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"HUMAN wisdom says, 'disengage yourself by degrees from the bonds of sin; learn gradually to love God and live for Him.' But in this way we never break radically with sin, and give ourselves wholly to God. We remain in the dull, troubled atmosphere of our own nature, and never attain to the contemplation of the full light of the Divine holiness. Faith, on the contrary, raises us, as it were at a bound, into the regal position which Jesus Christ now holds, and which in him is really ours. From thence we behold sin cast under our feet; we taste the life of God as our true essential being in Jesus Christ. Reason says, 'Become holy in order to be holy.' Faith says 'You are holy: therefore become so. are holy in Christ; become so in your own person.' This is perhaps the most paradoxical feature of pure evangelical doctrine. He who disowns it, or puts it from him will never cross the threshold of Christian sanctification. We do not get rid of sin by little and little, we break with it with that total breaking which was consummated by Christ upon the cross. We do not ascend one by one the steps of the throne: we spring upon it and seat ourselves there with Christ, by the act of faith which incorporates us in Him. Then from the height of that position, holy in its essential nature, we reign victoriously over self, the world, Satan and all the powers of evil.” —Godet.
IDEAL AND ATTAINMENT.
HAT we have thus set forth from Scrip
ture and experience, we would wish to see made real in Christian life. But we are sensible that to live a truth is far more difficult than to expound it. And yet it is to be borne in mind that doctrine is not the measure of experience, but its mould. For example, instead of aiming at self-crucifixion as the goal of our endeavor, we start from it as our point of departure. "I have been crucified with Christ,"* writes Paul. Here is the doctrinal or judicial fact on which he rests and from which he proceeds. And how constantly is he reiterating it as a truth applying to all believers without distinction. "Because we thus judge that one died for all, therefore all died." † † a Cor. 5: 15; R. V.
* Gal. 2: 20; R. V.
And what is his conclusion from this solemn judicial fact? This, that we are to strive with all diligence to make it a realized and experimental fact. "For ye died, mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth.”* That is to say; we are to make that true in ourselves which is already true for us in Christ, and so turn a fact of doctrine into a fact of attainment. And this principle applies to resurrection equally. "Raised together with Christ," we are to "seek those things that are above"; † that is, to live the resurrcction life in Him instead of holding to the fallen life in Adam.
Now it is already true that the Holy Ghost has been given; therefore we are to receive him in his indwelling fullness and power. It is true that all believers are sanctified, for Paul addresses the Corinthian church in its entirety as "those that are sanctified in Christ Jesus;" therefore are we to seek with all diligence to be sanctified in ourselves, that our whole soul, body and spirit may be presented blameless before the Lord at his coming. Here, readers, is what we mean by the "two-fold life." It is Christ's work for us, on the cross, on
the throne, and in the clouds, on the one hand; and Christ's work in us, by his Spirit, by his Word, and by his ordinances on the other. And the high endeavor, the life-long task which is set before us in the Scriptures, is that of conforming our inward experience to our outward standard, or in the expressive words of Paul, "of apprehending that for which we are also apprehended of Christ Jesus." With us, Christian attainment is not a tentative, uncertain thing. God does not say to each one of us, "Be what you can be; and since each man is the architect of his own fortune, reach forth to the end for which you are best fitted." Nay; God never talks to us, as men do, about being the architects of our own fortunes; but he holds up before us that archetype of our spiritual fortune which he has fashioned for us, and declares that this must so certainly be wrought out in us that he counts it done already, saying, "For whom he did foreknow he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son. Moreover whom he did predestinate them he also called; and whom he called them he also justified; and whom he justified them he also glorified.'
* Rom. 8: 30.
It should be an occasion of sincere gratitude, we believe, that the great evangelistic movement now going on is emphasizing so strongly the doctrine that justification and assurance rest on the external work and the external word of Christ. Inquirers are told to look for the evidence of their salvation to what the Redeemer has done for them on his Cross, and to what he has said to them in his Testament, and not to what they can discover going on within their hearts. This is the true doctrine of justification by faith which it was the work of the Reformation to revive. Faith never draws attention to itself, but points ever to the finished work of Christ. "Therefore being justified by faith."-But the "therefore" carries the thought back to the preceding verse, and throws the whole weight of our confidence on the accomplished fact therein stated;* "Who was delivered for our offences and raised again for our justification."
The Wesleyan revival of a hundred years ago, laid weighty emphasis on the doctrine of the in
* "Look to the wounds of Christ, brother Martin, look to the wounds of Christ, and there you will see how God feels toward you.”—Staupits to Luther.