Scripture Testimony II
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” — I. John i. 9
This text clearly makes distinction between justification and purification. To be justified is to have sin pardoned, and its penalty remitted by a judicial act of God. Justification is full and complete, and has no degrees. There are degrees in guilt, and degrees in condemnation, but justification admits of none.
Christ will take away by pardon all the guilt of our sins, and give us peace with God; and will cleanse away the depravity (the unrighteousness) of our nature, and impart the image of God, making us partakers of the divine nature. His work of cleansing will be as perfect or complete, as his pardoning grace is free and full, leaving nothing opposed to pure love in our hearts.
The first secures our title and passport to heaven; the latter qualifies us for it by giving us a meetness for our inheritance.
If there be a heaven in the Universe of God, he, who secures and retains evangelical pardon and purity, will go there.
Forgive and make my nature whole; My inbred malady remove; To perfect health restore my soul, To perfect holiness and love.
— C. Wesley
20. “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” — I. John iii. 3.
“Purifieth himself,” that is, makes himself holy. The doctrine here is that of human agency in Christian purity. Salvation involves both the divine and human agency. A part of the work man can do, and he must do. All that is needful to be done, which is impossible for man to do, with assisting grace, is God’s work, and he can do it.
Our agency is involved in applying to Christ, and confiding in his cleansing blood with a submissive and believing heart, and by prayer for the sanctifying Spirit, and obedience to the purifying word. “Ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit.”
Speak the second time, “Be clean!” Take away my inbred sin: Every stumbling block remove; Cast it out by perfect love.
— C. Wesley
21. “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” — II. Cor. vii. 1
There is a measure of holiness in every heart that has received Christ by faith, and been regenerated by the power of the Holy Ghost. All such are saints, though their holiness is not complete, nor yet made perfect.
This exhortation, given with so much tenderness, to “perfect holiness,” was to the Corinthian saints, called “dearly beloved,” and is enforced by the “exceeding great and precious promises” in the former chapter — “I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” … “my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”
The reader will remember these were the same believers, which the Apostle in his first epistle “could not speak unto as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal;” and concerning whom he said: “Ye are yet carnal,” “ye walk as men,” and “are ye not carnal?”
God requires holiness of heart, and purity in body — that we “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit.” As human nature is universally corrupt; moral depravity pervading all the faculties of the soul, and physical depravity all the members of the body; therefore, our purification must be radical and universal.
The body as well as the soul must be sanctified, and kept clean and pure for God’s service. Chastity of body is an important part of our sanctification. Sin is “filthiness,” it may be of the flesh, or of the spirit, as there are defilements of body and of mind. There are sins of the “flesh,” of which the body is the instrument, or that are committed by the body; and sins of the spirit, which are confined to the heart, and never developed in the outer life. We may and must be cleansed from both, as God is to be glorified with both body and soul.
It may be feared that many refuse to seek Christian holiness because of habits of uncleanness “filthiness of the flesh,” physical indulgences, which they are unwilling to give up or put away. Our body is to be an instrument of righteousness unto holiness. It is “the temple of the Holy Ghost,” inhabited and occupied by the Spirit. The idea of a temple is a place where God dwells — a place sacred to him, and to his service.
God made our bodies. They have been purchased for him by the death of Christ, and they are not our own. “Ye are bought with a price.” Hence we are not to prostitute our bodies to wicked uses, or filthy lusts. Having made both soul and body, and redeemed both, he requires them kept as vessels fitted (purified) for his use. They should be regarded as his property — a sacred trust to be kept clean, that he may be honored by them. “Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Finish then thy new creation; Pure and spotless let us be; Let us see thy great salvation, Perfectly restored in thee.
— C. Wesley
22. “And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.” — Acts xv. 9.
With God there is no respect of persons. He makes no distinction in the provisions of grace — all are freely welcome.
Purification by faith as the instrumental cause, is positive and clear in this passage. It is by having the heart purified, meritoriously by the blood of Christ, through the Holy Ghost as the efficient agent, and by faith as the instrumental cause — receiving the Holy Spirit and blood of Christ for purification as well as for pardon — that all are made “one in Christ Jesus,” — purity being the great family resemblance of one to the other.
