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To my mind, there is nothing more clearly taught in the divine Word that the following facts:
1. “Regeneration plants in us a new and divine nature.”
2. Entire sanctification destroys and removes the old nature; and
3. From these two facts, it necessarily follows that during the interval between the accomplishment of those two changes, man is a subject of two opposite moral elements. He has in him both a good and bad nature.
He is not a subject of two kingdoms; for the indwelling evil is merely a subjugated foe. He is, however, a subject of two laws; both emanating from God and each having its respective jurisdiction.
In these facts lies the main philosophy of the two distinct degrees of salvation. As soon as the first two facts, above stated were presented to my mind, I knew from experience and the whole tenor of the Bible that they were true. The twilight of vagueism then gave way to the effulgent beauty of definite degrees in the divine plan. Reason at once dropped the one-work theory and cheerfully bowed to the two-fold salvation of the Bible; being perfectly awed and delighted with its superior grandeur.
It must be apparent to all that if regeneration purifies absolutely then perfect purity is essential to the regenerated state; and as nothing can exit in the absence of that which is essential to its existence, regeneration does not exist where perfect purity is not found; hence, every person must be perfectly pure or entirely graceless. This position, I am quite sure, none are willing to assume then it follows that the premises are false.
The Bible does teach the simultaneous existence of sonship and carnality; hence, the grace that inducts into the divine family does not complete our purification. The Bible also teaches a state of perfect freedom from indwelling evil; hence, an advance or second state of grace.
The dual state is well photographed in the seventh chapter of Romans. Many are undecided as to the meaning of this chapter. Some claim that it is descriptive of Paul’s best attainment in life; and thus seek to extenuate sin in themselves. Others go to the opposite extreme and apply it to the awakened sinner. The first position is drawn from Paul’s personification of himself in the present tense. But we find in verses 7 to 13 that he began to personate himself in the past tense; and when, in verse 14, he changes to the form of the present, he doubtless still alludes to the past. Long after the Apostle professed to be “crucified,” “free from sin,” and “perfect,” he thus addresses Timothy: “This is a faithful saying . . . that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15). This, like the above instance, is not to be understood as representing Paul’s present condition, but as expressive of his intense humility. It is the language of a grateful sinner now saved by divine grace.
“But I am carnal sold under sin, for that I do I allow not,” etc (Romans 7:14-15). “I am,” that is, my in-born nature, is corrupt and, while it lived, had to be kept under the “law of sin.” We are not to suppose an utter inability to do good and serve God from the above language but that implanted grace is much hindered by indwelling carnality and that this inner foe, sometimes, through our weakness causes us to do that which our new-born loyal nature “allows not,” and actually “hates.” This is the common experience of unsanctified babes in Christ. Relying upon the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I am led to a very clear and decided conclusion that the dual state of a young believer in Christ is here portrayed. Bear in mind that absolute freedom from sin is the subject of this epistle.
In the fifth chapter the Apostle sets forth the superabundance of saving grace over all sin and the two successive salvations. In the sixth chapter he argues the inconsistency of continuing in sin since grace provides for our death to, and consequent freedom from sin; he, therefore, admonishes them to “reckon themselves dead indeed to sin,” that is, now appropriate by faith the perfect “salvation that is in Christ Jesus.”
Continuing the same theme, in the seventh chapter the Apostle illustrates the extent of the law by the marriage obligation. As the latter terminates in the death of the companion, so total emancipation from the law is only effected by death to sin. Sin and the law are married; the existence of the one is the occasion of the other. “The law was added because of sin,” “Was made for evil doers;” hence retains its hold upon the believer until all evil is blotted out of the soul by the blood of Christ.
“Now the end of the commandment (law) is charity out of a pure heart” (1 Timothy 1:5). A pure heart is one where only charity (love) dwells; hence, all subject to love, which is the law “of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.” But “charity out of a pure heart,” implies such a thing as charity out of a heart not yet pure; hence, not entirely free from the “law of sin and death;” so called, because it is inseparable from sin and only works death.
Now, these two moral natures with their respective laws, Paul holds up as a mirror in the seventh of Romans that his brethren might see the dual, or conflicting state, of their hearts; and then carries their minds forward to deliverance “through Jesus Christ our Lord,” (verse 25) and confirms the blessed truth by his own experience. “For,” says he, “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2). With him the dual state was ended being wholly brought under the one law of love.
