan of salvation by a crucified and risen Lord, both the attributes of mercy and justice are enlisted on behalf of the sinner. The mercy of God pardons Him, the justice of God justifies Him, and all for Jesus’ sake. “Mercy and truth have met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” “God can be just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.” “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.” And in accordance with the way of salvation which He Himself has devised, we can now plead with Him that He would be unjust not to forgive us when we have complied with these conditions. And so we arrive at the conclusion that justification is an act of God’s grace by which our sins are pardoned for the sake of Jesus Christ. And this act is instantaneous. God does not pardon sins gradually, nor one at a time, nor by piecemeal, but to every one who repents and believes, He utters the gracious language, “Thy sins, which are many, are all forgiven thee.” As if by a single stroke of the recording angel’s pen, the whole dark record is blotted out forever. “As far as the east is from the west so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.” Glory.
Regeneration is a work of grace which always accompanies justification. God does not justify a sinner without, at the same time, giving him a new life. This new life is a spiritual life imparted to the soul, which before was dead in trespasses and sins, by the Divine energy of the Holy Ghost. If a sinner should be pardoned, without, at the same time, receiving a new nature, he would inevitably fall into sin again. His lifetime on earth would be spent in sinning and repenting. But our merciful Father having for Christ’s sake looked upon him as just and righteous, when he was not so in reality, now bestows upon him a new nature which is just and righteous. He makes him a partaker, indeed, of the Divine nature, and that is a nature which is holy and just and good. And this is the new birth. Men may be full of physical life and of intellectual life, but until they are born from above they are totally destitute of spiritual life. Regeneration, therefore, is that act of God’s grace by which we are born again.
Adoption is the reception of the newly justified and regenerated believer into the family of God. No longer enemies, nor even strangers and foreigners, those who have accepted Christ as their Saviour, now receive the adoption of sons. They become the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ. This is their pedigree and they rejoice to declare it. A human governor or ruler may pardon a guilty criminal, and grant him a reprieve, but he never takes him into his own family. He may forgive the guilty one, but he cannot bestow upon him a new nature, nor can he consent to recognize him as a brother or a son. But God not only remits the sins of those whom He saves, He not only delivers them from wrath and from punishment, but He gives them a new nature by which they can respond to His love, and He takes them into His own household as children and heirs, yea, as joint heirs with Jesus Christ. “Ye are all the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ.”
The witness of the Spirit is something not easily defined, but it is well known by those who experience it. It is an impression or consciousness wrought into the mind of the believer by the Holy Ghost, which gives him the satisfactory assurance that he is a child of God. Before this, he believes, now he knows. This witness, therefore, expels doubt and infuses into the heart of the new-born child of God, a calm, definite and indisputable persuasion that all is now right between himself and his Heavenly Father. “The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.” “Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”
Now the graces that have been mentioned, namely, justification, regeneration, adoption and the witness of the Spirit, are all received co-instantaneously. They always accompany each other, and whoever has one of them has them all. The witness of the Spirit, it is true, is not always a constant experience. It may be intermittent, but, nevertheless, whenever it is present, it accompanies or attends the other experiences to which we have alluded. And we may add that all these graces are but different aspects of the same salvation and are properly and conveniently designated, in common language, by the single term conversion, which term, therefore, must be understood to include and imply justification, regeneration, adoption and the witness of the Spirit. It is proper, also, in this connection to remark that conversion is always a definite and instantaneous event, and never a prolonged process. Just so certainly as every human being that comes into this world has a definite, natural birthday, so every one that comes into the kingdom of God has a definite, spiritual birthday. Some people do not know when their natural birthday occurs, nevertheless, they know that they have been born. Some Christians do not know when their spiritual birthday occurs. Nevertheless, they know that they have been born again. Conversion is the crossing of a definite line out of Satan’s kingdom into God’s kingdom. There is no half-way ground, there is no neutral territory, there is no place where a man can truthfully say, I am neither converted nor unconverted. One moment he is out of the ark of safety, the next moment he is in it.
Entire sanctification is an act of God’s grace by which inbred sin is removed and the heart made holy. Inbred sin or inherited depravity is the inward cause of which our outward sins are the effects. It is the bitter root of which actual sins are the bitter fruits. It is the natural evil tendency of the human heart in our fallen condition. It is the being of sin which lies back of the doing of sin. It is that within us which says No, to God, and Yes, to Satan. It exists in every human being that comes into the world as a bias or proclivity to evil. It is called in the New Testament, the flesh, the body of sin, our old man, sin that dwelleth in me, and the simple term sin in the singular number. In the Old Testament it is called sin and iniquity. “Behold,” says David, “I was shapen in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me.” And when the Seraph brought the live coal and laid it upon the mouth of Isaiah, the prophet, his words were, “Lo, this hath touched thy lips and thine iniquity is taken away and thy sin purged.”
Now all Christian denominations are agreed as to the real existence of this inbred sin and also as to the fact that it is not removed at conversion. “This infection of nature doth remain,” says the Anglican Confession, “yea, even in them that have been regenerated.” Most church creeds, indeed, give no reason to expect, and most Christian believers do not expect to be rid of sin till near or in the hour of death. And it is regarded as serious heresy in some quarters for a man to either preach or claim that the blood of Jesus Christ does really cleanse from all sin.
But God has in every age and in every dispensation required His children to be holy. And to be holy signifies the destruction or removal of inbred sin, nothing more and nothing less and nothing else than that. How this is accomplished will be discussed further on, but here we say that the removal of innate depravity is entire sanctification, and that God has most surely made provision in the atonement of Jesus Christ for the removal of innate depravity. Therefore, He has made provision for entire sanctification, and, therefore again, this wondrous grace is obtainable. Inbred sin goes back to the fall of man in the garden of Eden. If not as old as the human race, it is at least as old as the fall. Since sin entered through the beguiling of our mother, Eve, by the serpent, inbred sin has existed as a unit of evil in every child of Adam and Eve. The only exception is the man, Christ Jesus, the God man, the Divine man, the promised seed that should bruise the serpent’s head. But as He, the Lord Jesus Christ, was manifested to destroy the works of the devil, and as inbred sin is one of the works of the devil, therefore its destruction is provided for in the atonement, and, therefore, still again, entire sanctification is obtainable.
The simplest meaning of the word sanctify is to separate or to devote to sacred uses. It has this signification nearly always in the Old Testament and in a few passages in the New. In other words, whatever is consecrated is sanctified in this limited sense. But from the primary meaning is easily derived its secondary and prominent meaning, of separation from all sin, inward as well as outward, and this is what Paul calls being sanctified wholly. It is entire sanctification as distinguished from partial sanctification. This latter appertains to all Christians, and is technically so used in the New Testament. The former is the experience of those, and those only, from whom inbred sin has been removed.
ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION IN PATRIARCHAL TIMES.
For the first twenty-five centuries after the creation of man, he was without a written law. So far, at least, as the descendants of Seth are concerned, the government, during those early times, seems to have been patriarchal. The father of a family retained his authority over his children and his children’s children so long as he lived, and when he died, the branch families did not separate, but continued their allegiance to some other patriarch, usually the eldest son of the former. A number of families under their respective patriarchs constituted a tribe, and from the family patriarchs was selected a prince for the whole tribe. Among the antediluvian patriarchs were Adam, Seth, Enoch and Noah. Those after the flood were Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and each of the twelve sons of Jacob. After Jacob’s death, it is most likely that Joseph acted, in some sense, as the prince of the tribe during his lifetime. Then came slavery and oppression and deliverance through Moses, and the giving of the law.
As God’s revelation to man has been progressive, first just a few faint streaks of light that usher in the dawn, then broad daylight and sunrise, and finally the meridian splendor of the noontide, we are not to expect, in these early times, the full and distinct teaching on the subject of holiness, which we find in the Mosaic law, in the writings of the prophets, and especially and super-eminently in the New Testament. The word holy does not occur in the book of Genesis, and the word sanctify is found only once, where Jehovah blessed the seventh day and sanctified it.
