That Portion Of The “Lost Estate”
If the reader will bear in mind that salvation contemplates the restoration of the human race to the holiness, happiness and ideal conditions that prevailed in Eden, it will be seen at a glance that finished salvation has not yet been put into effect. The physical, intellectual and idealistic effects of the fall of the race, have never yet been removed from mankind on earth.
Justification, or the initial experience that men obtain, when they seek God, is called by some religious writers, partial salvation. Entire sanctification, or heart holiness, is called complete salvation, inasmuch as in this latter experience the relation of a person as a free moral agent, toward the matter of sin, is settled. From the moment of his entire sanctification, if he maintains the conditions that obtained for him the experience of Christian purity, his relation to the sin question, so far as his own heart is concerned, is fixed. Not that he can now dispense with the cleansing efficacy of the atonement of Jesus Christ, nor do without the presence and power of the Holy Ghost, or consciously fail in his daily service to God, but rather that his intimate relationship to the Holy Spirit, and the constant and perfect trust that he imposes in the blood, now enables him to realize a perpetual freedom from all conscious offense against God, and to live momentarily in the joyous light of His approval, offering Him faithful service, according to the light he possesses.
But the last installment of salvation, called glorification, and by some writers, eternal salvation, is not put into effect till after death. Then, somewhere, amid the marvelous occurrences of the hereafter, the new resurrection body, of which the body that Jesus carried from the tomb in Jerusalem is a sample, shall be accorded all of God’s truly sanctified children; and an intellectual transformation will be meted out by the divine hand, restoring the recipient to the mental possessions that characterized Adam at his creation; and, for aught we know, infinitely more than this, equipping us for association with angels, redeemed spirits and with Deity himself, and preparing the ransomed one for further achievement in the realms above. The restoration also of the ideals that were forfeited when sin smote the newly created pair, will take place.
There are a great many passages of Scripture that hint at, intimate, and reveal to a degree, the marvelous changes and transformations that will occur to the child of God in the hereafter. There are too many to attempt to quote them all, but a few will suffice to indicate the trend of their teachings. Evidently the great Revelator did not choose that we should have specific information concerning these coming events. He emphasized rather the devotion with which we should attend to the great matter of keeping our hearts holy here on this earth, and the need of walking unspotted before Him during our earthly pilgrimage. For on these depend the possibility of all glorification riches in the coming ages, and if we walk with Him humbly and faithfully in this life, with holy purity in our hearts, an intimation, a fleeting glance, a slight allusion to the coming disclosures, transformations, and unthinkable riches, imparting to us a glowing hope, is all that is needed.
Our Lord declared to the questioning Pharisees, that our existence in the world to come would be “as the angels which are in heaven.” This much is wonderfully significant. It reveals that there is awaiting us, a marvelous change which shall take place after death, and the statement in, Acts 3:21, concerning the “restitution of all things,” seems to carry with it the intimation that, somewhere in the future, God will restore to His faithful people the entire estate with which Adam was endowed in Eden.
Many of the amazing figures with which the book of Revelation is filled seem to be a panorama of the coming ages, in which redeemed souls shall be ushered into the rewards and promotions awaiting them. Paul’s frequent references to “crowns,” and “rewards,” and his distinct use of the word “glorification” (Rom. 8:30), as an experience that is waiting for God’s people after the scenes of this life are ended, adds to the assurance that we are to have bestowed upon us in the tomorrows, a wonderful portion of the salvation which our divine Lord bought for us on Calvary.
There is also permeating the psalms, prophecies and epistles, a distinct intimation that the earth and its creatures are to be transformed, and restored to the Edenic splendor and peacefulness that they knew when mankind first left God’s creative hand. (Isaiah 11:6-9) Here in Isaiah we have the classic statement that “they shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain.” 2 Peter, chapter 10-13, describes a wonderful fiery cleansing of this earth, and the new heavens and the new earth which he there presents are exactly the things needed for the restoration of the earthly portion of the lost estate, and for a place wherein the glorified sons of God may dwell. The renewed earth, of the book of Revelation with its new heavens and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness, and where there is no more death, nor curse, nor any of the former things, for they have all passed away, is in full keeping with this comforting thought of the glorified experience and the celestial home to come.
