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08 July, 2013

Wholly Sanctified - Reaching Out for a Higher and Deeper Life in Him!

Wholly Sanctified By A.B. Simpson (December 15, 1843October 29, 1919

Sanctification then means our voluntary separation from evil. It is not the extinction of evil, it is the putting off, the laying aside of evil, the detaching of ourselves from it and placing an impassable gulf between. We are to separate ourselves not only from our past sins but from our sin, as a principle of life. 

We are not to try to improve and gradually ameliorate our unholy condition, but we are to put off the old life, to act as if it were no longer ourselves, and separate from our sinful self as the wife is divorced from her husband, and as the soul is separated from the body by the death of the body. These are, indeed, the two figures used by the Apostle in describing this separation in Romans. We are to reckon ourselves dead indeed unto sin just as much as though we were no longer the same person, and the old heart was no longer that true self.

And so with respect to every manifestation of evil, whether from within or from without, to every suggestion and temptation, to every impulse that is not of God, we are to refuse it, to be in the attitude of negation and resistance, our whole being saying “no.” We have not to annihilate the evil or to resist it in our own strength but simply by a definite act of will to separate ourselves from it, to hand it over to God and renounce it utterly, to give Him the absolute right to deal with it and destroy it; and when we do so, God always follows our committal with His almighty power and puts a gulf as deep as the bottomless grave of Christ and a wall as high as the foundations of the New Jerusalem between us and the evil we renounce. 

We separate ourselves, and God makes the separation good. This is the first decisive step in sanctification, an act of will by which we renounce evil in every form in which it is made manifest to our consciences and brought into the light, and not only evil in its manifestations but the whole evil self and sinful nature from which each separate act has sprung.

And we separate ourselves also from the world and its embodiment of the old natural condition of things and the kingdom of the prince of evil. We recognize ourselves as not of the world even as He was not of the world. We put off, not merely that which is sinful, but that which is merely natural and human so that it may die on the cross of Jesus and rise into a supernatural and divine life; for “if any man be in Christ Jesus he is a new creation, old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.” 

And so the Holy Spirit leads us to a deeper separation, not only from the evil but from the earthly, lifting us into a supernatural life in all respects, and preparing us, even here, for that great transformation in which this corruptible will put on incorruption and this mortal immortality, for as the first man was of the earth, earthy, even before he fell, so will he give place to the second man who was made a living spirit and who has lifted us up into His own likeness.

What then, beloved, is the practical force of this thought? It is simply this, that, as God shows you your old sinful self and every evil working of your own fallen nature, you are definitely to hand it over to Him, with the full consent of your will, so that He will separate it from you and deliver you wholly from its power, and then you are to reckon it in His hands and no longer having control over you, or, indeed, in any sense to belong to you.

And as He leads you further on to see things that might not be called sinful and yet are not incorporated into His life and will, that from these, also, you separate yourself and surrender them to Him, that He may put to death all that is apart from Himself and raise up in a new and resurrection life our entire being. 

You will thus see you are delivered from the death struggle with evil and the irrepressible conflict with self, your part being simply to hand Agag over with your own hands for execution, and gladly consent that the Lord should slay him utterly and blot out the remembrance of Amalek forever. Beloved, have you thus separated yourself for God to sanctify? Yours must be the surrender. God will not put His hand on the evil until you authorize Him with your glad consent. Like Joab's army of old, He encamps before your city and sends you the message that Sheba must die or the city perish, but your own hands must deliver him over. 

Have you done so or will you do so? Will you not now with glad consent lay your hand upon the blessed Sin-Offering's head, and transfer your sinful heart, and the dearest idol it has known, to Him “who was made sin for us who knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in him”?

2. Sanctification means dedication. It is not only to separate from but to separate to. The radical idea of the word is, set apart to be the property of another. And so the complement of this act which we have already partly described is this positive side in which we offer ourselves to God for His absolute ownership, that He may possess us as His peculiar property, prepare us for His purpose and work out in us all His holy and perfect will. 

This is the meaning of the appeal made by Paul in the 12th chapter of Romans, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” This is the meaning of those oft-repeated expressions where we are spoken of as God's peculiar people, which literally means, a people for a possession. 

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