Men are likened unto trees in some Scriptural texts. The righteous are termed good trees, and the wicked evil trees. Now the "tree is known by its fruit." The fruits of the flesh are borne upon the evil tree, while the fruits of the Spirit are borne upon the good tree. The fruits of the Spirit are enumerated in Gal.5:22, 23: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." We shall describe these fruits separately by the word of truth, as briefly as possible.
This is the sweetest theme in the Scriptures and the greatest thing in earth or heaven. "God is love," and because he is love he sought to rescue, through the sacrifice of his Son, his fallen creatures. It was love that prompted God to make so great a sacrifice for man. It is love that prompts man to sacrifice all for God. When man loves God he loves everything in God's creation. No man can love God and hate his brother; no man can love God and hate his enemies. God loves his enemies. It is the nature of the love of God. When man possesses the love of God in his heart he will love his enemies. To love those who love us and despise those who despise us, is not a love that is a fruit of the Spirit. When man possesses the love of God he does not love the world.1 John 2:15-17. Everything in our service to God if acceptable must be actuated by love. Supernatural gifts are nothing without love.1 Cor.13:1, 2. The greatest deeds of sacrifice profit us nothing without they are done in love. Ver.3. In the following verses of this chapter the nature of love is beautifully and obviously portrayed.
1. Charity suffereth long. By long-suffering is meant to patiently bear with the failings and foibles of our brother, "With all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love." Eph.4:2. There is a beautiful thought in 1 Tim.1:16. That Jesus might show his long-suffering through us as a pattern for all who may in any way know of our life.
2. Charity is kind. Where love is there is kindness. The greater the love the greater the kindness. The lioness in all the fierceness of her nature strokes her whelp in tenderness and kindness. Thus kindness is a product of love. Love will put a tenderness in our looks, a gentleness in our speech, and a kindness in our acts. If you are not as kind as you know you should be, seek God for more of his love.
3. Charity envieth not. How impossible to envy those we love. The more fortunate they are the more we rejoice. The more they are praised and honored the deeper is our joy. With those we love, we weep when they weep and rejoice when they rejoice. If there is a secret envy in your heart because of the praise and prosperity of others, the love of God is wanting. "Let not thine heart envy sinners." Prov.23:17.
4. Charity vaunteth not itself. We can only love God at the sacrifice of all self-love. When man possesses the love of God there is no self-praise, nor seeking of honor; there is no setting self forward, but the lowliest seat is the most desirable.
5. Charity is not puffed up. There are no feelings of self-importance in the heart when the love of God is abounding. We love him so devotedly we desire him to receive all the praise. Should God make some use of you it will be natural to give him all the praise.
6. Charity doth not behave itself unseemly. There is a becomingness in all the actions of pure and holy love. There is a beautiful consistency in the worship of God when all is actuated by pure love. There is nothing unseemly in our behavior toward God or our fellow man, even to the most cultured minds, when influenced by love. It is noble and sublime, elevating and pleasing to pure hearts. Praise is comely when flowing from a heart full of love, but a wild hurrahing is unseemly. All unseemly conduct in modes and forms of worship -- such as tossing the head to and fro, swaying the body, the loud stamping of feet, rolling on the floor, lying stiff and rigid, shouting until the face reddens and veins distend and exhaustion overcomes, are disgracing to God and disgusting to refined ears and pure hearts.
7. Charity seeketh not her own. When man possesses the love of God he does not seek his own pleasure and happiness but is interested in the welfare and happiness of others; "He looks not upon his own things but upon the things of others." We seek opportunities to do good to those we love.
8. Charity is not easily provoked. There is a weightiness in the love of God. It balances all our actions. We are not hasty under provocations; we are not excited or vexed at every trivial occurrence.
9. Charity thinketh no evil. The meditations of a heart of pure love are holy. A holy man's thoughts are upon pure and true subjects. He thinketh no evil.
10. Charity rejoiceth not in iniquity. Sin saddens and grieves the heart of love. Should there be a secret rejoicing in your heart because some brother has fallen into sin, you are proud and an abomination unto God.
11. Charity rejoiceth in the truth. Where the truth is accepted it causes the heart of love to rejoice. Should God use some other individual in setting the truth before people which causes them to rejoice, if you love God and the truth you will rejoice with them.
