WHERE SANCTIFICATION IS SYMBOLICALLY TAUGHT IN THE BIBLE
First, it is notably seen in the arrangement and division of the tabernacle and temple into the holy and most holy places. Why this division? What did God design to teach, if not the two experiences of regeneration and sanctification? Several things at once arrest our attention: one is that a veil separated the two places, just as a veil hides the sanctified life from the regenerated man today. Again, it required a fresh application of blood to enter into the most holy place. The fact of a second faith in, or applying of, the blood of Christ, in order for the soul to enter into the sanctified life, is here powerfully taught. Still again, the rarity with which the inner sanctuary was entered is deeply significant. Furthermore, that which was found in the most holy place is equally suggestive and confirmatory as well. There was the ever present law, the manna that never corrupted, and the perpetual manifestation of the glory of God. These things, looked at from the sanctified experience, mean the law written on the mind, the continual feeling of the soul on Christ, the hidden manna, and the perpetual presence of God in the heart and life.
The rending of the veil, at the death of Christ, declared that the blessing, known to but few before, could now be entered upon and enjoyed by all. As Peter, explaining sanctification on the day of Pentecost, said: “The promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”
Second, the second blessing, or sanctification, is seen in the second cleansing of the temple. If any man should ask why a second purifying of the heart is needed, the reply might properly be given: Why should the temple require a second cleansing? Was not one sufficient? Does Christ do things imperfectly? The writer firmly believes that the double work was done not only to show how pure and sacred the temple of God should be, but also to shadow and typify the two distinct blessings of Christianity. When we remember that the word of God says that we are the temple of God that twofold purification becomes all the more significant.
Third, the second blessing, or sanctification, is seen in the second touch laid upon the eyes of the blind man. It actually seems that this miracle was wrought by the Lord to refute all gainsaying and doubting directed against the reasonableness and necessity of a second work in the soul.
Fourth, the second blessing, or sanctification, is seen in the two baptisms of the Bible; the one of water, and the other of fire and the Holy Ghost. Commentators agree that the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost are one. It is idle to say that men had not received forgiveness of sin before Christ came. All through the ages men have known the joys of pardon. In John the Baptist’s time there was remission of sins granted to multitudes. They were baptized at or near the time of this remission of transgressions, so that the baptism became a synonym of, or represented, the greater work of pardon or regeneration. The expression “born of water,” we are firmly convinced, had no other meaning. The distinguishing feature of Christ’s coming was that he should “baptize with fire and the Holy Ghost.” If only pardon and conversion were meant by these words, in what respect were we advantaged of his coming? and what great distinguishing mark of his work and kingdom do we have?
If, when the Baptist said of him, “he shall baptize you with fire,” he meant only that he would forgive and convert the people, then he is convicted of uttering a foolish and needless thing! It is equivalent to saying that you will bring a man something that he already has. And, in this instance, John is seen holding up as a distinguishing mark of the Messiah that which really was no distinguishing or peculiar mark at all. By a resistless logic, then, we are driven to see the second blessing, or the experience of sanctification, in the words of John the Baptist: “I baptize you with water for the remission of sins, but he who cometh after me, he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” This blessing had been rarely enjoyed before Christ came. But after his coming it should be the privilege of all. It should become a general blessing. The Most Holy Place, typifying the blessing, was entered rarely; but the Son of God would rend the veil, and now all the people could enter in, and all become holy. So read the prophecies. And this was to be the crowning, declarative, distinguishing mark of the Messiah.
The Saviour recognized and alluded to the two blessings or works in his words to Nicodemus, when he said: “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Fifth, the second blessing, or sanctification, is seen in two washings mentioned in the Old Testament. The first is in Isaiah i. 18: “Come…though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” Here is regeneration. The invitation is clearly given to the sinner; the chapter and verse quoted point plainly to that fact. As a pardoned man, he is as white as snow. Now turn to Psalm li. 7, and read how a child of God prays who has discovered remaining corruption in his heart: “Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Here is sanctification. The regenerated soul is white as snow, but snow is not perfectly pure. As it comes through our atmosphere of dust, smoke, soot, and gases, it becomes, in a measure, defiled. The skeptical, by the use of a microscope, will be convinced of this fact. See the beautiful agreement between figure and fact. Snow is not perfectly pure; neither is the regenerated soul. Defilement is there–a dark, disturbing something which, for want of a better name, we call inbred sin, or depravity. Sanctification takes that one defilement out.
