Minor punctuation errors have been corrected without notice. A few obvious typographical errors have been corrected, and they are listed at the end.
Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Heb. 13:12.
By J. W. BYERS Printed in 1902 by GOSPEL TRUMPET COMPANY
What Is Sanctification? 5
The Apostolic Experience 11
Consecration and Dedication 19
The Holy Spirit of Promise 25
Our Inheritance 32
Sanctified by Faith 39
The Subtraction Process 45
Christian Perfection 51
The Vine and The Branches 64
Some Helpful Thoughts on Consecration 69
Questions and Answers 76
Personal Experience 90
What is Sanctification?
Scripturally, the word sanctification has three meanings: First, separation; second, dedication; third, spirit-filling. Webster's definition of it is as follows: "1. Sanctification is the act of God's grace by which the affections of man are purified, or alienated from sin and the world, and exalted to a supreme love of God; also, the state of being thus purified or sanctified. 2. The act of consecrating, or setting apart for a sacred purpose." "Sanctifier. One who sanctifies or makes holy; specifically, the Holy Ghost." "Sanctify. 1. To set apart to a holy or religious use. 2. To make holy or free from sin; to cleanse from moral corruption or pollution; to make holy by detaching the affections from the world and its defilements and exalting them to a supreme love of God." Scripturally and practically, the terms sanctification, holiness, purity, and perfection are synonymous. Holiness, Separation: setting apart; sacredness. Purity. Cleanness; chastity. Perfection. Completeness; wholeness. All this is comprehended in one word, sanctification.
It is evident that this term signifies much more in the New Testament sense than it does in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament it meant but a dedication, a setting apart to a holy use, as in the example of the sanctification of the tabernacle and its contents—the altar and laver, and all the vessels belonging thereto—and Aaron and his sons and their garments. Lev. 8:10-30. In this dispensation of grace it means infinitely more; for in that dispensation it was but an outward and ceremonial work, but now it is an inwrought work, permeating and purifying the affections through and through by the cleansing blood and heavenly fire, and filling the dedicated temple, our body, with the Holy Ghost, as in the example of the early church at Pentecost.
The justified believer must meet the conditions of complete separation and exclusive dedication of himself to God, in a sense that no guilty sinner can do. This is the believer's part. He must purify himself. "Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure."—1 John 3:3. "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."—2 Cor. 7:1. This brings the believer into the condition where God can fulfill his part. He can now take exclusive possession of the dedicated temple, and sanctify it. "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly."—1 Thess. 5:23. "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost."—Acts 2:4. This brings the believer into a more perfect spiritual relationship with God than when simply justified.
Sanctification A Bible Doctrine
"And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified." Acts 20:32.
"To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me."—Acts 26:18.
"Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.... And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word."—John 17:17, 19, 20.
"If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work."—2 Tim. 2:21.
"That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour."—1 Thess. 4:4.
God Our Sanctifier
"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it."—1 Thess. 5:23, 24.
"Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called."—Jude 1.
Sanctified In Christ
"Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus." "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption."—1 Cor. 1:2, 30.
Sanctified Through the Truth
"Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth."—John 17:17. "That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word."—Eph. 5:26.
By The Blood of Jesus
"Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate." "For if the blood of bulls and of 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?" "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." "For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified."
"Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?"—Heb. 13:12; 9:13, 14; 10:10, 14, 29.
And The Holy Spirit
"That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost."—Rom. 15:16. "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth."—2 Thess. 2:13.
These and many other texts of scripture teach us that sanctification is a Bible doctrine. There is but one reason why some people can not see it in the Bible—their eyes are blinded. All who are willing to yield themselves to God and His word, will soon be taught this blessed truth. Jesus prayed that His disciples might become sanctified. They had not yet come into this experience. Jesus knew that they needed it. It was His desire for their highest good. They were not able to go forth and cope with the powers of sin. They had been under the teaching of the Master and in His presence, and therefore were protected by Him from the enemy; but now he was soon to be taken from them, and He knew that they must be "endued with power from on high." Therefore He implored the Father for the sanctification of the eleven; and not "for these alone," but "for them also which shall believe on me through their word." This reaches down through the entire gospel dispensation. It is His blessed will that we all shall be sanctified. As justified believers, we each are as needy of this grace as were the eleven disciples. It is indispensable for our spiritual welfare.
Some are disposed to look upon this matter as optional with them; but such is a mistake. The time comes in the experience of every true believer when the Holy Spirit brings before him the conditions of a definite and absolute consecration. A refusal to meet these conditions, done ignorantly, will bring a cloud over our experience of justification and, eventually, if persisted in wilfully, will bring us into God's utter disapproval. "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin."—Jas. 4:17.
Sanctification is the normal state of the Christian. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are jointly interested in us, that we attain unto this grace. Our unity with the Godhead is incomplete without it, so also is our unity with each other; "For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren."—Heb. 2:11. A heart washed and made pure by the blood of Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit will always be in perfect fellowship with divinity, and also with all other hearts of like experience. The unsanctified heart of the believer cannot be fully satisfied, because of the consciousness of the presence of the carnal nature, more scripturally called "our old man." Just what it is may not perhaps be perfectly understood by the new convert, but that something abnormal exists will soon be discovered, and there will be a longing in the heart for an inward cleansing—a normal desire for the normal experience. On the other hand, when this blessed experience is attained, there comes with it the consciousness of inward purity which fully satisfies the heart, and it can sing with the spirit and with the understanding, "Hallelujah for the cleansing; it has reached my inmost soul."
For this purpose Christ gave himself for the church—"That he might sanctify and cleanse it." God gave him to the world that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life, for our justification; but Christ gave himself for the church, for our sanctification.
The gospel commission of the apostle Paul specifies clearly the doctrine of sanctification, the "inheritance among them which are sanctified." He could not have been faithful to this commission without leading souls from "forgiveness of sins" into this "inheritance." His ministry and epistles to the different churches prove his faithfulness. Upon his first acquaintance with the brethren at Ephesus he asked them the question, "Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?" And after three years of faithful ministry in that city, upon the solemn event of his departure from them, among his last words he reminds the church of the "inheritance among all them which are sanctified." Then about four years later, while a prisoner at Rome, he writes back to them his epistle to the Ephesians, which in every chapter sparkles with beautiful gems of thought upon the subject of sanctification. In his letter to the church of Rome we are forcibly reminded that this doctrine was prominent in his teaching, employing such terms as, "this grace wherein we stand" (Rom. 5:2), "our old man is crucified," "that the body of sin might be destroyed," "dead indeed unto sin," "free from sin" (Chap. 6), "married to ... him who is raised from the dead" (Chap. 7), "present your bodies a living sacrifice" (Chap. 12) "being sanctified by the Holy Ghost" (Chap. 15). These terms and others signify the precious experiences of sanctification.
In the first and second epistles to the Corinthians we also notice the mention of this experience, and that there were some saints at Corinth that were sanctified (1:2, 30), although some were not, and were told that they were yet carnal. There were evidently only the two classes—sanctified and justified, in the church there, the same as is usually the case everywhere today. In speaking of the congregation, he says "But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of God."—1 Cor. 6:11. In the second epistle, Chap. 7:1, he exhorts them: "Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God," and among the closing words of this letter, he says, "Be perfect."