12. Charity beareth all things. Amid adversities, afflictions, persecutions, temptations and trials, when storms gather, and breakers threaten, when friends prove false, and the way grows weary, love looks trustingly up to God and says, "Thou doeth all things well, blessed be thy name."
13. Charity believeth all things. Those who love are ever ready to believe the best of everything and everybody. They see all the good qualities of man before they see his faults. They are ready to believe all the good they hear of any one and slow to believe evil. They rejoice to put confidence in man, and when man's evil ways break that confidence they still hope for something good.
14. Charity hopeth all things. It is very difficult to discourage the heart that is full of love. When love waxes cold then disappointments may cause a murmur. Love hopes for the very best outcome for good of everything.
15. Charity endureth all things. The same might be said of this as that "charity beareth all things." Whatever darkness may arise to-day, Love hopes for sunshine to-morrow and patiently endures.
16. Charity never fails. Thank God! Pretended friends may fail you; the world may fail you; wealth and honor may fail you; but love will never fail. It will bear you over the rough places in life's pathway. It will drive away the clouds. It will kiss the chastening rod. It will sweeten the bitter cup. It will soften the hardest pillow, and when you are brought down into the shadow of death Love looks across to the golden glories and sings as the cords are being severed -- Love never fails.
"Fairest and foremost of the trains that wait
The second mentioned fruit of the Spirit is joy. God is glorified by our fruit-bearing. To be filled with joy is honoring God. Not rejoicing only when the world is smiling upon you and prosperity extends her jeweled hand. At these times the ungodly can rejoice. But when the world frowns and prosperity hides her face, when trials and temptations are divers, to then rejoice is a golden fruit for God. Tribulations may come, but, when filled with the Spirit, we glory in them. Rom.5:3. O beloved, look upward to God and rejoice. Trust in his promise and count everything joy, no matter what may be the circumstances of life. Trials, temptations, discouragements, afflictions, imprisonments, persecutions, destruction, and poverty -- know that nothing can separate you from the love of God; so go on your way rejoicing.
Jesus sets up his throne of peace in the hearts of the righteous and there he reigns a king. Peace he gives unto us, not as this world gives, but a peace that flows like a river -- a peace that is abiding. "Acquaint thyself with God and be at peace." Listen to what the Word of God says about the peace of the righteous. "Great peace have they;" "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace;" "Peace like a river;" "Filled with all peace and joy."
A precious fruit, which the Christian should develop by placing greater confidence in God.
"With all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love." Eph.4:2. When we put on Christ, we put on his nature and characteristics. He was long-suffering; and we are commanded to put on as the elect of God "bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering." Col.3:12.
The apostle speaks of his gentleness on one occasion in these words: "But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children." 1 Thes.2:7. "The servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men." 2 Tim.2:24. "To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness unto all men." Tit.3:2. That wisdom which is from above is gentle. Jas.3:17. Cultivate the grace of gentleness and thus glorify God.
"For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth." Eph.5:9. "Doing good unto all men as we have opportunity" is the command of God: "See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men." 1 Thes.5:15. Let goodness fill our actions toward all. Be good.
If you have faith in God prove it by your works. Your works are the fruit. Why are you discouraged and cast down if you have faith? Why do you seek protection from the world if you have faith in God? Why do you fear and tremble if you have faith? Faith has subdued kingdoms, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, caused the sun to stand still, escaped the edge of the sword, waxed valiant in fight, and turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Faith overcomes the world and pleases God. Show your faith by your works and thus honor the name of Jesus.
This is a beautiful fruit of the Spirit. It is almost synonymous with humility. Christ was meek and lowly. We are to be like him. "Show all meekness unto all men." God will "beautify the meek with salvation." We are commanded to put on meekness. Col.3:12, 13. Wear it constantly, long usage will not impair it. We are to manifest meekness in our whole conduct. Jas.3:13. We must instruct those who oppose us, in meekness.2 Tim.2:24, 25. Meekness is necessary to a Christian walk. Eph.4:1, 2. With it we are to restore the erring. Gal.6:1. It is precious in the sight of God.1 Pet 3:4.
To be temperate in our whole life is truly exemplary. In all the things God has given us for use we are to be temperate; in eating, drinking, sleeping, laboring, be temperate.
These are the fruits of the Spirit, against which there is no law. Bear them in profusion and there will be no law against you in that final day. Amen.