This purification, as this passage states, is wrought in the heart, and not in the head or hands. The head may be cleared of many false notions, and the hands washed from many evil practices, while the heart remains unpurified, and continues a fountain of pollution and uncleanness.
I cannot wash my heart But by believing thee, And waiting for thy blood t’impart The spotless purity.
— C. Wesley
23. “Be ye holy; for I am holy.” — I. Pet. i. 16
It is written by Moses, Lev. xix. 2: “Ye shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” God requires and expects Christians to be holy. He enjoins it by command and example. And what he commands us to be and do, he will enable us to be and do. Saints are to be holy, as God is holy, completely and universally — in all manner of conversation.” This cannot be without a pure heart, as the necessary antecedent to a holy conversation. The tongue gives utterance to the heart’s abundance — “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”
Evangelical holiness is positive and real, not typical; is personal and moral, and not merely relative and ceremonial. It is wrought by the Holy Ghost, and is internal, radical, and diffusive, and constitutes the foundation for all outward holiness of life and conduct.
As God is absolutely holy; and as he has called us his children, and made us his heirs, we must be positively holy, as the necessary qualification to reflect his image, honor him, and dwell with him in Paradise.
Scatter the last remains of sin, And seal me thine abode; O make me glorious all within — A temple built by God!
— C. Wesley.
24. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” — I. John i. 7
Walking in the light always leads to the blood of cleansing. If the light is followed, it will soon flash deep and pungent conviction for holiness upon him who follows it. Not conviction of guilt, for he who walks in the light has no guilt. Not a sense of condemnation — “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus:” but a conviction of indwelling corruption and need of being cleansed therefrom — the remaining inherent sin in the regenerate heart, which becomes a matter of consciousness, and of painful anxiety to the believer.
It is a short way from pardon to purity to him who WALKS IN THE LIGHT.
Walking in the light is not walking pure, or walking into purity; but walking to the fountain and the blood cleanses. The light discovers to us our defilement; while the blood of Christ takes it away. All that the light reveals of inbred sin, or evil in our nature, is positively cleansed from the heart by the blood of Christ. If it can remove the cause — actual sin and its guilt — it can remove the effect — impurity, inborn and acquired depravity. “And I will turn my hand upon thee, and will purely purge away all thy dross, and take away all thy tin.” — Isaiah i. 25.
Krummacher, the great German divine, in a dialogue with an objector, says: “What avails the blood of Christ? It avails what mountains of good works, heaped up by us — what columns of the incense of prayer, curling up from our lips toward heaven — and what streams of tears of penitence, gushing from our eyelids — never could avail: ‘The blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanseth us from all sin.’ ‘Helps us to cleanse ourselves, perhaps?’ No: cleanseth us. ‘Furnishes the motive and the obligation for us to cleanse ourselves?’ No; it cleanseth us. ‘Cleanseth us from the desire to sin?’ No; cleanseth us from sin itself ‘Cleanseth us from the sin of inactivity in the work of personal improvement?’ No; from all sin. ‘But did you say the blood does this?’ Yes, the blood. ‘The doctrine of Christ, you must mean?’ No; his blood. ‘His example it is?’ No; his blood, his blood.”
To limit the work and power of Christ, tends to destroy all confidence in him: there could be no certainty as from what sin we could, or could not be purged. It is expressly declared that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin.
Thou dying lamb! thy precious blood Shall never lose its power, Till all the ransom’d Church of God Are saved to sin no more.
25. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it … That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” — Eph. v. 25, 26
Here is presented Christ’s love for his people; his devotion to them; and his washing and cleansing them from their pollution. For this purpose he died for them, that he might wash them in his own blood, that they might be without “spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; that they should be holy, and without blemish.” Here is a state of freedom from all deformity or defilement — “holy and without blemish.” A SPOTLESS SPOUSE!
Christ shed his most precious blood to purify and save the Church. WHAT A SAVIOUR! What saints he can make! And what a heaven prepared for them!!
See from his wounded side The mingled current flow; The water and the blood applied, Shall wash us white as snow.
