|But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.| -- Heb.11:6.
|That they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.| -- Acts 26:18.
|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.| -- Rom.5:1, 2.
Faith in the blood of Christ. |Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.| -- Heb.13:12. |But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.| -- 1 John 1:7.
Dead to sin by faith. |Knowing this, that our old man 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 freed from sin ... Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.| -- Rom.6:6, 7, 11.
Free from sin by faith. |Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness ... For as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness ... But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.| -- Rom.6:18-22. |Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.| -- John 8:34-36.
|And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.... He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil.| -- 1 John 3:5-10.
A pure heart by faith. |And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.| -- Acts 15:8, 9.
We receive the Holy Spirit by faith. |That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ: that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.| -- Gal.3:14. |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.| -- Rom.15:16. |If ye then, being evil [earthly], know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?| -- Luke 11:13.
Sanctification is a redemption blessing offered to us upon specified conditions. The natural and general blessings of God toward men, such as the sunshine, rain, and all other temporal or earthly blessings, may be received alike by both saint and sinner, who come into conformity with the natural laws by which these natural blessings are governed. Every redemption or spiritual blessing is also governed by divinely fixed laws, which if complied with will invariably bring to us all that is contained in the promise. God is able to bestow upon us these blessings unconditionally if this should be his sovereign will in some individual instances; but according to his redemption plan there is no assurance given to anyone for any of these specified blessings without a strict conformity to divine law. The word of God plainly sets forth the laws upon which these different redemption blessings are based. Repentance and faith are the laws of justification. It is a divinely established fact that God cannot lie. He has forever settled his word in heaven and also upon earth; therefore, it is impossible that any sinner should comply with the laws of repentance and faith and not be justified. Consecration and faith are the laws of sanctification, which if complied with, must necessarily bring us into this glorious soul-rest.
We have considered the law of consecration as a condition of sanctification in a previous chapter; and from the quoted texts in this chapter we will now briefly consider the law of faith. These laws are definitely fixed, and must as definitely be complied with. A definite consecration and a definite faith will produce a definite experience. One great lack in the church today is a lack of definiteness. The doctrine of sanctification must be more definitely taught by God's anointed ministry, who have themselves definitely met the conditions, both to obtain and retain this definite experience. When it is definitely taught it will consequently be definitely sought and obtained.
In the apostle's commission we distinctly see that we are sanctified by faith. Acts 26:18. We also see that Jesus suffered on the cross that he might sanctify us with his own blood. This points us to the fact that we must have faith in his blood. This grace is purchased for us, and now it is for us to receive it. We also see that he has made provision in this same purchase that we may be kept sanctified. This is upon the simple condition of walking in the light as he is in the light. The result of which is: his blood cleanseth us from all sin. These precious truths will do us no good if we do not believe them. No heart can ever receive the benefits of this inestimable purchase without faith. Faith is the hand that reaches out and takes it. Jesus can do no more than he has done to bring it to us. He holds it out to us, all perfect and complete, and as we meet the conditions of consecration and faith it becomes ours.
The apostle teaches us in Rom.6:11 to reckon ourselves |dead indeed unto sin.| This can be done only by faith. The reckoning of faith is a very simple process; it is just believing God. Abraham believed God, simply reckoned that what God said was true, and then God counted something to Abraham. He counted it to him for righteousness.
This is the divine law of faith. When we believe it is so because God says it, then God makes it so because we believe it. This law applies to all the graces of the gospel alike. It is a sad fact that some professing Christians do not believe we can be sanctified in this life. Now, it is utterly impossible for such people to get it. They do not believe. The blood of Christ cannot sanctify them in this condition. It is not for them at all. It is only for them that believe, and of course no one can believe for it in the scriptural sense without having met the condition of scriptural consecration. Then the scriptural reckoning will bring the scriptural and satisfactory result.