Fruits Of The Flesh.
Since we have given an exposition of the fruits of a Christian, which have their origin in heaven, as expressed by the apostle, we deem it necessary to set before the reader in a true Bible light the fruits of the flesh, which have their origin in an evil nature. While we are aware that many are deceived as to their spiritual condition, as saith the Scriptures, yet none need to be. The Word of God so carefully enumerates the fruits of a Christian heart and the fruits of an evil heart, that all may know by impartial examination what manner of tree they are. "The tree is known by his fruits." "Know thyself." "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulation, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." Gal.5:19-21.
1. Adultery and fornication. "But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." Mat.5:28. "Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery." Luke 16:18. This is clear and plain language and all can understand it without comment.
2. Uncleanness. This may include filthy habits, but especially impure thoughts and conversation, unholy practises and desires.
3. Lasciviousness. All lewdness and wantonness.
4. Idolatry. Covetousness is idolatry. Col.3:5. Covetousness -- A desire to gain money, goods, honor, or praise, even at the expense of another.
5. Witchcraft. Enchantments and spells, such as healing by hypnotism, and sciences. Omens, signs and superstitions, so frightfully common.
6. Hatred. A feeling of ill-will against any one or anything. "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer." 1 John 3:15. Feelings of hatred are opposed to feelings of love.
7. Variance. When hatred in the hearts of two individuals develops into open acts, it is variance.
8. Emulation. This is a disposition to strive to excel others, even at their expense -- exaltedness.
9. Wrath. An outburst of hatred.
10. Strife. Contentions, janglings, disputings.
11. Seditions. Divisions, parties, factions, or sects.
12. Heresies. Erroneous teachings and beliefs, forming sects and factions.
13. Envyings. A feeling of jealousy at the success of others. "Let us walk honestly as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying." Rom.13:13. See also 1 Cor.3:3; 2 Cor.12:20; Jas 3:14, 16.
14. Murders. To hate a brother is to become a murderer. See hatred.
15. Drunkenness. An effect produced by drinking fermented wines, or inebriating drinks of any kind.
16. Revelings. Worldly amusements of any kind: theater-going, dancing, picnics, suppers, fairs, socials, Christmas festivities, etc. They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
You will notice that the fruits of the flesh are directly opposed to the fruits of the Spirit. By careful and prayerful study of this catalogue of evil fruits and an examination of your actions, thoughts, and inclinations, you can unmistakably know whether you are prepared or not for heaven. Make your calling and election sure. Never be contented if there is any fruit in your life of the nature of the above. I have been asked the question, "Will a Christian ever attend the present day church entertainments?" A Christian, largely ignorant of the vast separation from the world salvation makes, may, through the persuasion of friends, or some other similar cause, attend such a place of revelry, but he will not enjoy the hour. He will be uneasy and long for the last act that he may get away to commune with God. Whoever has a heart to enter into such worldliness with enjoyment has a heart unfit for heaven. He is not a Christian.
Two Works Of Grace.
Many treat with scorn the doctrine of "two works of grace," but that can never make it unscriptural. It is very unwise to disbelieve a truth merely because we have been taught and always believed to the contrary. An early education has a great influence upon the mind. Through the teachings of a relative we embraced an error in our youth. In after years when the subject was read and thought upon it was difficult to comprehend and believe the plain truths of history. It is wisdom therefore to always carefully and prayerfully examine a doctrine before condemning and rejecting it. "Why does not God fully redeem the soul in one instantaneous work of grace?" many ask. What right have we to question God concerning his plan of redemption? Was not the whole scheme in his hand? What part has man performed in the arrangement of the affair? Then why should he question? It only remains for us to humbly bow our hearts and accept the plan as God has devised it, else we can never have a part in it.
Why did God require Naaman to dip seven times in Jordan? Why did Jesus put his hands the second time upon the blind man of Bethsaida before he saw clearly? Why does God redeem a soul by two works of grace? These questions are equally absurd. But you say, God does the thing most reasonable. That he does, and redemption by two works of grace is the very most reasonable and natural way to restore the soul to its normal condition. Man was holy in his nature in creation. By sin he became possessed of an evil nature. The Psalmist says, "I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me." Psa.51:5. The apostle declares he was by nature a child of wrath. Eph.2:3. Other texts could be quoted, but these together with the knowledge of a child's disposition is sufficient to convince any candid mind. Children naturally learn evil things, while good traits more often have to be forced upon them by training. It comes natural for them to get angry, to be selfish, to tell falsehoods, to fight, to be proud, etc.; not in all to the same degree, but such disposition is largely predominant in the generality of children, and exists to a certain degree in all.
