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Therefore, I endure all things for the electâ€™s sake, that they may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. (2 Timothy 2:10)
The â€śeternal gloryâ€ť may possibly refer to the future glory of the saints. But it is much more consonant with parallel texts to apply it to the â€śSpirit of glory and of God,â€ť which, Peter says rests upon the happy, persecuted saints; and which he identifies with perfection or establishing grace; and which glory Christ gave to His church to adorn her as â€śthe City that men call the perfection of beauty, the joy of the whole earth,â€ť â€śthat the world might believeâ€ť and be attracted by her sweet fellowship of love.
Yea, Christ Jesus Himself is â€śa light to lighten the Gentiles, and the (eternal) glory of His people Israel â€ť (Luke 2:32). â€śThe salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory,â€ť beautifully correspond with the negative and positive of entire sanctification, i.e., the cleansing away of all moral impurity and the infilling of the â€śSpirit of glory and of God.â€ť One thing is certain, the inspirited Apostle teaches a salvation to be â€śobtainedâ€ť by persons who are already the elect children of God.
Can it be possible that the many Scriptures which teach that men do not grasp all the â€śsalvation that is in Christ Jesusâ€ť when they become â€śelect,â€ť or justified believers, mean something else or nothing at all? Blessed be the name of the Lord! At last my longing soul has realized that â€śHis promises are all yea and amen, to them that believe.â€ť I gratefully â€śset to my seal that God is true.â€ť â€śThere is more to follow.â€ť
Thereâ€™s a wideness in Godâ€™s mercy
Like the wideness of the sea.
Paul well knew the intense longing in newborn souls for perfect holiness in heart and power to stand against all evil; and, also knowing that â€śin Christ Jesusâ€ť all fullness is provided for them, he was solicitous that his â€śGod should supply all their need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesusâ€ť and â€śthe exceeding greatness of His power to us ward who believe.â€ť Of course the man whose diminutive theory limits the transforming power of God and the â€śunreachable riches of Christ to a singe grasp of faith put forth by a penitent sinner will read this language of Saint Paul over a hundred times and see nothing for him this side of heaven:
For the love of God is broader
Than the measure of manâ€™s mind,
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.
Many seem to forget that salvation is deliverance from sin, a moral change, and not a change of location. He that is â€śfree from sinâ€ť is saved, even were it possible for him to pass through the bottomless pit: while he that is unclean would be uncleanâ€”unsavedâ€”still, even if he were transported to the third heaven. Instead of saving him, the purity of that holy place would but intensify his consciousness of sin and therefore augment his misery.
But Paul was not speaking of a salvation in heaven but â€śin Christ Jesus;â€ť and the Bible offers us Christ now in all His fullness. He is even now â€śmade unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption;â€ť and John says, â€śOf His fullness have all we received.â€ť So my dear â€śelectâ€ť brother, the full â€śsalvation that is in Christ Jesusâ€ť is available now. For the Thessalonians, whom Paul represents as â€śknowing their election of God,â€ť he prayed that the â€śvery God of peace sanctify them wholly.â€ť Here is the salvation that is â€śinâ€ť Christ Jesus for the â€śelectâ€ť to obtain. But returning to the text under consideration, we find an inspired comment immediately following.
It is a faithful saying: for if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him. (2 Timothy 2:11)
This very clearly interprets the preceding verse. The reserve salvation is entire sanctification, or complete death to sin. If we be dead with Him, that is, â€śOur old man (Adamic nature) 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 free from sin.â€ť Here is a plain way to walk in, even Godâ€™s way, and it has two accessions; First, into the fold of the elect by adoption; Second, into perfect freedom from sin by a crucifixion of inbred depravity.
The Apostle continues to expound this distinct and higher form of salvation in verses 20 and 21.
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and of earth: and some to honor, and some to dishonor. If a man therefore, purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the Masterâ€™s use, and prepared unto every good work.
The great house according to numerous Scriptures represents the church. The vessels are inmates or members of the house, or church of God . The vessels are to purge themselves, of course, by coming to the â€śfountain opened in the house of David for sin and uncleanness.â€ť Thus being â€śpurged entirely,â€ť (â€śthareâ€ť, as in the literal Greek, and some other versions) they are pronounced â€śvessels of honor and sanctified.â€ť Here again we have solid rockâ€”the sure foundation of divine truthâ€”upon which to base the glorious fact of two distinct works of grace; of sanctification after induction into the spiritual house, or Godâ€™s church.
We give you James McKnightâ€™s version of verse 21. â€śIf then a man will cleanse himself well from these things, he will be a vessel appointed to honor, sanctified, and very profitable for the Masterâ€™s use, prepared for every good work.â€ť This is precisely the experience received on the day of Pentecost, which brought the world on their knees before God by thousands. Members of the household of faith; fruit-bearing branches in the vine Christ Jesus, can only receive this entire purging of the Father. â€śSanctified, and very profitable,â€ť not always in the estimation of the world, nor a godless church, but â€śfor the Masterâ€™s use.â€ť
What an estimate God places upon a pure vessel in his house; â€śI will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophirâ€ť (Isaiah 13:12). He that is purged and sanctified is â€śprepared for every good work;â€ť hence, Paul prayed the â€śGod of peaceâ€ť to â€śmakeâ€ť the Hebrew Christians â€śperfectâ€ť through the blood of the everlasting covenant to do His will.â€ť When a soul comes out of the dim twilight of mere justification into the full-orbed glory of Godâ€™s â€śhigh mountainâ€ť of holiness, he â€śceases from his own works,â€ť and â€śenters into rest.â€ť He reaches the point of self abnegation and beholds God as â€śworking all in all.â€ť
Because I now can nothing do,
Jesus do all the work alone.