And yet there are, even in these patriarchal times, several narratives of extreme interest, which give us glimpses, at least, of the purpose of God that His people should be holy, and we even find intimations of His method of sanctification, by conferring it as a second experience upon His already saved children, as is so clearly revealed in the New Testament.
“And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” Such is the record in Genesis, but when we turn to the eleventh of Hebrews, the faith chapter, we find that “by faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found because God had translated him, for; before his translation, he had this testimony that he pleased God.” Now, if Enoch, even amid the wickedness of antediluvian ages, walked with God and pleased God, and was translated that he should not see death, there surely can be no reasonable doubt that he was a holy man, an entirely sanctified man, and hence one whose sins had been washed away in the blood of the lamb, that was “slain from the foundation of the world.”
“Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations; and Noah walked with God.” The prophet Amos exclaims most pertinently, “Can two walk together unless they be agreed?” It is certain, therefore, that God and Noah were agreed, but God, who is infinitely pure and holy, can never be agreed with any person or anything that is unholy. Hence, whatever may be the proper signification of the word perfect, as applied to God’s children in Old Testament times, we can scarcely avoid the conclusion that Noah was a holy man, an entirely sanctified man, and this notwithstanding his subsequent error in regard to drinking too much wine, of whose ill effects we may, charitably, suppose he may have been, up to the time of this sad experience, ignorant.
Abraham dwelt with his father, Terah, who was an idolater, in Ur of the Chaldees, when he received the call of God to go entirely away from his kindred and his father’s house, and depart into a land of separation, a land which the Lord would show him. He obeyed the call, and this typifies conversion. He went out not knowing whither he went, but only knowing that the Lord was leading him. At his first move, he was accompanied by his father. And he came out of his native land, it is true, but not yet into the promised land. “He came to Haran and dwelt there,” or to give the record in full, “And Terah took Abraham, his son, and Lot, the son of Haran, his son’s son, and Sarai, his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife, and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran and dwelt there.”
Continuing the account in his dying oration, the martyr Stephen says, “And from thence when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell,” but in Genesis the statement is, “And Abram took Sarai, his wife, and Lot, his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran, and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan, and into the land of Canaan they came.” The last tie of nature was sundered when the old man died, and then Abram took the second step, which brought him into the promised land. There are two distinct stages in his experience before he reached the place, which God designed him to occupy. And these we may as well regard as typical, if nothing more, of the first experience under the gospel–that of regeneration–and of the second experience as well, which is entire sanctification.
In the history of Abraham, a very beautiful and mysterious episode occurs, and that is the story of his transient but highly important meeting with Melchizedek, after his successful expedition against the kings, who had despoiled Sodom and carried away his nephew, Lot. The sacred narrative is as follows, viz.: “And Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought forth bread and wine, and he was the priest of the Most High God. And he blessed him and said, Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be the Most High God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thine hand. And he gave him tithes of all.” No other mention is made of Melchizedek until David writes the 110th Psalm, and this was nearly one thousand years after Abraham. The Psalmist writing by inspiration, and alluding beyond all reasonable doubt to the Messiah, says, “The Lord hath sworn and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” And then, again, the inspired record drops Melchizedek out of sight, as it were, for another thousand years, and then once more brings him to the front in the Epistle to the Hebrews, where he is described in glowing language as “first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that, also, King of Salem, which is king of peace; without father, without mother, without genealogy (R. V.) having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like unto the son of God, abideth a priest continually.”
Comparing, then, the different allusions to this most remarkable personage, the following inferences seem fairly deducible therefrom: (1) Melchizedek, being made like unto the Son of God, is preeminently the Old Testament type of the Lord Jesus Christ in his kingly and priestly offices. Both Melchizedek and Christ are priests, and yet the former is not of the chosen family. He is a Canaanite. He is, unquestionably, greater than Abraham. Of his origin, his ancestry and his descendants, we have no account. He brought forth bread and wine. So did his antitype at the Last Supper. The priesthood of Melchizedek was before that of Aaron. Aaron was a Levite, and Levi paid tithes to Melchizedek in Abraham, his ancestor. And the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews argues most conclusively that since Melchizedek was without beginning or end, and greater than Abraham, and with a priesthood that existed centuries before the Levitical priesthood was instituted, therefore Christ, his great antitype, who is from everlasting to everlasting, and who hath an unchangeable priesthood, is to abolish the Aaronic priesthood, whose institution was for a temporary purpose, and was fulfilled when Christ came, who was a priest not after the order of Aaron because He belonged to another tribe, but a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
But Melchizedek was not only a priest, he was also a king. And it was not only in his everlasting priesthood, but in his regal office also, that he was a type of the Messiah. David was a prophet and a king, Ezekiel was a prophet and a priest, Jesus, only, combined in His own person the three offices of prophet, priest and king.
Now, if Melchizedek was priest of the Most High God, if he was greater than Abraham, if he was a type of Jesus Christ in His kingly and priestly offices, it is impossible not to regard him as a holy man. He was cleansed from all sin. He was sanctified wholly. He was made like unto the Son of God, and the Son of God is eternally holy. Praise His name. It is, surely, cause of devout thankfulness, that even in those primitive and patriarchal times, when the earth was full of wickedness and violence, that even then God had His witnesses to experimental and practical holiness.
Before leaving this point of the eternal priesthood of Christ, let me remark that it was a sad day for His Church when the idea became prevalent, that ministers of the gospel are in any official sense to be regarded as priests. This serious error may have been derived, in part, from Judaism and, in part, from paganism. It has become incorporated in the creed of the Roman Catholic Church, and the Greek Church as well, and has been productive of the most disastrous results. Among the deliverances of the Council of Trent, held at intervals from 1545 to 1564, and the last Council, which Romish authorities regard as of binding authority, are the following sentences, quoted by the late A. A. Hodge, in his Outlines of Theology: “Whereas, therefore, in the New Testament, the Catholic Church has received, from the institution of Christ, the holy, visible sacrifice of the Eucharist; it must needs, also, be confessed that there is, in that church, a new, visible and external priesthood, into which the old has been translated. And the sacred Scriptures show, and the traditions of the Catholic Church have always taught, that this priesthood was instituted by the same Lord, our Saviour, and that to the apostles, and their successors in the priesthood, was the power delivered of consecrating, offering and administering his body and blood, as, also, of forgiving and retaining sins.”
It is to be feared that not all Protestants are entirely clear of this same idea of the priesthood of the ministry, and that, in thought, at least, many substitute this for the true priesthood, which appertains to all believers. Now, the office of a priest is to stand between God and man. He mediates, and this Jesus did both by propitiation and continues to do, forever, by intercession. “He ever liveth to make intercession for us.” He “offered one sacrifice for sins forever.” If He has an unchangeable priesthood, and has already offered Himself as a sacrifice, sufficient for the sins of all mankind, the benefits of which each and every one may obtain on the simple condition of repentance and faith, what possible need can there be of any human priesthood to come between God and the sinner? Says George Fox, “Friends, let nothing come between your souls and God, but Christ,” and we say Amen.
To sum up on this particular point, we may say that the ancient priesthood, both of Melchizedek, the Gentile, and of Aaron, the Jew, with his descendants, were nothing more than types; and a type can have no real existence after the antitype has come. Therefore, there is no place for a human priesthood under the Christian dispensation. We are taught in Holy Scripture that no one can come to God except through Christ, but we are also taught that all are invited, and all may come directly to Him. All the officers belonging to the New Testament Church, whether ministers, deacons, presbyters, bishops, elders, or even apostles, are described not as priests but “messengers, watchmen, heralds of salvation, teachers, rulers, overseers and shepherds.” Their function is to preach the word, to teach, to rule, but never to mediate. It is clear, therefore, that ministers as such are not priests.
But we must not forget that, in a very important sense, all Christians are priests. But this is through Christ and in Christ, the one great and eternal High Priest. They are priests because they are in Christ. And not only priests, but kings as well. And not only kings and priests, but prophets as well. All these blessed privileges are theirs, solely by virtue of their union and fellowship with Christ, who, in a mystical and spiritual sense, makes them to be partakers of His own priesthood, His own royalty, and His own prophetic office.