At that time the “lost estate” will be completely restored. What loss was occasioned by Adam’s offense will have been fully and eternally restored in Jesus Christ our Lord. The peaceful, happy Eden is again man’s home, with its animate life redeemed from all ferocity; a perfect earth, with perfect laws, free from animal or vegetable disease and death, inhabited by a human race infinitely wise with the wisdom of God, and forever free from the taint and tarnish of sin, and exempt from all its penalties and weaknesses including death. Earth’s six thousand years of sorrowing nightmare will be over. The sin problem will be eternally solved. All of sin, and all who persisted in being stained with it; will be quarantined in the pest house of the universe. Lucifer, the arch offender, and all who followed in his steps, will be incarcerated forever in the lazaretto of the eternities.
With the restoration of the renewed earth, will come no doubt, a close affiliation between it and the heaven of heavens, God’s eternal abode. A suggestion of this intimate communion between the holy inhabitants of the cleansed world, and the occupants of the court of God, is found in the statement that the “Lord’s house shall be established in the tops of the mountains” (Isaiah 2:2). And while all these future possessions are revealed largely in intimation, nevertheless they serve to quicken the heart beat of redeemed mortals, and inspire deeper desires on the part of a sanctified church to possess those blissful abodes.
The reason we have introduced this subject here is not to offer a field for the display of either the reader’s or the writer’s speculative faculties. Our purpose is more practical than that. We have brought this view of final salvation to the attention of our reader, in order that we may use it as the basis of a very solemn warning.
The first phase of this warning is this: Inasmuch as God does not remove all the physical effects of the fall, when He sanctifies a person wholly, and inasmuch as He does not lift, in this life, the intellectual handicap that was visited upon this race when it first went into sin, even though a soul obtains an experience of perfect heart cleansing; and furthermore, inasmuch as one’s ideals and visions and aspirations are still clouded and hazy, despite the possession of full salvation from sin, a person, especially a minister, or a Christian worker, ought to be extremely cautious lest while leading others into this wondrous grace of heart purity, he unintentionally induces the seeker to feel that he will, with the possession of this grace, be restored to an approximation of the physical and the intellectual perfection held by our first parents before sin had ruined them. While it is true, that both the body and the mind can be sanctified, (1 Thess. 5:23), this does not mean that they are thereby restored to the powers that were forfeited in Eden. It rather means that they are now cleansed from the presence of sin, by the atonement of Jesus, and, though still fallen, are no longer to be the instruments of sin, but to be employed in works of righteousness. The cleansing of them from sin here in this life, paves the way, and prepares them for their final restoration to their lost powers and complete glorification in the age to come.
At this point, consequently, there is need for great wisdom on the part of Christian workers. It is almost as fatal to put the qualifications for the experience of holiness of heart too high, as it is to place them too low. Though a person is in possession of a clean, holy heart, from which he has had all sin eradicated, he will still find that his ideals will need constant bolstering from faithful reading of the Word of God, and from earnest inquiry after the views of a majority of the saints who possess a similar experience to his own. In places where this has not been done, the ideals and aspirations of professedly sanctified people fall sadly below holiness standards. It is not difficult to find people professing to be cleansed from all sin, who are tolerating tobacco, and even growing and selling, chewing, smoking and snuffing this chief offender among the deadly narcotics. This is due, we believe, to the low ideals that are sure to prevail unless constantly lifted higher by very intimate familiarity with the standards of the Bible, and a close association with others who have found “like precious faith.” In this same manner some holiness people will tolerate worldliness of dress, and behavior, and themselves, frequently, at last fall into the same manner of dressing and acting. Only close application of Bible standards, reinforced by example and precept, will elevate these ideals.
It is unsafe to state that every person who has received the experience of holiness, will at once be accorded the necessary wisdom to guide himself aright in every situation. To insist that every person who has yielded to low ideals, has never had the grace of a holy heart, is fundamentally wrong. It is no doubt true, that having yielded to those low views and visions, he has finally forfeited the presence of the Holy Ghost in His sanctifying power, but to say that because he has thus yielded, he consequently could not have received the experience at the time he is supposed to have received it, is an erroneous conclusion. For a worker at an altar of prayer to insist that before one can be sanctified wholly he must have correct views on tobacco, lodges, dress, what to eat or drink, and what not to eat or drink, and a thousand other matters, is insisting on too much. If the person has had light on all these things, then it is necessary to insist that he walk in all light. But let workers be careful not to insist that another person must walk in the light that the worker has got, before the seeker gets such light himself.
