Purity and Maturity – By John Wood

Chapter 11

A Synopsis

In this chapter we will give a summary of the most important truths presented in the foregoing pages.

1. Man by reason of sin, original and actual, has become both guilty and polluted, is under condemnation and possessed of inbred corruption.

2. God, in the economy of grace, in great love removes the guilt of sin by pardon; and the defilement of sin by cleansing power. The one is an act of divine mercy done for us, and the other is a work of grace wrought in us. He neither pardons corruption, nor cleanses guilt.

3. Pardon and purity are the two great, prominent facts in human salvation. The one removing the guilt of sin, secures our title to heaven; the other removing the defilement of sin, secures our preparation for it.

4. Sin, properly speaking, and depravity are distinct, and are not to be identified in our views of truth and Christian privilege. Sin involves moral action; is “the transgression of the law.” Depravity is a state or condition of the soul caused by original, and augmented by actual sin.

5. Justification, which is an act of God’s mercy removing all the guilt of sin, is accompanied by regenerating grace, in which spiritual life is imparted to the soul, and is attended by divine adoption, whereby we become the children of God.

6. Regeneration, which is the same as the new birth, is incipient purity.

7. The justified and regenerate state does not admit of the commission of sin, but does of remaining depravity or the rudiments of inbred sin, which necessitates a further cleansing.

8. Christian purity in its evangelical sense, is a state of heart in which all the virtues composing a real Christian exist unmixed, exclusive of all opposition.

9. Christian perfection, predicated of the purified soul, is modified and relative. There is a wide difference between unfallen Adam in Eden, and a Christian pardoned and purified.

10. The sense in which the entirely sanctified soul is perfect, is in moral quality; it is “free from sin,” or “pure in heart.”

11. In degree, all perfection in creatures must be modified by their capacity, and is susceptible of indefinite increase.

12. Personal purity may consist with comparatively small spiritual power; though perfect in quality, it may be quite limited in quantity, proportionate to capacity.

13. Purification is a special work of God, distinct from regeneration on the one side, and from Christian maturity on the other.

14. That regeneration and entire sanctification are identical and take place at the same time, is contrary to the whole doctrinal teachings of Christianity with hardly an exception for nearly two thousand years.

15. The regenerate soul possesses all the essential features of the new life, with the essence and principle of true holiness; but has it in a nature not fully cleansed from indwelling sin.

16. Spiritual life and the graces of the Spirit exist in the purified heart without antagonism — in exclusion of all internal opposition.

17. Inborn and acquired depravity are antagonistic, and the opposite of indwelling and acquired righteousness. The former is inherent, and derived from Adam. The latter is inwrought, and derived from Christ through faith.

18. The mixed moral condition of the merely regenerate, implies no combination, or composition of grace and indwelling sin. The spiritual and the carnal have no fellowship.

19. In the justified and regenerate state, grace has dominion, and remaining indwelling sin is subjected and repressed; not tolerated, or allowed; but hated, resisted, mourned over and kept under.

20. Depravity does not involve guilt until it is assented to, yielded to, or cherished. We are not responsible for its original possession; but are for its continuance in the light of Gospel provision for its destruction.

21. The sin remaining in the regenerate believer, not entirely sanctified, is not sin strictly speaking, which is any “transgression of the law” incurring guilt; but depravity — an inherited, inborn, sinward inclination, — a depraved bias.

22. The distinction between regeneration and entire sanctification is not a difference of committing sin or otherwise. It is not so much a distinction in the outward life, as in the inward experience.

23. Neither the regenerate, nor the entirely sanctified can commit sin, without standing condemned before God; as every item of his law, mandatory or prohibitory, is binding as much on the partially purified, as on the entirely purified.

24. The subjugation of depravity is not its destruction, or removal. In regeneration it is subjugated, while in sanctification it is exterminated.

25. Christian purity is not obtained by the ordinary process of growth in grace; but by the cleansing power of the blood of Christ.

26. Growth in grace will afford a more complete, uninterrupted, and easy victory over inbred sin; also, it will secure increasing light, increasing strength, and the development more or less, of all the positive fruits of the Spirit.

27. Growth in grace is the development of the positive in Christian life, — the graces of the Spirit; but not a process of cleansing or washing, refining or purging, mortification or death.

28. There is no power in growth or development to purify the heart. Inborn depravity cannot be imperceptibly grown out or outgrown.

29. The Scriptures nowhere teach, that the gradual advances of the Christian step by step, are attended with a gradual cleansing of the heart, stain after stain until all impurity is gone.

30. As our inherent and original sinfulness was derived from Adam; so our inwrought purification, our personal holiness, must be derived from, and wrought in us by Jesus Christ our second Adam.

31. Sanctification, like regeneration, is a supernatural, instantaneous work; and not a human, gradual work. Both are God’s work. Both are instantaneous. Both involve human agency, and yet neither are accomplished by secondary or natural causes.

32. In purification the soul is passive, is the subject, and not the agent of the cleansing. It is active and co-operative with what precedes and what follows the cleansing; but the cleansing is something experienced, and not something done.

33. Secondary causes, as means of grace may help us to God, and aid us in reaching the conditions of the divine work; but the work itself is wrought by the Holy Spirit.

