Temptations Peculiar To The Sanctified – Part I
The “abundance of the revelations” may become the occasion of temptation to spiritual pride, as in the case of Paul — necessitating the “thorn in the flesh,” lest he should become “exalted above measure” (2 Cor. 12:7). There are at least four kinds of pride: namely, race pride, face pride, place pride and grace pride, And this latter pride is perhaps the most subtle and dangerous of the four.
The person who prides himself in the fact that he has an experience in grace making him superior to the rest of his brethren, is almost certain to become an egotist and a bigot; assuming that he is a favorite with the Lord, and therefore refuses to be advised and warned of his peril until it is too late. It is usually this sort of pride that “goeth before destruction,” and the “haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18).
The adversary is not particular whether we become disheartened and discouraged, or exalted and puffed up, as either will accomplish his purpose, and result fatally. The suggestion that one is superior to others, always comes from the enemy, and will minister to spiritual pride, if not instantly rejected; and “being lifted up with pride” they fall into the condemnation of the devil” (1 Tim. 3:6).
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Waning of Ecstasies
One of the most common temptations peculiar to the sanctified life comes through the waning of ecstasies. No person can always feel just the same — even though he has been sanctified. “Ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations,” nevertheless still “kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5, 6). There is no experience in grace where a person is exempt from temptation; and “manifold temptations” bring “heaviness.”
Thus we see that the spirit of “heaviness” is perfectly compatible with the spirit of holiness; that a person may be in heaviness “for a season” and still have the blessing, and be “kept by the power of God,” “ready to be revealed in the last time.” This is perhaps one of the most difficult lessons a sanctified person has to learn, When there is a fullness of joy, and the emotions are stirred, a person is likely to think he is all right; but when the joy subsides and there is not that exuberance and overflowing joy that had formerly characterized the experience, the enemy is sure to whisper, and suggest that the experience of entire sanctification has been lost, and that the Lord has become displeased, and therefore they cannot rejoice as they formerly did. This is a most adroit and subtle temptation, in that it not only is calculated to destroy the faith of the believer, but diverts the attention from the Savior to one’s self.
We venture to say, perhaps ninety-nine out of every hundred who have ever lost the experience of sanctification, have lost it because they entertained the suggestion of the enemy relative to their feelings; as he whispered, “You do not feel right;” “You do not feel as you formerly did;” “You do not feel as others say they feel,” they admitted the entering wedge of doubt, and soon were not only in “heaviness,” but in utter darkness. Had they remembered that we are “kept by the power of God through faith,” regardless of feeling and continued to stick to the facts of a complete consecration, and unwavering faith in the all cleansing blood of Jesus, they would have triumphed, and come off more than conquerors.
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One of the early temptations coming to all who have obtained the experience of sanctification, is, to be indefinite and evasive in giving testimony to this second work of grace; especially is this the case where there is opposition to such testimony. At such times the enemy will suggest that if they will but live the sanctified life, it will not be necessary to witness to the same by the word of mouth, seeing that the life speaks louder than words. But we read in Rom. 10:10, “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” M-o-u-t-h does not spell life; it spells mouth; And in Revelation 12:11, we read, “They overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony;” In persuading them to refrain from definite testimony the enemy has gained his first victory over them.
The divine instructions to the children of Israel, after they had entered Canaan — which is a type of the sanctified life — were as follows: “When thou art come in unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and possessest it, and dwellest therein; that thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the earth, which thou shalt bring of thy land that the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt put it in a basket, and shalt go into the place [the church] which the Lord thy God shall choose to place his name there. And thou shalt go unto the priest [the pastor] that shall be in those days, and say unto him, I profess this day unto the Lord, thy God, that I am come unto the country which the Lord sware unto our fathers for to give us” (Deut. 26:1-3). They might have reasoned, and said, “What is the use of saying, ‘I profess this day’?” Would not the fruit in the basket be a sufficient witness and proof that they were in the land? But God demanded the testimony, as well as the fruit; thus teaching that life and lip — the testimony and the fruit — are inseparable.
He who does not live the experience will not long have a clear testimony; and he who is not faithful in testimony will not long live the life consistently. The golden bell and the pomegranate, alternately, on the hem of the robe of the ephod worn by the high priest while ministering in the holy of holies (Exodus 28:33-35) teach precisely the same lesson; the pomegranate signifying the fruit in the life, and the golden bell the testimony. They must not be separated. The consecration made in order to obtain the experience requires obedience and faithfulness in witnessing to the same.