Although sanctified wholly every person needs to keep bolstering his ideals. All need education in holy aspiration and conduct even after we have come into possession of a holy heart. For instance, many holiness people need to be educated to give. Alas, the almost stingy donations of countless hundreds who profess to have been made perfect in love. God’s cause languishes, and moves forward with halting pace, even among wholly sanctified people, because they have never been educated to the blessed grace of giving. Some holiness people cannot even lift their offerings to God’s cause up to the point of the tithe, which the ancient Jew gladly paid two-fold. A considerable degree of this, we are fain to believe, is due, not to the fact that such persons do not have the blessing of holiness, but because they are low in their ideals. Such must be educated and brought up to Bible standards, for low ideals will ultimately result in total loss of one’s experience.
A newly sanctified woman will not necessarily know just how to clothe herself in these days of unusual worldliness in the matter of woman’s dress. Some, because of possessing the light through attendance on the preaching of His Word, will know at once what is pleasing to the Spirit, in this respect, and what is not, while others will need education. For the sake of imparting the necessary standards and lifting the ideals of new converts, and strengthening the determination of people who are even mature in the way, the Holy Scriptures on these matters should be frequently read, and testimonies secured from God’s fully established saints.
To insist that a person who has just been newly sanctified will always be able to adjust and control his mental activities, is an error. Wandering thoughts, unintentional mental pictures of a doubtful nature, erratic plans and unreliable reasoning may persist for years. Much prayer and the practice of the presence of God, has enabled sanctified people to rise above these, and to bring wandering and erratic thinking into blessed captivity to Christ. These things are not necessarily a reflection on one’s heart purity, but are an evidence of a mentality that is still under the blight of the fall.
It is also a mistake to insist that a person who has just entered the Land of Beulah of holiness, will be entirely free from unusual appetites and desires. These often persist in a greater or less degree after one’s heart has been purified from all moral depravity. With an exercise of will power, which is now freed from the control of carnality that affected it before one was sanctified, a person can refuse consideration to such unusual or abnormal appetites and desires. But to feel the tug of the abnormal appetite, or to realize the presence of the strong desire, is not necessarily an evidence of sin or carnality. However, to let one’s mind dwell on these, or to cultivate them till they have reached swollen proportions, and then to cease resistance and to give rein to their expression, is where the moral impurity, that was cast out when your heart was sanctified wholly, reasserts itself. Appetites and desires must be held resolutely in check. They must be curbed and trained; weakened by heroically turning one’s mind in another direction, and thus by “holding one’s body under,” as the Apostle to the Gentiles graphically stated it, one can at length realize in all the outward manifestations of his being that perfect holiness that fills his heart. But there must be education and training along these lines, for perfect freedom from all the items that pertain to our fallen bodies and minds will not be experienced the moment that a person is sanctified wholly. Indeed, they will reassert themselves from time to time during one’s stay on earth, and the wholly sanctified must be on the alert against their manifestation.
The matter of evil temper, anger and impatience may be here considered. The chief cause of all these is carnality. When that is burned away by the Holy Ghost, and perfect love has come into the heart, there will be experienced a blessed relief from them. However, to be able comfortably to pass through provoking situations, and to endure with even heart and an undisturbed consciousness the trials, misrepresentations, slanders, privations and petty annoyances of this life, will require years of the cultivation of the graces of holiness. One must keep the holy flame burning brightly by prayer, meditation and testimony, or a lapse will occur. It is at this point that thousands lose their sanctified grace. It is so easy to grow careless, to leave the door unguarded, and to allow, usually unintentionally, an open approach to the enemy, and ere one realizes it, moral corruption has again reasserted itself in the heart..
But to say that every one who is sanctified wholly will never feel the urge toward impatience, or anger, or fretfulness, is to declare that one cannot be tempted. To some sensitive souls, the temptation to anger seems like anger itself, or the temptation to impatience is felt to be that hateful evidence of carnality, but happily this is not true, or there would not be a truly sanctified person among ten thousand. However we must all be carefully on guard, and unusually alert against the possibility of a temptation being transformed into the offense itself. If a person thus assailed will turn quickly to the blessed Lord Jesus himself in prayer for help, instant relief will usually be found.