Thus we can see in all the epistles of this apostle, the theme of sanctification. His personal testimony to the Galatians reads: "I am crucified with Christ." His statement to the brethren at Philippi was: "As many as be perfect"; to those at Colosse: "Ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God," "Ye have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man"; his teaching in the epistles to the Thessalonians, showing them that sanctification is the will of God to them, and his desire that the "God of peace sanctify you wholly." His instructions to Timothy show how we may become a vessel "sanctified and meet for the Master's use," and he refers to the fact that there were some who "call on the Lord out of a pure heart." His letter to Titus, in which he mentions how Jesus gave himself for us, that he might "purify unto himself a peculiar people." These all add testimony to this doctrine and the apostle's faithfulness in his ministry. Some scholars think Apollos is the author of the epistle to the Hebrews; but whether Paul or Apollos, it abounds with truth upon sanctification.
All the other writers of the New Testament teach the same truth. James says, "Purify your hearts, ye double-minded." Peter gives emphasis to the doctrine of holiness: "Be ye holy," and that "we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness"; and desires that the God of all grace "make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you;" and that at the coming of Christ "ye may be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless." Jude addresses his epistle "to them that are sanctified," and "preserved."
Then when we search the writings of John we are almost overwhelmed with glory, as we read his beautiful teachings upon this theme, which he so clearly sets forth. God grant that we all may "walk in the light as he is in the light," walking "even as he walked," that his love in us may be "perfected," that we may prayerfully hold fast and abide in this "unction from the Holy One," that the "anointing" may abide in us. Such an experience can be realized only by every one that "purifieth himself even as he is pure."
The Apostolic Experience
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."—2 Tim. 3:16, 17.
In our study of this theme we find that the word of God is our only standard to prove that sanctification is a Bible doctrine. The experience and testimony of the Bible writers and the other apostles of the early church also prove to us and teach the nature of this doctrine and its relative position to the experience of justification. It will be important and profitable for us to review these experiences, not only to establish the doctrine in our faith, but also to examine our own hearts and see that our experiences are truly apostolic.
The author of this treatise was sanctified at a time when there was a battle raging against the doctrine as a second work of grace. He had himself taken a stand against it for some years, because it did not seem that the scriptures and apostolic testimonies were sufficiently clear to establish the second-work doctrine. In this he had been blinded by the theories on the opposing side, notwithstanding the brilliant testimonies to the contrary of those whose lives were unimpeachable. Of course it was impossible to consecrate for and receive the experience under such circumstances, and consequently years of unsatisfactory experience passed by, until at last the indisputable symptoms of inborn depravity, and the deplorable weakness of the heart and will to cope with the mighty power of the enemy, brought the struggling soul into depths of despair at the feet of Jesus, crying, "Forgive me, O Lord, for all my sad failures, and 'create in me a clean heart, O God.'" It was not a question at this crisis about it being a second work of grace. The crying need of the soul was a clean heart. It was all too evident that the heart was not clean, and it was also evident that it was the will of God, even my sanctification; and dear loved ones were daily proving by life and testimony that the experience was attainable.
It will be sufficient to say at present that the definite consecration and definite faith in the definite promises of God brought the definite experience. The inward struggle was over, and the soul had entered into its promised land—the heavenly rest; "for we which have believed do enter into rest."—Heb. 4:3. Experimentally, the question of the second work was most thoroughly and satisfactorily answered, and it seemed as clear as the noonday sun in a cloudless sky. The internal evidence was overwhelming, and now it only remained necessary to become established scripturally, which, by the study of the apostolic experiences and testimonies, was by the anointing received in due time. Praise God!
Were it not for the perverted teaching, every truly justified child of God would soon be led by the Holy Spirit into this grace, because it is the inheritance of the soul, and its normal state. The apostles before Pentecost needed it, and so does every other child of God. Let us briefly consider the experience of the apostolic brethren, both before and upon their Pentecost.
They were born of God before Pentecost. This is very definitely established by the following scriptures. "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God"—1 John 5:1. "He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."—Matt. 16:15, 16. "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."—John 1:12, 13. "Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God."—John 1:49. "Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."—John 20:27-29.
This is sufficient to prove their experience, both before and after the death and resurrection of Christ. Some would contend that the disciples could not have been regenerated in a true New Testament sense before Pentecost, because the plan of salvation was not finished before Christ's death on the cross. If this were true, there is sufficient in the foregoing text (John 20:27-29) to prove that the eleven were enjoying the regenerating grace; for they all had at least as much faith as Thomas, that Jesus is the Christ; and when Thomas was invited to prove to his own satisfaction that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead, he at once acknowledged him "My Lord and my God." This was after the atonement for sin was made, and the disciples believed in him and beyond doubt were justified and born of God in the perfect New Testament sense. This not only is true of the eleven, but equally so of all who believed that he arose from the dead; for he said, "Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed."
The language of the apostle to the Roman brethren (Chap. 10:9, 10) adds to this testimony—"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." The apostle John says (1 John 2:29), "If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him." He also says, "Every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God."—1 John 4:7.
Their names were written in heaven. "Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven."—Luke 10:20. The critic will say that this was said of the seventy and not of the twelve. Well, it was said of the seventy, but how could it be less true of the twelve whom he had previously chosen and sent out to preach the kingdom of God, to cast out devils, and to heal the sick? It is likely that a number of those seventy, if not all, were among the one hundred twenty at Pentecost. To say the least concerning the spiritual standing of the twelve, they were equal with the seventy.
They were not of the world. "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."—John 15:19. "I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.... They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." John 17:14,16.
They kept the word of God. "I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me."—John 17:6, 8.
They belonged to God. "I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. All mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them."—John 17:9, 10.
This was the spiritual condition of the eleven before Pentecost testified to by Jesus himself. It is certainly a blessed condition—born of God, their names written in heaven, not of the world. They belonged to God, and they kept His word. Would that every professing follower of Jesus were in this blessed state. It would produce a revolution in Christendom. Does not this signify all that can possibly be comprehended in justification?
Then after the blood of Jesus had been shed and the ransom for sin paid, he opened their understanding (Luke 24:45) that they might understand the scriptures, how he should suffer and rise again from the dead. We see that they believed in him the Redeemer, and now understood the object of his suffering and death; but there was still a glorious work of grace awaiting them, to be inwrought by the Holy Ghost, the sanctifier.
They were not yet sanctified, and for this reason Jesus prayed for them as he did. He well knew that they could not be kept from the evil of the world in a manner that would prove satisfactory to themselves and the Father, unless there should be accomplished in them more than had yet been done. Therefore he prayed, "Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth."—John 17:17.
They had not yet received the Holy Ghost. "And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high."—Luke 24:49. "For John truly baptized with water: but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence."
This promise was fulfilled. "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost."—Acts 2:1-4.