— C. Wesley
26. “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 xxvi. 18
Matthew Henry remarks on this passage, — “All that shall be saved hereafter, are sanctified now … None can be happy that are not holy, nor shall any be saints in heaven that are not first saints on earth … We are chosen to salvation through sanctification … We are sanctified and saved by faith in Christ … For it is by faith that we are justified, sanctified and glorified.”
This is evangelical and clear. Salvation by faith, the forgiveness of sins, and the purification of the heart; consequently not by the merit of works, nor by that of suffering. O that these blessed truths may spread until every nation, and kindred, and tongue shall fear God and give glory to Him!
O love, thou bottomless abyss! My sins are swallowed up in thee; Covered is my unrighteousness, Nor spot of guilt remains on me; While Jesus’ blood, through earth and skies, Mercy, free, boundless mercy, cries.
— John Wesley
27. “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” — 2 Thess. ii. 13
While the Holy Ghost is the mighty efficient agent in accomplishing our cleansing; faith in Christ is the proximate condition of the work wrought. “Sanctified by FAITH that is in me.”
Rev. C. H. Spurgeon says, — “Suppose, to put as plainly as you can, there is a garment which needs to be washed. Here is a person to wash it, and there is a bath in which it is to be washed — the person is the Holy Ghost, but the bath is the precious blood of Christ. It is strictly correct to speak of the person cleansing as being the sanctifier; it is quite as correct to speak of that which constitutes the bath, and which makes it clean, as being the sanctifier too. Now the Spirit of God sanctifies us, he works effectively; but he sanctifies us through the blood of Christ, through the water which flows with the blood from Christ’s smitten side. To repeat my illustration, here is a garment which is black; a fuller, in order to make it white, uses nitre and soap, both the fuller and the soap are cleansers; so both the Holy Spirit and the atonement of Christ are sanctifiers.”
Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees, And looks to that alone: Laughs at Impossibilities, And cries, “It shall be done!”
— C. Wesley
28. “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” — Heb. ix. 14.
The doctrine taught in this Scripture and context is, that the sacrifices of the old dispensation could not purge the conscience, and take away the guilt and defilement of sin; but at best, “sanctify to the purifying of the flesh,” — free the man from ceremonial uncleanness, and typify and point to the “Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
The cleansing efficacy of Christ’s blood, offered without spot to God, is sufficient to “purge the conscience from dead works,” and reach the very soul defiled with sin, and remove “all uncleanness,” and “renew the soul in righteousness and true holiness.”
As his vicarious death was offered “without spot to God,” he can so purify the soul that it will be “without spot, or wrinkle, or ANY SUCH THING.”
‘Tis done; thou dost this moment save, With full salvation bless; Redemption through thy blood I have, And spotless love and peace.
— C. Wesley
29. “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us.” — Heb. x. 14, 15
This chapter presents the superiority of the atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ over that of the Levitical priesthood: that being only the shadow of the substance — the pure and perfect priesthood of Christ. “The offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all;” which “perfected forever them that are sanctified,” was what the Levitical priesthood could never do. Neither their purifications under the law, nor the Pharisaic purification of the outward man, could cleanse the soul. The legal and typical sanctifications of the old dispensations went no further than the purifying of the body; while the blood of Christ, through the eternal Spirit, takes hold upon the heart, the soul of man, and purifies that.
The infinite efficacy of the priesthood of Christ is seen in the all-cleansing power of his blood. Hence the Apostle further says, in the context, — “Having therefore boldness to ENTER INTO THE HOLIEST by the blood of Christ;” lay aside all distrust and fear, and have “your heart sprinkled from an evil conscience.” This “one sacrifice of Christ,” offered “but once,” is of such unspeakable value and everlasting efficacy, as to take away all sin; reaching backward to fallen Adam, and forward to the last believing soul. “By one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.”
Now let thy Spirit bring me in, And give thy servant to possess The land of rest from inbred sin, The land of perfect holiness.
— C. Wesley
30. “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.” — Heb. x. 19
Here we see our grand privilege through the blood of Christ — we may “ENTER INTO THE HOLIEST.” This gives full and free access to God; and, like the Jewish high-priest, we may enter into the “holy of holies,” and come out all fragrant with divine incense, preparatory to our entrance into heaven.