A word should here be said concerning what is usually termed the grosser passions of the body. These are not impure in themselves, but their improper gratification often leads to impurity. By prayer and watchfulness, by seeking divine assistance when temptation appears, they can be restrained within divinely intended limits. But it is idle and pernicious to teach that these physical desires will not be found among the wholly sanctified. One’s concern should not be over the fact that he finds himself in possession of these, but rather to learn what may be pleasing to God in connection with their legitimate gratification. All these appetites and so-called gross passions are nothing other than the ordinary desires of the physical being, and though now they are sanctified, and must never be employed as the instruments of unrighteousness unto sin, nevertheless they are still under the conditions of the fall, and will not be restored, or the fallen conditions lifted, until the new resurrection body is accorded God’s saints.
Another of the phases of warning that we would rear upon the basis of the facts of this chapter, is the necessity of eternal watchfulness on the part of every saint. Because their hearts were made pure by the baptism with the Holy Ghost, thousands of God’s people have felt that it was possible now to cease guarding the avenues that minister to their minds or bodies. This is a fearful mistake. Let it ever be remembered that physically, mentally, and in relation to our ideals, we are still a fallen race. Sin, to be sure, has been eradicated from our hearts, and we belong utterly to God; but He has so ordained it, that every step of the way in the life of holiness shall be tested out by the enemy, and only as a result of very resolute resistance shall we gain the prize of glorification. We must always bear in mind that our low ideals are sure to prove a channel for our undoing, unless we are constantly on our guard. That our minds will, by erroneous thinking, prove to be the very gateway for the return of moral pollution, unless we are desperately determined to keep the mind in closest relation to the “mind of Christ.” That our bodies, despite our holy hearts, are gross, fallen, and subject to passions and appetites, that unless constantly curbed and restrained will be our complete undoing.
It is not too much to say, that thousands of holiness people have fallen from the greatest grace that is accorded in the Holy Scriptures, for lack of alert knowledge on these matters. Ministers of the gospel by hundreds have made shipwreck of their own personal experiences of holiness of heart, and also have sunk their ministerial lives and careers in shame and crime, just because they were too sure that they had reached the place where nothing could befall them. “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). A wily foe is abroad in the land to encompass the ruin of all. He is no respecter of persons, but loves to ruin the brightest and the best. He is especially wroth with holiness men and women. If he can bait his hook with some natural appetite or desire, possessed by a sanctified man or woman, and then secure through artful manipulation the gratification of that desire illegitimately, he has wrought the downfall of another of God’s saints. Let it ever be held in mind that, until we reach the fair haven of eternity, we are “as lambs among wolves.”
Let all ministers beware! Satan peculiarly hates the holy ministry. He will ruin a minister’s message and plunge his soul into perdition if he can. Despite your sanctified experience, Brother Minister, be doubly on your guard. Remember that your immortal soul which will live eons upon eons after this universe has been turned into molten flame, and that your whole career, your life work, your ministerial standing, your relation to your holy brethren, your exalted place in the community, and all the souls that you may win to God from this time on, and all the fainthearted ones, who will, because you have fallen, give up the effort to live for God, all, all are hanging on your actions. Wage an eternal warfare against those low ideals that would rob you of all this. Do valiant battle against that insidious approach of modernism through your mind in its fallen condition; this has robbed the holiness movement of some of its greatest ministers; contend with desperation against that desire of your physical being, the gratification of which will ruin you and a multitude of others in hell.
“Oh, watch and fight and pray, The battle ne’er give o’er, Renew it boldly every day, And help divine implore.’.’
Layman, guard yourself. You are in as great danger as he of the sacred ministry. Ten thousand laity, once beautifully sanctified, are now weltering among the damned. Why? They did not watch! Through eye-gate, ear-gate or heart-gate the desire entered. Poor old fallen human nature pleaded for the gratification of its desires. The devil artfully used his power. Gold never had so beautiful a glitter. Business prosperity never seemed to allure with such a persuasive pull before. Infatuation actually, under Satan’s hypnotic spell, seemed like love. The Holy Ghost through that sanctified heart begged, pleaded and threatened. But the guard was thrown down. The defense was abandoned. Carnality reasserted itself. The fatal step was taken. The same tragedy of Eden was reenacted. The soul began to stiffen with the frosts of sin. The spiritual nature congealed. The mind lost its ability to grasp divine values. The man reeled, caught at vacancy, fell down, down, down! “And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments” (Luke 16:23).
“My soul be on thy guard, Ten thousand foes arise, The hosts of hell are pressing hard To keep thee from the skies.”