We will presently consider the testimony of the apostle Peter with reference to this experience at Pentecost, but will first notice the experience of
Cornelius And His Household
This brother was a devout man; he feared God with all his house; he prayed to God always and gave much alms, which were accepted of God and were had in remembrance in his sight; he had a good report. God heard his prayers, accepted him, and answered his prayers; and he and his household were all anxious to hear the preaching of Peter, testifying, "Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God."—Acts 10:33.
This was not a company of sinners. Peter did not preach repentance to them. Although they were Gentiles and did not have the privileges that many others had and were not acquainted with the apostles, they were acquainted with God. Peter expressed his surprise at this, saying, "Of a truth, I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him." Acts 10:34, 35. Here Peter testifies both to the righteousness and to the acceptance with God of this household.
From Peter's statement in Acts 11:14, in his testimony to the church concerning this event, a doubt might arise as to this company being saved in the full New Testament justification. He refers to the words of the angel in his message to Cornelius, instructing him to send for Peter, "Who shall teach thee words whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved." But this statement in itself cannot be interpreted to mean that this company were not already justified. We have a parallel statement of Peter in his testimony to the church upon another occasion, when he again refers to the grace of God to the Gentile world, saying (Acts 15:10, 11), "Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they." The term "saved" in both these instances signifies more than justification; for truly Peter and the disciples to whom he was speaking in this last instance were justified.
The household of Cornelius were ready with open hearts to receive all that God had for them, and while Peter spoke the word of God to them "the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word." This experience was identical in character with that of the Jewish saints at Pentecost.
In rehearsing this wonderful event to the brethren and apostles at Jerusalem he testified to the unquestionable leading of the Spirit to this company of believers. He said (Acts 11:15, 17), "And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?" Upon another occasion at Jerusalem Peter again spoke of the same event, saying, "And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith."—Acts 15:8, 9. But Peter testified to the fact that the Gentiles are placed upon a level with the Jews, not only in the reception of the Holy Spirit, but in the experience of cleansing. He testified to these two phases of sanctification, equally wrought in the hearts of the Jews and Gentiles, making "no difference between us and them"; and in this same testimony he plainly states that "purifying their hearts" was an experience co-incident with the reception of the Holy Ghost—"giving them the Holy Ghost," "purifying their hearts," "even as he did unto us." Opposers of this truth have argued that Peter's statement, "purifying their hearts," in the Greek text reads, "having purified their hearts," the word "having" signifying that their hearts were purified previous to the event of their reception of the Holy Ghost; but this objection has no foundation in scripture, history, or experience. If there could be a shadow of meaning in this form of this word in the Greek text, to signify that the "purifying their hearts" occurred prior to the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, it simply has reference to the order of these two phases of sanctification, which were effected within them upon this occasion.
It is evident that in the divine order of sanctification purifying the heart by faith is preparatory to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. He must have a pure heart in which to make his abode. However, there is no lapse of time perceptible between the negative and positive phase of sanctification. How easily this is understood by those who have truly received the Pentecostal experience. How the "anointing" teaches us and witnesses in our hearts to the testimony of Peter; but to those who have not yet had their Pentecost, and especially such as are blinded by theory and the doctrines of men, there is likely to be discussion and argument of words. The apostles and brethren at Jerusalem had no argument to make when Peter rehearsed his experience. They simply "glorified God."
"Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God, that I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost."—Romans 15:15, 16.
This testimony agrees with Peter in his account of the outpouring of the Holy Ghost upon the Gentile believers. It is not plainly stated that Paul has reference to this event in his testimony quoted, yet we can see clearly that he does have reference to the experience of sanctification, and that it is identical with that of all believers, being a specific work of the Holy Ghost.
Experiences of the Brethren at Samaria
"Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women."—Acts 8:5, 12. About three years prior to this time there was a greater One than Philip at Samaria preaching the words of life, and many more than the woman at the well believed, and they said to the woman, "Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world."—John 4:42. This was an effectual introduction of the gospel, and when Philip went to that city he found much good soil for the precious word in the name of Jesus Christ. There is no room for doubt as to the acceptable condition of these converts. They believed in the name of Jesus and were baptized. Some had doubtless remained firm believers since Jesus' visit to that city; others believed through the preaching of Philip. Certainly they were justified by faith in the name of Jesus, but like the disciples before Pentecost they were not yet sanctified, and when the apostles at Jerusalem heard of this work of grace at Samaria they sent down Peter and John, "who when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus) then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost."—Acts 8:15-17.
How clearly the inspired record here proves the second work of grace, and how beautifully this event harmonizes with the others relative to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. And then, how glorious to have an experience like it in our own hearts. Praise God for this glorious, vivid, and living reality which by its divine power pales every theory into utter obscurity.
Consecration and Dedication
"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. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."—Romans 12:1, 2.
In this chapter we will notice the scriptures upon the theme of consecration and dedication—the important step necessary on the part of the justified believer, before he can enter into this blessed grace of entire sanctification.
We find that in the old dispensation everything that was to be employed in the service of God necessarily had to be consecrated. In the tabernacle and temple service every vessel and article of furniture, even the smallest spoon, the tongs, and snuffers, together with the building itself, and all the priests and their garments, were consecrated wholly unto God, to be used for no other purpose than divine service. This setting apart for holy service was the Old Testament sanctification. The setting apart of these things, together with the ceremonial application of what God had ordained to be used in this dedication, was acceptable in his sight.
This consecration in the old dispensation is but a shadow of the new. It was God's own way of sanctification—making things holy unto himself. The mere declaration on the part of Moses, in the consecration of these things, that they were now holy, would not have been sufficient without the careful observance of the application of the blood of animals and the holy anointing oil, which were typical of the blood of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Some of the articles of the tabernacles and temple were sanctified simply by a setting apart and sprinkling with oil (Lev. 8:10), while others required the application of oil and blood. Lev. 8:11, 15. In the consecration of Aaron and his sons the anointing oil and the blood were applied. Without this they would not have been sanctified. Lev. 8:30. The apostle speaks of this in his letter to the Hebrews—"For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of a 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?"—Heb. 9:13.
The importance of an exclusive dedication to the service of God should impress our minds with deep solemnity. Anything held back from such a dedication would most certainly have been rejected in the old dispensation, and truly it is the same in the new. Many professing to follow Jesus into a thorough consecration, are at heart disposed to keep back some treasured idol. Many have doubtless made a profession of sanctification, and yet have never made a definite consecration. Such are deceived, and never know the joys of this glorious experience. The cleansing blood and the Holy Spirit will never be applied to the heart that is not absolutely consecrated.
It is both scriptural and logical that we present our bodies a living sacrifice, not only for service but for actual sacrifice in a definite and absolute consecration. We have no bad things to present to the Lord in this consecration; for we are not sinners. We would not be proper candidates for sanctification if we were clinging to anything sinful. Everything sinful must be forsaken and denounced by the guilty sinner when he comes to God for pardon. Otherwise he would never be forgiven of his sins. The world, the flesh, and the devil are forsaken in true repentance. "Denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world." Therefore all sinful things are laid aside forever in repentance. This is the Bible signification of repentance: To give up all sinful things. But the Bible signification of consecration is to present to Jesus all the sacred treasures of our hearts—give up all our good things.
