The Antiseptic Quality In Holiness
Yes, there is such a thing as being antiseptically clean. The dictionary tells us that anything that destroys or restrains the growth of putrefactive micro-organism is an antiseptic. In the medical world antiseptics are used for preventing putrefication, fermentation, and the spreading of infectious, or contagious disease. Holiness is the greatest and surest antiseptic against the deadly malady of sin that has yet been discovered in the moral universe; first, it utterly destroys the least microbes of sin that may lodge either in the heart or life of the individual who receives this gracious experience; and, second, it is a great restraining power and preventative against various distempers, disorders, and contagions arising from the cesspools of iniquity and moral miasma of this world. Holiness counteracts false doctrines, hypocrisy and wickedness of every description; for he it remembered that holiness is not only freedom from sin, but antagonism to sin. “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.” (Prov. 8:13.)
As perfect health and perfect physical soundness are the best possible conditions in which to meet and resist the bacteria and microbes of any infectious disease, so we would insist that perfect spiritual soundness is the best preparation and condition in which to meet the seductive spirits, temptations and polluted moral conditions that encompass the soul. Holiness is none other than spiritual wholeness; perfect soul health.
While we know there is the possibility of sinning with such as have obtained heart holiness, we know too there is not so great danger or liability. Holiness gives the minimum of danger and the maximum of safety.
Theologians, in giving us the definition of original sin, tell us it is not only “the corruption of the nature of every man,” but that by reason of this, man is inclined to evil, and that continually.” Melanchton, who was the theologian of the Reformation, in defining original sin, said, “Original sin is an inclination born with us — a certain impulse which is agreeable to us — a certain force leading us to sin, and which has been communicated by Adam to his posterity. As in fire there is a native energy impelling it to mount upward; as there is in the lodestone, a natural quality by which iron is attracted, so also there is in man a primitive force that inclines him to evil.” Any one can see that such a condition greatly imperils the soul. The church has recognized this inclination or pre-disposition to sin by singing, “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; Prone to leave the God I love.”
Charles Wesley sang, “Take away our bent to sinning; Alpha and Omega be; End of faith as its beginning, set our hearts at liberty.” Exactly! Holiness takes out the proneness to wander, and eradicates the bent to sinning. And not only so, but it gives an aversion and antipathy to sin. No one can love sin and love holiness at the same time; he will hate one and love the other. The man who loves sin will hate holiness; and the man who loves holiness will hate sin.
The question is occasionally asked, “How could a sanctified soul sin?” We answer by asking another question: How could Adam and Eve, who were created in the image of God, and so were absolutely holy, commit sin? Or how could angels, who themselves were holy, and in a holy heaven, in the immediate presence of God commit sin? Simply because they were free moral agents. In being sanctified wholly man does not lose his free moral agency, and, therefore ever has the power of choice. The holiness people have never taught that a sanctified soul cannot sin, or has not the power to sin, but they do teach that a soul may have power not to sin.
Since sanctification does not make one immune, or exempt from temptation, nor destroy man’s free agency, there must ever remain the possibility, and in some sense, because of our ignorance, the liability to sin, while in a state of probation. Nevertheless, we would insist that when inbred sin is destroyed, the inclination and bent to sinning which was natural with us, is removed, and added to this, the soul is safeguarded by the presence of the Holy Spirit, who ever abides in a sanctified heart, so that the danger to sin is thus greatly decreased. As a virtuous character repels the encroachments of impurity; as a healthy body repels and restrains the putrefacations of disease; even so a holy soul will resist and repulse the assault of Satan, and temptations to sin.
While we ever need to heed the commandment of the Savior to “Watch and pray,” lest we enter into temptation, the person enjoying perfect soul health will find that it can pass through the malarial swamps of sin, and the sin-infected regions of earth, and not contract the fatal disease; “kept by the power of God through faith, unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.” “Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God (which is none other than full salvation, or holiness) that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Eph 6.13.)