07 July, 2013
Wholly Sanctified - Reaching Out for a Higher and Deeper Life in Him!
Wholly Sanctified By A.B. Simpson (December 15, 1843 – October 29, 1919
“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calls you who also will do it” (1 Thess. , 24).
The prominence given to the subject of Christian life and holiness is one of the signs of our times and of the coming of the Lord Jesus. No thoughtful person can have failed to observe the turning of the attention of Christians to this subject within the past quarter of a century and along with the revival of the doctrine of the Lord's personal and pre-millennial coming. The very opposition which these two subjects have received and the deep prejudice with which they are frequently met emphasize more fully the force with which they are impressing themselves on the mind of our generation and the heart of the
The only way we can often know the direction of the weather-vane is by the
force of the wind, and the stronger the wind blows against it, the more
steadily does it point in the true direction. And so the very gales of
controversy but indicate the more forcibly the intense interest with which the
hearts of God's people are reaching out for a higher and deeper life in Him,
and are somehow feeling the approach of a crisis in the age in which we live. Church
These two truths are linked closely together in the passage above. The former is the preparation for the latter, and the latter the complement of the former. Let us turn our attention, in prayerful dependence upon God and careful discrimination, to the explicit teachings of this passage respecting the scriptural doctrine of sanctification; and may the Holy Spirit so lead us and sanctify us both in our thoughts and spirits that we will see light in His light clearly, and our prejudices will melt away before the exceeding grace of Christ and the heavenly beauty of holiness.
OF SANCTIFICATION, “THE VERY GOD OF PEACE.”
1. This name implies that it is useless to look for sanctification until we have become reconciled to God and learned to know Him as the God of Peace. Justification, and a justification so thoroughly accepted as to banish all doubt and fear and make God to us “the very God of peace,” is indispensable to any real or abiding experience of sanctification.
Beloved, is this perhaps the secret cause of your failure in reaching the higher experience for which you long? “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Are there loose stones and radical difficulties in the superstructure of your spiritual life, and is it necessary for you to lay again the solid foundations of faith in the simple Word of Christ and the finished work of redemption? Then do so at once. Accept without feeling, without question, in full assurance of faith, the simple promises, “He that believes on the Son has everlasting life,” “Him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out,” and then take your stand on the Rock of Ages and begin to build the temple of holiness.
2. The expression “the very God of peace” further suggests that sanctification is the pathway to a deeper peace, even the “peace of God which passes all understanding.” Justification brings us peace with God, sanctification the peace of God. The cause of all our unrest is sin. “The wicked are like the troubled sea which cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, says my God, to the wicked.” But on the other hand, “Great peace have they that love Your law and nothing will offend them.” So we find God grieving His people's disobedience and saying, “Oh, that you had heeded my commandments, then your peace would have been as a river and your righteousness as the waves of the sea.” Sanctification brings the soul into harmony with God and the laws of its own being, and there must be peace, and there can be in no other way. Furthermore, sanctification brings into the spirit the abiding presence of the very God of peace Himself and its peace is then nothing less than the deep, divine tranquillity of His own eternal calm.
3. But the deeper meaning of the passage is that sanctification is the work of God Himself. The literal translation of this phrase would be “the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly.” It expresses in the most emphatic way His own direct personality as the Author of our sanctification. It is not the work of man nor means, nor of our own struggling, but His own prerogative. It is the gift of the Holy Ghost, the fruit of the Spirit, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the prepared inheritance of all who will enter in, the great obtainment of faith, not the attainment of works. It is divine holiness, not human self-improvement or perfection. It is the inflow into man's being of the life and purity of the infinite, eternal and Holy One, bringing His own perfection and infusing in us His own will. How easy, how spontaneous, how delightful this heavenly way of holiness! Surely it is a “highway” and not the low way of man's vain and fruitless mortification. It is God's great Elevated Railway, sweeping over the heads of the struggling throngs who toil along the lower pavement when they might be borne along on His Ascension pathway, by His own Almighty impulse.
It is God's great Elevator, carrying us up to the higher chambers of His palace without our laborious efforts, while others struggle up the winding stairs and faint by the way. It is God's great tidal wave bearing up the stranded ship until she floats above the bar without straining timbers or struggling seamen, instead of the ineffectual and toilsome efforts of the struggling crew and the strain of the engines, which had tried in vain to move her an inch until that heavenly impulse lifted her by its own attraction. It is God's great law of gravitation lifting up, by the warm sunbeams, the mighty iceberg which a million men could not raise a single inch, but which melts away before the warmth of the sunshine and rises in clouds of evaporation to meet its embrace until that cold and heavy mass is floating in fleecy clouds of glory in the blue ocean of the sky. How easy all this! How mighty! How simple! How divine! Beloved, have you come into the divine way of holiness? If you have, how your heart must swell with gratitude as it echoes the truths of the words you have just read! If you have not, do you not long for it and will you not now unite in the prayer of our text that the very God of peace will sanctify you wholly?
II. THE NATURE OF SANCTIFICATION.
What does this term “sanctify” mean? Is there any better way of ascertaining than tracing its scriptural usage? We find it employed in three distinct and most impressive senses in the Old Testament.
1. It means to separate. This idea can be traced all through its use in connection with the ceremonial ordinances. The idea of separation is first suggested in the account of creation in the first chapter of Genesis, and there, probably, we see the essential figure of sanctification. God's first work in bringing order, law, and light out of chaos was to separate, to put an expanse or gulf between the two worlds of darkness and light, of earth and heaven. He did not annihilate the darkness, but He separated it from the light, He separated the land from the water, He separated the waters of the sea from the vapors of the sky.
This book was written by A. B. Simpson
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