Children are not responsible for this evil nature as we have previously spoken. They are not responsible for their wrong acts, because they have no knowledge of right and wrong. They may tell falsehoods before they have strength of intellect to comprehend wrong, and it is no sin to them; but when the child reaches such maturity of mind as to know right and wrong, a falsehood then told makes him a transgressor and he feels the guilt of sin upon his soul, which he never felt unto that hour. The evil nature that influenced him to speak falsely did not condemn him, it is the yielding to such a nature that brought the condemnation. God commands him to repent. Of what? Not of the evil inclined disposition, but of the sin of lying. Suppose the child after a year, or a few years does repent of his sins; he repents of all, even to his first, but his repentance goes no farther; he is no farther responsible, and it is impossible for man to repent of that for which he is not responsible. God forgives him, and the forgiveness extends just as far as the repentance.
Man is not pardoned or forgiven of that for which he is wholly irresponsible. Every committed sin is forgiven, even to the first, and he is as innocent and free from sin and guilt as when a babe in his mother's arms. This is the first work of grace. He is justified, he is born again, or reborn -- brought back to the state of his babyhood. "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Mat.18:3. Conversion or the first work of grace restores us to the happy innocency of childhood. The evil nature still remains to be removed in sanctification, the second work of grace. This is not an act of forgiveness or pardon, but a cleansing. It is not through repentance, but consecration.
The Jewish economy contains types and shadows of this twofold salvation. Egyptian bondage is typical of sin. Crossing the Red Sea is typical of justification. Crossing the Jordan, that of sanctification. The Jewish tabernacle consisting of the holy and most holy place is a shadow of the spiritual tabernacle of God -- the church. The disciples were saved men before Pentecost. That was the date of their sanctification. In reading the eighth chapter of Acts we learn at the fifth verse that Philip went down to Samaria and preached Christ, and many believed. Evil spirits were cast out and the palsied and lame were healed. They certainly were Christians. Reading on to the fourteenth verse we learn that Peter and John went down and prayed for them and they received the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is the sanctifier. Rom.15:16. Cornelius was a devout Christian man, fearing God, giving much alms to the people, and praying to God always. He was directed in a vision by an angel of God to send to Joppa for Peter. When Peter was come he preached unto them, and as he spoke the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. Acts 10th chapter. He with his household were devout Christians before they received the Holy Spirit -- the sanctifier.
We will now quote a few texts of Scripture teaching two works of grace. "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 [sanctification] wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." Rom.5:1, 2. Paul says to the Gentiles that he was sent unto them "to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me." Acts 26:18. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." Titus 3:5.
The Thessalonian brethren were abounding in faith and love and patience of hope in Jesus; however Paul tells them that God wills their sanctification.1 Thes.4:3. The apostle exhorts the Roman church to a perfect consecration of life and all to God that they might "prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Rom.12:1, 2. This "perfect will" is sanctification. These texts we consider sufficient to give light unto the teachable, and any number perhaps would be without force or effect unto the unteachable.
The two works of grace are very generally misunderstood, especially the grace of sanctification. We believe God will help us here to make it clear to many a reader. Justification, the first work of grace, is a full pardon of every transgression, a removal of guilt. A justified life is one wholly free from transgression. The justified do not commit sin. Sanctification is a destruction of the depraved nature, or a cleansing of inherited sin from the soul. This grace fully prepares the soul for heaven. The soul is as pure in this grace as it will be in heaven. All elements and dispositions contrary to the nature of heaven are dethroned. All pride, levity, lust, and impatience proceeding from an evil nature are perfectly cleansed away. To have pride in a pure heart is impossible. To have lust or lightness or impatience in a pure heart is equally impossible.
We might ask the question, Will not the sanctified under any circumstance have the slightest yieldings to exaltation, levity and impatience? and, if the sanctified speak a word in lightness or impatience does he forfeit the experience? We will answer these questions in the fear of God. Many who have claimed the experience of sanctification have found discouraging trouble at this point. In the company of flatterers they yielded to the spirit of exaltation. In the company of the frivolous they have yielded to the spirit of levity. Under a severe trial they have spoken words of impatience, and are then almost in despair.