34. Growth in grace has no fixed relation to purity, and a believer cannot grow pure, on the same principle that a sinner can not grow into a saint; growth not changing the nature of things.

35. All the changes made by growth, or gradual processes are in size or quantity, and not in kind or quality. Purity pertains to quality, growth to size, or quantity.

36. That which is pure, or that which is impure may grow; and mere growth does not change the one or the other, only in size or quantity.

37. Anything impure is made clean by washing, refining, or purging, and not by growth.

38. Retrenchment, pruning, and lopping off excrescences of the outer life (though all proper and necessary) purify no man’s nature. Trimming a tree, or enriching the soil, never changes the nature of its fruit.

39. Inbred sin is an evil principle infecting every unsanctified soul, and its essential nature can not be changed. It is opposition to God, and must be destroyed.

40. Until the living principle of grace is implanted in the soul at regeneration, no sinner becomes a Christian; and until the remaining opposing principle of inbred sin is removed from the regenerate heart, no Christian is entirely sanctified.

41. Growth in grace is essentially the same before and after entire sanctification. In the former, the reign of grace is somewhat limited; in the latter, its dominion is unlimited, by enemies in the soul.

42. The atoning blood of Christ is the meritorious source of purity. Faith in that blood is its conditional cause. The word of God is its instrumental cause, while the Holy Ghost is its efficient agent.

43. All the Bible figures given to enjoin and illustrate purity imply rapidity and dispatch, and teach a short, rapid work.

44. The Scriptures give the same encouragement to faith in the purifying efficacy of the blood of Christ, that they do for faith in his pardoning mercy and adopting love. Alike they are the free, unmerited gift and work of God.

47. Faith is rest, repose, and not effort, and is not difficult when the soul is in a condition or attitude to believe: when it has let go its hold of all other dependencies, then faith is well-nigh spontaneous.

48. The proximate condition of faith is entire consecration, which includes the renunciation of all sin, entire submission to God, and approval of all his known will.

49. Seeking purity by a gradual process of imperceptible growth, is equivalent to its indefinite postponement.

50. Purity, being by faith, is instantaneous — not necessarily in “the twinkling of an eye” — but instantaneous as a birth or death, a washing or refining; a short, rapid work, like regeneration.

51. The approach to purification may be gradual, analogous to the approach to regeneration.

52. The figures understood by some to teach a gradual purification, are given by Inspiration to teach growth in grace, development, and maturity, and have no special reference to purity, which is enjoined and illustrated by another class of figures.

53. God does not accomplish by cleansing power that which is secured by growth in grace. On the other hand, growth in grace cannot effect the work of the creating energy of the Almighty Spirit.

54. The destruction of inbred sin, and growth in holiness are not identical. One is instantaneous, the other is gradual.

55. Growth, purity, and maturity being distinct, should not be identified.

56. Pardon, life, adoption, and purity represent the definite, instantaneous, and supernatural in religious experience. “Children,” “young men,” “fathers,” and “perfect men,” represent the indefinite and gradual, growth and development.

57. Christian maturity is necessarily comparative and indefinite; a gradual, progressive process, involving years of growth, cultivation, and enlargement.

58. Purity is the condition of the most rapid, uniform, and unobstructed growth in grace; hence, it is the greatest help to maturity, and impurity its chief hindrance.

59. Identifying and confounding purity with maturity, lies at the base of nearly every objection to an instantaneous purification.

60. Holiness is not maturity, which is largely a subsequent attainment, subject to the laws of growth, involving years of time, and an advanced religious life.

61. A babe in Christ, by cleansing power, may become a pure Christian at once; but that does not constitute him a mature Christian. Christians are not cleansed into maturity, nor do any grow into purity.

62. There are “babes,” “young men,” and “men of full age,” in a state of purity, and purity in its infancy should be distinguished from purity matured, as an advanced, established, and confirmed state of purity — “rooted and grounded in love.”

63. The soul may be pure while it is immature, and millions of Christians die in immaturity and are saved; maturity not being the condition of admittance to heaven.

64. Regarding purity and maturity as distinct in nature and process, relieves this subject of difficulties which have perplexed multitudes of good men.

65. Spiritual life emanating from the Holy Ghost, has no bounds, limits or dimensions; and the soul, the seat of this life, is endowed with powers and capacities susceptible of unlimited expansion.

66. After the soul is made pure, it may grow, and develop all the positive graces of the Spirit, increasing in love, knowledge and power forever.

67. Indwelling sin, remaining in the heart, warring against purity and religion, is in opposition to the will of God. Having made provision for its removal, its continuance involves distrust of his power and faithfulness, as well as a violation of his requirements.

68. Tolerating and harboring inbred sin, or neglecting to seek its destruction, has brought many a man into bondage, and is the fruitful source of many grievous apostasies.

69. Christian holiness is a matter of positive, conscious experience within the reach of all believers; being sufficiently plain for all to understand, low enough for all to reach, and not so great as to forbid a reasonable confession.

70. Purity is the great necessity of the Christian Church, in promoting her safety, evangelical power, and practical efficiency in converting and bringing this world to Christ. In this is her strength! her mission! and her glory! With it, her triumph is certain! Without it, she will suffer deplorable reverses, involving the ruin of millions!

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