Thus we hear Peter exclaiming, under the inspiration of the Spirit, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people.”
And again: “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up, a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” Precisely. If we are priests, we must perform the functions of a priest, and one of these functions is the offering of sacrifice. What, then, are the sacrifices which are to be offered by the Christian Priest? Certainly, not any expiatory or meritorious sacrifices. These are, forever, precluded by the fact that Christ hath offered one sacrifice for sins forever. Nothing can be added to, and nothing can be subtracted from, that infinite and all-sufficient offering.
The first sacrifice to be made by the Christian priest is the surrender of his own body, with all its appetites, organs and capabilities, to God. Listen to Paul.
“I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Your bodies, because if you are Christians, you have already presented your hearts; your bodies, because through the body, too often temptation enters into the soul and leads it to actual sin. Your bodies, because of their wonderful mechanism and their equally wonderful activities. If surrendered to the Lord, He makes them the very thing they were originally designed to be, namely, the obedient servants of the soul, and the soul is already His own obedient servant, so that when the soul commands and the body obeys, both are working for God, and when the soul says Go, and the body runs hither and thither, both are going upon God’s errands.
It will be observed that the body is to be presented a living sacrifice, not a dead one. All its boundless activities are to be given up to God. The expression, no doubt, implies that the whole man, described by the apostle, with his inspired trichotomy, as spirit, soul and body are to be consecrated unto God, to be His, and His forever, and henceforth to be ready to be, to do, and to suffer all His blessed will.
The command is yield yourselves, not a certain portion of your time, nor a certain portion of your money, nor a certain portion of your effort, nor your sins, nor your depraved appetites, nor your forbidden indulgences. You cannot consecrate your alcohol, nor your tobacco, nor your opium, nor your card-playing, nor your dancing, nor your theatre- going to God. He wants none of these things. All actual and known sins must be abandoned at conversion. Consecration is for a subsequent and a deeper work. None but a Christian believer can thus present his body unto the Lord. Sinners may repent, but Christians are enjoined to “yield themselves unto God, as those who are alive from the dead;” not as those who are “dead in trespasses and sins.” Whatever surrender the sinner may and must make in order to be saved, the believer must make a deeper, fuller, more complete surrender, of a different character and for a different purpose. That purpose is that he may be wholly sanctified, filled with the Spirit, and used to the utmost extent of his capacity for the glory of God. Consecration means yielding yourselves unto God. When you yield yourself you yield everything else. All the details are included in the one surrender of yourself.
And remember, also, that your consecration is not to God’s service, not to His work, not to a life of obedience and sacrifice, not to the church, not to the Christian Endeavor, not to the Epworth League, not to any organization, not to the cause of God; it is to God Himself. “Yield yourselves unto God.” It is, therefore, a personal transaction between a personal human being and a personal God. Your work, your obedience, your sacrifice, your right place and your allotted duty, will all follow in due time. The next sacrifice to be made by the Christian priest, is that of testimony and thanksgiving. “By Him, therefore,” says the author of the Hebrews, “let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His Name.”
And the next priestly offering of the Christian is a holy life, for the inspired author goes on in the next verse, “But to do good, and to communicate forget not; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” Offer, then, beloved, the body, with the soul and spirit; offer the fruit of the lips and offer the fruit of the life, and you will walk worthily of your priesthood. Glory!
The patriarch Jacob had two distinct and well-defined experiences about twenty years apart. The first of these was at Bethel, when, in loneliness and anguish of mind, he was plodding on his way toward Mesopotamia to escape the vengeance of his brother Esau. This vengeance was not causeless, and Jacob lay down upon the ground with a stone for a pillow, not only distressed in mind from fear and anxiety, but also, we may well suppose, not altogether free from the condemnation of a guilty conscience. But Jacob was a man who had faith in God’s promises, even if he did not always obey His commands. And when he lay down to sleep under the open sky, in a state of mind, sad, forlorn, fearful and contrite, God was watching over him, and when he awoke from the wondrous vision there vouchsafed to him, he perceived that God was in the place, and he found that he himself, also, was a new man. Now he could not only believe intellectually what God had said, but he could and did enter into covenant with Him, taking Jehovah for his God, and vowing the tenth or his income to be given to Him. This was such a change of mind and heart as constituted a real conversion.
When, after the many mercies and many trials that fell to his portion whilst dwelling with his uncle Laban, and after the lapse of two score years, he was returning to his father’s house, no longer poor and lonely, but with flocks and herds and wives and children, again he was encountered by the fear of his brother Esau who was approaching him with four hundred men. Then it was that there “wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.” Note it was the man wrestling with Jacob–and the man was the angel,–Jehovah, the pre-existent Christ– and the object of his wrestling was to get the Jacob nature, the old man, the body of sin, out of Jacob. But Jacob resisted, until by a touch the Divine wrestler made it impossible for him to resist any longer. Now he had to cease his wrestling but he could still cling, and he could still cry, “I will not let thee go until thou bless me.” Jacob’s will was now firmly set upon the blessing; he could ho longer resist the will of the Blesser, but one thing more he had to do, and that was to tell his name. I am Jacob–supplanter, sinner, and then He blessed him there; Jabbok means extinguishment, and Jacob’s self-life was extinguished there. He told his name, and in the telling lost it. No longer the supplanter–but Israel, the prince, the prevailer, the overcomer, and Israel was now a wholly sanctified man. Beloved, tell God your name–sinner–seek with fixed determination for the blessing of holiness, fulfill the conditions, and you also shall prevail, and your name will be changed from sinner to saint, priest, prophet, king, having the blessing of entire sanctification, and the Blesser Himself in the person of the Indwelling Comforter. Praise the Lord!
ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION IN TYPE.
The Mosaic dispensation was legal, ceremonial and typical. “The law having a shadow of the good things to come,” says the author of the Hebrews. But a shadow always points to a substance; and so far as holiness is commanded, and so far as it is shadowed forth in the ceremonial law, we shall find that there is a corresponding substance and reality in the gospel of Christ.
In the first place, if we study carefully the provisions of the Mosaic law, we shall be struck with the many forms of ceremonial uncleanness described therein, and with the “divers washings,” not only of the “hands oft,” but of the whole body, and of “cups and pots, brazen vessels and of tables.” All these point to the fact that God will have a clean people, and a clean people is a holy people. The same thing is vividly exhibited in the distinction between clean and unclean animals, the one kind to be used as food, and the other to be disused. Of land animals, only such as both chew the end and divide the hoof, might then be eaten. And of aquatic, only such as have both fins and scales were to be accounted clean. There can be no doubt that this restriction in regard to food is full of meaning. God help us all as Christian believers to distinguish between the clean and the unclean in a spiritual sense, and not to forget that God will have His people now pure in heart, clean in soul, holy both within and without.
The seal of the covenant with Abraham was circumcision, and this became the perpetual rite by which his descendants were admitted to the rights and privileges of that covenant. “Every male child shall be circumcised.” But this rite was an outward symbol of “a circumcision not made with hands, in the putting off of the body of the flesh, in the circumcision of Christ” (Col. 2: II. R.V.) And in Romans 2: 28-29, we are told that “He is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men but of God.” Beloved reader, may you and I know what it is to experience the inward circumcision, made without hands, even the putting off of the body of the flesh. And this is entire sanctification. In the consecration of Aaron and his sons to the priests’ office, not only were they to be adorned with holy garments for glory and for beauty, not only was the breast-plate to be set with twelve kinds of precious stones, but the plate for the mitre was to be made of pure gold, and engraved with the motto “Holiness to the Lord.” This was to be always upon the forehead of the High Priest, and must signify that Aaron was to be the holy priest of a Holy God, and that the law required a continuous holiness, as most assuredly the gospel does also.