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No sinner can make a definite Bible consecration; for he has no good things to bring to God. He is guilty and condemned in the sight of God. It is the justified believer who has learned by experience that his inward spiritual condition is not yet satisfactory. It may have been for a time; but he sooner or later becomes aware that there is a deeper work of grace needed. He doubts not that he is justified, but knows that something more must be wrought within. Through the ministry of the word of God and the blessed guidance of the Holy Spirit, he is soon taught that a definite consecration must be made as one of the Bible conditions for sanctification. Now comes the searching and far-reaching question: Are you willing to make this consecration? This means everything to the soul. All the sacred God-given treasures around which the heart's affections have so closely entwined, and which have become a part of the very life itself, are now required to be yielded up to Jesus as a voluntary offering. There is no danger that anything will be forgotten; for the heart-searching eye of God will reveal every hidden treasure, and make known the depths of meaning to the soul, which will be astounded to know as never before how much it means to lay all of itself and sacred treasures at the feet of Jesus. There comes an inward struggle, perhaps. The heart's affections tighten around the sacred objects of its love, until they seem dearer than ever before; but while this is being done there comes a sadness stealing over the soul; for whereas these objects seem so sacred and precious, there is a consciousness within that Jesus is slighted. The affections are divided between Jesus and these treasures. He asks the question, "Lovest thou me more than these?" You can answer, "Yes, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee." But must I give up these treasures, these sacred things of my heart for thee? Can not I have both them and thee? This is where death must set in. Thank God, it is the death-route, the only road to this glorious Canaan of soul-rest.
It soon becomes a significant fact thoroughly understood that Jesus requires the undivided heart and every affection. You cannot refuse him. He has done too much for you. He suffered without the gate that he might sanctify you with his own blood. He gave himself for the church that he might sanctify and cleanse it; and now how can you withhold anything from him? He has a just right to all your affections. He gave his all for you, and now it is right that you should give your all for him. He sacrificed his life for you; now you are brought to the sacrifice of your life for him—a living sacrifice. You see that this claim is right and just. It is a reasonable requirement on his part; a "reasonable service" on your part.
But, dear reader, the question must be answered. Are you going to yield? You may answer, Yes; but the Lord requires you to do so at once. Usually when the soul is brought face to face with this consecration and begins to become willing to yield up its treasures, it lets go the easiest ones first, and as one by one they are counted over to the Lord there comes a final struggle; the dearest one of all is now before you. The emotions of the heart begin to deepen as the affections cling to this treasure. Everything has now centered upon this one object. It is to be sacrificed for Jesus or he must be sacrificed for it. Which will it be? It must be Jesus only. Much reasoning may arise upon this important matter, but all is vain. There must be the yielding. You must say from the depths of your soul, "Thy will be done." You have often said this before, but it never meant nearly what it does now. You truly feel the agonies of death. Were you to be laid on your death-bed or in your coffin, there would be no greater separation from everything of this earth than this. No loved one can now go with you. No treasure can be kept as your own. The lone, dark vale must be crossed. No sympathy of friend can follow you. Everything must be left behind. Dear reader, this is a critical moment. The destiny of your soul is hanging upon a single thread. You are swinging out over the deep precipice—clinging, clinging, clinging. Jesus demands that you let go and drop completely into his will. You desire to do this, but your soul shrinks. It seems so dark below. Many a one has here taken counsel with his own soul and decided to swing back upon the side of self, thereby losing incalculable wealth, and missing this glorious soul-rest which "remaineth therefore ... for the people of God." O dear soul, do not fail to labor to enter in! Let the death struggle continue until it has completed its work—until you have truly ceased from your own works. The floodgates of heaven are ready to open and fill you with such glory that it will cause this old world to fade out of sight; but not until you can cheerfully and willingly let go and say to Jesus, "Thy will be done." Your Pentecost is just in reach. Will you have it, or will you not?
In the dedication of the tabernacle we have a beautiful type of the dedication of ourselves to this "reasonable service" of God. The erection of the tabernacle, the placing of all the furniture, and the arrangement of the entire structure had to be made in every respect "according to the pattern" shown to Moses on the mount. In the completion of all the work, we read in Ex. 40 that it was now all done "as the Lord commanded Moses." He might have thought it did not matter much about some of these things, and that the Lord would not require every small thing to be done according to the pattern; but no matter what he might have thought, he knew that obedience to every requirement of the Lord was his only safety; so he made everything according to the pattern. In verse 33 the record says, "So Moses finished the work."
Dear soul, can this be said of you? Have you finished the work? Have you ceased from your own works? You must reach this point in your consecration, so you can realize just as definitely as Moses did, that you have truly finished the work. When this was the condition in the dedication of the tabernacle, "a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle." V. 34. When Moses had finished the work and the dedication was complete, the glory of the Lord came into the tabernacle. So it is with the consecrated heart; the glory of the Lord will fill it.
In the dedication of the temple we also have a type of this Pentecostal experience. "Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel that were assembled unto him before the ark, sacrificed sheep and oxen, which could not be told nor numbered for multitude."—2 Chron. 5:6. See the sacrifice unto the Lord. Nothing was too great; everything was fully yielded up to him without reserve. "And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place: (for all the priests that were present were sanctified, and did not then wait by course: also the Levites which were the singers, all of them of Asaph, of Heman, of Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, being arrayed in white linen having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets:) it came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth forever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord; so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God."—2 Chron. 5:11-14. Thus we see that when the sacrifice was complete and everything was in perfect order, the glory of God filled the temple.
This was but a type of the day of Pentecost at Jerusalem. In the type, the glory of the Lord filled the consecrated temple. In the antitype, the consecrated hearts (the temples of the Holy Ghost) were filled with the glory of the Lord. Now this is just what Jesus will do with every consecrated heart today. "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire."—Matt. 3:11. But the consecration must be complete. It is reasonable that Jesus should require us to yield up everything to him. Our hearts cannot be purified until every affection is yielded. He requires this for our own highest good. He wants the supreme right of way so that he can work his own will in our entire being. He wants the absolute control, so that he can get between us and everything. Praise his name! this is for our benefit, which we will plainly see when once we have paid the full price. When his will is completely wrought in us, then he will with himself freely give us all things for our greatest good and his highest glory. Even an hundredfold shall be our delightful portion. But the loss of all things must precede this wonderful increase. An absolute death must precede this abundant life. Then and then only can the Holy Ghost come into and possess the temple. Oh, that every professed believer in Jesus might see the importance of this consecration! The suffering of death is serious indeed; but the unspeakable glory that follows causes the enraptured soul to be astonished at the marvelous gain for so small a loss. The perfect love of Jesus now flows from his heart into the one which has yielded its all to him. The undivided affections now feel the blessedness of perfect unity with him—married indeed to him who is raised from the dead.