The first baptism makes you “white as snow; “the second baptism,” or washing of fire, makes you “whiter than snow.” Isaiah was inviting to regeneration; David was praying for sanctification. Sixth, the second blessing, or sanctification, is seen in the highway and way mentioned by Isaiah, in chapter xxxv. verse 8: “And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness.” No one can read the verse without seeing that two ways are spoken of here. One is a highway, and the other a way. And the striking fact is that the way is in the highway. It is in a measure hidden, just as sanctification is a hidden life. Another striking fact is that the verse says that “the way” (not the highway) shall be called the way of holiness. Why is it that two ways should be spoken of here in reference to the kingdom of Christ? From the simple fact that there are two ways in the kingdom of Christ along which his people walk. The highway is known to all. The regenerated life, for certain reasons, is a highway; it is seen by all and known to all. But there is another way, called a way–one that is not so evident at first as the other, from the fact, perhaps, that in a sense it is in the highway, but mainly for reasons that we have no time to mention and dwell upon at this moment. But it is deeply significant that it is “the way” that is in a measure hidden–so hidden that I thought for years that this glorious affirmation of the text was predicated of the highway; that it is this obscure way that is called the way of holiness. The three distinguishing features of this way are the perpetual companionship of God, the absence of the animal in appetite and ferocity, and the constant joy and triumph of the soul. All these appear in the ninth and tenth verses. This state any one who has received the second blessing will tell you is the glad and holy experience of the sanctified heart.
Seventh, the second blessing, or sanctification, is seen in the home of Bethany in the lives of the two sisters. No one can doubt that both of them loved the Lord. To love Christ requires regeneration. The household of Bethany was a Christian home, where Christ always found affection, rest, and welcome. But it is not less evident that, while both sisters were Christ’s followers, yet Mary possessed something that Martha did not. That quiet restfulness; that absorbed sitting at the Master’s feet; that silent way of giving; the very richness of the gift, are all unmistakable marks of the holy heart. Moreover, Christ settled the fact by his own words: “Mary hath chosen that better part, which shall never be taken away from her.” Let the reader turn to I Corinthians xii. 31, and read: “Covet earnestly the best gifts; and yet show I unto you a more excellent way.” The light in this verse throws light on the other. The “better part” and the “more excellent way” are one and the same. It was not temperament in Mary that made her different from her sister Martha. Christ shows this by the words: “She hath chosen that better part.” You can’t choose your temperament. In a word, she had entered by a volitional act of her own into the more excellent way–the way in the highway, the way that Paul describes in the thirteenth chapter of I Corinthians, and which chapter is nothing but a description of the sanctified life.
Eighth, the second blessing, or sanctification, is seen in the two parables of the hidden treasure and the purchased pearl of great price. The finding of the treasure stands for conversion, and the obtainment of the pearl for sanctification. The two parables stand in marked contrast to each other, and bear the distinct features of the two experiences. The finding of the treasure was a surprise–the man stumbled on it; whilst the pearl of great price was sought after. In almost every instance conversion comes upon the soul with the unexpected suddenness of revealed buried treasure, while sanctification is obtained with a full recognition of what is to come.
It is never sought and found with the despair of a sinner, but with the intelligent purpose and desire of a child of God, who is convinced that there is this blessed experience awaiting him. There is a vast difference between a wayfarer who stumbles upon treasure and a merchantman who seeks discriminatingly a certain rare form of wealth. The sinner finding pardon is the wayfarer; the Christian obtaining sanctification is the merchantman.
