Steps to Holiness

By G. D. Watson

There springs up in the heart of the new Christian a desire to grow in grace, but his views of growth are vague. As he looks forward to his Christian journey, a mist hangs over the dis­tant horizon. He does not clearly understand the hindrances in his own nature to spiritual progress; neither does he apprehend in any definite way the promises that are made in the Bible concerning the fullness of salvation. After awhile there will come to his understanding the special need of some grace or virtue that he seems to be lacking. From the ordinary trials and annoyances of life, and the temptations and besetments that surround him, he is made aware that he needs some special grace, which will help him to get an easier victory in daily living. He discovers a hindrance in his heart to the very grace that he is seeking. This is the way in which the Holy Spirit helps the Christian discover the hidden dangers of the carnal mind. Many Christians, who could not believe at first that they had the remains of inward sin in them, make this discovery by finding something in their nature that hinders their progress in grace, and strangles their peace, or their joy, or their liberty.

While examining his affections and tempers, in order to find out what the particular evil that prevents his growth in grace might be, he makes a great discovery that nearly horrifies him. Instead of having only one hindrance to his Chris­tian progress, he finds that there is a whole world of carnality in his nature. Those manifestations of one or two evil pro­pensities, which at first attracted his attention, were only like the veins of a mine — they lead down into a dark region of corruption, and blindness, and un­belief, that, until now, he did not realize was in him. He then begins to understand that the whole body of sin, as an evil principle, remains in his heart. This saddens his spirit and causes real grief in his soul. The very fact that he is born of God, and desires to love Him more, causes him inexpressible sorrow of heart to find out that his whole being is pervaded with a hidden, yet positive evil. He then begins to see that many of his good deeds, and much of his Chris­tian work, had been tinged with selfishness, or subtle pride, or ambition, or a strain of vanity, or was mixed with duplicity and double-mindedness. This corresponds with what has been called the repentance of believers — that is, real grief over inward sin.

There then comes to him a thirst for the fullness of scriptural purity. At first, he began with a sense of the need of one particular grace, but he now realizes that he needs a universal cleansing — not only from one form of evil but from every variety of pride and unbelief and selfishness. He realizes that he needs something far more than to be sanc­tified in certain spots, for his spiritual vision takes in the length and breadth of his whole nature, and scans the extent of his whole life. He yearns for nothing less than a complete, universal cleansing (1 Thess. 5:23-24).

He now begins to yield himself entirely to God, but not in the same way that he yielded for the pardon of his sins. This is a more profound giving of himself without reservation to the will of God. It is a consecration that is point by point, and thing after thing, in his out­ward and inward life; a letting go of things in the past and in the future; the placing of circum­stances, and anticipations, and plans and hopes, into the will of God (Rom. 12:1).

When this itemized yielding of the whole in­ner being to God is completed, then comes the hour of perfect trust in Jesus as a Savior, and Cleanser, and Sanctifier. This faith has no struggle in it — it is a sweet, quiet rest in Jesus; a sort of Divine, heavenly indiffer­ence as to what the outcome may be. So then, the highest type of faith is not exercise, but a ceasing from exercise; it is a resting in God. It is letting the Holy Spirit do His work without having any anxiety to in­terfere with Him. He understands that he has a most intimate, thorough and blessed relationship with a Divine Person, who lives in him. From now on he does not rely upon any particular type of experience, but learns to confide in the blessed Comforter (Holy Spirit), out of whose fullness flows all good experiences. He learns to let the Holy Spirit use him for the glory of Jesus. Instead of trying to use God’s grace and gifts, he learns how to comply with the inward promptings of the Comforter. Understanding now the mind of God, he yields himself continually, with great docility and humility, to be used by the blessed Holy Spirit, who abides in his heart. This is the state that all sincere Christians have intimations of and desires for, but so few of them seem to fully enter into. This is the state that is truly apostolic, and it is for all those who will obey God without fear and in humility.

Taken from The Heavenly Life, by G. D. Watson, revised and condensed.

“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.” – Romans 6:6-7

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