The Holy Spirit of Promise
The Holy Spirit was promised through the prophets. "Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest. Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places."—Isa. 32:15-18.
"And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh: that they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God."—Ezek. 11:19, 20. "For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: and they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses."—Isa. 44:3, 4.
"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. 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 an heart of flesh. 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. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God."—Ezek. 36:25-28.
"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, and your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit."—Joel 2:28, 29.
Promised through Christ. "And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high."—Luke 24:49. "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."—John 4:14. "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)"—John 7:38, 39.
"If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."—John 14:15-17, 20, 26. "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me."—John 15:26.
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"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you."—John 16:7-15. "John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence."—Acts 1:5.
A Fulfillment of This Promise
"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost."—Acts 2:1-4.
A Testimony of Its Fulfillment
"But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; and it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.... This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear."—Acts 2:16-18, 32, 33.
To Whom Is This Promised?
"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."—Acts 2:38, 39.
"And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him."—Acts 5:32. "That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."—Gal. 3:14.
"That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost."—Rom. 15:16. "But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth."—2 Thess. 2:13.
In a previous chapter we have noticed that the Holy Ghost experience of the apostles and all those of the early church was the same; and we see definitely by the texts just quoted that it is the design of God that all believers receive it. Also we have seen that this Holy Ghost experience is a subsequent one to regeneration, and identical with sanctification. Every young convert who has truly been regenerated, will in due time find that something more needs to be done in his heart before he can fully realize an experience that will correspond with the fulfillment of the many exceeding great and precious promises of the Holy Ghost.
The Scriptures clearly teach us that regeneration is a work of the Holy Spirit. "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body."—1 Cor. 12:13. This does not have reference to the Pentecostal baptism, but to the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration, inducting us into the body of Christ, the church. This is very different from the baptism with the Holy Ghost. In regeneration the Holy Ghost baptizes the believer into Christ; in sanctification Christ baptizes the believer with the Holy Ghost. "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire."—Matt. 3:11.
This latter is the sanctification and Pentecostal experience. Both are spiritual experiences. When reading these wonderful promises by the prophets, we can clearly distinguish the two works of grace foretold.
The birth of the Spirit (John 3:3-8), or that experience which inducts us into Christ, must necessarily precede the experience of sanctification. The Holy Ghost will never come into the temple to abide until he has first gained possession of the same. The heart must first be both justified and fully consecrated before the divine Guest can make it his exclusive and permanent abode. This glorious grace of sanctification does not detract from the marvelous work of justification. Both have their import and place in God's wonderful redemption plan, and stand out distinctly in many of the scriptures; and yet we occasionally hear of some who say of this beautiful doctrine that it is not taught in the word of God. Why such remarks are made is simply because of a misconception of the glorious redemption plan—in some instances it is owing to the perverted doctrines of men, while in others it may be because of a perverted individual experience of justification. To the willing and obedient heart, God will impart knowledge and understanding of his sweet and glorious soul-rest.
Oh, let us praise and magnify the Lord for his wonderful grace that he has so abundantly supplied through repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, that he is so willing and ready to remove from our hearts the guilt of all our sins and transgressions, and remember them against us no more forever, and then bestow upon us this blessed inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Christ Jesus! Would that every justified believer might be kept from all the perverted doctrines of men, so that the heart could receive the knowledge of the pure word of God and become instructed in the doctrine of the Holy Ghost life. The promise of the Father which the resurrected Christ said he would send upon his justified disciples was no more a promise for them than for every justified believer throughout the gospel dispensation. Why then should any of us come short of entering into this blessed covenant of an entire consecration and receiving the fulfillment of the promise? Thank God it is for us and our children and to all that are afar off.
Until the believer reaches this grace, he is not in his normal spiritual condition, and cannot live the Christ-life in a manner that is perfectly satisfactory to his own heart. The great need is a clean heart and the indwelling Holy Spirit, without which there is not the power within at all times to withstand every evil attack of the enemy with perfect victory. Jesus knew this need in his disciples. Their usefulness in the world could not be satisfactory until they received the fulfillment of the promise. They had been useful in his hands and under his personal guidance in the ministry of the gospel of the kingdom. They had already by his help been able to bear fruit, but it was the will of the Father that they should bear more fruit, through the power of the Spirit-filled life; hence they were not to depart from Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high. "Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you." How many of the dear people of God today have never had their Pentecost! Some are out in the world preaching the gospel with no deeper spiritual experience than that of the disciples before they tarried at Jerusalem. Many have mistaken some natural ability for the power of the Holy Ghost. Others have accepted the doctrine of sanctification theoretically—made a formal consecration and claimed the experience, but have never received the Holy Ghost. Dearly beloved brethren and sisters, let us entreat you to tarry and do not depart from your positive death bed consecration, until you are endued with power from on high. It is the will of the Father that you receive the Holy Spirit to possess your being—the consecrated temple—and make your life from this moment a reproduction of the life of Jesus. He is not here now as he was during his earthly ministry, but the Father has designed that the Holy Spirit should dwell in the hearts of consecrated men and women who shall go forth into the world and be witnesses unto Jesus—representatives that will live the Christ-life in this world, so that men may plainly see his character and fruits in us. When Jesus ascended to the throne, he by no means intended that his people should be left comfortless, or deprived of his presence; but rather, he said, "It is expedient for you that I go away."
The "Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost," is the divine executive of Jesus. He was the power and life in Jesus when here in his redemption work, and when he ascended to his throne in heaven the Holy Ghost descended to earth to carry on this glorious redemption work to the end of the world. But he must have human instrumentality through which to work. Where he can find a truly consecrated temple, there he makes his abode, and taking full control of the entire being, performs the perfect will of God through this instrumentality. This is why the apostles were so much more useful after Pentecost than before. They were now fully possessed by the Holy Ghost, and in, through faith in, the name of Jesus were enabled to shake the world. Jesus has left his name here on earth. Through it the Holy Spirit now effects this great redemption. He cannot do this by himself. He cannot "reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment," only as he can find consecrated hearts on earth in which to abide. The Spirit-filled lives of the people are the only factors that can be used in the hand of God to produce apostolic results in these perilous days in which we live. This final reformation was unquestionably begun by the power of the Holy Spirit, and will never be completed by any other power. It is a spiritual work, and only as the glorious doctrine of sanctification is taught and the experience obtained and retained, will the church reach the apostolic plane.
"And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified."—Acts 20:32. "And inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me."—Acts 26:18. "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification."—1 Thess. 4:3.
"That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil."—Heb. 6:12-19.
"But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: the Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of a 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? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance."—Heb. 9:7-15.
"Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: ... Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein which are offered by the law; then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all ... For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified."—Heb. 10:5, 8-10, 14.
"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 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, or wrinkle, or any such thing: but that it should be holy and without blemish."—Eph. 5:25-27.
"In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: ... in whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also after that ye believed ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."
"Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."—Tit. 2:14. "To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; the oath which he sware to our father Abraham, 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."—Luke 1:72-75.
"Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ ... For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise but God gave it to Abraham by promise." "That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." "And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."—Gal. 3:16, 18, 14, 29.