Now, in the most important sense both the priesthood and the sacrifices were typical of Christ. In the mediatorial work of redemption, he was both the priest and the victim. He offered Himself. And no one will deny that He was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners. The holy priest, under the law typified the holy priest, who is a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. But under the gospel dispensation all Christians are priests. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people.” And we are priests, not for the purpose of expiation, for expiation was completed by the Lord Jesus Christ, when He “bore our sins in His own body on the tree,” but priests to offer up “spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” And every such priest must needs be continuously holy.
The “spiritual sacrifices” which the Christian priest must offer are, as previously stated, (1) his body, with all its members and capacities. The heart was given to Christ at conversion. It is, however, largely through the body that the soul is led into sin, and it is through the body, also, that the soul must perform its work for Christ, so long as soul and body are united in probation. Hence, the Apostle exclaims in the twelfth of Romans, “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” The Christian must offer (2) also his continual testimony. He must “hold fast the confession of his faith without wavering.” “By him, therefore, let us offer the sacrifices of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name.” And, finally (3), the Christian priest must offer the sacrifice of a holy life. “But to do good, and to communicate forget not, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” Beloved, let us ask ourselves if we are constantly offering as a holy priesthood, a consecrated body, a confessing tongue and a godly life. Amen.
This subject has already been alluded to under a different head, but it will bear repetition.
In the ceremonial used under the law for the cleansing of the leper, we find an impressive type or symbol of holiness. Leprosy is most clearly and strikingly a type of inbred sin. It is loathsome, unclean, incurable, fatal and hereditary. The leper was driven from society; he could not dwell in the camp nor in the city. He was an outcast. None must be permitted to approach him. They must be warned off by the despairing cry “unclean, unclean.” Nothing can be conceived more desolate or more hopeless than the condition of the leper, unless it be, indeed, the sinner who is an “alien from the commonwealth of Israel, a stranger to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”
But to the leper, in many instances, came the glad “day of cleansing.” He might not come into the camp, until the priest went forth to him. The priest and no one else could pronounce him clean. And none but Christ has any authority to tell the sinner that he is converted, or the believer that he is sanctified. A clean bird must be slain over living water, another bird dipped into this water flies away toward heaven with bloody wing; the leper is sprinkled seven times, to denote the completeness or perfection of his cleansing, with blood by means of hyssop and scarlet wool bound to a stick of cedar; he must wash his clothes; he must pass a razor over his whole body, and bathe the whole body likewise in water. Certainly, all this needs no explanation. Surely, here is atonement by blood, and cleansing by the washing of water through the word, as plainly described as symbolic language can utter it.
All the bloody sacrifices of the Jewish law, the daily sacrifice both morning and evening, the paschal lamb, the Day of Atonement, the offerings at the various feasts, and innumerable sacrifices offered for individuals or for the whole people, the guilt offering, the sin offering, one for what we have done, the other for what we are, the peace offering, the burnt offering, these, also, all point to the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world. In all the sacrifices which we have named, a life was taken and blood was shed. “Almost all things are, by the law, purged with blood, and without shedding of blood is no remission.”
But turn now to the New Testament, and read that “It is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” Read again, “If the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” Read again, “In Him we have redemption through His blood” –“Having made peace through the blood of His cross”–“Ye who are far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ”–“Being now justified by His blood”–“That He might sanctify the people with His own blood”–and especially “The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin.”
Here, I insert a quotation from that saintly man, Dr. Edgar M. Levy. “When an oblation for sin was offered up under the old dispensation, the priest was commanded to dip his finger in blood, and to sprinkle it seven times before the Lord. This denoted the perfection of the offering. Nor would the blessed antitype come short of the type. Seven times, at least, did our Lord pour forth His precious blood. He was circumcised and there, of necessity, was blood. He was buffeted on the mouth, and by such brutal hands, that this must needs have been attended with blood. He was scourged, and from Roman scouring there was, of course, blood. The crown of thorns was driven into His precious temples and, surely, this was not without blood. The sharp nails penetrated into His hands and feet, and again there was blood. And one of the soldiers, with a spear, pierced His side, and forthwith came thereout blood and water.”
The blood of Jesus, then, is the procuring cause of our sanctification as it is of our justification. Glory be to His Name forever for the precious, cleansing blood. And every Christian can heartily join in the immortal hymn of Toplady on the “Rock of Ages,” and especially with the rendering now frequently given to the conclusion of the first stanza, viz.:
“Let the water and the blood
From Thy wounded side which flowed, Be of sin the double cure
Save from wrath–and make me pure.”
The pure olive oil is mentioned many times in Scripture, and was used for a great variety of purposes. In typology, however, it has special reference to the office work of the Holy Spirit. He is distinctively the Sanctifier, and to be filled with the Spirit is designated by the Apostle John as “the unction” or “the anointing.” The holy anointing oil was to be sprinkled upon the tabernacle and all its sacred vessels. It was also poured upon the heads of prophets, priests and kings, as a necessary qualification for the discharge of their respective offices. There can be no doubt but that this use of the anointing oil and the sweet perfume, which none were permitted to imitate or counterfeit, has a direct typical reference to holiness. The sacred writer, indeed, says as much. “That they may be most holy; whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy.” And as all Christians are kings and priests unto God, it is necessary that they also be anointed with the Holy Spirit, as their types in the Old Testament dispensation were anointed with the outward oil. “Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.” A priest must be holy.
We have already spoken of leprosy as a type of inbred sin, and of the requirement of blood-shedding in the cleansing of the leper. But before that cleansing was complete, the anointing oil, also, was to be applied to the leper, who was healed of his malady. As the priest had already touched his ear, his thumb and his toe with the blood of the sacrifice, so now he touched the same parts also with the oil. First, the blood; afterwards, the oil. And thus it is in the wondrous plan of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. First, atonement for guilt and to secure pardon; afterwards, the Holy Ghost baptism for complete cleansing. First, justification through the blood; then entire sanctification through the Spirit.
The anointing oil was also to be applied to the ear, the thumb and the toe of Aaron and his sons in their consecration to the priesthood and, finally, poured upon their mitred heads that it might reach the beard and the skirts of the garments, but by no means touch the flesh. And so, beloved, we must be touched with blood and oil as to our spiritual ears, that we may take heed how we hear and what we hear; and as to our hands that they may do the work of God in all righteousness, and goodness and truth; and as to our feet, that they may run swiftly and beautifully upon the errands of redeeming love; and, at last, upon our heads and running down overall the person to purify and energize the whole man, that we may be “ever, only, all for Him.” Praise the Lord. And this can never happen while the flesh, the carnal mind, is still alive.
Jesus Christ Himself, the Son of God and the Son of Man, He who was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners, was, nevertheless, anointed with the Holy Ghost as a needful qualification for His mediatorial work.
In the synagogue at Nazareth, He read part of the sixty-first chapter of Isaiah. “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me: because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He had sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord”–and here He ceased His quotation abruptly, without saying a word about “the day of vengeance of our God.” It was now a day of grace, not a day of vengeance. But to those who will not accept this grace, that terrible day of vengeance will surely come. Jesus was anointed, and He was holy. His anointed followers must also be holy. They must seek and find the baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire, they must be sanctified wholly. To be baptized, and filled and anointed with the Holy Ghost is the privilege and duty of all God’s children. If we would belong to the royal priesthood, we must be cleansed from the defilement of sin.
Finally, we will allude to the fire symbol. Gold is spoken of in Scripture as tried in the fire. So of silver. “He” (Christ) “shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.” The precious metals will endure the fire, but “dross and tin,” as well as reprobate silver, will and must be consumed. The baptism with the Holy Ghost and with fire is a sin-consuming baptism. Fire is a great purifier. It makes the substance which is subjected to it pure through and through, and not like anything cleansed by water, pure as to its surface only. “Our God is a consuming fire.” Oh, beloved, let us give up to the fire all that is for the fire. Let all depravity, all inbred sin, all tendency to depart from God and yield to Satan, be burned up in this fiery baptism. May God put upon all His pardoned children not the blood-mark only, but the fire-mark also.
ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION IN PROPHECY.
The Major Prophets are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel. The twelve prophetic books in the Old Testament following the book of Daniel are called the Minor Prophets. In the writings of both classes we find many allusions and predictions as to the entire sanctification of believers in the gospel dispensation and under the reign of Messiah or Christ.
The sixth chapter of Isaiah is usually regarded as his call to the prophetic office. Whether this be so or not, it records a very wonderful experience of that grand man, and a remarkable type of the baptism with the Holy Ghost as described in the book of Acts.
It is quite evident that Isaiah was a converted man before he wrote his first chapter. In that he laments the sins of the Israelites and the Jews, all of them God’s chosen people, though now divided into the two kingdoms and these often at variance, shows the utter futility of their own efforts to regain the favor of God, by observances and sacrifices and ceremonies, and then tells them how to be converted as plainly as any gospel minister in our own day would be able to do. He shows them that the way of salvation is by repentance and faith, and by trusting to the unmerited mercy of God. Hear him: “Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek judgment; relieve the oppressed; judge the fatherless; plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
Here are repentance and amendment of life and pardon, the washing away of guilt and committed sins, symbolical of the New Testament washing of regeneration, symbolical also of John’s baptism of repentance unto the remission of sins.
But now in the sixth chapter, and “in the year that king Uzziah died,” a wondrous vision of the pre-existent Christ, “sitting upon a throne high and lifted up” and the seraphim crying one to another “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts,” was vouchsafed to the prophet. And the first effect of the glorious things which he saw and heard was not to exalt him and minister to his pride, but to fill him with despair at his own depravity. He felt just as Peter did at the first miraculous draught of fishes on the Sea of Galilee, when he exclaimed “Depart from me for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” Ah! beloved, it never fosters spiritual pride, nor any other kind of pride to get a nearer and clearer view of Christ than we ever had before. Quite the contrary. Such a vision turns us towards our inner selves, and enables us to behold by contrast the darkness and sinfulness and pollution of our own souls, and in such a view we shall find food for the deepest humiliation, but nothing to nourish pride.
Accordingly, Isaiah exclaimed in agony of soul “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” If we may credit Jewish tradition, it was for the offence of saying that he had seen the King, the Lord of hosts, that the prophet was afterwards sawn asunder. But the record of the glorious vision is still preserved and will, no doubt, be blessed to millions of readers in the future, as in the past, and until the end of the age.
But the seraph was sent to touch the “unclean lips” of Isaiah–unclean because of innate depravity, and unclean notwithstanding he had probably been preaching repentance and amendment of life and forgiveness for two or three years before this wondrous experience–to touch them with holy fire. And then he was assured not that his sins of commission and omission were forgiven–that had been done before–but that his iniquity was taken away, and his (inbred) sin purged. This was a second and a definite experience, and strikingly emblematic of the baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire under the gospel dispensation, which is also accompanied by “the purifying of the heart by faith,” or entire sanctification.
How wondrous are the prophecies of Isaiah after this experience. He seems to look down the centuries for seven hundred years and to see the glorious blessings of the gospel dispensation almost as clearly as if they were already present. Hear him in the thirty-fifth chapter: “And an highway shall be there and a way; and it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.” And in the fifty-first chapter: “Awake, awake! Put on thy strength, O Zion! put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for henceforth, there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean,” and in the sixtieth chapter: “Thy sun shall no more go down, neither shall thy moon withdraw itself; for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.”
To Jeremiah the Lord said, “I sanctified thee; and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations,” which must mean not only that he was set apart for the office of a prophet, but also that he was cleansed from inbred sin, as a necessary preparation for the office itself.
In the thirty-sixth chapter of Ezekiel we have some striking passages on the theme before us. These were, no doubt, addressed primarily to the outward Israel, but they may very justly be appropriated by the Israel of God, the Church of Christ, since as Augustine says, “The New Testament lies hidden in the Old, and the Old is revealed in the New.”
In the twenty-fifth verse we have the promise of pardon or justification with cleansing from the pollution of their past sins: “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you and ye shall be clean, from all your filthiness and from all your idols will I cleanse you.” Committed sin implies both guilt and pollution. And the pollution that is thus acquired by the practice of sinning is removed in regeneration. Thus the new convert is brought back again to the state of the little child. “Except ye be converted,” said the blessed Saviour, “and become as little children, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” The little child has neither the guilt nor the pollution of committed sin; whilst he does have within him the inherited or inbred sin of his nature.
Now in the promise quoted above, allusion is made to the clean water made from the ashes of a red heifer and sprinkled, under the Mosaic law, upon those who had incurred ceremonial uncleanness. The thing signified, however, is the precious blood of Christ which cleanseth from all sin, or possibly the cleansing operation of the Holy Spirit, typified by water, may here be meant. At any rate the twenty-fifth verse points to nothing less than a full and free justification.
But the prophet continues: “A new heart also will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and I will give you a heart of flesh.” Here we have described certainly the experience of regeneration, if indeed not the still fuller experience of entire sanctification. But let us admit that it means only the new heart which is given to the penitent sinner at his new birth. Regeneration implies the impartation of a new life by the Divine energy of the Holy Ghost. And this new life is comparable to the “heart of flesh,” not, of course, a carnal heart, but a heart tender and teachable, and impressible to heavenly influences, such a heart as we always find in the new-born babe in Christ.
But listen still further: “And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments and do them.” In this verse we have a pre-figuring of the Holy Ghost baptism, by which the heart is cleansed from all sin and sanctified wholly, and also of the subsequent “walking in the Spirit,” to which Paul alludes in one of his epistles. Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, who was also seized with prophetic fire at the birth of his son, exclaims, “That He would grant unto us that we, being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life.” Surely the gospel of Christ has something better for its recipients than a constant daily sinning and repenting, which is too often the experience of Christian people. The twenty-seventh verse, therefore, signifies holiness of heart and life through the power of the indwelling Spirit.
How blessed it is thus to be assured that what we cannot do by our own strength, the Holy Spirit will cause us to do. This doctrine of spiritual causation is indeed glorious. Like the mainspring of the watch which supplies the power within, by which the hands are moved without, and thus the fleeting minutes and hours are correctly measured, so the Holy Spirit within supplies the energy by which the sanctified believer is enabled or caused to adorn the doctrine of Christ, his Saviour, in all things, and to bring forth the fruit of the Spirit in all righteousness and goodness and truth.
In the minor prophets, we find numerous allusions to the subject of holiness, though their language is often highly figurative. In Hosea 2:16, after reproving Israel for her unfaithfulness in the past, the Almighty, through His prophet, employs the following language, viz: “And it shall be at that day, saith the Lord, that thou shalt call Me Ishi, and shalt call Me no more Baali,” and again in the nineteenth verse, “I will betroth thee unto Me forever; yea I will betroth thee in righteousness and in judgment and in loving kindness and in mercies; I will even betroth thee unto Me in faithfulness; and thou shalt know the Lord.” Now the word Ishi means my husband; while the word Baali means my Lord, and the language, therefore, points to an experience or a relation of marriage. The bride is exalted immeasurably above the servant. While the position of the servant points to a legal justification and a service for wages and reward, that of the bride must signify entire sanctification, and the closest possible union with the Heavenly Bridegroom. Again, the word betrothed points legitimately to a marriage which is always justly expected to follow if both parties are faithful to the engagement. Beloved, let us get so near to Christ that we shall not address Him as my Lord, in the spirit of a servant, but as my husband, in the spirit of a loving and faithful wife. At your conversion, you are, as it were, betrothed to Him, or in ordinary language engaged to Him. At your entire sanctification, your engagement is consummated by the marriage union. Engagement must precede marriage, it is true, but, as a rule, engagements should not be long. Do not needlessly defer your nuptials, but rather hasten to the embraces of Everlasting Love. Like Rebecca, appreciate your high and holy calling, and like her say promptly and decidedly, “I will go.”
