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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : THE SECRET OF SANCTIFICATION. By A.B.Simpson.

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Joined: 2009/1/24
Posts: 454


By A.B.Simpson.

Paul has left us in no doubt about the principles that lay behind his experience of sanctification. The first of these is the great fundamental principle of death and resurrection. He finds the germ of his experience in that which is the centre of all Christianity, the Cross of Jesus Christ, “Don’t you know that all of us who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into His death? We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death". “Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6 v3-4 &11).
Sanctification is not the improvement of the old nature, nor a surgical operation removing a part of it. It is the absolute and entire death of self, of the natural man, with the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not only the death of his badness, but the death of his natural goodness. It is not only the putting aside of his weakness, but the putting off of his natural strength, and then his emerging from the grave of the Lord Jesus Christ with a life so new and so divine that it is the same as if he had been born out of heaven.
Sanctification is not the improvement of self but the displacement of self and its replacement with the new supernatural divine life of the Lord Jesus Christ. The old nature is set aside, nothing good is expected from him for he is “dead” and his “life is hid with Christ in God”.
The next principle in Paul’s experience and doctrine of sanctification is the Christ life. And now we come to the very kernel of the subject in this beautiful text, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2 v20).
Paul’s understanding of sanctification is entirely supernatural and personal. It is not with him a thing, but a Person. It is not something he has attained, but it is some One whom he has met. It is not an experience through which he has come, but a living and almighty Friend with whom he has become forever united. It is not that Paul has become a better man, but Paul has received into his inmost being the Son of Man, the One Man, the Divine Man, the only Man who ever pleased God or ever can please Him again.
Paul has seen the Lord Jesus Christ as his living Head and as his living Substitute. He has taken Him into his entire being to live within, to be what he cannot be, to do what he cannot do, and to be made to him "wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption”. Henceforth his glad triumphant shout is, “Christ lives in me”. “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength" (Phil. 4 v13).
This is the sublime teaching of the Master Himself, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing”. This is the secret “which has been hidden from ages and from generations, . . . Christ in you, the hope of glory".
This is the truth which makes nothing of us and yet everything of us, that forever lays our glorying in the dust and yet forever lifts us above the old natural perfection, above self-sufficiency, even to the all-sufficiency of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
And so Paul learned the secret of sanctification “by faith”, and well he taught it to his disciples. In the first description of this blessed experience in the sixth chapter of Romans, he uses a little word which is the keynote of this whole subject. It is plain and practical and absolutely unerring, it is the little word count. This is the step by which Paul entered into sanctification and this is the decisive step that each of us must take in order to follow Him.
“Count yourselves to be dead to sin,
but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
You do not have to grow yourself into it, you do not have to pray yourself into it, you do not have to work yourself into it. It is all there for you, you simply accept it, believe it, count upon it, and go forward. As a sinner takes Jesus as his Saviour, at a definite moment in his life, and from that moment counts past sins all forever gone and Christ’s promises forever true, so in sanctification we come to the moment where, by our full surrender and decision, we yield up our own life, our own strength and all that belongs to self and sin. We count not something dead but ourselves dead. Then we take Christ, the Risen One, to be our life, we reckon that He is our life and count on Him for everything. We expect nothing from ourselves but everything from Him. We ask Him to deal with every failure on our part and every assault of the adversary and our one testimony is "Christ lives in me”.

Wayne Kraus

 2016/9/15 18:56Profile

Joined: 2006/11/26
Posts: 3429


Thank you for posting Wayne! Excellent teaching. This is the same thing that Nee, Sparks, and Andrew Murray taught. It is the secret to Christian living. “No longer I that live, but Christ.” “For me to live is Christ.”


 2016/9/15 20:03Profile

Joined: 2016/6/4
Posts: 941
Johannesburg, South Africa


Amen! Glorious teaching!

Changed my life forever!



 2016/9/16 1:30Profile

 Personal Testimony - Sanctification* By A.B.Simpson.

The following testimony was given in substance by Rev A.B. Simpson on Sunday night September 12th [1915], in connection with the fiftieth anniversary of his ordination.

An occasion so unique as this may justify a personal testimony, and the opening up of the holiest and most sacred confidences of one's Christian life. Fifty years ago the one who addresses you this evening was ordained in this sacred place. He was a young, ambitious minister of twenty-one, and had not yet learned the humbling lessons which God in His faithful love is pleased to teach us as fast as we are willing to learn. God was pleased to give him a loyal and united congregation and what would ordinarily be called a successful ministry. He was sincere and earnest up to the light he had received and had not learned any other gospel than the old story of the cross. God had graciously given to him a very true conversion, and, notwithstanding the temptations of college life and the ambitions of his intense nature, he was according to the ordinary standards an earnest, sincere, and successful minister, and the measure of blessing that God was pleased to bestow upon him in this dear old church was far in excess of anything he had a right to expect.