The way is not by works, nor by growth or development, but “by the blood of Jesus.” This is the “old way,” the “new and the living way,” and the only way. “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” said Jesus; and “neither is there salvation in any other,” says St. John, “for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” All praise to his precious name! “He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.”
Now let me gain perfection’s height; Now let me into nothing fall; As less than nothing in thy sight, And feel that Christ is all in all!
— C. Wesley
31. “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” — Heb. vii. 25
It is the same almighty Christ, who rolls the stars along in the heavens, who is here declared to be ABLE to save to the uttermost. Who can doubt that he who spake and it was done, who commanded and it stood fast, is able to save to the uttermost? The power that said, let there be light and there was light, that commanded the light to shine out of darkness, and that shines in our hearts, is able to save to the outermost of human necessity or possibility.
He is Immanuel — “GOD WITH US.” Christ is an infinite saviour, and the Scriptures nowhere limit the power of his atonement, but expressly declare “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
However inveterate the disease of sin, the grace and power of the Lord Jesus can fully cure it. He can so refine and purify the believing soul by the light and melting power of the Almighty Spirit shining in the heart, as to purge away, every corruption to the very uttermost.
We may say of this “uttermost,” as Paul says of the love of God, — its heights and depths, its lengths and breadths are immeasurable and incomprehensible.
Then let us all thy fulness know, From every sin set free; Sav’d to the utmost, sav’d below, And perfected by thee.
— C. Wesley
32. “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:” — I. Pet. 1. 22
“The Gospel had already such an effect upon them, (says Matthew Henry) as to purify their souls, while they obeyed it through the Spirit. It is not to be doubted that every sincere Christian purifies his soul. To purify the soul supposes some great uncleanness and defilement which had polluted it and that THIS DEFILEMENT IS REMOVED.”
The word of God is represented in this passage as the instrument of our purification, — “seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth.” Many hear and know the truth, but are not purified by it, because they do not submit to it or obey it.
The Gospel is called “the truth.” It proclaims the great uncleanness of the soul, and its divine remedy. St. Paul declares he was not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, because it was the POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION to every one that believeth.
Lowly, loving, meek and pure, I shall to the end endure; Be no more to sin inclined; Jesus is a constant mind.
— C. Wesley
33. “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” — John xv. 2, 3
The truth taught in this passage, is, that in the regenerated believer, who is a “branch in” Christ, and who “beareth [some] fruit,” there remains impurity to be “purged” in order to greater fruitfulness.
Note, ” the branch” is ” in Christ;” and “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature,” and he “beareth fruit.” He is therefore a true Christian, and a fruitful Christian, and yet God purgeth him. There is then in every such branch — in every such Christian something to be purged away; something of moral evil and defilement that limits or hinders fruitfulness, and needs extermination. Its removal is the work of God. “He purgeth it.” This shows that corruption does yet remain in those who are in Christ. “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you,” i e., Christians are made clean through the purging power of Christ’s “word.” God’s word possesses cleansing virtue and power, hence the prayer of Christ — “sanctify them through thy truth.”
Christians sanctified by Christ and made clean, glorify God in bearing “much fruit.” Increased fruitfulness is a result of cleansing, and an evidence of being cleansed. God is glorified proportioned to the quality, permanency, and abundance of Christian fruitfulness. Purity involves this, “being made free from sin, ye have your fruit unto holiness.”
“A field properly weeded and cleared from briars (says Mr. Fletcher), is naturally more fruitful than one which is shaded by spreading brambles, or filled with indwelling roots of noxious weeds.”
Purity affords the graces of the Spirit a most luxuriant growth, bearing the fruits of righteousness to the praise and glory of God. Hence — “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified and meet for the Master’s use.”
I wait till he shall touch me clean, Shall life and power impart, Give me the faith that casts out sin, And purifies the heart.
— C. Wesley
34. “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” — Matt. xii. 35
The human heart is a treasury of good, or of evil; and what is in it will come out of it. Pure lips, a pure spirit, and a pure life come from the heart. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Evil words, and a wicked spirit and life are the natural products of an impure heart. “How can ye (said Christ), being evil, speak good things?” The heart being the fountain, the streams necessarily correspond with it.