Man is a twofold being, an inward spiritual man, and an outward physical man. In sanctification the inward man is possessed only by God. The physical members are to be used by the soul to the praise of God. Satan will bring his force to bear against the outward man to influence to evil and thus destroy the life of the soul. Thus the physical being becomes the battle ground between God in the soul and Satan. Early in the experience of sanctification when there has been but little time for development there may be slight triumphs of Satan without forfeiting the experience of sanctification, but the soul is awakened to greater activity and earnestness to control every action and word to the praise of God. The Lord is sought in earnest prayer for more of his power, for more of his grace, that they may be more deeply fortified in the life divine. The slight victories of the evil one become slighter and less frequent. The individual thus increases in faith, in humility, in gentleness, in kindness, in love according to the additions required to make our calling and election sure.2 Pet.1. By giving diligence the soul ere long will gain such power in God as to authoritatively command the perfect obedience of every member of the physical being. The body will be kept under subjection and every member used as an instrument of righteousness unto God.
Any diseased condition of the outward man is an advantage to Satan. Shattered nerves strengthen his temptations to impatience and discouragements. That Satan may have no advantage over us, God in his plan of redemption made provision for the healing of the body. If the soul through prosperity or otherwise becomes slothful, disease may be permitted to attack the body, or other afflictions may come to awaken to greater watchfulness. To become more hasty of speech, to become less grave, to become less humble and meek, less patient, is to be correspondingly losing the power of God, and is called backsliding. There are those to-day who have been claiming to be sanctified for some years, and they are no more patient nor sober-minded nor sound in speech, no more humble, nor have more faith than they had the first year of their experience. In all probability they are backslidden and have naught but an empty form. By diligence, careful watching and incessant prayer, the soul can reign triumphant. Every look, every action, every word, and thought will be under the direct influence of the divine life, and soul, body, and spirit be preserved blameless until the coming of the Lord.
We wish to give in parallel columns nine scriptures, describing man raised to the plane of justification, and nine describing the state of the wholly sanctified. Also a few texts expressing God's will to the sinner, and parallel texts to the justified. And in conclusion a few texts showing the provisions God has made for the justification of the sinner and the sanctification of the justified.
State Of The Justified. State Of The Sanctified.
1. In Christ. "For we are his 1. Perfect in Christ. "Whom we workmanship, created in Christ preach, warning every man, and Jesus unto good works, which God teaching every man in all wisdom; hath before ordained that we should that we may present every man walk in them." Eph.2:10. perfect in Christ Jesus." Col.1:28.
2. Obtained grace. "For by grace 2. Abundance of grace. "Much more are saved through faith; and that they which receive abundance of not of yourselves: it is the gift grace and of the gift of of God." Eph.2:8. righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." Rom.5:17.
3. Justified. "And by him all 3. Sanctified. "For by one that believe are justified from all offering he hath perfected forever things, from which ye could not be them that are sanctified. Whereof justified by the law of Moses." the Holy Ghost also is a witness to Acts 13:39. us." Heb.10:14, 15.
4. Have light. "I am the light of 4. Full of light. "The light of the world: he that followeth me the body is the eye: if therefore shall not walk in darkness, but thine eye be single, thy whole body shall have the light of life." John shall be full of light." Mat.6:22.8:12. "Awake thou that sleepest,
5. Have peace. "Therefore being 5. Have perfect peace. "Thou wilt justified by faith, we have peace keep him in perfect peace, whose with God through our Lord Jesus mind is stayed on thee: because he Christ." Rom.5:1. trusteth in thee." Isa.26:3.
6. Have life. "Verily, verily, I 6. Have abundant life. "The thief say unto you, He that heareth my cometh not, but for to steal and to word, and believeth on him that kill and to destroy: I am come that sent me, hath everlasting life, and they might have life, and that they shall not come into condemnation; might have it more abundantly." but is passed from death unto John 10:10.
7. Have faith. "For ye are all 7. Full of faith. "For he was a the children of God by faith in good man and full of the Holy Ghost Christ Jesus." Gal.3:26. and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord." Acts 11:24.