But even after nine years of his active ministry in Hamilton he had not yet learned the deeper lessons of spiritual life and power which God was pleased to open to him after taking him from this place. There is a remarkable passage in Isaiah telling us that when the Spirit is poured out from on high, the wilderness shall become a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be counted for a forest. When that experience came to him, the field of his former ministry, which had seemed so fruitful, suddenly appeared barren and withered, and he felt as if his true ministry had scarcely yet begun. It may not be out of good taste to testify to the things which God has been pleased to show to him in the more than forty years that have passed since his last official relations with this Church.

In the first place, He took care to show him very thoroughly, very patiently, very inexorably his own nothingness. In a crisis hour of his spiritual experience, while asking counsel from an old, experienced friend, he was shocked to receive this answer, "All you need in order to bring you into the blessing you are seeking, and to make your life a power for God, is to be annihilated." The fact is, the shock of that message almost annihilated him for the time, and before God's faithful discipline was through, he had learned in some adequate measure, as he has been learning ever since, the great truth which our text expresses, "I am not sufficient to think anything of myself."

Second, the next great lesson the patient Master was pleased to begin to teach him was the all-sufficiency of Christ. Never shall he forget the morning that he spent in his church study reading an old musty book he had discovered in his library on the subject "The Higher Christian Life." He had struggled long and vainly with his own intense nature, his strong self-will, his peculiar temptations, and his spiritual life had been a constant humiliation. He had talked to his people about the deeper things of the Spirit, but there was a hollow ring, and his heart was breaking to know the Lord Jesus as a living bright reality. As he pored over this little volume, he saw new light. The Lord Jesus revealed Himself as a living all-sufficient presence, and he learned for the first time that Christ had not saved us from future peril and left us to fight the battle of life as best we could, but He who had justified us was waiting to sanctify us, to enter into our spirit and substitute His strength, His holiness, His joy, His love, His faith, His power, for all our worthlessness, helplessness, and nothingness, and make it an actual and living fact, "I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me." This was indeed a new revelation. Throwing himself at the feet of that glorious Master he claimed the mighty promise, "I will dwell in you and you in me." Across the threshold of his spirit there passed a Being as real as the Christ who came to John on Patmos, and from that moment a new secret has been the charm, and glory, and strength of his life and testimony. And he shall never forget how he longed to come back to the land of his birth and the friends of former years, and tell them that magic, marvelous secret, hid from ages and generations, but now made manifest in the saints, which is Christ in you, the Hope of glory. Henceforth it was not his struggles, his character, his ethical culture, his moral goodness, but his constant dependence upon the living One who has said, "Because I live, ye shall live also." And whatever has been accomplished these forty years in personal victory or public service, he counts it a great privilege to stand here today and say, "Not I but Christ." "I have learned the secret, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

This is not only the secret of spirit victory, but of mental efficiency and physical strength. It is such an identification with the incarnate Christ that His intellectual force passes into our limited capacity, and we can say, "We have the mind of Christ"; and His physical vitality quickens our failing strength, lifts us above disease and infirmity, and enables us to say, "The life of Jesus is made manifest in our mortal flesh."

Yes, "we are not sufficient even to think anything as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God." And although we are daily delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, yet the life also of Jesus is made manifest in our mortal flesh."

Furthermore, this divine sufficiency extends to all our service for Christ and makes us efficient in the Master's work. It is a great thing to learn that we do not have to go on our resources or fight on our charges. Our good works are prepared for us that we should walk in them, and "God is able to make all grace abound toward us, so that we, always having all-sufficiency in all things, may abound unto every good work." Christian usefulness is not the exploiting of Christian talent, but witnessing in the power of the Holy Ghost and doing the works of Jesus because He works in us. The Holy Spirit is our power for service. He quickens the mind in the apprehension of the truth. He stirs the heart with love for souls. He inspires the preacher with faith, authority, and divine efficiency. He convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment, and not only works in the preacher but in the hearer, giving efficacy for the word of His grace and using often the humblest instruments to accomplish the greatest good. The following lines sum up the testimony of the speaker and many others who have learned the secret of a living and indwelling Christ.

Once it was my working,
His it hence shall be

Perhaps the most wonderful experience of this deeper revelation of Christ is in the realm of answered prayer. This great secret opens heaven and puts in our hand a checkbook which only needs the endorsement of faith to give us fellowship with all the wealth of God's providence and grace. How wonderful the answers to prayer which gild the memories of difficulty with celestial and eternal light.