In the book of Joel we find the prophecy which Peter quoted on the day of Pentecost, and assured the multitude of Jews, out of every nation under heaven, that what they beheld on that day was the fulfillment of the same. “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also upon the servants and upon the handmaidens in those days will I pour out My Spirit.”
Now, these words are clearly a foreshadowing of the baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire, designed for all of God’s children without distinction of nation or sex, and intended, first, to purify their hearts by faith (see Acts 15:9) and, secondly, to endue them with power for whatever line of service God may call them to. And we may add that this text, as well as many others, shows that in these gospel days women as well as men may be, as we find in the facts of our daily experience that they are both called and qualified for the work of the ministry, as well as other labors in the vineyard of the Lord. But both men and women need the Holy Ghost baptism which consumes inbred sin, as an indispensable qualification for the highest efficiency and most marked success in the work to which they may individually be called. Every Christian may and should do something for the Lord, but none can do all for Him which he makes it his privilege and his duty to do, without the grace of entire sanctification and the fulness of the Spirit.
In the prayer of Habakkuk we have some sentences which point unmistakably to the experience of perfect trust in God and perfect love for Him. “Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls; yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” Compare this with John Wesley’s description of a holy man after Paul. One who is enabled to rejoice evermore, to pray without ceasing, and in everything to give thanks. Does not Habakkuk answer beautifully to this description?
The prophecy of Zechariah contains a number of visions, which are, no doubt, full of instruction to those who have eyes to see. We can only mention one or two of these. In the third chapter, verses one to seven, we are introduced to Joshua, the high priest, representing the Jewish people, and typifying Christ Jesus with His eternal and unchangeable priesthood after the order of Melchizedek. But the Angel Jehovah also represents Jesus in His capacity of Judge. And Satan, the adversary, is present as the accuser of the brethren, resisting them in the person of their representative, the high priest.
And surely it would seem, at first, as if there was ground for his accusations, for Joshua, the high priest, is clothed in filthy garments, and these can signify nothing else than sins, aye, the sins of His people imputed to Him as their representative and priest, and not their actual sins only but their inbred sin also, for, “The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all,” and “He hath made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin.” “His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.” “He hath no form nor comeliness, and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.”
“Many were astonished at thee,” says Isaiah. “Behold the man,” said Pilate, as he brought forth Jesus scourged, tortured, bleeding, but uncomplaining, and the only answer was “Crucify Him!” Thus, beloved, was He clothed in very truth with the filthy garments not of His own vileness but of ours.
But Joshua was “a brand plucked from the burning,” and, therefore, in Him all His people have found pardon. And now comes the order “Take away the filthy garments from him, and unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.” Surely, beloved, we here have nothing less than entire sanctification, not in ourselves but in Him, and not only simply imputatively and representatively, but actually and experimentally. Praise the Lord.
The prophet Malachi assures us that “He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and He shall purify the sons of Levi” (that is, the “royal priesthood” which constitutes the true church) “and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” Surely no one will deny that there is holiness in prophecy.
ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION AS TAUGHT BY JESUS CHRIST.
Gabriel said to Mary in the annunciation, “Therefore, that holy thing that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” Or in the Revised Version, “Wherefore, also, that which is to be born shall be called holy, the Son of God.” The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews speaks of Him as “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,” and Peter says that “He did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth.” He is called “Thy holy child Jesus.” Jesus Christ, therefore, was wholly free both from sin committed and sin indwelling. He was absolutely holy in heart and holy in life, holy in word and holy in act, holy in His birth, holy in His death, holy in His resurrection, holy in His ascension, holy in His eternity. Glory be to His Holy Name.
And if the Divine Founder of the Christian Church was thus a holy man, it would, naturally, be expected that He should desire to have a holy people; and if He desire it, that He should also make provision for it; and if He both desire it and hath made provision for it, that we should find allusions to it in His teachings. In this, we are not disappointed, as we shall proceed to show.
The Sermon on the Mount contains an epitome of the public preaching of the Lord Jesus, and every sentence is pregnant with meaning. From beginning to end, it inculcates holiness as the privilege and duty of believers. Many things are enjoined which would only be possible to those who are sanctified wholly, such as, “Bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, love your enemies, resist not evil,” and many others.
The teachings of our Lord are like the headings of chapters, which are filled out and developed in the writings of the apostles. This is remarkably true of the Sermon on the Mount, which, without going largely into details, sets forth the principles which are to govern His kingdom on earth. The application and interpretation of these principles, He leaves to the inspired apostles and evangelists, who continued to teach and preach after His departure, and to the Holy Spirit who is promised to the believing church as its guide, teacher and comforter until Christ Himself shall come again.
But besides many precepts and injunctions which imply holiness, there are several, also, which expressly require it. Among the beatitudes at the beginning of the Sermon, we find this striking statement: “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” Now, heart purity cannot exist while there is any sin in the heart. Wherever there is sin in the heart, whether actual or indwelling, there is also defilement; and purity and defilement are incompatible terms.
Heart purity, therefore, is identical with entire sanctification, and heart purity is not only a great energizer, so that a man is powerful for good in proportion to the purity of his heart and life, but it is also a great illuminator, so that it enables its possessor to see God. This, of course, does not imply an open or an outward vision, but a spiritual apprehension of God, whereby we are brought into fellowship and communion with Him, and in a spiritual sense, we maybe truly regarded as seeing Him who is forever invisible to outward sense.
This inward purity, as distinguished from a blameless outward walk, was by no means unknown to the Old Testament writers. In the Twenty-fourth Psalm, David asks the question “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in His holy place?” And He immediately answers it by saying, “He that hath clean hands and a pure heart.” The clean hands imply that his works are in accordance with God’s law; in other words, that his outward life is free from condemnation. But the “pure heart” means more than this, and suggests what the same royal Psalmist remarks again in the Fifty-first Psalm. “Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts, in the hidden part, Thou shalt make me to know wisdom.” It is also noticeable in the Twenty-fourth Psalm, as already quoted, that the clean hands or justification comes before the pure heart or entire sanctification. So accurate is the blessed spiritual logic of the Holy Ghost.
Returning to the Sermon on the Mount, we find at the end of Matthew fifth the direct command, “Be ye, therefore, perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,” or if we take the Revised Version, which is more accurate in translation, the command becomes a positive assertion, which is equally forcible. “Ye, therefore, shall be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.”
But whether command or declaration, it is at first sight simply astounding. It is overwhelming. So much so, indeed, that our poor human spirits shrink back in amazement, and we are ready to say, This is wholly impossible. Surely, Jesus cannot mean what He says. Or if He does, then my case is hopeless. But let us examine the words a little more carefully.
In the first place, we are to notice that He does not say that we are to be equal in perfection to our Father in Heaven. That would, indeed, be too absurd for the wildest fancy to conceive. God is infinite in all His attributes and, therefore, infinite in perfection, and this in all directions. We are poor, finite, sinful human beings, and can never even approach the boundless perfection of Him who is wholly without limit, either as to power, space or duration, or righteousness, justice and holiness.
But the command is not, Be ye equal to your Heavenly Father in perfection, but, Be ye perfect with the same kind of perfection which appertains to Him. It may be similar in kind whilst falling infinitely short of His perfection in degree. Now, God is infinite and perfect in all His attributes, but apart from His attributes is His essence. And what is the perfection which is predicated of the essence of God? Or, rather, what is His essence itself? It is love. “God is love,” says the apostle. “Thy nature and Thy name is love,” says the great hymnologist, Charles Wesley. The essential perfection of the Godhead, therefore, is a perfection of love. And we are assured by the beloved John that it is possible for us, also, to be made perfect in love, and to possess the perfect love which casteth out fear. Hence, if we are perfect in love we are perfect even as our Father who is in heaven is perfect. Behold the blessed simplicity of the gospel.
