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Text Sermons : ~Other Speakers S-Z : D.S. Warner : (Second Work of Grace) 20. SAINT JOHN’S TESTIMONY TO THE SECOND WORK

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To properly appreciate and understand the word of life, it is important that we have before our minds the characters addressed, and the particular object of the Epistle under consideration.
The Apostle John addresses his first Epistle to his “little children”—“Sons of God” (1 John 2:1; 3:2).
He writes to these young members of the household of faith for the purpose of advancing them to that perfect “fellowship with the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ” which he himself had attained, that “they also might have fellowship with him,” and, as a result, “that their joy might be full” and that “they sin not” (1 John 1:3-4; 2:1).
We haven therefore, in the very outline of John’s Epistle, conclusive evidence of two distinct degrees in the order of our salvation: 1. Free born sons of God; 2. Purification from all sin, fullness of joy, and perfect fellowship with the Father, His Son, and the fully sanctified.
The beloved Apostle proceeds at once to convict his brethren of the need of this higher grace. Knowing the mixture of darkness in the experience of all who are not cleansed from inbred sin, he holds up before them the more perfect standard, “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). As if to say the dark seasons you complain of are sure indications that you are indwelt by something that is opposite to God, for “in Him is no darkness at all.”
He admonishes them against the presumption of claiming this perfect fellowship on the ground of their regeneration because the clouds that often obtruded their moral sky were incompatible therewith.

If we say that we have (perfect) fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, then have we fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin. (1 John 1:6-7)

Perfect fellowship with God, and holy saints, is correlative with the blessing of perfect purity and perfect light. Darkness is moral impurity; hence to walk in the light as God is in the light is simply to be pure “even as He is pure.” Into this glorious experience, John wrote to induct these, already sons of God; hence, it is an attainment in grace distinct from and subsequent to spiritual adoption.
If we follow the sure Word of God, we are everywhere led to two-fold salvation. Between son-ship and absolute purity, the Lord has interposed the condition, “If we (Christians) walk in the light as He is in the light.”
Neither a past nor a future salvation meets the wants of the soul now. Therefore, “the blood of Christ cleanseth us,” i.e., not only has cleansed—and will, in the future—but cleanseth us from all sin, in the present tense. Oh, how blessed to have the consciousness of being fully saved just now! It is present progressive; not that the work is in process of completion, but to indicate a finished fact that is a perpetual living reality. The blood of Christ not only made an end of our purification when we merged into the light of God, but while we continue to “walk in the light as He is in the light,” its potent voice constantly speaks our purity.
It is written that the “worshippers once purged have no more consciousness of sin.” Then they have a consciousness of being free from sin. What is this but an ever-abiding realization of the wonderful virtue of the blood of Christ?

A heart that always feels
Thy blood so freely spilt for me.

Entire sanctification is both a work and a state; for there is power in Jesus’ blood to cleanse and keep us clean.
The Apostle John thought it probable that some of his little children were inconsiderate enough to think, as some do now, that because they were “sons of God” they had no sin to wash away; hence, he corrects this delusion: “if we (justified believers) say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).
But the more reflective and sensitive of conscience, who possess a real aspiration for holiness of heart, will not only see and be pained at this inbred foe, but also frankly confess it and their many shortcomings thereby occasioned. All such are near the cleansing stream, for “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Praise God! John’s two-fold definition of sin is fully met in the Savior’s double remedy for sin. The precious blood cleanseth from all sin and all unrighteousness. This is very comprehensive, the most precious truth in the “glad tidings of the grace of God.”
It cuts off every indwelling foe to our spiritual development and happiness, every antagonism to the grace of God in our hearts. It extracts every “root of bitterness,” the tendency to pride, anger and impatience. It pronounces the death sentence upon all unbelief, selfishness and vain ambition. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” Though like black clouds they fill your moral sky with thick darkness, the blood of the Lamb shall sweep them all out of existence.
Though your appetite for liquor be as the burning of hell, the blood of Christ can quench it all. Though every fibre of your being be impregnated with, and clamor for, tobacco or opium, the precious blood of the Redeemer can remove every vestige of the appetite and restore the dire effects of the poison in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.”
Praise the “God of all grace!” the blood cleanseth from all unrighteousness. That is, it removes and destroys all moral unrighteousness, every abnormal appetite—inordinate desire—and unholy temper. Yes, it forever sweeps away from the soul everything but what is righteous, God-like, and lovely. All this is implied in the promise and thousands have attested its truthfulness. This wonderful salvation is not a development of the former grace; for the blood does not grow sin out of the heart, but cleanses it out: the former would be gradual, but this is instantaneous.
Now, the most pious and humble in their “first love,” all confess that they do not measure up to these promises; that an unrighteous nature yet dwells within and struggle against the “law of their mind;” hence, it follows from human experience, as well as from plain Bible teaching, that the salvation from all sin and the fullness of joy that John here insists upon lies beyond the grace of adoption and is appropriated by a distinct grasp of faith.

