Is Sin Suppressed or Eradicated?

By A. M. Hills


The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. – John 1:29

For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.  – 1 John 3:8

What a glorious deliverance from sin we can have from Jesus! Bishop Westcott said, “Two objects of the manifestation of Christ cover the whole work of redemption: the taking away of sins, and the destruction of the works of the devil. The works of the devil originate in, and spring forth from, indwelling sin, which the devil puts into the hearts of sinners. The efficacy of Christ’s Atonement extends both to sins committed and to indwelling sin.” Dean Alford pointed out that the aorist tense for the Greek verbs “take away” and “destroy” implies “to entirely take away in one act.” Dr. Daniel Steele, in his noble essay, The Tense Readings of the Greek Testament, said of the aorist tense in Romans 6:6: ‘Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed . . .’ “The aorist here (destroyed) teaches the possibility of an instantaneous death­ stroke to indwelling sin.” He said again, “We have looked in vain for one of the verbs denoting sanctification or perfection in the imperfect tense. The verb hagiazo (to sanc­tify) is always aorist or perfect. The same may­ be said for the verbs katharizo (to cleanse) and haginizo (to purify). Our inference is that in the work of entire sanctification, however long the preparation may be, the energy of the Holy Spirit delivers the death stroke to indwelling sin by a sudden act.  This is corroborated by the universal testi­mony of those who have experienced this grace.”

If the Greek New Testament teaches anything about a scrip­tural experience of entire sanctification by nouns, adjectives and verbs, and even by adverbs and prepositions, then it teaches the doctrine of this heart cleansing work. Repressive power for sin is nowhere in the Bible attributed to the blood of Christ, but purgative efficacy is. Carnality (indwelling sin) can be removed from the heart through the baptism with the Holy Spirit (Mt. 3:11). We are strengthened in our faith concerning this by the very meaning of the word baptism. It signifies cleansing. The symbols for baptism in the Bible are water and fire. They are the two things that are used to make something clean. Water cleanses the outside; fire cleanses the very material of which a thing is composed.

Dr. Daniel Steele wrote, “In trying to show that entire sanctification is nowhere connected with the Spirit’s baptism, some have failed in their explanation of fire in the phrase, ‘baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire,’ to note that fire is a purifying element that is associated with the Holy Spirit. Since earthen and metallic vessels cannot be perfectly cleansed by water, fire is employed as the most perfect purifier. Water symbolizes the initial cleansing, and fire symbolizes the com­plete purification wrought by the Holy Spirit in Pentecostal fullness.”

Someone may say, “Perhaps the whole being (body, soul and spirit) is not cleansed by the Spirit’s sanctifying bap­tism.” We reply, “Yes, they are, for Paul prays, ‘And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly (holoteleis, ‘wholly,’ ‘to the end,’ ‘quite completely,’ ‘through and through’); and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he (God) that calleth you, who also will do it’ (1 Thess. 5:23-24). A man is to be sanctified spirit, soul and body, and kept sanctified.”

Another may ask, “Why all this discussion? Is it not just as well to have carnality suppressed in us as to have it removed from us?” We might answer in many ways. Is it better to have a pure heart than to have an impure heart? Is it better to be like God than to be unlike Him? Is it better to please than to displease God? He has set His heart on cleansing us from all sin. For that end He gave His Son Jesus to die for us (John 3:16). We should want what Jesus died for. Indwelling sin is dangerous. It taxes our spiritual strength to guard against it. It is like dynamite. It may go off and blow apart every fair and holy thing in the soul.

We all need such a salvation as we have been describing. Forms of sin, which are attractive to the carnal mind, abound everywhere. We need to be made dead to their deceitful charms. Everything that is inflammatory and can be kindled by the sparks of hell should be removed from our beings. We need a salvation that will make us dead to sin in every form. It is this full salvation that Jesus has provided that is being offered through the Gospel to a sin-sick world. – Condensed and revised

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9

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