And though he abandons all strained and meritorious endeavors and flings himself out like a helpless chip upon the ocean of Godâ€™s providence, becomes â€ścareful for nothingâ€ť and limber in the hands of his Maker, he only then becomes â€śmeet for the Masterâ€™s use;â€ť he is then â€śprepared unto every good work,â€ť because all friction between his nature and will, and the divine is removed, and God can just â€śwork in him to will and do of His own good pleasure;â€ť pure love fills his entire being, and sweetly carries him forward in all the paths of goodness and usefulness. With Paul he can say, â€śI labored more abundantly than they all; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with meâ€ť (1 Corinthians 15:10).
God can then entrust him with all the capital in the storehouse of His grace. He gives him the key to His safe and permits him to enlarge his stock and extend his business without limitation so that he â€ścan do all things through Christ Jesusâ€ť simply because â€śwhatsoever he doeth, he does all to the glory of God.â€ť Not only because there is no more perfidious foe coiled up in his nature that prones the heart to rob God of His glory, and â€śconsume it upon the lusts of the flesh.â€ť
Therefore, God can accomplish more through a small vessel that is wholly cleansed than one of very large capacity that is not â€śmeet for the Masterâ€™s useâ€ť through impurity. Moody said that â€śa man can do more for God in five days with the special baptism of the Holy Ghost than in five years without it.â€ť This is true, not only because it is positive â€śpower from on high,â€ť but also a â€śfireâ€ť that consumes the blight of inbred sin.
Will you, dear reader, be a vessel unto honor in Godâ€™s â€śgreat house?â€ť If so, you must â€śhumble yourself: unto the death of the cross â€śand God will raise you up.â€ť The discordant element in your nature that chafes continually under the yoke of Christ and the providences of God must be removed, however painful the separation. Then only can you with perfect freedom â€śfollow righteousness, faith, charity and peace, with them that call on God out of a pure heartâ€ť (2 Timothy 2:22).
You may know assuredly that you are a vessel in the house of the Lord and you may be a praying Christian, but have you an experience and testimony in your heart that associates you with the special class who, through the fullness of â€śsalvation that is in Christ Jesus,â€ť are able to â€ścall on God out of a pure heart?â€ť If not, you are still indwelt with that which inclines to dishonor God: hence, a â€śvessel unto dishonor,â€ť you should â€śpurge yourself from these.â€ť
Come to this fountain so rich and sweet;
Cast thy poor soul at the Saviorâ€™s feet;
Plunge in today and be made complete.
Glory to His name.
In conclusion, I appeal to every candid reader if this chapter does not conclusively teach two distinct attainments in the divine plan of salvation. First, â€śelectionâ€ť through the grace of adoption. Second, full â€śsalvation in Christ Jesus,â€ť or complete death to sin and resurrection to â€ślive with Him.â€ť Or as set forth again; first, received into Godâ€™s â€śgreat houseâ€ť as â€śvessels of mercy;â€ť second, they are purged and â€śsanctifiedâ€ť â€śthat He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had before prepared (by inducting grace) unto glory.â€ť This is the full â€śsalvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal gloryâ€ť (2 Timothy 2:10, 20-22; Romans 9:23). If there were no other text in the Bible that teaches purification after we are born into the church, this chapter is sufficient to establish the fact beyond the possibility of a doubt.
Dear brother or sister, when we see the meetness for the Masterâ€™s use, the preparedness for every good work secured by this blessing of complete salvation, we no longer wonder why the â€śenemy of all righteousnessâ€ť forestalled many of our minds with such deep prejudice against the second work of divine grace.
But surely the word of the Lord is true. Sanctification is purification, an experience in â€śthe house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.â€ť Thank heaven, the veil is torn from my heart, the â€śSpirit with the blood agrees,â€ť and whispers to my inmost heart, â€śit is even so.â€ť Deep down in the consciousness of my soul, I know that â€śthe blood of Jesus Christ, Godâ€™s Son, cleansethâ€ť this unworthy vessel from all sin.
Breathe, oh! breathe Thy Holy Spirit
Into every troubled breast;
Let us all Thy grace inherit;
Let us find that second rest.
Now remove the bent of sinning;
Take our inbred sin away,
End the work of Thy beginning;
Bring us to eternal day.
Carry on Thy new creation,
Pure and holy may we be;
Let us see our full salvation,
Yet reserved dear Lord in Thee;
Change from glory unto glory,
Golden vessels filled with grace.
We would sink to naught before Thee,
Lost in wonder, love and praise.