The occasions of sin to some extent, may come from without; yet the source and springs, the root, the seed is within. The relation between the heart and the outer life is about the same as the relation between the fountain, and the stream flowing from it. This is the plain Bible idea of a Christian life — a pure and right life, the result of a pure and right heart. The life must be the index of the heart; as the heart pervades all our activities, and gives character to them. A holy life outwardly, must spring from a pure heart inwardly, or there will be discord and conflict. To look for a holy life without a holy heart, is, in the language of our Lord, to “gather grapes from thorns and figs from thistles.”
The relation of the inner to the outer life is seen in the relation between the tree and the fruit which it bears. Christ said, “Either make the tree good and his fruit good: or else make the tree corrupt and his fruit corrupt; for the tree is known by its fruit.” “If the root be holy, so are the branches.” When the heart is pure, how naturally and beautifully a life of purity will manifest itself!
O that the Comforter would come! Nor visit as a transient guest, But fix in me his constant home, And keep possession of my breast, And make my soul his lov’d abode, A temple of the living God.
— C. Wesley
35. “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart.” — I. Tim. 1. 5
That is, the great design, scope and aim of the commandment is “charity out of a pure heart.” Mr. Wesley said, — “Pure love (charity) reigning alone in the heart, this is the whole of Christian perfection.” In order that love or charity may flow out of a pure heart, the heart must first be cleansed made pure.
“Love is the fulfilling (the substance and fulfillment) of the law.” It is the germ or principle of all evangelical obedience; and he who loves God with all his heart, will obey him with all his power.
We can only love God with all the power we actually possess: God requires nothing more, and he could require nothing less.
The requirement is, “with all thy heart, and soul, and mind, and strength.” “That this is possible it is folly to deny (says Dr. Jeremy Taylor). For he that saith he can not do a thing with all his strength, that is, that he can not do what he can do, knoweth not what he saith.”
Thy nature, gracious Lord, impart, Come quickly from above; Write thy new name upon my heart, Thy new, best name of love.
— C. Wesley
36. “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell … “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him.” … “They shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” — Matt. i. 23; Co. i. 19; Col. ii. 9, 10
Where then is the soul that this divine Saviour cannot save? Where is the disease that this great Physician cannot heal? Where is the pollution which his blood cannot cleanse? Where in all this wicked world is a man so deeply fallen, our great Redeemer cannot rescue him? Can such a case be found?
Let an inspired Apostle answer, — “Wherefore, he is able to save them to the UTTERMOST, that come unto the Father by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
Jesus, thy blood and righteousness My beauty are, my glorious dress; ‘Mid flaming worlds in these arrayed, With joy shall I lift up my head.
— J. Wesley
37. “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” — Rev. i. 5, 6
In this song of the blood-washed, we learn that Christ gave himself a sacrifice for our sins, and by the vicarious merit of his blood, frees us from the guilt of sin in our justification; and by the “washing” and “cleansing” of his blood, frees us from the pollution of sin in our sanctification.
His blood avails for our “righteousness and true holiness” — our peace and purity. Glory to his name! He “washes us in his own blood.” He does not barely sprinkle us, but “washes us in his own blood” — his life, HIS HEART’S BLOOD.
We must be clean! We must be every whit whole! God says so! “Awake! awake! put on thy strength, O Zion! put on thy BEAUTIFUL GARMENTS!” Purity is the WHITE ROBE which is worn by the blood-washed before the throne. It is the royal “WEDDING GARMENT,” which is to ADORN us at the marriage supper of the Lamb in the great day of coronation.
When God is mine, and I am his, Of paradise possess’d, I taste unutterable bliss, And everlasting rest.
38. “Wilt thou be made whole?” — John v. 6
As much as to say, if thou wilt thou canst be made whole, or clean. Depravity is a most inveterate and dangerous disease. There is a remedy! Christ is the great Physician!
This question is often asked in the secret of our souls, by the inspiration of God’s Spirit. Why then are we not clean? Is it because there is a lack of power in Christ to accomplish it? This cannot be; “with God all things are possible.” Is it because he is not willing? This has been shown to be otherwise. He came from heaven on purpose to save. Why then is it? You can be made whole — made clean through the blood of Jesus, or not, just as you choose. “Wilt thou be made whole?”