The Abrahamic covenant embraced a twofold nature: the promised seed, and the promised land. Isaac was the literal fulfillment of the promised seed; Canaan, the literal fulfillment of the promised land. These were but the foreshadowing of their great and glorious antitype, Christ and the gospel, which are the spiritual fulfillment of the promises made to Abraham.
"And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed," which blessing begins in the regenerate heart, is perfected in the inheritance of entire sanctification, and consummated in that inheritance "reserved in heaven for us." That part which is yet reserved in heaven for us will be realized in due time, when this mortal shall put on immortality and the redemption of Christ shall be completed for spirit, soul, and body. We can all rejoice in this "blessed hope" which shall be fully realized when Jesus the resurrected Redeemer shall come again and fashion our dying bodies like unto his glorious body. But the object of this chapter is to point out the scriptures which teach us the blessed truth of the present-tense gospel inheritance, which in the redemption plan is to be realized by the people of God in this gospel dispensation, on this side of the second coming of Christ.
The blessed grace of entire sanctification is scripturally the bequest of God to his people. It is not simply the will of God in the sense that he desires us to have this experience, but it is truly a blood-bought inheritance, provided and willed by our Father through Jesus Christ to every child of God. This blessed experience of regeneration, or the divine birth, inducts us into the family of God, making us a scriptural heir to all the good things of Father's possessions. Father has perfected every necessary provision for every one of his children to come into immediate possession of this inheritance. A will or testament must specify the nature of the inheritance, mention distinctly the names of the heirs, must have the signature of the testator affixed in the presence of witnesses, should appoint an executor, and in every respect it must be perfect or it will not stand legally. Scripturally, this is equally as true. The New Testament is the will, which distinctly specifies the nature of the inheritance of the people of God "among them which are sanctified." The sanctified have entered into their possessions of this Holy Ghost Canaan, and now every regenerated child of God who knows his name is written in Father's family record—the Book of life—soon finds by reading the will that this inheritance is for him. He knows it as he reads and believes, and more and more the Holy Spirit leads him to meet all the spiritual conditions requisite to the coming into possession of this inheritance. He sees also in the will, the signature of the testator. He sees that the Father has authorized Jesus Christ to make this will of force. Legally, a will is not of force until after the death of the testator. Scripturally, this is equally a fact. The child of God sees that it requires the death of the testator to make it possible that he could be sanctified. He reads in the will that Jesus, the testator, suffered without the gate that he might sanctify his people with his own blood and that this is the will of God, even your sanctification.
We see in the will that Father has given every necessary instruction to enable us to meet every condition of entrance into this blessed possession. His word teaches us that as Abraham with faith and patience obtained the promise, so we should profit by his example. God has shown us through his covenant with Abraham that what he promises he is ready and able to fulfill. He has shown his people, who are the heirs of this inheritance, the immutability of his counsel by his word and by his oath, that it is impossible for him to break his word and that we should come to him with perfect confidence that he will do just what he has promised.
There is a remarkable certainty in the fulfillment of this wonderful will. It is as far above any earthly will or testament as the heavens are higher than the earth. In an earthly will made by man, the very incident that makes the will of force also makes it liable to become annulled; for after the death of the testator there frequently is found a defect in the will, also there are instances where the heirs, dissatisfied with their portion of the inheritance, proceed by legal process to annul the entire will and have a new one made according to their own desires. But no such objections can possibly be brought against this divine will.
There are three reasons why it is absolutely beyond the power of man or principality to overthrow this will.
1. It is positively without fault. God had made a will, the old testament, which was defective. The apostle says, "For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second."—Heb. 8:7. In the preceding verse he says, "But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant [testament or will], which was established upon better promises." The blood of those animals in the old covenant was acceptable under that dispensation, but it could not produce the desired effect in sanctification. It could only sanctify to the purifying of the flesh; could not reach the spiritual and moral nature of man; for there was no spiritual nor moral nature in the sacrifice. It was only a sacrifice of animal life; therefore it could only purify the flesh, or animal life, of man (Heb. 9:13) in a ceremonial sense. Therefore, the first will or testament was necessarily defective, and God himself has annulled it. Heb. 8:13. But Father's last will is vastly different. It is complete, perfect, and utterly without fault.
2. It is so divinely and infinitely perfect in its power to sanctify and reach every inmost need of the heart that none of the heirs can possibly become dissatisfied with their individual portion; for this portion is the entire inheritance for each individual heir. It is not divided into certain bounded portions for different heirs, but each is entitled to the entire inheritance, and can come into the full enjoyment of the whole possession without diminishing, in the least degree, the privilege of every heir to enjoy the same. This makes it unspeakably satisfactory. But what yet adds to it in its power to satisfy, is that, the sacrifice which was required to bring this will and testament into force was the precious blood of Christ. The great purpose of God in this judicial sacrifice was that the sins of the world might be forgiven, that we might thus become the sons of God and heirs of this inheritance. But, my dear brother and sister, our Saviour had also another purpose in view in this stupendous sacrifice. He gave himself for the church, that he might sanctify and cleanse it. Eph. 5:25, 26 and Heb. 13:12.
Ah, dear reader, do you not see your inheritance in this? His blood can sanctify wholly our spiritual, moral and physical nature. The blood of the old will had no spiritual nor moral power in it at all; therefore, no wonder it could sanctify only to the purifying of the flesh. But, oh, the matchless, marvelous grace of God to prepare a sacrifice (a body—Heb. 10:5) pure and spotless spiritually, morally, and physically, which blood can cleanse our corresponding nature spiritually, morally, and physically, and reaching every spot of our entire being, make us clean from the least and last remains of sin. In comparing these sacrifices no wonder the apostle asks, "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?" Truly, when we have obtained this inheritance we can sing with the inspired poet
"I have found it, Lord, in thee, An everlasting store, Of comfort, joy, and bliss to me, How can I wish for more?"
Praise God for the cleansing which reaches our inmost soul and saves to the uttermost! It, therefore, readers, is impossible for the heir to become dissatisfied with the inheritance.
3. To make the inheritance doubly certain, we have already seen that God has confirmed it by two immutable things; his word, and his oath; but to add still more to this matter and make it absolutely certain and impossible for any principality or power to overthrow this will, God has appointed Jesus Christ to be executor of his own will. From a human standpoint this would be impossible; for the will could not be of force at all while the testator was alive, and his death would render him incapable of any part in it as an executor. But with God these things are possible; for when the testator died that he might bring this will into force, he could not be holden by the power of death; but arose again from the dead, that he might lead captivity captive and give gifts unto men. Thus he has become the executor of his own will, and now stands ready to bestow upon every heir the full possession of his inheritance.
Dear reader, this is the glorious land of promise of which the land of Canaan was but a type. The children of Israel were the heirs of that land because they were the children of Abraham. We are heirs to this Holy Ghost Canaan because we are the children of God through Christ. This Holy Spirit life can only be obtained through this God-appointed plan. It is the "inheritance among them which are sanctified." God gave it to Abraham by promise, and as his faith grasped hold on the promises he saw beyond the literal seed into the blessings of the gospel of Christ and this glorious Holy Spirit life. Christ has fulfilled these promises which Abraham saw and believed; and now the apostle can truly say in looking over this wonderful plan, that "they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."—Gal. 3:9, 14.
