Holiness A Specialty
Whenever ministers undertake to generalize on the subject of holiness they invariably fail to bring any one into the experience. They may stand for the doctrine, and train with the holiness people, and occasionally refer to the subject in most eloquent terms, but seldom, if ever, bring any one to feel their need of the experience. Whereas, the men who make a specialty of holiness, doing as Mr. Wesley advised, preach it, “Constantly, strongly and explicitly,” never fail to help others into the experience. Dealing in “glittering generalities” may quiet the conscience of the preacher, and occasion no offense on the part of the carnal hearers, but will not witness much of the blessing of God, nor precipitate a revival. As Mr. Wesley wrote (Vol. 6, p. 752), “Where Christian perfection is not strongly and explicitly preached, there is seldom any addition to the society, and little life in the members of it. Till you press believers to expect full salvation now, you must not look for any revival.” “You can n ever speak too strongly, or explicitly, upon the head of Christian perfection. If you speak only faintly and indirectly none will be offended and none profited. But if you speak out, although some will probably be angry, yet others will soon find the power of God unto salvation. Speak to all and spare not.” (Vol. 7, p. 2S4.) God makes a specialty of holiness; this may be seen in the fact that holiness is the objective point of every commandment, of every promise, and of everything in the divine economy.
God is holy and commands us to be holy; He calls us to be holy, and chastises us in order to bring us to holiness. Christ died that He might make us holy. In fact, we were chosen “in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” (Eph. 1:4.) “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.” (11. Cor. 7:1.)
To generalize on holiness is to make secondary matters of equal importance; this is a lowering of God’s standard, and utterly neutralizes the importance of the experience. There is nothing that can be properly compared to holiness in importance. Everything else is of relative importance only as it tends toward holiness, and accomplishes this end. While holiness, in its fullest sense, is all-inclusive, everything else should be regarded simply as a stepping-stone or means to this end. But to stop short of holiness is to fail of the object of our justification, and the purpose of the atoning sacrifice on Calvary. There are three particular reasons why I make a specialty of preaching holiness: 1. It exalts and magnifies the divine nature — the holiness of God. 2. It is the sure way of awakening men of all conditions to a sense of their need this by contrast — and at the same time setting forth the divine standard of righteousness. 3. I make a specialty of holiness because of the reflex action — the blessing, and joy and victory it brings to my own soul.
This is a day of “specialists” in almost every profession and vocation; and it is the “specialist” who is most in demand and who generally succeeds. Men have found that by giving attention to one thing and concentrating their efforts and energies in that particular direction, they become the more successful, while the man who has “too many irons in the fire,” and so tries to do too many things, may arise no higher than a “jack of all trades and master of none.” This same principle applies to the matter of preaching holiness. Brother, try it; make a specialty of holiness in every service for at least one month, and note the effect upon your congregation, both in Spirit, in real results, and in attendance. Preach it “constantly, strongly and explicitly.”