By T.M. Anderson
"Giving all diligence, add to your faith."
As the forming of man from the dust of the earth, breathing into him the breath of life, making him a living soul in the image and likeness of God was the crowning work of God in creation; so also the lifting of a fallen man from the depth of sin, breathing into him the life-giving fullness of the Holy Spirit, sanctifying him wholly, making him the image of God is the crowning act of the new creation of the redeeming Christ.
As man was put upon probation and held responsible for his acts by which he could make for all present and future happiness or destroy all present happiness and forfeit all future enjoyments, so also are the sanctified put on probation and held responsible for their acts by which they can enhance their present happiness and assure themselves of a future blessedness, or they can at will destroy their present spiritual state and enjoyments, and forever forfeit their eternal hope.
God has placed himself under promise, and confirmed it by an oath, that all who have fled to Him for refuge shall have a strong consolation to lay hold of the hope set before them, because He has put all His resources at their command to save them to the uttermost extent of their probationary sojourn. All He has provided He has placed within reach of all who will by faith trust Him, and in love obey His will. But upon this faith and obedience on the part of His holy people depends their destiny.
To all holy persons are given exhortations, admonitions, and warnings. The Scriptures abound in these, thus emphasizing the personal responsibility resting upon each individual who is sanctified. There are also precepts, promises, and prohibitions by which all holy persons are to be governed, encouraged, and warned.
There are boundaries beyond which they must not pass, promises which become valuable assets and resources of wealth and power spiritually, and precepts which govern every phase of life and conduct while in this world.
Knowing these things to be true, the question of what follows holiness becomes one of absorbing interest to every person in this experience. The aid of the Holy Ghost is pledged to the sanctified, that by His help they may know what is necessary for them to do, and be enabled to perform all things which pertain to their salvation.
The fact of individual responsibility cannot be overemphasized. It runs parallel with every responsibility which God assumes in the preservation of His people. The exhortation to keep ourselves in the love of God is followed by the truth that He is able to keep us from falling, and present us faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. The prayers of a holy people are as necessary to their enrichment and preservation as the intercessions of Jesus. Nothing can take the place of either. To place all responsibility upon Christ is presumption; and to assume all responsibility without Him is conceit. There is a measure of responsibility which God unfailingly takes which is the source of greatest encouragement to all in this holy way. There is a measure of individual responsibility which we must take, apart from which salvation is impossible.
There is another fact about holiness which must be enforced, namely, the fact of development.
The first man, for example, was a new creation standing at the threshold of limitless possibilities, both in the unfolding and developing of his own soul and life and in knowing God and making new discoveries about the Infinite. Only God knows what would have been the state of man had he never sinned, and blasted his hopes.
The sanctified are new creations. They are as sinless as was the first creation. They are created in Christ Jesus in the moral likeness of God. They stand at the threshold of limitless possibilities in character building and development. They likewise are privileged to know Him, the infinite One, who has redeemed them and made them kings and priests unto Him forever.
Holiness is then both an end and a beginning. As the attainment of an end, it means the end of sin in the soul. This has been obtained through the cleansing blood of Christ, and wrought in the heart by the fullness of the Holy Ghost.
The sanctified stand at a beginning as the result of cleansing. Much that is purchased for them in the atonement for the enrichment of their holy souls in knowledge, love, and graces lies before them. They have crossed their Jordan, and the land lies before them, a possession to be developed.
The fall of man was twofold in its result. It resulted in a depravation of the nature; and it also resulted in a deprivation of privileges which were his by the rights of creation.
The removal of sin from the nature of man entitles him to all forfeited privileges. Redemption in its full meaning restores the redeemed to the state of holiness, and makes them heirs to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away.
When Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God," He showed the extent of redemption. To be pure in heart is to be free from depravity. To see God follows as a natural result. To see God means not only to vision Him, but to fellowship with Him, to live with Him, to enjoy Him through all time and eternity, as was the right of the first man before he sinned.