The author of this interrogation “was bruised for our iniquities,” — “the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all;” and it is said, “he shall see of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied;” for, having borne our iniquities, “WITH HIS STRIPES WE ARE HEALED.”
Take my soul and body’s powers; Take my memory, mind and will; All my goods, and all my hours, All I know and all I feel; All I think, or speak, or do; Take my heart! but make it new!
— C. Wesley
The reader will see these passages of Scripture are clear, definite, and positive. Let us recall attention to a few of them. The one in Ezekiel promises deliverance from all that defiles the heart in the sight of God, and from all that estranges it from him. Less than this can not be implied in being cleansed from all our filthiness, and all our idols.
In the passage in II. Cor. vii. 1, we are exhorted by the most powerful motives, to cleanse ourselves from every wicked and depraved passion, called by the Apostle “filthiness of flesh and spirit;” and to perfect holiness from a sacred fear of Him, who has promised to enter into the most endearing and hallowed relationship with us, on the condition of our purity. — He will dwell with us as in his temple. He will love us as his children.
In the passage in Eph. v. 25, it is distinctly stated, that the purity which Christ died to produce in his Church, is so entire that when accomplished by the “washing of water through the Word,” his Church should be glorious, even in his pure eyes, having neither “spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
The passage from St. John, I. Epistle i. 7, shows us that any degree of impurity is utterly inconsistent with full fellowship with God, and that those who “walk in the light, as he is in the light, have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son CLEANSETH US FROM ALL SIN.”
The Bible is a plainly written book. Its teachings are clear and definite, and free from all confusion. Our duty is plain, and need not be misunderstood — to accept its instructions thankfully, reverently, and with no unhallowed criticism.
If the figure of refining gold is used, it is, “I will purely purge away all thy dross.” If water be the figure, it is, “Ye shall be whiter than snow.” If it be the working of leaven, it is, “Till the whole is leavened.” If it be death by crucifixion, it is, “He that is dead is freed from sin.” If cleansing the leper is the figure, it is, “Ye shall be clean,” or “I will, be thou clean.” If it be a creation, it is, “Create in me a clean heart.” If it be a renewal, it is, “In righteousness and true holiness.” If it be a command, it is, “Be ye holy, for I am holy.” If it be an exhortation, it is, “Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” If it be a promise, it is, “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean.” If it be a declaration, it is, “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” If it has respect to the priesthood of Christ, it is, “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost.”
Is it a state described? It is, “Blessed are the pure in heart.” Is depravity as deep and indelible as scarlet and crimson? It is, “They shall be as white as snow.” Does it present a divine Prototype? It is, “As he (Christ) is, so are we in this world.” Is the instrumental cause presented? It is, “Sanctify them through thy TRUTH. Is the meritorious cause presented? It is, “The BLOOD of Jesus Christ,” who gave himself a ransom for all.” Is human agency involved in the work? It is, “Come, for all things are now ready;” and, “purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” Is the proximate conditional cause presented? It is, “Sanctified BY FAITH that is in me,” and, “Purifying their hearts BY FAITH.” Is the grand efficient Agent referred to? It is, “Through sanctification of the SPIRIT.” Is it who shall enter heaven? It is, “He that hath clean hands and a pure heart.”
Not a figure or term used, significant of purification, has any limitation to teach that the work may not be completed at once, — instantaneously wrought by the supernatural power of God. The words “all,” “wholly,” “whole” and the like, express a finished work in those “purified, made white, and tried.”
Sanctification is a plain, single, simple, definite cleansing, wrought by God himself in the soul itself. And these passages are a standing rebuke to that gradualism, which pushes this whole subject into indefinite generalities, without a distinct work of cleansing.
No proposition can be more plainly stated than is stated in God’s word, that our complete purification from sin is by the blood of Christ. And, yet, what efforts are constantly being put forth to set aside this plain, fundamental, and most precious truth, “that the blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanseth us from all sin.”
“The promise stands, forever sure, And we shall in thine image shine, Partakers of a nature pure, Holy, angelical, divine; In spirit joined to thee, the Son, As thou art with thy Father one.”
— C. Wesley —