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The Theology of Holiness
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Pages (PDF): 98
Publication Date: -
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Written from the point of view that Christians shouldn't just presume that their sins will be forgiven and that they will go to heaven. The author takes us through the means of sanctifying oneself, through various ways, such as through Faith, through Truth, through God, through the Apostles, etc.
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Science is a systematic presentation of truth. Theology is the most important of all sciences. It is the science that treats of God and of man in his relation to God. It is a systematic presentation of revealed truth. As the basis of Astronomy is the universe of worlds revealed by the telescope, and as the basis of Geology is the crust of the earth, so the basis of Theology is the Divine revelation found in the Holy Scriptures. The Theology of Entire Sanctification, therefore, is a systematic presentation of the doctrine of entire sanctification as derived from the written word of God. Such a presentation we hope—¬with the help of the Holy Spirit, which we here and now earnestly invoke—¬to attempt to give in this book. May God bless the endeavor, and overrule our human weakness, to the glory of His Name. Amen.
It is a lamentable fact that there is a large class of Christians to whom the subject of entire sanctification is a matter of indifference. They hope, with or without sufficient reason, that their sins are forgiven. They propose to live moral and useful lives, and trust, again with or without sufficient reason, that they will go to heaven when they die. The subject of holiness does not interest them. They suppose themselves to be doing well enough without it.
There are others claiming to be Christians, to whom the subject is even positively distasteful. It is an offence to them. They do not want to hear it preached. They regard those who claim it as cranks. They look upon holiness meetings as being hotbeds of delusion and spiritual pride. They turn away from the whole subject not only with indifference, but with disdain.
There are still others, and these God’s children, as we may charitably believe, who do not even regard holiness as a desirable thing. They assert that it is needful and salutary to retain some sin in the heart as long as we live, in order to keep us humble. It is true that they are never able to tell how much sin it takes to have this beneficial effect, but a certain amount they are bent on having.
Another class takes the opposite view. They regard holiness as very desirable, and a very lovely thing to gaze upon and think upon, but they also regard it as quite impossible of attainment. They hope to grow towards it all the days of their lives, and to get it at the moment of death. Not sooner than the dying hour, do they believe any human being can be made holy. Not till death is separating the soul from the body can even God Himself separate sin from the soul. The whole doctrine of entire sanctification, therefore, they regard as a beautiful theory, but wholly impossible as an experience, and wholly impracticable as a life.
In general terms, we may say that carnal Christians, as described by Paul in I. Corinthians 3:1-4, are opposed to the doctrine of entire sanctification. “The carnal mind is enmity against God,” and the carnal mind is irreconcilably opposed to holiness. This opposition may take one of the forms already described, or, possibly, some other forms which have been overlooked, but the root of the hostility is the same in all. Wherever “our old man” has his home in a Christian’s heart, there entire sanctification will be rejected. But we must not forget that there are many exceptions. There are thousands of sincere, believing hearts in all Christian denominations, in whom inbred sin still exists, but not with the consent of the will. They are tired—¬very tired of the tyrant that rules them, or of the ceaseless struggles by which, with God’s added and assisting grace, they are enabled to keep him under. They long for deliverance. They are hungering for full salvation, and rejoice to hear the message of entire sanctification through the baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire. The Lord bless all these hungering multitudes, and give them the desire of their hearts by saving them to the uttermost, and may their numbers be vastly increased, so that the banner of Christ’s church may everywhere be unfurled—¬the banner on which is inscribed the glorious motto of Holiness to the Lord.
Now we meet all objections to the doctrine of entire sanctification—¬ whether in the form of indifference, or dislike, or undesirableness, or impossibility—¬with the simple proposition, It is necessary. If this proposition can be established, all objections, of whatever character, must fall to the ground, and the eager cry of every Christian heart must be, How can I obtain that priceless blessing which is essential to my eternal bliss, which is indispensable, and without which I shall never see the Lord? For this is the language of the Holy Ghost in Heb. 12:14, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness without which no man shall see the Lord,” and in the Revised Version, “Follow after peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no man shall see the Lord.” This can mean nothing short of entire sanctification, or the removal of inbred sin. And, surely, it is hardly necessary to argue the question as to the indispensableness of this blessed experience, in order to gain an entrance into heaven. Everyone will admit that God Himself is a perfectly and absolutely holy Being, and He has ever told His followers in all ages, “Be ye holy for I am holy"—¬making His own perfect and entire holiness the sufficient reason for requiring the same quality in His people.
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