Holiness, therefore, places us at the threshold of all blessedness. It guarantees the resurrection of the body, and eternal triumph over death. It meets the one condition necessary to live in the new order of things which shall be set up when God gives us "new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. It is preparation to receive Him when He comes "to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe." It capacitates the sanctified to live eternally with God, and be at home in His presence.
All these things are seen with the eye of faith, and guaranteed to the sanctified by the promises of God in Christ. But all these things which are yet the object of hope, and which the sanctified have sealed to them in the earnest of the Spirit, are conditional. They are to be given to those who are made holy, and who maintain their purity unto the end of their earthly life. A fall from purity will result again in a depravation and a deprivation, as it did at the beginning of creation.
Therefore, in order to make their calling and election sure, the sanctified must give diligent heed to all precepts and prohibitions which govern their lives. Such obedience follows after holiness (sanctification) if they obtain the crown of life.
Thus far we have only slightly pushed back the sky line of hope and hinted at a few of the things which are to be pressed toward as prizes in the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. We will now take the facts up from another viewpoint, and try to show them from another angle.
The divine purpose in the creation of man was that he was to glorify God. To this end man was created, and for that purpose primarily. Man was endowed with every virtue, and faculty, and capacity necessary to fulfill this purpose. Everything in the created world in which God placed him was to contribute its life and being to the man; and the man was to contribute his life to the glory of God. Sin defeated this end, and degenerated man into a selfish creature, who lived for himself, took all from God's creation to support his own life, and gave nothing to God in return.
Redemption reverses this order in that it turns man back to the original purpose, and makes him to the praise of His glory. Then holiness must result in man's glorifying God.
The sanctified life is a life lived to the glory of God. The sanctified are to show forth His praises, who hath called them out of darkness into His marvelous light.
Therefore, it becometh the sanctified to apply themselves most diligently to excel in this calling; and they must devote themselves to the best and most efficient manner of living of which they are capable, that God may derive the greatest possible glory out of their lives. They are to develop their characters. They are to advance in knowledge of ways and means for effective ministries. They are to master their infirmities. They are to break out of their limitations and disadvantages wherever possible. They must practice self-denial. They must arm themselves with a mind to suffer. In some things they are to be slow, and in other things they must be swift. They must be as wise as serpents, and as harmless as doves. They must suffer poverty that some other may be rich. They must know how to be abased, and how to abound. They are to love some things and hate some things. They must live, yet reckon themselves to be dead. They must be pilgrims and strangers, and kings and priests. All these, with many others yet unmentioned, but which are fully revealed in Scripture as their rule of life, they must do and be, that He may be glorified in them and they in Him.
In the light of these facts the exhortation, "Giving all diligence, add to your faith," becomes imperative. All that these words imply follows after holiness (sanctification).
The apostle has not left us without instructions concerning what should be added to faith. He gives seven cardinal virtues, which are but seven channels through which a holy life is poured out to the glorifying of God on earth and in heaven, for all time and eternity. These graces are as follows: "Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity." These blend with one another, and overlap into one another, forming the white light of holiness. These become the road map of the sanctified who would find the gates of heaven.
These graces and capacities are all in the sanctified soul; but they are not all mature or fully developed. They may exist under a rough human exterior, and be hampered by human ignorance and limitations; but every sanctified individual possesses them.
It becomes the duty of the sanctified to develop these in their lives and practices. These graces are like seven members of a choir, which are to be developed and led out into a fuller usefulness by an efficient leader. To add them to faith does not infer that they are to be acquired as an addition to holiness. It means that faith must be supplied with these to make it the more practical and efficient in achieving the grand end of holiness, which is to glorify God. If faith without works is dead, then these must lead to those works which make faith a living, practical, working factor in the world.
To glorify God one must touch every interest which is good among men. God is to be glorified before men by the outshining of redeeming grace in the good works of His holy people. They are to be as a city which is set upon a hill; it cannot be hid. Holiness must place the life in full view of all men, and so shine in purity of purpose and righteous acts that they will be constrained to glorify God.
After holiness (sanctification), what? Give all diligence to add these things to faith, and the answer will be found.