I submit the following reasons for believing that a converted person is here described:
1. While the sinner is wholly under the “carnal mind which is not subject to the law of God,” the Apostle here delineates one, the “law of whose mind” is, not only loyal to but “delights in,” and actually “serves the law of God” (Romans 7:22, 25).
2. Two opposite natures are here attributed to the some person. This is the experience of every merely justified believer.
3. The chapter personates one who was a subject of two laws. The one came with transmitted sin, the other must therefore have been written in the mind by implanted grace, hence, he was a child of grace.
4. The sin or evil described in this chapter is confined to the “flesh” (verse 18). It is used interchangeably with the “carnal mind” (Romans 8:4-8). “Fleshly mind” (Colossians 2:18). These and other scriptures show clearly that the “flesh” in this connection does not mean our physical nature in contradistinction to our spiritual; but our corrupt, fallen nature as opposite to our new nature in-wrought by divine grace. This is a parallel case with the Galatians who were all the “children of God,” and possessed the divine Spirit, yet the flesh (this same fallen nature) “lusted against the Spirit” (Galatians 5:17).
5. The wretchedness depicted in Romans 7 is not that of an awakened penitent. There is no expression of guilt, no out-cry for pardon which is the repenting sinner’s constant plea. Even in the shortcomings confessed, justification is contended for on the ground that it is “not I but sin that dwelleth in me.” Now, this in not the way the convicted sinner talks to God; his bitter experience and humble confession is: “I have sinned and done this evil in thy sight;” yea, “I have sinned against heaven.
When the soul becomes a subject of Christ’s kingdom, this inherited “body of death” is ignored and even loathed. The affections and desires fully consent to the divine law and though the heart is pained and filled with shame at the stirrings of in-dwelling evil, guilt is not necessarily implied because the new born soul is not in sympathy with this sin-ward nature, nor yet responsible for its presence until light reveals the duty and privilege of its extirpation.
6. The sin deplored in this chapter does not relate to transgressions of the divine law, which, like dark specters, throng the memory of the awakened sinner. But it is sin in the singular; an indivisible “body;” and real moral and spiritual entity, which exists back of all its works. It does not consist in sinful acts but is the root and source of all sinful acts. It is the sin that sins. It dwells in men, carries on an extensive business in the world, has many sings up in the unsanctified church; employs numerous servants, and pays them wages. (Romans 7:17; John 8:34; Romans 6:16, 23)
This sin is not comprised in the bundle that press the heart of the penitent. We can’t repent of nor receive pardon for that, that we are not responsible for. It is only after the thick cloud of our sin is removed by divine acquittal that the eye of our consciousness can discern this deep-seated foe of the soul.
Hence it is clear that the picture in Romans chapter seven is that of a justified Christian whose eyes are fully opened to his need of perfect heart purity. Weary of the conflict within he accepts the pains of crucifixion. “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”
If, therefore, any think this picture too dark for a real justified believer, please remember that Paul is describing the duality and not any of the blessing of this primary grace; the fact and virulence of indwelling sin and not the blessedness of implanted grace. Since the simple object for which he longed to come unto them, and for which he wrote, was to convict them of the “Spiritual gift: they needed, i.e., “the righteousness of God,” it was necessary that he lead their minds from the joy of pardon to the wretchedness occasioned by the offensive “body of death.” In fact, the picture supposes the subject under a vivid and painful consciousness of this foul enemy; yea, in the very throes of his expiration. I appeal to any man that has ever passed through the pains of this death struggle, “The swelling of Jordan ,” that lies between the 7th and 8th of Romans if this picture is overdrawn. Having led their minds on to this crisis, he proclaims help near.
“I thank God through Christ Jesus.” Therefore by faith “reckon yourselves dead indeed unto sin” (Romans 6:11). For “our old man must be crucified,” the “body of sin destroyed,” not pardoned but destroyed. This Paul also admonished the Ephesian Christians to “put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” (Ephesians 1:22).
After declaring his absolute freedom from this body of sin and its accompanying law, the Apostle continues the same subject in the eighth chapter, calling the two opposites the “body,” or “carnal mind,” and the Spirit. “And if Christ be in you (if according to the promise made to the church, Christ and the Father have come and taken their abode in you), the body is dead because of sin” (verse 10). That is, it is “dead in reference to sin; the members of your body no more perform the works of sin than the body of a dead man does the functions of natural life.” Here is an utter end of the civil war in the believer’s heart; for if one of two contending parties is slain, the fight must cease. Here begins an entirely new state of existence altogether unknown in the dual state of mere justification.