8. Love God. "Peter was grieved 8. Perfect in love. "Herein is because he said unto him the third our love made perfect, that we may time, Lovest thou me? And he said have boldness in the day of unto him, Lord, thou knowest all judgment: because as he is, so are things; thou knowest that I love we in this world." 1 John 4:17. thee." John 21:17.
9. Babes in Christ. "And I, 9. Men in Christ. "Till we all brethren, could not speak unto you come in the unity of the faith, and as unto spiritual, but as unto of the knowledge of the Son of God, carnal, even as unto babes in unto a perfect man, unto the Christ." 1 Cor.3:1. measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." Eph.4:13.
God's Will To The Sinner. God's Will To The Justified.
Repentance. "The Lord is ... not Sanctification. "For this is the willing that any should perish, but will of God, even your that all should come to sanctification." 1 Thes.4:3. repentance." 2 Pet.3:9.
Called to repentance. "I am not Called to sanctification. "For come to call the righteous, but God hath not called us unto sinners to repentance." Mat.9:13. uncleanness, but unto holiness." 1 Thes.4:7.
Commands repentance. "And the Commands sanctification. "Having times of this ignorance God winked therefore these promises, dearly at; but now commandeth all men beloved, let us cleanse ourselves everywhere to repent." Acts 17:30. from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in
The reason for repentance. "I The reason for sanctification. tell you, Nay: but, except ye "Follow peace with all men, and repent, ye shall all likewise holiness, without which no man perish." Luke 13:3. shall see the Lord." Heb.12:14.
Provisions Made For The Provisions Made For The Justification Of The Sinner. Sanctification Of The Believer.
1. The Word. "For I am not 1. The Word. "Sanctify them ashamed of the gospel of Christ: through thy truth: thy word is for it is the power of God unto truth." John 17:17 salvation to every one that
2. The Spirit. "Jesus answered 2. The Spirit. "That I should be Verily, verily, I say unto thee, the minister of Jesus Christ to the Except a man be born of water and Gentiles, ministering the gospel of of the Spirit, he can not enter God, that the offering up of the into the kingdom of God." John 3:5. Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost." Rom.
3. The Blood. "Unto him that 3. The Blood. "Wherefore Jesus loved us, and washed us from our also, that he might sanctify the sins in his own blood." Rev.1:5. people with his own blood, suffered without the gate." Heb.13:12.
4. Jesus. "And he is the 4. Jesus. "And inheritance among propitiation for our sins: and not them which are sanctified by faith for ours only, but also for the that is in me [Jesus]." Acts 26:18. sins of the whole world." 1 John
5. God. "Which were born, not of 5. God. "And the very God of blood, nor of the will of the peace sanctify you wholly; ... flesh, nor of the will of man, but faithful is he that calleth you, of God." John 1:13. who also will do it." 1 Thes.5:23, 24.
Being Like Jesus.
Holiness is the image of God. A holy seer, in a vision, saw the Lord and his high throne. He saw the angels hovering over and heard one shouting, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory." Isa.6:1-3. Nothing in earth or in heaven is so beautiful as holiness. The Scriptures are sublime in their description of the loveliness of the celestial world. Poets have sung of the exquisite delights of that better land. The crowning feature of attractiveness is holiness. Should the despiser of holiness be permitted to stroll through the fields of heaven he would find no object of beauty there. The rose of Sharon would be but a faded flower, "no beauty that we should desire him." Isa.53:2.
The one object and desire in the life of the sweet singer David, a holiness admirer, was to dwell in the house of the Lord all his days to "behold the beauty of the Lord." Psa.27:4. The beautiful holy image of God was seen upon man in his creation. He manifested the holy character of his Creator. He was in nature like God. The Almighty in looking over the works of creation saw that everything he had made, man included, was very good (Gen.1:31); therefore we can rightly conclude that as he looked upon man he looked upon a creature as pure and holy and faultless as an angel in heaven, else he would not have pronounced him very good. Such without controversy was the state of man by creation: as holy and as pure in his nature as his Maker. But a sorrowful change came to man. He transgressed the law of his God, and as a result the holy image of the Creator was supplanted by the hideous deformity of sin.
After the transgression, God again looked upon man and "saw that his wickedness was very great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Gen.6:5. This grieved him at his heart, and he repented of having made man. However he purposes that man shall yet enjoy the blessing of a holy state. Accordingly he sent his Son to this world to redeem him. This Son was in the image of the Father "in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." 2 Cor.4:4. "Who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature." Col.1:15.