But whoso keepeth his word; in him verily is the love of God perfected . . . He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also to walk even as He walked. (1 John 2:5-6)

Only those who have their love made perfect actually keep God’s Word. Only they have the capacity as we have shown in chapter six. Yes, says Moses, “When you come into the land which the Lord our God giveth you, then shall ye keep all His commandments and do them.” Here the saints dwell so fully in Christ—live by His life and walk by His strength that they “walk even as He walked.” Here is the New Testament standard of piety.
In verse 10 the Apostle lifts up the standard again, “He that loveth his brother (according to the new commandment of perfect love) abideth in the light, and there is none occasion for stumbling in him.” He abideth constantly in the light, he sees no clouds, and the Sun of his righteousness never goes down.
“There is none occasion of stumbling in him.” A great deal is said in these words; just indeed what is said of Christ. “The prince of this world cometh and hath nothing in me.” In those who have their love made perfect here positively remains nothing that occasions stumbling, nothing that responds to temptations without, no particle of unholy sediment, or bad nature that can be roiled up when shaken by the powers of darkness without. No more lurking foe within that prones the heart to leave the God we love. “All darkness (which occasions stumbling) is past, and the true light now shineth,” “which thing is true in Him (Christ) and in you,” perfected saints.

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. (1 John 3:2)

We must be like God if we would see and enjoy Him. This blessing is only pronounced on the “pure in heart.”

And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as He is pure. (1 John 3:3)

Here the divine order of salvation is clearly marked: 1st, possess the Christian’s hope; 2nd, through the stimuli of this hope in him the believer purifies himself as God is pure.
Dear brother, does this stagger you? Can the Lord be more than pure—“free from sin,” etc.? And does not the Bible emphatically require the same of you? What objection can you have to this since God, Himself, has opened the fountain for all sin and all unrighteousness, and proposes to do the work in you—“sanctify you wholly” and preserve you “holy and unblameable before Him in love?”
One thing is very certain: you cannot dwell with God unless you are perfectly pure or holy. This being true, it follows that you must either go to heaven to obtain perfect purity, or you must be purified in order to go to heaven. That the latter is the Gospel plan all intelligent Bible readers well know.

Little children, let no man deceive you. He that doeth righteousness is righteous even as He is righteous. (1 John 3:7)

Here, again, the Apostle sets up the true standard of Gospel grace. We infer from his admonition that Satan had already sent out his servants to tell the children of God that they could not be “perfect as their Father which is in heaven is perfect,” “pure as He is pure” and “righteous even as He is righteous,” and that Christ, in these things had set up an impracticable standard and imposed an intolerable yoke.
Notwithstanding, John thus clearly exposes this lie, the father of it still authorizes circulation. The Apostle speaks not of the dead who had ceased from righteous works, but the living—“he that worketh righteousness is” (not will be, but already is) “righteous even as He is righteous.”
Here is present, full and free salvation offered to the church—the real sons of God—through the cleansing blood of Christ. I have joined but a few links of John’s golden chain of testimony to the second work of divine grace.
Here, as all through the Bible, we see that crimson stream that flows from the cross, and with the voice of redeeming love speaks the complete purification of the Christian’s heart.

Blessed Jesus, thou art mine,
All I have is wholly thine;
Thou dost dwell within my heart,
Thou dost reign in every part;
Blessed Jesus, keep me white,
Keep me walking in the light.

Precious Jesus, day by day,
Keep me in the holy way;
Keep my mind in perfect peace,
Every day my faith increase.
Blessed Jesus, keep me white,
Keep me walking in the light.

Promoting Genuine Biblical Revival.
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