Again, “If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you; He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you” (verse 11). This language is quite commonly applied to the resurrection; but it undoubtedly refers to the work that God does in us after receiving His Spirit of adoption. How could this quickening, or making alive, refer to the resurrection since it is done by the Spirit of God dwelling in us? Does the divine Spirit dwell in our dead bodies in the grave in order to resurrect us there from?
Let us hear James McKnight’s translation a paraphrase.
For if the Spirit of Him who raised up Jesus from the dead, abide in you, by his influence, He who raised up Christ from the dead, will make even your dead bodies . . . (verse 10) your animal passions, together with the members of your mortal bodies alive, that is subservient to the spiritual life, through His Spirit who dwelleth in you.
This learned and pious Presbyterian divine was no professional advocate of the second grace; yet in faithfully following the Word, he, as well as the common version, emphatically teaches the second work. First, the reception of the Spirit of adoption. Second, our death to sin and quickening of all our powers for God’s service. For to be “dead to the world” is to be “alive unto God” and “made perfect to do His will” (Hebrews 13:21).
Let us follow the Apostle one step farther: “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” (Verse 13)
This is a clear key to the whole subject; here terminates the dual state and all internal strife. The Emphatic Diaglott renders it thus: “For if you live according to the flesh, you are about to die; but if, by the Spirit, you put to death the deeds of the body you shall live.” Other versions have “put to death,” instead of “mortify.” Observe that in this chapter the Apostle applied to this brethren at Rome the mixed state he characterized in the preceding; hence, we know where it belongs, namely, to justified Christians, for such he addressed.
They had spiritual life for they were in danger of dying, i.e., backsliding. Yet there was that sin which must be “put to death,” as a condition to healthy spiritual life. The idea is here conveyed that fallen nature and implanted grace are antagonistic to each other and will not be likely to dwell together very long. And, unless we, by the power of God’s Spirit, (in a measure already received in regeneration) and by faith in Christ our deliverer put to death this body of sin we are in imminent danger of falling by its subtlety. “Therefore,” says the Apostle, “I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift to the end ye may be established” (Romans 1:11).
How was he to impart that gift? The verses following show that it was by preaching to them the “Gospel which is the power of God unto salvation to all that believe,” for “therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to (“eis” into) faith” (verses 16-17). So, the spiritual gift that was to establish them is the real “righteousness of God,” transmitted to them in a second degree of faith. See 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 12:10.
“And I am sure that when I come unto you, I will come in the fullness of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ” (Romans 15:29).
“Now to Him that is of power to establish you according to my Gospel and the preaching of Jesus” (Romans 16:26).
The establishing gift that Paul longed to come and impart to these brethren is the crowning “Blessing of the Gospel” and is in-wrought by the power of God through the “preaching of Jesus Christ” our perfect Savior. And having been preceded by justification, it is a second grace. It is the “also” grace after justification “wherein we stand” (Romans 5:1-2).
“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost” (Romans 15:13). To be filled with all joy excludes inward trouble; all peace is an end of all internal war, the total death of inbred sin.
The Apostle then confesses that he is “persuaded of you brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, etc., i.e., I do not look upon you as unconverted or back-slidden.
“Nevertheless, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given 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” (verses 15-16).
Here Paul declared it his special calling to labor for the sanctification of the Gentiles, and not being able to come at once, to lead this church into this great “blessing of the Gospel,” he “boldly” lifts up the standard in his Epistle assuring them that they need not always suffer the bitter conflict between good and evil in their hearts; but that Christ was able to deliver them from the “body of death,” and “stablish their hearts unblameable in holiness before God,” make them “free from sin,” clothe them in His own righteousness, and “fill them with all joy and peace in believing.” Yes, all this glory on the simple conditions of presenting yourself a “living sacrifice to God,” and then “believing.”
What an important work of grace and glorious rest of soul is here offered to the Christians at Rome . Not of works, but a “spiritual gift.” Not included in, nor developed from justifying grace, but an “also,” or supplemental grace. Not a transitory blessing, but that paramount “blessing of the Gospel,” which “establisheth us in Christ Jesus,” and “wherein we stand” forever. Not through self-culture but by the power of God through the Holy Ghost. It was not to be obtained by gradual growth but by faith, therefore instantaneous. Dear reader, you may have the same gift of God’s righteousness on the same conditions.