Another difference seen is in the evidently dissimilar circumstances of the two men. The merchantman stands out clearly revealed as greater in his possessions than the wayfarer. This appears in his business character and in the things he purchased, which were not little fields or strips of land, but pearls of great price. So is the difference seen in the sinner seeking pardon and the Christian seeking holiness.
The Christian comes more richly endowed than the sinner. He comes with a clear conscience, with the fruits of the Spirit, with growth in grace, with a devoted Christian life, and, pays them down; lays them all on the altar, perfumed with the blood of Christ, as he pleads for the blessing of holiness, the pearl of great price. Then there is a difference manifest in the consciousness of different values. The buried treasure might be much or little, but a pearl of great price is lifted immediately into the highest grade of riches. There is no doubt but that he who obtains pardon feels and knows that he has a treasure in his soul. He calls it such, and rejoices accordingly. But all the time there is a peculiar feeling that the value could be increased, that something could be added, that he could be spiritually richer.
In the possession of the second blessing the feeling is different. The soul is thrilled with a sense of satisfaction. The man knows that he has “the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ,” that he has the “better part,” that he now possesses and enjoys the pearl of great price. Ninth, the second blessing, or sanctification, is in the two anointings of the leper. Let the reader turn to Leviticus, chapter xiv. and verses 14-17, and he cannot but be impressed with its symbolic teaching as he compares it with other utterances and events mentioned in the Bible. Leprosy stands invariably for sin, the leper for the sinner. When he was to be made clean, it is remarkable that the cleansing was effected not by one, but by two anointings. And the two anointings were made all the more distinct by the use of two different things. The leper was first anointed with blood, and then after that he was anointed with the holy oil of the sanctuary. The blood was taken from the slain lamb, which typified Christ, while the oil always stood for the Holy Ghost. The oil was put upon the blood, not instantaneously, but afterward. The passage referred to says that, after the second anointing, the leper was clean. Take this symbolic scene with you to the day of Pentecost, and what a new light falls upon that occasion! We notice, with profound emotion, that the two scenes are one; that upon the bloodwashed assembly is poured the unction or anointing of the Holy Ghost. Further on we see that upon the blood-washed Cornelius falls the Holy Ghost; that on the blood-washed disciples of Ephesus came the same baptism or anointing. It is always the oil on the blood. That is the second blessing. In the Scripture oil is the instrument of healing. Malachi refers to all this when he says: “Unto them that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings.”
Tenth, the second blessing, or the blessing of sanctification, is seen in the two crossings made by the children of Israel–one over the Red Sea, the other the river Jordan. For portions of this striking thought I am indebted to Rev. George D. Watson, author of “White Robes.” As the two crossings took place under the special direction of God, and as they were so markedly different, it stands to reason that they were typical of two different spiritual truths, and experiences. He that educated and prepared us for the sacrifice and death of Christ by the lamb, taken from the fold, slain in the afternoon, eaten with bitter herbs, with no bones broken, and resting on a spit the shape of the cross; he that taught the resurrection by the miracle of Jonah’s life; and his own descent from heaven, and satisfying and sustaining power by the manna that fell from the skies, would surely in as remarkable a way typify and symbolize so wonderful a blessing as sanctification in some striking and forcible way.
The two crossings are thus intended of God. The passage of the Red Sea teaches all that occurs at conversion, and the passage of the river Jordan illustrates sanctification. The contrast between the two is marked. At the Red Sea the Israelites were fleeing from an enemy, and were delivered. At the Jordan they were not in flight; but were drawn by the goodness and beauty of the land of Canaan, and entered into rest. How beautifully this describes the two experiences! Again, at the Red Sea the children of Israel were in great haste, while at the Jordan you see evidence of calm and deliberate action. This, again, strikingly brings out the two blessings. Conversion is found in a hurry; but the blessing of sanctification comes invariably after deep reflection, and full deliberation and conclusion of mind.
Again, at the Red Sea the Israelites went down into the sea a multitude of empty-handed and unarmed fugitives; but at the Jordan they went in fully armed. How clearly appears here the state of the flying penitent seeking safety, and the consecrated Christian coming with all his powers to God, seeking a life of perfect rest and holiness!
