There were a good many people who gave me trouble, but as I learned more of myself I discovered one *old man who gave me more trouble than all the others.
* The phrase “old man” is biblical language for sinful human nature.
His sinful deeds had been put off, and I felt no condemnation, yet when I would do good he was there to fight against my mind, having a resolute purpose to bring me into captivity to the law of sin. If he succeeded even partially I was humbled and grieved, and if he did not succeed, I was in distress for fear that he might. The Lord taught me by some special providences, and I then began to understand more clearly, how the law of God was weak in human nature. I hated vain thoughts, pride, ambition, and evil tempers, but they were part of me — not as acts to be repented of and forgiven, but dispositions lying behind the acts, and promptings thereto, natural to the old man and inseparable from his presence in my being.
I began to ask God, with a measure of faith, to cast him out. Along with this desire I had a great hunger and thirst to be filled with all the fullness of God. I longed for a clean heart and a steadfast spirit, and in this attitude I attended a special meeting for conference and prayer on one memorable evening with the resolute purpose of presenting my body a living sacrifice to God. Such were my relations with Him that I saw a new light and a new privilege in entirely consecrating myself, and I went about it with great delight, but I speedily found myself in the midst of a severe conflict.
The things that were to be suffered for Jesus’ sake — the misapprehensions, suspicions and revilings of carnal professors of Christianity, as well as the conflicts with the world, the flesh and the devil, passed quickly before my mind. Selfishness, pride and prejudice joined forces, and rose up in rebellion, while the “old man” pleaded for his life. But I could not, and would not, draw back. Vile affections were resolutely confessed and renounced. Those things that were gain to me (denominational standing, family, business, friends, possessions, time, talent and reputation) were irrevocably committed to the sovereign control and disposal of my Almighty Savior. With everything consecrated to God, I “reckoned myself dead indeed to sin and alive to God” (Rom. 6:11), and immediately the Holy Spirit entered into me. I felt the melting and refining fire of God permeate my whole being. I had entered into rest (Heb. 4:9). I was nothing and nobody, and glad that it was forever settled that way. It was a great luxury to get rid of ambitions and self will, and have my heart cry out for nothing but the will of God. I was deeply conscious of His presence and of His sanctifying work.
It was not an effort to realize that I loved the Lord with all my heart, mind and strength, and my neighbor as myself. The inner calm and repose in God at that time was a wonder to me, and it continues to be so today. It was, and is, the peace of God, which passes all understanding.
The Spirit’s witness to the work of entire entire sanctification was as clear and unmistakable to my own soul as it was in the experience of justification. I have had abundant time and occasion in the nearly nineteen years that have passed to scrutinize and test the reality and nature of the work of entire sanctification, received then, and perpetuated since then, by the power of the Holy Spirit. In and of myself I am neither holier nor stronger than before. I have learned that this wonderful baptism with the Holy Spirit is the secret of stability in the Christian’s character.
Entire sanctification is a way of life, which may and should be maintained by a continual faith in Jesus and His promises. His constant abiding puts in us a disposition to do the will of God. Letting Him work in us to will and to do of His own good pleasure constrains Him to abide in us.
The secret of victory in this present life is quietness, assurance and obedience to God, and loving God supremely. There must be a supreme dread of offending Him. If grieving the Spirit of God is regarded as the greatest evil that could befall us, the fear of man will not ensnare us. Our eyes will be focused on Jesus, and we will be full of light. Jesus Christ is both able and willing to keep His own people from committing sin, as well as to atone for and pardon sins that have already been committed. Bless His holy Name. “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment” (Rev. 3:5). “And they overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb (Jesus) and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death” (Rev. 12:11). Amen.
Taken from the book Forty Witnesses, revised and condensed.
“And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.” – Isaiah 32:17-18
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” – Jesus; John 14:27
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