What ever may be said of the defects of this church, it cannot be disputed that Paul recognized them as Christians. “And many of the Corinthians hearing, believed and were baptized” (Acts 18:8). They are addressed as the “ church of God ,” as “brethren,” “are in Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 1:30), “ye believed” (1 Corinthians 3:5), “ye are God’s husbandry . . . ye are God’s building (1 Corinthians 3:9), “ye are Christ’s” (1 Corinthians 3:23).
They are declared to be “babes in Christ” and yet they had carnality. “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat; for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able, for ye are yet carnal and walk as men” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3).
We are apt to exaggerate both the virtues and defects of past ages and to the casual reader the above characterization looks very dark, but after all, it is no more than a childish preference for preachers such as we see agitated among the old and young babes of the churches of today; and which indicates now, as well as then, that brethren have not yet gone on to perfection; or become sanctified from inbred carnality.
To say the Corinthians had never been converted were a contradiction to the word. To say they had back-slidden, it were necessary to change the Apostle’s words thus: “were the church of God,” “were in Christ,” “were God’s husbandry,” “were Christ’s,” “were babes,” etc.; to suit the above theory Paul should have said: “ye have become carnal.” But his language is, “For hitherto ye were not able to bear it, ye are yet carnal”—ye have allowed inbred carnality to remain in you until the present time. To deny that they were in Christ at the time of Paul’s writing is simply to contradict the Apostle. To say they were not carnal at the same time is equally impeaching the inspired Record.
Whatever was the condition of the Corinthians, it cannot be disputed that the Apostle recognized two opposite natures in the same persons, the coetaneous existence of sonship and carnality. I challenge the skill of man to construe these Scriptures so as to avoid their testimony the dual state. “I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.” I appeal to any candid reader if this language does not clearly indicate that, in the apostolic time, they expected newly converted believers to be indwelt by a carnal nature which regeneration had not removed: babes in Christ, yet carnal.
I also appeal to the fact that they were expected e’er long to be delivered from this inbred foe, its presence is spoken of as peculiar only to babes, or quite young converts who had not had time to discover the deeper want and appropriate the all cleansing blood of Christ.
Jesus said, “Except a man become converted and become as a little child, he shall in no case enter into the kingdom.” Conversion, then, inducts us into the condition of a small child; that is, perfectly innocent—freely justified.
But, do we not all teach that, if an infant dies, Christ, through His atonement, removes the Adamic taint that we see manifest almost from the dawn of its existence? And, if we are like children, when converted, do we not as well as they need to be purified before we are fit for heaven? And, being able to comply with conditions, is it not reasonable that God make this part of our salvation conditional as well as pardon? But the conditions of salvation are confined to this probationary state; hence it must be in this life.
Again, since the same moral qualifications are essential to glorify God in heaven or earth, would not the Lord purify us as soon as possible after becoming children? Therefore, it is that Paul reproves the Corinthians for having continued so long in the babe state—“yet carnal.” “And this also we wish even your perfection” (1 Corinthians 13:9). Oh, how solicitous for the perfecting of these carnal babes!
“Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect; be of good comfort; be of one mind; live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you” (1 Corinthians 13:11).
But what is the higher grace so tenderly urged upon these members of God’s household? “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” (1 Corinthians 7:1).
So it was not perfect maturity, but perfect purity or holiness they needed. These “dearly beloved brethren” being already “in Christ,” this language emphatically teaches a second work.
Paul also stops the mouths of such as would say that the above injunction was occasioned by a partially backslidden state. “For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent,” for “ye sorrowed to repentance.” “For behold this self same thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you’ yea, what clearing of yourselves; yea, what indignation; yea, what fear; yea, what vehement desire; yea, what zeal; yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves clear in this matter” (1 Corinthians 7:8-11).
They had purged out corruption; repented of all irregularities, and now stood clear before God; which is the only standpoint form which perfect holiness can be entered. Oh, no! Paul was not urging perfection upon backsliders, for such unfruitful branches God takes away and only purges them that are in Christ and bearing fruit. “Therefore as ye abound in everything in faith and utterance, and knowledge and in all diligence, and in your love to us,” etc (1 Corinthians 8:7). Such need not do their first works over but “have access by faith into this grace” of perfect purity.