The context of the command referred to proves the same thing. Jesus had just been telling His disciples that it is not sufficient for them to love their friends, and do good to those that do good to them. All these things and more are done even by worldly minded people and open sinners. Unsaved people love those who love them. But Jesus continues, “I say unto you, love your enemies; bless them that curse you; do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you.” Why? “That ye may be the children of your Father who is in heaven,” for that is just the way He does. He does not wait for a man to be His friend before He loves him and shows kindness to him. “He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” And, if we are to be the children of such a Father, we must adopt His sentiments and love in our measure as He loves. His essence being love, all His infinite activities are controlled and regulated and directed by love, and when there is nothing contrary to love in our hearts, so that all our finite activities are in like manner impelled and swayed and directed by love, then we are perfect in love, and perfect even as our Heavenly Father is perfect. Glory to His Name.
I believe that if we search carefully and prayerfully we shall find the doctrine of entire sanctification in many of the parables of our Saviour. Take, for instance, the parable of the sower. Here we are expressly told that the seed is the word of God, and, of course, the sowers are all ministers and Christian workers who are trying in any right way, to diffuse a knowledge and acceptance of gospel truth. They are devoting themselves to the salvation of human souls. Now, mark the difference as to the ground upon which the good seed falls. (1) The wayside hearers are not concerted at all. (2) The stony ground hearers are converted but not established. Their shallowness is such as to prevent them from withstanding trial and temptation and hence they fall into backsliding. (3) The thorny ground hearers are converted, but inbred sin remains in their hearts in form of the love of riches, whether these riches are possessed or only desired, or too much care and cumber, having so much regard to the secular as to neglect the spiritual, or in the form of unsanctified desire, “the lusts of other things,” and so by sin that dwelleth in them the word is “choked,” and though they may bring forth a little meagre fruit of inferior quality, yet they bring “no fruit to perfection.” They are justified but not sanctified wholly.
Now, our Heavenly Father desires not a little fruit but much fruit. “Every branch that bringeth forth fruit, he purgeth it that it may bring forth more fruit.” To purge is to purify or, in a spiritual sense, to sanctify, and this is the condition of abundant fruitage. When the thorns are removed the good seed will grow and flourish. When inbred sin is taken out of the heart the Christian believer will bring forth fruit to perfection, even the perfection of love, and this will be the “much fruit” whereby God is glorified.
On one occasion we are told that a lawyer asked Jesus “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” and when asked in reply what were the words of the Mosaic law he answered, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” Jesus commended his answer and added “This do and thou shalt live.” Hence, our Saviour teaches that holiness consists of nothing more nor less nor else than perfect love to God and man. What constitutes this love has been already explained.
Martha was a good Christian, but she was “careful and troubled about many things.” Mary was a good Christian and still earnestly seeking the one thing needful, which is full salvation, or holiness of heart and life. Even good Christians may be “cumbered about much serving,” and so miss this one thing needful. We cannot doubt that both the sisters, who vividly typify the two experiences, obtained the blessing of holiness when the pentecostal baptism was poured out upon the church of the hundred and twenty, if not before. In the marvelous intercessory prayer of the Lord Jesus, given in the seventeenth of John, we find these expressions, “Sanctify them through Thy truth. Thy word is truth.” And again, “For their sakes I sanctify Myself that they also may be sanctified through the truth.” Here we discover the two senses of the word sanctify. Jesus sets Himself apart or consecrates Himself to the work of human redemption in order that His followers, in all ages, may be not only set apart or consecrated, but also sanctified wholly, or made holy in heart and life. He gave Himself for the world of sinners lost, that they might be forgiven and saved. He gave Himself for the church, on the other hand, that He might “sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot nor wrinkle nor any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Thus, the atoning sacrifice of Christ procured pardon and acceptance for the penitent sinner. It procured not less, certainly, entire sanctification for the consecrated believer. And it is only by accepting Him as a perfect Saviour that He “is made of God unto us, wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.”
For the blessed Saviour does not leave us in doubt as to the method of obtaining this great blessing of holiness, nor as to the price, which must be paid for it. Entire sanctification is “one pearl of great price,” and he who would possess it must go and sell all that he has. The rich young ruler had a first-class record as to morality and the outward observance of the law of God, yet Jesus said to him, “One thing thou lackest,” and that one thing was perfect love, for He added, “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast and give to the poor,” and then interjecting a promise, “Thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and come take up the cross and follow Me.” The price was too great, and the young man went away sorrowful. Alas! Myriads of souls since have found the price too great, and by refusing to pay it, have deprived themselves of unspeakable blessing. Christ would not have us become His followers without counting the cost, and the cost is all that we have and all that we are. “Whosoever forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple.”
First, we are to forsake, with full purpose of heart, all known sin. It may be the sin which “easily besets,” our own bosom sin, near as a right eye or a right hand, but if it causes us to stumble, it must be relentlessly sacrificed. And even if the sacrifice seems like crippling and maiming us, yet Jesus assures us that it is better to enter into eternal life with one eye or one hand, than to be consigned to everlasting death with two eyes or two hands. In the first place, therefore, we are to “reckon ourselves dead, indeed, unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ, our Lord.”
But we are to become dead, indeed, not only to all sin, but we must be dead, also, even to lawful things, except as God in His mercy may grant them to us, to have and enjoy in moderation and to His glory. Jesus teaches us that our highest affection, our deepest love must be fastened upon Him alone, and that if any individual love, father or mother, son or daughter, wife or husband more than Him, such a one is not worthy of Him. We are to love His gifts and thank Him for them, but still more are we to love the Giver Himself.
And when we love Him supremely, we shall learn to be satisfied with Himself, and what He in His love and mercy chooses to give us. If He permits us to have an abundance of earthly goods, we shall thank Him and use them as stewards of His for His glory. If He allows our family circle to be invaded by death, and one dear one after another is carried away to the tomb, or if He permits our wealth to be taken from us and consign us to poverty and desolation, if His gifts one by one or altogether are withdrawn from us, why, praise the Lord, we still have the Giver, and can still say with Job “The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
It thus appears that the teachings of our Lord require us to be dead to sin, and dead to self, yea, even to lawful self, in order that we may possess this inestimable blessing of entire sanctification. Let us not hesitate, then, beloved, to lay down our lives. “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it, but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it.”
“Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”
ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION AS TAUGHT BY PAUL.
The apostleship of the Gentiles was committed specially to Paul. And as the Gospel of Christ is intended for the salvation not of the Jews only, but of all mankind who are willing to accept the conditions, we find in the writings of this apostle, perhaps, a more complete exposition and expansion of the teachings of the Lord Jesus than in any other inspired author. Jesus gave the concise germinal principles of all gospel truth; and Paul deduces from these principles their logical consequences and develops them, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, into those wonderful epistles to the churches, which, though as Peter well observes containing some things hard to be understood, are no doubt destined, nevertheless, in the future as in the past, to form a large part both of the foundation and framework of every system of theological doctrine. How wondrous, for instance, is the scheme of redemption as unfolded to us in the Epistle to the Romans! How profound and how exalted is the spirituality of the Ephesians and Colossians! How pure and how practical are the directions to the Corinthians! What a counter-blast to all legality in the church do we have in Galatians! What a marvelous unfolding of Old Testament typology in the Hebrews! What a guidebook of unequalled excellency for ministers of all times in the pastoral epistles!
In the Epistle to the Romans, Paul regards mankind under the two divisions of the Gentile and the Jew, and proceeds to show that both classes alike had failed in their efforts to attain to righteousness and salvation.
The Gentile, it is true, had not been favored with an outward revelation, but he had been permitted to behold the outward universe, and to know that it had a Creator “of eternal power and divinity.” He had also had a conscience within him, and so much light as rendered him an accountable being, with a sense of obligation to a supreme power, and furnishing another proof of the existence of a personal God. But the Apostle tells us that they, the Gentiles, did not like to retain God in their knowledge. They wickedly extinguished the light which He had given them, because they were not willing to give up their immoralities. And as their hearts became more corrupt, their intellects also were darkened, and in their senselessness they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the baser image of “birds and four-footed beasts and creeping things.” They sank into the grossest idolatry and licentiousness and all wickedness. This picture drawn in colors which shock our sensibilities, in the first chapter of Romans, is confirmed by the authentic writings of heathen historians, and this in all particulars, Paul says, “They are without excuse, because they did not live up to the light which they had received, obscure and imperfect as it was.”
