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There is a late creed comprising what is called " The Fourfold Gospel." But since we read of nothing of the kind in the old Bible, we may safely conclude that this is "another gospel," a new arrangement. If we go beyond the oft expressed twofold salvation of the Word, we see no propriety in summing up the gospel in four special gifts, since its divine mercies are, we may safely say, a thousand fold, its blessings innumerable. But the great object of the Savior's death is to save men from all sin. And because sin exists in two forms, the word of God often presents salvation as a twofold remedy for sin. And, following the Word in this simple classification of its saving power, we of course for the time being, confine ourselves to the Scriptural method of deliverance from all unrighteousness, without reference to the many other precious gifts of divine grace that accompany salvation.
We have said that sin exists in two distinct forms. The first is the actual commission of sins. All understand that every willful act of disobedience to God's word is sin. Hence it is written, "Sin is the transgression of the law."—1 John 3:4. But again it is written, "All unrighteousness is sin."—1 John 5:17
Therefore if there is such a thing as an unrighteous nature in fallen humanity, it is sin. That is sin in nature; sin as a moral element, or bent to evil, back of, and distinct from all sinful actions that arise from it. This is a fact clearly taught in the Scriptures, and consciously experienced in all unsanctified humanity. It is said to be "sin that dwelleth in me."—Rom. 7:17. Sin in "motion. " Ver. 5. " Sin working death in me. " Ver. 13. Thus we see that sin exists as an element of moral evil; as an indwelling, moving' working force. The same is also called the "body of sin," "the old man."—Rom. 6: 6. It is also denominated the "works of the devil."—1 John 3:8. This foe to the human soul is infused in man's fallen nature. Eph. 2: 3. And is hereditary from the fall of our race. Psa. 51:5-7.
To meet and remove this twofold form of sin the Bible sets before us a double remedy. It is anticipated in the Old Testament. Thus saith the evangelistic prophet Isaiah, 61:6,7, "Ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory ye shall feast yourselves. For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them."
Thus when the Gentiles were brought into the fold of Christ, in the present more glorious dispensation, the promise is that instead of our sins we shall "possess the double,"—double salvation imparting everlasting joy. Thank God for a twofold salvation, removing both sins committed, and sin inherited. A double measure of divine grace, which saves to the uttermost from all kinds of sins, and sin.
Looking to the Gospel era, it is said, "In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin, and uncleanness. "—Zech. 13:1. Namely, to remit sins and cleanse out indwelling unrighteousness.
In Isaiah 25:3, we read, " Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." But instead of "perfect peace'" the marginal reading is "peace, peace." So also in Young's Translation. This is prophetic of the twofold grace in its present reign of Christ. Accordingly we open the New Testament and we read that justification gives us "peace with God." Romans 5: 1 We also read that "The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."—Phil. 4:7. The former implies a surrender to God, and reconciliation to the divine will, which comes through repentance, and is in justification. The second, "the peace of God," comes through perfect consecration to God, and consists in the holiness of God. The perfect tranquility that reigns in a heart that is pure even as Christ is pure. So we have peace—peace. Peace with God, and the holy peace of God.
"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, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."— Romans 5:1 2.
Here are clearly taught two successive accesses through Christ: first into justification; second, into the standing, or stablishing grace; which is perfect heart holiness. See 1 Thess. 3:13. And each time it is distinctly said that we enter by faith. Therefore the second grace, as well as justification the first, is not a growth, a development of the first, nor by works, and indeed' by no gradual process, but, being by faith, it is grasped as an instantaneous gift from God, purifying the heart by faith.
In the first chapter of the Romans, the apostle expresses his solicitude for the advancement of the church to the possession of this perfect salvation, says he longed to see them and impart unto them the precious "spiritual gift" that establishes the soul. Ver. 11. And this he proposed to do by preaching unto them the "gospel of Christ which is the power of God unto Salvation to every one that believeth. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith,."—Ver. 16, 17. From the first plane of faith to the fulness.
Christ promised the church a fulness of joy. John 15: 11. And John thus testifies concerning that grace: "And of his fulness have we all received, and grace for grace "—John 1:16. The preposition "for" has the force of either because of or in order to. If we give it the former application, this text teaches a measure of divine grace received because of a former experience in grace. If the latter, it shows a cardinal grace in order to the reception of the fulness. So it matters not which way we take it.
In exact harmony with this process of salvation, Paul writes to Titus, saying, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Spirit; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior." —Tit. 3:5, 6. This, it would seem, is too plain to need comment. Salvation is in two measures; first, regeneration, second, the renewal—of the soul in the divine image, see Col. 3:10,—by the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit.
The double cure for sin is also seen in 1 John 1:9: " If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. " This is a very precious and comprehensive truth. It assures of pardon, first, then on the same condition of confessing our state, we receive the perfecting grace of God which sweeps out of our nature all unrighteousness. That must necessarily include inbred unrighteousness. This glorious gospel, we are happy to testify is true. Praise the name of Jesus! We will conclude by introducing one more of the precious couplets that describe the twofold salvation of the Bible.
"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the, Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. "—2 Cor. 3:18.
By the wonderful saving and transforming grace of God we are changed from our sinful state into the very image of God, yea, into the image of the glory of the Lord. But this wonderful change is not wrought by a single touch of divine power. First we must be raised from guilt and shame, into the precious glory of justification; and from that degree of glory we are changed into the fullness of glory, into the very image of the glory of the Lord. And, observe, this glory of the image of the Lord is not received by a transition from earth to heaven, but it is by the Spirit of the Lord. And he is the sanctifier. Rom. 15:16.
So, dear reader, if you have been born of God, and your soul is yet thirsting and longing for "more grace," that is just what God wants to give you. James 4:6. Therefore consecrate your all forevermore to God, and on the authority of his Word believe the very God of peace sanctifies you wholly, through the precious blood of his Son, and it shall be done. Amen.