The command in 1 Corinthians 7:1 contains within itself indisputable evidence of two degrees of salvation; for nothing can be perfected until it exists; to talk of perfecting the holiness of a sinner would be ridiculous. They were, then, Christians “clear” in justification, already “abounding in faith,” etc., and “yet carnal,” hence needed to come to the “fountain opened for sin and uncleanness.” Here they could be “cleansed from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit.” This makes a clean sweep of the Adamic nature, of all transmitted, or inborn, tendency to evil.
For, as they were already “babes in Christ,” nothing unrighteous remained but the sin which David confessed is “conceived” in us at the dawn of our existence and from which he prayed to be washed “whiter than snow.” Here we cease to be “like little children”—innocent, yet carnal. Duality ends and we are all of a piece—absolute oneness of heart, soul and nature. The hostile camps of the heart are dispersed forever and the olive branch of peace extends its sweet and eternal reign of perfect love in all the realms of the soul.
Truly this second grace “is heaven’s border land.” Oh, that all the Lord’s children would “Come to this valley of blessing so sweet!” Are you not weary of wandering about in this “great and terrible wilderness?” O, “be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promise” (Hebrews 6:12).
Now, Let your Joshua bring you in.
Cast out your foe; the inbred sin;
The dual state remove.
The purchase of His death divide,
And give you with the sanctified
The Eden reign of love.
When Paul wrote to these brethren, he represented them as also suffering these two contraries in the heart. Some suppose the Galatians had all apostatized from Christ. Let us see how that was.
They are recognized by the Apostle as the “churches of Galatia .” Upon them he invokes “grace and peace from God, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” True, Paul says, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another Gospel, which is not an other; but there be some that trouble you and would pervert the Gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:6-7). Certain Judaizing teachers had endeavored with some degree of success to alienate them from Paul by whom they had been called unto the grace of Christ.
“Oh, foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:1, 3). This does not prove that they had backslidden, but that they were foolish enough to seek perfection through the “flesh,” or “works of the law” and not by faith only. The same folly attaches to thousands of the present time.
The above show that they had received the Spirit as the beginning of their spiritual life but were subsequently to be made perfect. This exhibits a second degree of grace. But did not Paul say, “I travail in birth for you, until Christ be formed in you again?” No, he did not say that; but he did say: “My little children of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you” (Galatians 4:19). He labored for their conversion, and now he travails in solicitude for their perfection. He travailed thus for the Romans. (Romans 1:11-17); the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 1:15, 13:9 and 11); the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 3:10 and 13). Yea for all (Colossians 1:28-29). Doubtless, his anxiety for their perfection was intensified by their weakness and susceptibility to go astray.
The fifth chapter is inadvertently thought to represent the Galatians as having fallen.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I, Paul, say unto you that if ye be circumcised Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law: ye are fallen from grace. (Galatians 5:1-4)
“If ye be;” there is no evidence here that any had, but should you receive and depend upon circumcision as the ground of your acceptance with God—you remove your faith from Christ, and consequently, He will profit you nothing.
The condition upon which they were to have fallen from grace was that they “were justified by the law,” which, the Apostle declares and impossibility (Galatians 2:16, 3:11). He evidently meant if any of you attempt to be justified by the law. Could he have commanded them to “stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again in the yoke of bondage” if they had already fallen and become entangled? Would Paul have said, “I have confidence in you,” etc (verse 10), if they had returned to sin?
All through this epistle, Paul calls them his brethren and he declares them “all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26). This is conclusive. Now read Galatians 5:17-24.
“For the flesh lusteth (wars) against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the others; so that ye can not do the things that ye should (verse 17). In this verse we have positive proof that they were the Lord’s, for they had His Spirit; but with it they also had the flesh, or carnal nature, which was directly opposite to the Spirit of God in them.
In verses 19 through 21 we are told what the products of the flesh are if allowed to bring forth. From this catalogue of fruits we can learn—if we will—what the Apostle means by the flesh: “hatred, variance, wrath, strife,” etc., do not adhere in matter, but are clearly the manifestations of moral corruption—shoots from the Adamic root.
Now, this germ of all sin, which remains as a conquered foe in the heart after the Holy Spirit is received in adoption, Paul calls the flesh—not “kreas,” literal flesh (see Romans 14:21 and 1 Corinthians 8:13) but “sarka,” which is an evil temper of mind (see Colossians 2:18) “fleshly mind;” “carnal” (Romans 8:6-7).