The Father has ordained that man in the Son should be made holy or in his original purity. "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love." Eph.1:4. "In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life." Luke 1:75.
In being restored to holiness man is conformed to the image of the Son. "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren." Rom.8:29. It is true God foreknew that some would not believe on his Son and be redeemed, and he foreknew that others would. Here we behold the wonderful mercy of God. He strives with the heart of the sinner and brings all influences possible to bear upon him to turn him from his sin, and all the time knowing he would never be saved; however he thus leaves him without excuse and makes him wholly responsible for his loss.
What is the image of the Son? He was holy, harmless, and undefiled. Heb.7:26. He was equal with God. Phil.2:6. He was in the glory and holiness of the Father. God after creation looked over the work of his hands and pronounced all very good. After the "transgression" he saw that all was very wicked. Now Jesus comes and presents to the Father one who has been redeemed by the all-atoning blood, and as God views him over he stands "holy and unblamable and unreprovable in his sight." Halleluiah! Read Col.1:21, 22. The redemption obtained through the blood of Jesus is perfect and complete. It makes us "complete in him." Col.2:10. Dear reader, this moment, with open heart before the all-seeing eye of God, does the Spirit witness clearly to your soul that you are "holy and without blame before him in love?" To be like Jesus includes only his holy nature. We are not to be like him in power to forgive sins, but in a holy life. We are to be thus like him in this present life; "because as he is, so are we in this world." 1 John 4:17. In this world, we are to be like him in holiness. "But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, 'Be ye holy; for I am holy.' " 1 Pet.1:15, 16. God predestinated that we should be like him. He is holy, therefore he calls the believer unto holiness.
When we are restored to the holy nature of God it will be our nature to be as merciful as he is merciful. "Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful." Luke 6:36. The mercy of God consists in showing favor unsolicited; in bestowing blessings upon the ungrateful. God in his mercy gave his Son to die for a wicked world. When we are made partakers of the divine nature, we go about showing favor and kindness to all; though men scorn us, revile us, and trample us down without mercy, we eagerly seize every opportunity to do them good.
With respect to the principles of Christianity we are, when fully redeemed, perfect as our Father in heaven. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Mat.5:48. By reading the contexts we find he is speaking of love. When fully saved there is naught in our heart but love, loving just as God loves. Such love enables us with joy to show kindness to our enemies, to feed them when they are hungry, and give them drink when they thirst. Rom.12:20.
When we are fully saved we are like the Lord in purity: "And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." 1 John 3:3. Every crimson stain of sin is cleansed away and we are whiter than the snow. The evil nature incurred by Adam's sin is perfectly destroyed and we are made as pure as though there had never been a sin in this world.
We will be like our Creator and Redeemer in righteousness: "Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous." 1 John 3:7. Some do teach that we can not be righteous. The Word of God declares they are deceivers.
When we thus become of the pure, holy, righteous and merciful nature of Jesus it will of necessity separate us as far from this world and worldliness as he was separated. "I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." John 17:14. There lies a great and wide gulf between the Christian and the world. Jesus is the bridge for the sinner to cross to the Christian's land. Sin and Satan is the bridge for the return of the Christian to the world.
When the children of God are fully redeemed they are one even as the Father and the Son are one. "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one." John 17:22. This means a complete annihilation of every partisan spirit, a destruction of all strife and division. Should every professed Christian get salvation to the full Bible standard there would not be a sect left upon earth.
God predestinated you to be conformed to the image of his Son; holy as he is holy; merciful as he is merciful; perfect as he is perfect; pure as he is pure; righteous as he is righteous; as far separated from the world as he is from the world, and one even as God and his Son are one. Such is the perfect redemption offered to man in this life through God's beloved Son. What can be more beautiful upon this earth than a soul redeemed from sin and a life reflecting the holy life of the Savior. "Christ before Pilate" is a rare and much admired work of art, but Christ in the soul and life is a work more grand and beautiful. For man to properly reflect the divine character necessitates a very close walk and deep communion with the Deity. There must be a constant feeding upon the divine life. There must be a careful watching and an effort to cultivate a deeper sense of the presence of God. Happy and blessed is the man whose heart is so filled with heavenly love and reverence to God as to cause him to give "all diligence" to develop into his own glorious image.