And how was it with the Jews? The advantage was, indeed, to them much every way, but chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God. They had an outward revelation, and with it a knowledge of that law of God, which is holy and just and good.
But they had failed, if possible, more grievously than the Gentiles themselves. They had received the law by the disposition of angels, as Stephen told them and had not kept it. They had had far more light than the Gentiles, but they had fallen into the same sins as they. They prided themselves on the law, and looked with contempt upon the Gentiles, and condemned them for their immoralities, and yet were guilty of similar immoralities themselves. They talked loudly about the words of the law. “Do not steal.” “Do not commit adultery,” and yet violated these very commands themselves. Jesus in His scathing denunciation of the Scribes and Pharisees, compared them to whited sepulchres, looking well outwardly, but within full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness: and He warned His disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy, and the leaven of the Sadduces, which is infidelity, and the leaven of the Herodians, which is worldly mindedness.
The cause of failure was the same, both with Jew and Gentile. It was something that had occurred long before the division into Jew and Gentile had an existence. It had occurred, in short, when man fell. From fallen parents our entire race had inherited a fallen nature, that is to say, a natural proclivity towards sin. There is a disposition in all mankind to yield to temptation, some in one direction, some in another, and thus to say yes to Satan, while they also say no to God. This bias towards evil is sometimes called depravity or original sin. It is called by Paul “Our old man,” “the flesh,” “the carnal mind,” “the body of sin,” and “sin that dwelleth in me.” A good and convenient name for it is inbred sin. It is sin in the heart as distinguished from sin in the act. It is the inward cause of which our outward sins are the effects. It is the evil root of which our outward sins are the bitter fruits.
Now, it was the inbred sin in the hearts of the Gentiles which caused them to quench the light of the knowledge of God, which they must have had for, at least, a generation or two after Noah came out of the ark, and which made them blind to the light even of natural religion, notwithstanding before their eyes the heavens were declaring the glory of God and the firmament was showing His handiwork, day unto day was uttering speech, and night unto night was showing knowledge. They forsook the knowledge of God, and He left them to their own reprobate minds, the result being that they sank into the grossest idolatry and the most beastly sensuality.
The Jew had the unspeakable advantage of an outward revelation. He received through Moses the law of God, which showed him what God desired him to be and do, and what he ought to be and do, but which conferred upon him no power for being or doing what it required. It is like a looking-glass placed before a child to show him that his face is soiled, but having no power to cleanse that face. It was like a plumb- line applied to a leaning wall, which shows how far it deviates from the perpendicular, but which has no power to make it upright. Nay, it even comes to pass that in consequence of inbred sin, the law multiplies offences. It causes sin to abound. We find even in most children a disposition that impels them to do and to have just what they are told they must not do and have. That is to say, when the law comes in, inbred sin rises in rebellion against it.
The workings of the sin that dwelleth in us is most vividly described by Paul in the seventh chapter of Romans. Over the real meaning of this chapter, there has been much discussion and wide differences of opinion. Some writers think that this is the best experience of the great apostle of the Gentiles, and they draw consolation from this fact, as well as argument, in favor of continuing to sin in thought and word and deed as long as they live. Others think that the apostle is not here describing a Christian experience at all, but the struggles of a Jew who is seeking the favor of God by keeping His law, but finds his attempts to keep it all in vain, the hindrance being inbred sin. I freely admit that it is not what even a justified experience ought to be, for God has assured us through His apostle, John, that He that is born of God doth not commit sin, and, therefore, notwithstanding the presence of inbred sin in the heart of the justified and regenerated believer, yet such a one, by watchfulness and prayer, may be kept from acts of sin and from becoming a backslider. But in point of fact, the seventh of Romans does describe what, in many cases, is the experience of the converted Christian.
For there are many who even after a clear conversion and a joyful sense of God’s favor, with the witness of the Spirit to their adoption, yet do yield to temptation under the pressure of inbred sin, and so pass weeks, or months or weary years in what is called an up-and-down experience, not becoming confirmed backsliders, but sinning and repenting, delighting in the law of God after the inward man, but often yielding to the demands of the law of sin, which is in their members, not losing their sonship, but losing their communion and their joy, often like Peter weeping bitterly over their transgressions, but finding that while the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak.
I said that such a process, unsatisfactory as it is, might go on for years. It ends either in complete religious declension amounting, sometimes, to apostacy on the one hand, or infinitely better, in the entire sanctification of the heart and complete deliverance from inbred sin. And in these days of enlightenment, when the doctrine and experience of holiness are so plainly taught, and so generally diffused among the children of God, it is, at least, doubtful whether a soul can continue long in a state of justification, which means that it will either go forward to the experience of entire sanctification, or else it will fall into back-sliding as did some of the Corinthians, or into legality as did the Galatians.
Now, legality is nothing more nor less than Judaism. It is seeking salvation after the pattern of the Old Testament, and not after that of the New. It is a matter of works, and not a matter of faith. It inquires “What good thing shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” It is the child of the bondwoman and not that of the free. It is Ishmael and not Isaac. It is Sinai and not Calvary.
And so it happens that many Christians are simply good Jews. They may even possess circumcised hearts, and may yet serve the Lord in the spirit of bondage, as did good Jews of old. They fail to realize that they have been called unto liberty, which liberty does not, by any means, signify license; it does not signify the liberty of making our own choices, but the liberty of accepting gladly and submissively God’s choices; it does not mean the liberty of doing either right or wrong as we may prefer, but the liberty of always preferring to do right and never wrong, and so to spend our years on earth, doing right in all directions, and doing wrong in none. This, beloved, is the glorious liberty of the children of God.
After the birth of Ishmael, we may well suppose that Hagar’s chief employment in Abraham’s house was to look after the said Ishmael, to care for him and to restrain him. Mark, it was never her business to care for or to restrain Isaac. He was the child of promise, the child of faith, the son of the lawful wife and the free woman, and when Ishmael’s persecuting spirit broke forth at the weaning of Isaac, then the command was “Cast out the bond woman and her son.” Both must go together or stay together. Ah! beloved, when inbred sin is cast out, there is no more need of the law either to restrain or constrain. Perfect love casts out fear; it also casts out sin, and becomes the motive power of the whole spiritual man. “The love of Christ constraineth us.”
So Paul shows us that both Gentiles and Jews had failed to attain unto the law of righteousness, because of inbred sin, which caused the former to put out the light which they had, and the latter to fall short of keeping the law, which was their only hope of salvation, but which was never intended by its Divine Author to save men, but to show them how utterly incapable they were of saving themselves.
But Paul does not leave them there. After putting both classes of the human family into the same position of failure and condemnation, and declaring that there is no difference, “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” he adds, “Being justified fully by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” When man’s helplessness and inability have been sufficiently demonstrated, then God comes to his rescue. “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all.”
Thus in the Epistle to the Romans, the apostle teaches the great doctrine of justification by faith and the consequent peace of reconciliation, the “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” But he goes farther than justification, and shows us that sanctification, also, is by faith and not by works. He will not be satisfied with anything less than the death of our old man, and the death of inbred sin is precisely the experience of entire sanctification. “Knowing this that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that, henceforth, we should not serve him.”
But we are wholly unable to destroy or do away with the body of sin by any resolution or will-power or effort of our own. Sin will not go dead at our bidding, nor can we become dead to sin by wishing or striving to be so. Again, we are brought face to face with our helplessness, but the apostle solves the problem for us by directing us to resort to the process of reckoning. “Likewise reckon ye, also, yourselves to be dead, indeed, unto sin, but alive unto God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.” Ah! now, our help is laid upon one that is mighty. “The things that are impossible with men are possible with God.” What we reckon, with the sublime reckoning of faith, Christ can make real and true. We have only, therefore, to reckon ourselves to be