By T.M. Anderson
Giving all diligence, add to your faith ... knowledge.
By this we understand that the mental faculties are to be put to the best use in living out a holy life. To love God with all the mind means to put all mental powers at His command, and to make every effort to develop in the knowledge of all that is good. Life is enlarged in proportion to the development in knowledge. One can be satisfied with little if he knows but little.
That which makes a man different from the lower animals is his capacity for knowledge. If he fails to develop in mental power, he will rise no higher than the animals.
There is a member of the wasp family which rolls a ball of mud, carries it to an eave or ledge, and there builds a mud-celled nest. In this it deposits its eggs. It catches spiders, stings them in the nerve centers to paralyze them, packs them in with the eggs, and seals the opening. The eggs hatch; the grubs feed on the spiders and grow to maturity. These roll balls of mud, build nests, catch spiders, and the process continues in this cycle unchanged in all time. The insect has its boundaries of knowledge fixed by nature. It cannot advance beyond these boundaries. It has no capacity for any further instruction. But a man can advance beyond the boundaries nature has set for other creatures, because God created him in His own image and endowed him with a mind capable of advancement. Man can tower up in the mental image of the Infinite.
Holiness enjoins the responsibility of every sanctified person's advancing in knowledge of a specific kind. There are some things which he must know which are vital and essential to his own salvation. There is a wisdom ordained of God to bring us to glory. It is likewise essential that the sanctified develop in knowledge in spiritual things in order that they may live out a consistent life in the fear of God. It must be remembered that one is useful to God in proportion to his knowledge. He can get the more efficient service and the greatest glory out of one who is wise in the things of God. A wise scribe has access to a storehouse of treasures, out of which he can bring things both new and old. The effectiveness of the ministry to which God has called any person depends upon the application that person makes of himself to advance in knowledge. "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." This admonition must not be overlooked by any who are in this holy way.
Sanctification perfects one in knowledge of a certain degree and kind. The sanctified know God in this act of cleansing in a manner different from all other persons. They have the mind of Christ in a degree unknown to any who are not sanctified. The veil of sin has been taken away from the mind and heart, and they are able to behold the glory of the Lord with open face. But there is an advancing from glory to glory in knowledge which continually lifts them to higher degrees of spiritual life, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. It is the Spirit's office work to take the things of Christ and show them unto His people.
Adding knowledge to faith becomes imperatively necessary. But let it be knowledge of the right sort. To further this end, we specify some phases of knowledge essential to the sanctified.
Some limitations which the sanctified should know.
When we speak of the limitations of the sanctified we have in mind certain infirmities and constitutional hindrances which this grace does not remove, together with certain other things which this grace does not impart. To know what holiness. has not clone, and, knowing this, be governed by these facts without becoming unsettled when these limitations are encountered and felt, will make for happiness and contentment in a holy life. To know self, this new, sanctified self, is necessary in living out a life in the beauty of holiness.
Sanctification does not prevent mistakes.
Mistakes are not due to carnality; neither are mistakes sins. But all mistakes are more or less serious in their consequences. It is impossible to escape the consequences of mistakes, no matter how honest and sincere the person was who made them. Mistakes are due to a want of knowledge, very often. To know the truth about God, and how best to serve Him in the various ways of holy service, will keep mistakes reduced to the minimum. Therefore, the sanctified should apply themselves diligently to add knowledge to their faith, for in so doing they will escape the dire consequences resulting from mistakes.
Sanctification has been experienced by some persons who were very crude and rough in their make-up of life. This grace can exist under a rough and uncouth exterior. It is a treasure put in an earthen vessel which was greatly marred by sin. Such persons have many things to learn as to the best methods of living out this grace. They make some very serious blunders while in the primary grades of learning the way of the holy walk. The world is critical, ever looking for an opening to discredit the work of holiness. If they can find the least failure or mistake on the part of the professor of this grace, they are ever ready to seize upon it as justifiable grounds to repudiate holiness. If for no other reason than to convince the ungodly, the sanctified should endeavor to be as free from mistakes as it is possible under the light of the Holy Ghost.