Sanctified by Faith
"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."—Heb. 11:6.
"That they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me."—Acts 26:18.
"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand."—Rom. 5:1, 2.
Faith in the blood of Christ. "Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate."—Heb. 13:12. "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."—1 John 1:7.
Dead to sin by faith. "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin ... Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord."—Rom. 6:6, 7, 11.
Free from sin by faith. "Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness ... For as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness ... But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life."—Rom. 6:18-22. "Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."—John 8:34-36.
"And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.... He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil."—1 John 3:5-10.
A pure heart by faith. "And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith."—Acts 15:8, 9.
We receive the Holy Spirit by faith. "That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ: that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."—Gal. 3:14. "That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost."—Rom. 15:16. "If ye then, being evil [earthly], know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"—Luke 11:13.
Sanctification is a redemption blessing offered to us upon specified conditions. The natural and general blessings of God toward men, such as the sunshine, rain, and all other temporal or earthly blessings, may be received alike by both saint and sinner, who come into conformity with the natural laws by which these natural blessings are governed. Every redemption or spiritual blessing is also governed by divinely fixed laws, which if complied with will invariably bring to us all that is contained in the promise. God is able to bestow upon us these blessings unconditionally if this should be his sovereign will in some individual instances; but according to his redemption plan there is no assurance given to anyone for any of these specified blessings without a strict conformity to divine law. The word of God plainly sets forth the laws upon which these different redemption blessings are based. Repentance and faith are the laws of justification. It is a divinely established fact that God cannot lie. He has forever settled his word in heaven and also upon earth; therefore, it is impossible that any sinner should comply with the laws of repentance and faith and not be justified. Consecration and faith are the laws of sanctification, which if complied with, must necessarily bring us into this glorious soul-rest.
We have considered the law of consecration as a condition of sanctification in a previous chapter; and from the quoted texts in this chapter we will now briefly consider the law of faith. These laws are definitely fixed, and must as definitely be complied with. A definite consecration and a definite faith will produce a definite experience. One great lack in the church today is a lack of definiteness. The doctrine of sanctification must be more definitely taught by God's anointed ministry, who have themselves definitely met the conditions, both to obtain and retain this definite experience. When it is definitely taught it will consequently be definitely sought and obtained.
In the apostle's commission we distinctly see that we are sanctified by faith. Acts 26:18. We also see that Jesus suffered on the cross that he might sanctify us with his own blood. This points us to the fact that we must have faith in his blood. This grace is purchased for us, and now it is for us to receive it. We also see that he has made provision in this same purchase that we may be kept sanctified. This is upon the simple condition of walking in the light as he is in the light. The result of which is: his blood cleanseth us from all sin. These precious truths will do us no good if we do not believe them. No heart can ever receive the benefits of this inestimable purchase without faith. Faith is the hand that reaches out and takes it. Jesus can do no more than he has done to bring it to us. He holds it out to us, all perfect and complete, and as we meet the conditions of consecration and faith it becomes ours.
The apostle teaches us in Rom. 6:11 to reckon ourselves "dead indeed unto sin." This can be done only by faith. The reckoning of faith is a very simple process; it is just believing God. Abraham believed God, simply reckoned that what God said was true, and then God counted something to Abraham. He counted it to him for righteousness.
This is the divine law of faith. When we believe it is so because God says it, then God makes it so because we believe it. This law applies to all the graces of the gospel alike. It is a sad fact that some professing Christians do not believe we can be sanctified in this life. Now, it is utterly impossible for such people to get it. They do not believe. The blood of Christ cannot sanctify them in this condition. It is not for them at all. It is only for them that believe, and of course no one can believe for it in the scriptural sense without having met the condition of scriptural consecration. Then the scriptural reckoning will bring the scriptural and satisfactory result.
Let us illustrate with a simple mathematical reckoning. In a case of addition we take two numbers and reckon them together before we get the sum. It can never be obtained any other way. The two numbers are entirely distinct and separate from each other until they are reckoned together. It is the reckoning that produces the sum. This is exactly true in the process of faith. The justified believer comes to God for his inheritance of sanctification. He makes the absolute and definite consecration. He sees that the blood of Jesus has been shed that he may be sanctified. This is Jesus' part. The consecration is the believer's part. There are the two separate parts which, if they are not reckoned together, will never produce the result. We might say that we have now made the consecration, and can do no more. This would be a mistake, we can do more: we have not yet done the reckoning. We can take the two parts, the blood of Jesus and our consecration, and by faith add them together, and according to the immutable law of God, which is the law of faith, the sum of the reckoning is, our sanctification. This is the scriptural method of obtaining this experience; and as we from henceforth reckon ourselves dead indeed unto sin upon the condition of an absolute, unbroken consecration, we may rest assured that the blood of Jesus keeps us cleansed from all sin. The fact that some one may say he does not believe we can be kept free from sin, by no means affects this divine law. It is as true as heaven, despite all the unbelief of men. Oh, the power of the sin-cleansing blood! Can we not say with deep, heartfelt reality,
"Hallelujah for the cleansing; It has reached my inmost soul"?
Truly it is the sweet soul-rest, the heavenly Canaan of the soul, which is the inheritance of the people of God.
The apostle Peter, in his testimony of the inwrought grace of God at Pentecost, speaks of this law of faith, which effected in him and his brethren at Jerusalem, as well as the household of Cornelius upon the event of their induction into this glorious grace, the experience of heart purity, "and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith." This is one phase of sanctification, and according to the testimony of Peter, was a part of the pentecostal experience. The other phase of it is, in the previous verse of this testimony, "giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us." This is explained by the apostle Paul. "That we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."—Gal. 3:14. Now if we turn to Rom. 15:16, again we see that we are "sanctified by the Holy Ghost." Certainly it could not be made more plain than these scriptures set it forth. We receive the pure heart and the Holy Spirit by faith, which experience is scripturally termed sanctification; therefore, we can understand the language of Jesus in that part of the commission of the apostle already quoted: "and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me."
Dear brother and sister, let us magnify God and the name of Jesus for our inheritance, and if there should be one reader who has not yet entered into this promised land, let us go over at once and possess it.
We see a beautiful example of faith in the experience of the children of Abraham crossing the Jordan to enter into their literal inheritance. The priests that bore the ark, which went before the people, were to be the first to go down into the stream, which, God had said, should be divided, and the people should go over into their inheritance. As they came down to the river, their feet were dipped into the stream before the waters parted. God had promised it. They believed it and obeyed accordingly, and God fulfilled his promise; the waters were parted, and they all passed over. How different this was from those who, forty years previous to this event had been brought by the hand of God to Kadesh Barnea, who had all the promises of God in their favor, that he would cause them to go in and possess the land. But because of unbelief they were sent back into the wilderness, to wander and die. This literal Canaan was their promised land, their land of rest, their very own; God had promised Abraham that it should be possessed by his seed. But these forfeited it because of unbelief. This was the type of this spiritual inheritance of sanctification, our land of rest, our very own, which we, the spiritual seed of Abraham through faith in Christ, are to go into and possess.