Third, the third great light which God has permitted to fall upon these forty years is the glorious light of prophetic truth and millennial hope. Once the vision stretched away into a human horizon, the golden age to which one was looking forward was to be brought about by evolution, human progress, modern civilization, the spread of Christianity, man's best endeavors. But a generation ago there came a new revelation and a new hope, not of a slow and uncertain evolution of human progress, but a glorious revelation of prophetic fulfillment, a kingdom coming not from the earth but from the skies, the New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, the promise of the Coming One, who some glad day will supersede the poor counterfeit kings of earth and will fulfill His glorious promise, "This same Jesus shall so come again." It is glorious indeed to be working for a cause that cannot fail, not struggling to convert the world, but gathering out of it a little flock to meet the King and welcome Him back to end the tragedy of human failure,

And make this blighted world of ours
His own fair world again

Oh, how it dries our parting tears when our loved ones cross the threshold, etc. Oh, how real it makes our redemption, not some far-off mysterious heaven, but this old green earth restored, and these mortal frames clothed in immortality and glory.

And finally, has come the vision of the world and its evangelization, the sacred trust which widens our horizon, makes every man our neighbor, and gives us a bishopric as wide as the human race. That is the glorious renaissance of modern church history, the new missionary movement, the splendid watchword, the evangelization of the world in the present generation.

Let us thank God together, dear friends, for the wonderful new revelation which God has given us in the opening years of the twentieth century. He is short-sighted indeed who allows himself to miss this holy calling and fails to have a part in these stupendous days upon which the end of the age has come and which look out already into the eternal morning.

 2016/9/16 8:46

Joined: 2006/8/10
Posts: 518

 Re: Personal Testimony - Sanctification* By A.B.Simpson.

My Christian walk is similar to many after being truly saved. My focus was on doing (Bible study, prayer, church attendance, worship, witnessing, generosity, etc.) in order to get closer to God. I did this with all earnestness and vigor of self effort my flesh could muster. I actually felt drained and not refreshed the more I tried. Some sins were gone for good but some sins were quite a vexing stumbling stone still. I could suppress and repress them for a while but they would pop up and bring defeat yet again.

It wasn't until I came to the end of myself and cried out to God, "I can't live the Christian life" (which was music to God's ear) that I received a greater revelation of Christ and how I am to relate to Him. Whereas I cannot live the Christian life in my own strength, He can live His life in me as I cooperate and participate in His life. Just as in ballroom dancing the man leads and the woman follows the man's lead, we are meant to look to the Lord to do in and through us what we cannot do ourselves. Now instead of working FOR God, I now experience life WITH God. There is a beautiful rest in this. This is the life of FAITH that Paul describes in Gal. 2:20 (and the life I live in the flesh I live by FAITH in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.)

Now when I experience temptation I regard it as a flashing red light alerting me that I need to abide in Christ and look to His Spirit within me to overcome this obstacle. Again, the attitude must be "in myself I cannot but Christ in me can as I look to Him and cooperate with Him in FAITH.

I am much helped by Andrew Murray's writings such as Absolute Surrender and Abide in Christ. I share these thoughts with you because I have a burden for defeated Christians. I am not one to claim sinless perfection. In fact, the more I advance in my Christian walk, the more imperfections I see in me. But I do believe that a Christian can overcome idols and addictions (sinful habits) by looking to Christ in us to be our resource and power for living the Christian life. Victory is not a one time event but a moment-by-moment affair. I hope this helps someone who struggles living the Christian life. Christ lives in our Spirit but is a gentleman who won't force His life on us but does allow us to experience defeat so that we will come to Him and invite Him to live in and through us to do His will.


 2016/9/16 10:17Profile

Joined: 2009/1/24
Posts: 454


"Now when I experience temptation I regard it as a flashing red light alerting me that I need to abide in Christ and look to His Spirit within me to overcome this obstacle. Again, the attitude must be 'in myself I cannot but Christ in me can as I look to Him and cooperate with Him in FAITH.'"

"All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose." Even the temptations of the enemy backfire on him and work for our good. Even failure and defeat work to our good because that is how we learn to throw ourselves completely on God and rely on Him for everything.

Wayne Kraus

 2016/9/17 8:35Profile


Now we are back in the garden of Eden. Now we are back in the very lesson which Adam failed to learn-his helplessness. The very lesson that Israel failed to learn at Mt. Sinai, was their helplessness. Now we have to learn it all over again. The redeemed self cannot do it, the redeemed self is merely a container that can't do a thing, "in me, in my flesh dwelleth no good thing." It's merely a container. It's a free container now. It's no longer a bound container, it's freed-free from sin free from the world, but it's still only a container. And if you up and try to serve Jesus, down you come again. You can't do it.


Every time I tried to be good or avoid evil - bang! The law would shoot me and down I would go. I would do this and not do that - Bang!

I would make new promises - redouble my efforts - Bang!

This time I would get hold of "God's Power" and do it right. - Bang!

This time I will be better "FOR SURE" - BANG!

Bang - bang - bang - I was shot down thousands of times before I even started to learn my lesson OF COMPLETE HELPLESSNESS.

I could have never learned this so important lesson if the law did not shoot me. I now thank God for the law and all the bullet holes it put in me. Only the law could slay me of this self righteousness that I had. I had no idea that it even existed before the law shot me. It was the law the showed me that my "I" needed to replaced with Christ Himself.

 2016/9/17 8:50

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