SANCTIFICATION IS OBTAINED BY FAITH
No man can create by any energy or power of his own a “pure heart.” When David wanted that he looked up. No man can evolve out of himself as beautiful and heavenly and blessed a thing as holiness. If he could do so, he would perform a greater work than Christ. It is granted by all that Christ pardons. But if a man can, by certain duties and religious performances, produce holiness of heart, he has outstripped Christ, for a holy man must certainly take rank over a simply pardoned man, both on earth and in heaven. This being so, you would be entitled to greater praise and honor in heaven than the Son of God. The song you would sing about the throne would be: “He pardoned me, but I made myself holy. Christ Jesus is made unto me wisdom and righteousness, but I am made unto myself sanctification.” See to what an absurdity of conclusion we are brought by starting out with the idea that holiness is obtained by the works of the law. “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you?” “Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”
The writer has just been informed of a still more flagrant error. It was advanced from the pulpit by one of the leading ministers in our Church. He said that holiness was obtained by meditation! The verse he quoted to prove his statement was Proverbs xxiii. 7: “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Let the reader turn to the verse and read it in its connection, and then stand amazed at such an exposition and application of Scripture. The brother’s idea is not far from the East India conception of holiness. The pagan devotee sits down, crosses his feet, fixes his eyes upon them until they get crossed, falls into a brown study, and waits for holiness. Certainly that man knows nothing of the Bible and nothing of the truly religious life if he has not discovered that all spiritual blessings come by pure faith. It is through faith we are converted. It is through faith we have received ten thousand pardons and consolations and deliverances since that day. And it is through faith we come into the blessing and enjoyment of sanctification.
In proof we quote only three passages from the word of God. The first is Galatians iii. 2, 3, 11, and 14: “This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” “For the just shall live by faith.” “That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” The whole passage is overwhelming. But I call attention mainly to the last line. What is this promise of the Spirit that was to be had through faith but the blessing of sanctification which Christ told his disciples to tarry for at Jerusalem? “Wait,” he said, “for the promise of the Father.” The second chapter of Acts tells us that they obtained it; and it came through faith. Take another passage–this time in Acts xv. 8, 9: “And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.” Now mark you, these italicized words were spoken of believers. This purification was a work subsequent to regeneration. It is identified with the blessing of Pentecost, and it was obtained by faith! One more, and we conclude this point. Acts xxvi. 17-18: “Unto whom now I send thee, 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.”
Reader, do you realize that this is Christ speaking to Paul; that it is Christ who presents here two classes in the spiritual life, the forgiven and the sanctified, and that he divides them clearly, not only by terms, but by the word “and,” which we have italicized. And do you notice that he says that this second class had been sanctified by faith in him? This verse, to my mind, is unanswerable.
If, as I have shown by God’s word, the blessing of a holy heart can be secured instantaneously, and is to be obtained through faith, why not have the pearl of great price right now? Why not believe and be filled now with all “the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ?”