Let us illustrate with a simple mathematical reckoning. In a case of addition we take two numbers and reckon them together before we get the sum. It can never be obtained any other way. The two numbers are entirely distinct and separate from each other until they are reckoned together. It is the reckoning that produces the sum. This is exactly true in the process of faith. The justified believer comes to God for his inheritance of sanctification. He makes the absolute and definite consecration. He sees that the blood of Jesus has been shed that he may be sanctified. This is Jesus' part. The consecration is the believer's part. There are the two separate parts which, if they are not reckoned together, will never produce the result. We might say that we have now made the consecration, and can do no more. This would be a mistake, we can do more: we have not yet done the reckoning. We can take the two parts, the blood of Jesus and our consecration, and by faith add them together, and according to the immutable law of God, which is the law of faith, the sum of the reckoning is, our sanctification. This is the scriptural method of obtaining this experience; and as we from henceforth reckon ourselves dead indeed unto sin upon the condition of an absolute, unbroken consecration, we may rest assured that the blood of Jesus keeps us cleansed from all sin. The fact that some one may say he does not believe we can be kept free from sin, by no means affects this divine law. It is as true as heaven, despite all the unbelief of men. Oh, the power of the sin-cleansing blood! Can we not say with deep, heartfelt reality,
|Hallelujah for the cleansing;
It has reached my inmost soul|?
Truly it is the sweet soul-rest, the heavenly Canaan of the soul, which is the inheritance of the people of God.
The apostle Peter, in his testimony of the inwrought grace of God at Pentecost, speaks of this law of faith, which effected in him and his brethren at Jerusalem, as well as the household of Cornelius upon the event of their induction into this glorious grace, the experience of heart purity, |and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.| This is one phase of sanctification, and according to the testimony of Peter, was a part of the pentecostal experience. The other phase of it is, in the previous verse of this testimony, |giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us.| This is explained by the apostle Paul. |That we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.| -- Gal.3:14. Now if we turn to Rom.15:16, again we see that we are |sanctified by the Holy Ghost.| Certainly it could not be made more plain than these scriptures set it forth. We receive the pure heart and the Holy Spirit by faith, which experience is scripturally termed sanctification; therefore, we can understand the language of Jesus in that part of the commission of the apostle already quoted: |and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.|
Dear brother and sister, let us magnify God and the name of Jesus for our inheritance, and if there should be one reader who has not yet entered into this promised land, let us go over at once and possess it.
We see a beautiful example of faith in the experience of the children of Abraham crossing the Jordan to enter into their literal inheritance. The priests that bore the ark, which went before the people, were to be the first to go down into the stream, which, God had said, should be divided, and the people should go over into their inheritance. As they came down to the river, their feet were dipped into the stream before the waters parted. God had promised it. They believed it and obeyed accordingly, and God fulfilled his promise; the waters were parted, and they all passed over. How different this was from those who, forty years previous to this event had been brought by the hand of God to Kadesh Barnea, who had all the promises of God in their favor, that he would cause them to go in and possess the land. But because of unbelief they were sent back into the wilderness, to wander and die. This literal Canaan was their promised land, their land of rest, their very own; God had promised Abraham that it should be possessed by his seed. But these forfeited it because of unbelief. This was the type of this spiritual inheritance of sanctification, our land of rest, our very own, which we, the spiritual seed of Abraham through faith in Christ, are to go into and possess.
The apostle gives us some wholesome admonition upon the importance of seeking to enter in. |Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.| -- Heb.3:4. An evil heart of unbelief will most certainly cause us to lose our inheritance. We are made partakers of it only by faith. As certainly as the unbelief of literal children of Abraham caused them to be rejected and disinherited, so will unbelief cause the same sad result in losing the spiritual inheritance. They provoked God with their unbelief, and he who had sworn to Abraham that his seed should possess Canaan, now sware that these unbelieving ones should not enter in. They could not enter in because of unbelief. God's word was not broken, however; for he brought into this land those of the children who, their unbelieving fathers said, would become a prey to the inhabitants of the land. And, what still keeps God's word from being broken is, that he has opened to us this glorious spiritual land, and tells us to go over and possess it. Dear brother, are you at Kadesh Barnea today, and afraid of the giants? God has given the land to us. The message of reproof comes to you with this solemn and important question, |How long are ye slack to go to possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers hath given you?|
This gospel of sanctification is preached to us today as the gospel of literal Canaan was preached to those descendants of Abraham in that day. It did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. The apostle says, |We which have believed do enter into rest,| but more must enter in. God's promise to Abraham must yet be more completely fulfilled. The question is simply left with us, Will we enter in or will we not? If we will not, then the inheritance will be given to others, and we will lose the blessed soul-rest that is provided in this redemption for the people of God. In his exhortation to us, the apostle says |Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.|
|Oh, this blessed holy rest,
On my Jesus' loving breast.
Oh, the sweetness and completeness
Of perfected holiness.|