Again, at the Red Sea the children of Israel stepped into a dry and open path between the waters–not a wave or pool was left in their course, but at the Jordan they had to place their feet in the water before the waves receded, and the path became open.
This most strikingly illustrates the entrance into and upon the two lives of regeneration and sanctification. In the way of pardon the path is clear; we flee through prayer into the experience. At such a time we are weak, and could not stand any difficulty flung before us; but, in obtaining the blessing of sanctification, our faith is naturally much stronger, and so the way is not open at first; we actually have to put our feet into the waves before they recede–in other words, we claim the blessing by a strong faith before there is an indication or assurance of the great salvation. In a very special manner here the faith precedes the work and the witness.
Still again, there is seen a very great difference in the emotional life after the two crossings. At the Red Sea the Israelites were in perfect transports. They sung, they danced, they struck the timbrel, and the burden of the song was their deliverance from the Egyptians. At the Jordan, instead of ecstasy, there seems to have been an unutterable sense of peace, a calm and holy joy and triumph. As you read the description you cannot but feel the intense but voiceless emotion of the multitudes. It was an hour too blessed and holy for noisy cymbals. The memories of the past, the recollection of the mistakes and wandering of forty years, the remembrance that triumph had been offered them long before, the tender mindfulness of the pity and longsuffering of God meanwhile, together with the overpowering thought that “Canaan, sweet Canaan,” so long wished for and sought after, was at last theirs–contributed an experience so tender, so melting, and so powerful that the desire was rather to sit or stand in the presence of God in a holy joy and triumph too deep for earthly language to express. Who that remembers the experience of conversion but will recall the fact that the song sung then was over a present and personal deliverance. It was the joy of pardon and escape; and in countless instances manifested itself in an exuberant and overflowing gratitude to God. In the blessing of sanctification, while there are frequent instances of rapture, yet the rule is that the entrance upon the Canaan, or restlife, is marked by a profound and unutterable peace. It is a curious fact that the strongest winds do not produce the highest waves. On the contrary, by their tremendous force they level them. So in the spiritual life I have discovered that the deepest experience of joy is oftentimes accompanied with the least demonstration of a noisy kind. The people that shout loudest are not always the happiest. I have seen people absolutely too full to speak. The eye, the voice, the face declared a fullness that no language could have conveyed as powerfully.
Sanctification is a deeper experience than conversion. It involves a perfect surrender, an absolute and final consecration, and the utter extermination of sin in the heart. Naturally we would look for great demonstrations. And so it is in the case of some ardent temperaments, and also when God is pleased to call attention to the doctrine in certain skeptical communities. But the rule is, in the majority of cases, the bestowal of a peace–a peace that often enters gradually, spreading, deepening, and sweetening as it goes, until the entire nature is thrilled and filled with it. A sense of unmistakable holiness is realized. The consciousness fills you that every part of the soul and body has been reached. A sense of being inwardly healed, an exquisite experience of purity is felt, while the soul fairly melts with a baptism of perfect love. And through it all and in it all the Spirit of God whispers to the soul: “This is sanctification!” All this frequently takes place with little outward emotion or demonstration. The wind has leveled the wave.
It is not Arabia, but Canaan that has been entered, and Joshua is happier than Miriam. It is not a life of hard-fought battles that is entered upon, but a constant experience of easy victories. Not a desert wandering has been inaugurated, but a blessed entrance upon rest, while the soul is rejoicing in a land flowing with milk and honey, “where the flowers bloom forever, and the sun is always bright.” And so the peace of God–not peace with God (for that stands for the experience of pardon as shown in Romans v. 1), but the peace of God–bathes the soul like the light falls continually and eternally upon the hills of heaven. It is a peculiar peace. It is the peace of sanctification. You will recognize it by the features I have mentioned. But aside from that, you will recognize it by the voice of the Sanctifier, who is enshrined within it, saying: “Child, you are clean.”