The apostle gives us some wholesome admonition upon the importance of seeking to enter in. "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God."—Heb. 3:4. An evil heart of unbelief will most certainly cause us to lose our inheritance. We are made partakers of it only by faith. As certainly as the unbelief of literal children of Abraham caused them to be rejected and disinherited, so will unbelief cause the same sad result in losing the spiritual inheritance. They provoked God with their unbelief, and he who had sworn to Abraham that his seed should possess Canaan, now sware that these unbelieving ones should not enter in. They could not enter in because of unbelief. God's word was not broken, however; for he brought into this land those of the children who, their unbelieving fathers said, would become a prey to the inhabitants of the land. And, what still keeps God's word from being broken is, that he has opened to us this glorious spiritual land, and tells us to go over and possess it. Dear brother, are you at Kadesh Barnea today, and afraid of the giants? God has given the land to us. The message of reproof comes to you with this solemn and important question, "How long are ye slack to go to possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers hath given you?"
This gospel of sanctification is preached to us today as the gospel of literal Canaan was preached to those descendants of Abraham in that day. It did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. The apostle says, "We which have believed do enter into rest," but more must enter in. God's promise to Abraham must yet be more completely fulfilled. The question is simply left with us, Will we enter in or will we not? If we will not, then the inheritance will be given to others, and we will lose the blessed soul-rest that is provided in this redemption for the people of God. In his exhortation to us, the apostle says "Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief."
"Oh, this blessed holy rest, On my Jesus' loving breast. Oh, the sweetness and completeness Of perfected holiness."
The Subtraction Process
The baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire, the entering into the heavenly inheritance of Canaan, and the possession of the land, and all the blessings that follow are unmistakably a process of addition to the already blessed experience of the justified soul. This addition is scripturally termed "sanctification." No mortal language can ever express how much of an addition it is; but there must necessarily precede this marvelous grace, a definite and absolute subtraction, a loss of all things for the excellency of Christ, a complete self-abnegation, which has been mentioned in a previous chapter upon consecration. Until this absolute loss of all things has been truly experienced, there cannot be obtained the gain of this additional experience. We cannot lay hold of the promised inheritance until we completely let go of everything else that has been called our own.
There is, within our spiritual, moral, and physical nature, a depravity, "our old man," which must be extracted before we can possess the purity of heart so plainly taught in the word of God. This depravity is so deeply embedded in, and interwoven into, our affections and nature, that, like a closely fitting garment, it seems a part of us; and were it not for the plain teachings of the word of God, and the power of the all-cleansing blood of Christ which can reach the inmost center of our nature, purging out all unnatural tendencies and unholy tempers, the justified believer might conclude that this inborn depravity must be permitted to exist and remain with us all through life. But thank God! there is a remedy in this great redemption plan. The heart can be purified and become a holy temple for the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. This depends upon the plainly specified conditions taught in the word of God. He will prepare the temple for his abode if we but furnish him an absolute consecration of the temple. This is our part in this preparatory stage of the work of sanctification. In order that he may purify our nature, we must yield up to him everything that is to be purified. This process involves the loss of all things; for when the heart is thus yielded, everything that it clings to is also yielded, and then, and only then, can the blood of Christ be applied for a perfect cleansing. This is where the subtraction work is effected, where every vestige of depravity is removed from the heart; because it has for this purpose yielded to Jesus. The following scripture sets forth this experience.
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"Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin."—Rom. 6:6. It cannot be improved upon nor cultivated. It is sinful in nature, and must be dealt with according to the redemption law of crucifixion. It is condemned and must die. It is utterly worthless to God, and harmful to man; therefore, it must die. It clings to life with remarkable tenacity, and it is not within the power of man alone to put it to death. It has so entwined itself into our affections that they and each of their objects must be absolutely yielded up to death, even the most sacred treasures of the heart; so that the true work of purity may be perfectly wrought within us. To simply yield up our old man for his destruction would be but a pleasant sacrifice; for every justified believer who has obtained the knowledge of this enemy within becomes anxious for his destruction. It is not the yielding up of our old man, therefore, that seems such a loss to us; but when we see that our whole being, spirit, soul, and body, with every affection and its object, must be yielded up and truly laid upon the altar, we realize the subtraction process of sanctification—the loss of all things. Our old man cannot be crucified until everything is thus first yielded up. As long as any one object of our affection is withheld, the consecration is incomplete and the affections can not be purified from this depravity; hence the necessity of an absolute yielding up of everything, to obtain the excellency of this heavenly grace. In this condition we can assuredly experience the meaning of the words: "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed." Thank God! this is a present-tense experience for everyone who is willing to be conformed to the perfect will of God. In this condition, Jesus can have the perfect right of way within, and work in us that which is well-pleasing in his sight.
Some one might wonder if we are never permitted in this truly consecrated condition, to set our affections upon anything in this world, or, if we can possess anything as our own, if all must be yielded up and laid upon the altar. If our affections and every object of the same are yielded to Jesus, then we certainly cannot have them placed upon anything else. This is one of the grand provisions of his grace. Jesus now gets between us and every object of our affections. He not only has our affections, but he has the objects of our affections. In the consciousness of this loss to us we also become conscious of the loss of our old, depraved nature, and the gain of a glorious, heavenly purity which we before did not possess. But above all things, we become conscious of the fact that Jesus has become enthroned within our hearts, and now has full control of our entire being. In him we possess all things. He gives us back, with himself, everything that is good for us: father, mother, brother, sister, and every God-given blessing that we had yielded up to him. But they do not seem to us now like they did before. There is something between us and them. What is it? It is Jesus! This makes every blessing so much more precious to us now. A sacredness exists between us and our loved ones which we never realized before. They now get our love only as they get it through Jesus, for he is between us and them. Praise God for this precious experience! We gave everything, our all, for him. He purified our hearts and now gives everything, his all, to us. Without the subtraction of our all, first, we cannot obtain the addition, his all. Thus, after all, we lose nothing but the depravity of our nature, which loss, of course, involves the loss of all things for the time being, but means the gain of all things in the fullness of Christ.
The apostle Paul expresses this crucifixion in his testimony in Gal. 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." There was something of the apostle that was crucified. It was the same as he speaks of in Rom. 6:6, "our old man." That depraved, carnal self, the proud, haughty Pharisee, the great Saul of Tarsus who considered himself of such importance among men. This was the I that was crucified; but there was an I who still lived. This was the humble, sanctified Paul, the servant of Jesus Christ, who now considered himself less than the least of all saints, and not worthy to be called an apostle. What a contrast between the two I's. The one, the big I; the other, the little I. They are exactly of opposite natures. The one was Paul's "old man," the other his humble individual self. Jesus and the big I cannot rule together in the same heart.