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:23). That is, he that is free from sin and filled with the Spirit is wholly under the law of love.
“And they that are Christ’s, (have rendered themselves a living sacrifice wholly to God), have crucified the flesh, (“sarka,” the root of all sin), with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:24).
Here, as in the preceding cases, we are brought again to the end of the dual state. The crucifixion of the flesh, with the affections and lusts, can only mean the utter destruction of the whole root and offspring of moral evil in us. Crucify does not mean to repress nor to grow out, but, as a familiar term in that day, it had no other meaning but a violent death by the sentence of the law. In this use it is the painful execution of the sentence of Christ, who had “condemned sin in the flesh,” (“sarka,” its very seed).
Could language more emphatically teach two degrees of salvation? First, the new nature—the “Spirit”—received in regeneration. Second, the destruction of the old nature—the flesh or “body of sin”—in entire sanctification.
In order to encourage these brethren to seek this absolute rest to the soul, he adds his testimony saying, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20).
The mixed state and subsequent deliverance is also taught in
THE EPISTLE OF JAMES.
This Epistle is addressed to the Jewish Christians in general. James calls them his brethren, not in the Jewish, but Christian faith. “My brethren have no the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory with respect to persons” (James 2:1).
Now read James 3:10-14. “Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? So can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.”
Christ says, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good, and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil; for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Luke 6:45). This being true, the brethren addressed by James must have had both a good and an evil treasure in their heart. Of course, this is not the normal condition of God’s children; for “these things ought not so to be.” “Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries, either a vine figs?” This is only a transition state; none should settle down here, but “go on to perfection.”
But whence come those antipodes; this “prone to wander; prone to leave the God I love?” Read James 3:15-17. “This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual (natural in the margin), devilish.” That is, do not think your proclivity, or inward bent for sinning belongs to the nature received in regeneration, but it is the out cropping of depravity—the “earthly” spirit, or fallen “nature,” which remains in antagonism to the new born “wisdom that is from above, which is first pure, then peaceable, gentle,” etc., and which Paul says, “delights in the law of God.”
God be praised that there is something better for us. Read on James 4:5-11. “Do you think that the Scriptures saith in vain: the Spirit that dwelleth in us, lusteth to envy?” A host of our most able Bible students confirm the rendering of Dean Alford. “The Spirit that dwelleth in us, desires to have us,” i.e., “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus,” desires to set us entirely “free from the law of sin and death.” Like the Son, He “delights to do the will of God” which is “even our sanctification.” He strongly desires to possess us wholly to the exclusion of every opposite element. Yea, He would “leaven the whole lump” of our moral being into the “righteousness of God.” To accomplish this perfect transformation of our nature, “he giveth more grace.” This shows that they were already subjects of divine grace, hence, called “brethren” and that the manifestation of an “evil treasure” with the good in their hearts was for the want of an additional gift of grace. “Wherefore He saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” Alas! How many in the churches are too proud and self-willed to receive this “second” or “more grace,” the crowning “blessing of the Gospel.”
Submit yourselves, therefore to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep; let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law and judgeth the law. (James 4:7-11)
Notice, they are called both “brethren” and “sinners,” this seeming paradox is explained by the phrase “double minded.” They had received the grace of pardon and adoption and were therefore of the household of faith; but had not yet attained the grace of purity. Hence, they were commanded not to repent, but to “cleanse your hand, and purify your hearts,” that ye may “lift up holy hands,” and that the treasure of your hearts, form the abundance of which they mouth speaketh, may all be good: for, “If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man” (James 3:2).
To attain this blessed state of unmingled righteousness, there must be a deep humiliation before God, an afflicting and utter destruction of the flesh; a “submitting of self,” and all our interests for time and eternity to the Lord and a wonderful “drawing nigh to God” by faith, and “He shall lift you up,” i.e., raise you from the dual or mixed state to the “high” and “more excellent way” ”called the way of holiness.”
Who can deny that James teaches two successive degrees of grace. First, Induction into the brotherhood of the saints. Second, Purification from inbred sin.
I conclude this chapter with the
TESTIMONY OF PETER.
Writing to the Elect, he commands them to “be holy in all manner of conversation, because it is written, be ye holy for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16). Doubtless, many to whom he wrote were entirely sanctified, but the above command is addressed more particularly to young converts.
Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guilt and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speaking, as new born babes desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby; if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. (1 Peter 2:1-3)
Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which are against the soul. (verse 11)
These Scriptures cannot, by any fair means, be reconciled with the Zinzendorf theory of perfect purity in regeneration. If this grace saves from all in-dwelling sin, the above exhortation to newborn babes to lay aside all malice, etc., would be much out of place. Neither could it be said of such that the “flesh (carnal nature) lusteth against the Spirit.”
Christ said that out of the treasure of the heart the mouth speaketh, and good and evil proceeds; hence, to “lay aside all malice and guile and evil speakings” must be a work of the heart, a purification of the corrupt fountain from whence these evils proceed. And this is an experience urged upon “new born babes.” Compare Hebrews 12:1.
“Malice, guile,” etc., is unrighteousness—sin—hence must be cleansed by the blood of Christ. This removed, the war in verse 11 ends. Peter does not say that they should grow out of this turpitude, but “lay it aside” and “desire the sincere milk of the word that ye may grow;” that is, be purified as a condition of growth. The persons thus commanded having just been born into the family of God could not have degenerated; hence, the Bible clearly teaches that regeneration, which plants in a new nature, should be followed by the cleansing away of our old carnal nature, or inbred sin; “And the Bible is but the infallible counterpart of that other scripture written upon the tablet of experience.” Every converted soul is absolutely compelled to admit that there is something yet within that is opposite to love and that must be kept down lest it bring forth sin. He who denies this betrays reckless presumption, or ignorance both of self and the Bible. We often meet brethren who declare that they were fully saved and cleansed when pardoned but when asked if they have not an evil nature that must be held in subjection, the almost invariably reply yes and add that it is so with everybody and cannot be otherwise in this life. Now, on the first point we receive their testimony, because it is based upon their experience; but on the second we prefer the testimony of the Bible and those who have the higher experience of absolute purity. Opinion has no weight in the scales opposite to positive knowledge. The merely justified testify to internal war and we believe it because it accords with Scripture. The entirely sanctified testify to “all joy and peace;” and we believe it because it is equally consonant with the Bible.
“The mixed moral condition of merely justified believers implies no combination or composition of grace and in-dwelling sin. The spiritual and carnal have no fellowship.”
The true child of God laments the presence of this sin-ward tendency in him; his new born loyal nature instinctively cries out to God for deliverance from this “body of death.” But, dear reader, if you are in the least in sympathy with this foe; if you consent to its in-dwelling rather than sacrifice the right hand or eye, yea your whole body and your life to have it destroyed and cast out, you offend the most holy God and fall under condemnation.
O, I tremble for the dear people; God flashes the light of full salvation into their hearts that they may walk therein and glorify Him. “But some, when they had heard did provoke;” “to whom swear He that they shall not enter into His rest.”
May I, kind reader, cherish the hope that you will “walk in the light, as He is in the light,” and enjoy the rich experience that “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
Need I adduce additional Scripture to prove that grace ends the dual state in this life: do we not read that we are “renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created us:” “changed from glory to glory, into the same image (of the Lord) as by the Spirit of the Lord?” (Colossians 3:10; 2 Corinthians 3:18) Are there any such explosive elements in God that must be held in restraint? Nay: “God is love,” and “herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; for as He is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:16-17).
This consciousness of absolute freedom from in-dwelling evil is just as distinct from that of the first, or dual state of grace, as the brilliant noonday sun differs from the faint light of a taper. These two very marked states of grace so clearly taught in the Bible and attested by all who have experienced to same are the results of two successive works of grace.
The bee that rocks on summer flower,
In golden, balmy day;
The cloud that floats in sunset hour,
And glows with crimson ray;
The waves that roll with gentle swell,
At evening on the sea;
Speak of a rest and peace that dwell,
In hearts from care set free.
But who can tell the sacred hush
Of souls that dwell in love?
No noise, nor strife; foul tramp, nor rush
Were rests the Holy Dove.
His home is in that blest retreat,
Where evil cannot tread,
Secure as solemn mercy seat,
With cherub wings o’erspread.
O, who can sing that purest peace,
When dark camps leave the heart;
When inward wars their tumults cease,
And sin and self depart:
Then Christ comes in to dwell with thee,
And passions wild are still;
And like great waves of Galilee
Bow to His mighty will.
G. R. Cramer