Press on to Sanctification PDF Print E-mail

(By John Fletcher)

Entire sanctification is an instantaneous salvation – that act of the Holy Ghost, according to our faith, by which sin is entirely expelled from the soul, when the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin, and includes an instantaneous power then given, always to cleave to God. Thus, an excellent man remarked: It is gradual in preparation, but instantaneous in reception; and the more earnestly we long for this unspeakable blessing, the more swiftly the preparation increases. The gradual preparation is often short, when the soul wills it, earnestly desires it, quickly abandons all for it, and prays as it should.

A snake may cast its coat, but keep its venom. A sinner may cast off much of the “old man” in outward and even in inward character, but if not cleansed from all sin, there is a snaky inclination in his nature that may wound others, or the cause of God, or himself eternally. That was a shrewd saying of one, that “a profession of religion without purity is like a fair glove drawn over a foul hand.” Purity is the prime jewel of moral worth in man or woman. What is the most graceful dress humanity ever wore, if the one who wears it has a filthy person? We would shrink from such a creature; but such is he who makes a graceful profession of religion, and carries about him an unclean spirit, an impure heart; he lacks the prime jewel of moral worth – purity.

Let that new convert hearken! The remains of sin, yea, the seed of every sin is within till you are cleansed throughout spirit, soul, and body.

That was a good remark of one, “There is much of the old man in the new.” Already have you been made sensible of the fact. Those seeds have taken root; they are rooted in that heart of yours, among the plants of grace, like weed-roots in a bed of vegetables. They must be uprooted, or they will destroy or dwarf the plants of grace within you. Indwelling sin is Satan’s capital. He who has a small capital will keep adding to it. It is Satan’s investment, and he will not neglect it; the Devil’s stock, and he will watch its rise and fall in the market, close as any stockjobber. Sin is in itself an accumulating principle. A slight cold is prone to additions. It is so with indwelling sin. Its nature is to render you cold to duty, and cold in your affections towards God and His people. It contracts the fine affections of your soul as a cold the fine vessels of your body, rendering you chilly and shivering in the presence of a good Gospel fire.

You have the elements of this ague within; it has begun, in fact, in these incipient stages. Get rid of it. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from it. The medicine is ready if your faith is ready. Why not now? “All things are possible to him that believeth.” May you have no rest till you are cured of these ague fits, slight indeed, at present. It would be a wonder were it otherwise, considering your present advantages. But inbred sin has a lodgment in your nature, and every exposure to “evil air,” to bad company, and bad influence will add to it. Your ague fits will increase.

Purity of heart is your remedy. Be not deceived.

Are you clear in your conversion? If not, in all likelihood you will wander back to the Devil.

Be not deceived in your intentions regarding sin. You have put it away, surely you have, if regenerated. But have you parted with it for ever, think you? Have you quite removed your eye off it? No treacherous inclination towards it? No hankering after it? Do you hate it? There is much in the remark of one, “That many deal with their sins as the mother of Moses with her boy:” she put him away, but provided for him. Hid him in the ark of bulrushes, as if she had forsaken him quite; but kept her eye upon him, and at last became his nurse. Thus many leave but love their sins. They hide them from the eyes of others, but their hearts go after them. At last they take their sins to nurse and give them the breast. Can you detect anything of this in yourself? Then let me shout in your ears – “PERIL!” “Make a clean breast of it,” as they say sometimes to criminals; resolve upon purity; it is your only safety. The blessing is your spiritual birthright if you are born from above. You will backslide, perhaps foully and fatally, without is.

Some years ago, a young lady in … , since gone to Heaven, lost her evidence of justification through some sore mental conflict or other; but one day, when listening to a sermon on Romans 8:16, she regained it. “Then,” said she, “with the blessing of justification in one hand, I held forth the other for full salvation.” That was the proper attitude for a truly justified soul. She soon after obtained the blessing. Can you separate green from a healthy growing leaf and keep it healthy and growing? Or heat from fire and keep it fire? Or sunshine from the sun and keep it sunshine? As well try habitually to separate a desire for purity from your justification and keep it justification. God commands you to be holy – “Be ye holy, For I the Lord your God am holy.” How can you continue justified in disobeying so plain a command? “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification.” How can you retain the blessing in question with a will so contrary to God’s will? You may answer these questions as best you can, they require none from me, only this: I would not like to trust the safety of my state to such a justification. It is deceptive and dangerous.

Holiness preserves itself and those who possess it; a high encouragement to seek it. Your not seeking it has been the CAUSE of your “sinning again” – your constant oscillations between darkness and light, and light and darkness, aye, and of all your troubles.

 
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