Mistaken notions of God can be entertained by holy persons, and result in cramping their life and hindering their effectiveness. These false conceptions of God work serious hardships to themselves and to others. To know Him as He is in love, mercy, patience, and sympathy is life eternal. Such as know Him thus are free indeed. God has not given us the spirit of fear. He gave us the spirit of love, and of power, and of a sound mind. To know that He is holy is to know that He is not bound to those whims and caprices which ignorance has accredited to Him.
Mistaken notions of God have narrowed the lives of some good people to such an extent as to rob them of much joy and pleasure which is their due. To conceive of God as a kind of a universal policeman who hides behind every corner to spy on His children and catch them off guard, that He might accuse them of infidelity, is to entertain a mistaken notion of His love which pitieth His children as a Father. Holiness is not a rigid, Pharisaical manner of life. Nor is it a license to familiarity with God. Holiness is the only natural, normal life one can live and be a human being as God designed one should be. To make it otherwise is ignorance of true holiness. One holy man said that he was sanctified many years before he discovered that "God had good sense." Those are his exact words. They serve to illustrate the point. The more one thinks of this statement, the more its truth stands out. Many who are sanctified will do well to discover this about the Lord.
To some He is so rigid in His requirements, so unbending in His justice, and so unsympathetic in His nature, that to be like Him they cease to be human beings. In no wise is this a picture of the Lord. Super-sensitiveness of conscience is a false standard of holiness. To develop the conscience to such a point that it becomes sensitive overmuch is a mistaken notion of holiness. A tender conscience is necessary, but not one that feels offense if one laughs or otherwise expresses life normally. Holiness is the happy way between an evil conscience and fanaticism. Its possessor has no conscious sense of evil within; neither is such an one on a strain. Holiness is rest of soul. Perfect love has cast out fear which hath torment. To know Him as He is, and not as we have made Him by the mistaken notions that have been entertained of Him, will save us from those mistakes which have resulted in religious narrowness. It will prevent that dwarfing of the mind which results in an arrested development in holy living.
Mistakes are often made in moments of religious fervor and zeal, which prove afterward to be sources of trouble to the sanctified. Vows and promises are made at such times with the purest of intentions; but when later they find these cannot be fulfilled because of certain limitations within themselves, they become a prey to the devil's accusations. Besides this, the conscience, because of their lack of knowledge, will condemn them.
A good woman once came to the altar under my ministry. She had gotten into serious spiritual difficulties because of these very things. She had been sanctified. At the time of her reception of this experience some unwise friends came to her and informed her that the Lord had impressed them that she was to do a certain thing. Because she failed to take into account her own limitations, and under the ecstasy of her new experience, she promised she would perform the service the Lord wanted her to do. It turned out that she was to conduct preaching services in the city jail. Her first service was joyful because she had liberty in talking to the prisoners. Her next visit was not so easy because she found she was not in possession of much material for preaching; to offset her poverty along that line, she related her experience. But the next Sunday it was more serious, because she had told her experience, and used all her available preaching material; so she blundered through the services, and the hardened criminals laughed at her. Now she refused to return for other services. She considered she had broken her vow made to the Lord. Such was her state of mind that she was now in doubt about her experience, believing she had grieved the Lord and lost her experience of holiness. The whole thing came of her not knowing her limitations, and abiding by them.
The facts are that no one is made a veteran in performing services for the Lord. Sanctification did not give that woman preaching material for such services. And to vow to do a thing without considering whether one is able to qualify is a mistake. God does not hold such promises, made under such occasions, binding. He tempers the load which everyone is to bear.
Sanctification does not call for services to be performed beyond what one can reasonably do. It calls for a pure life, but not an unequal task. None of His commandments are grievous to be performed. Furthermore, other persons' impressions for us are not to be taken seriously. If the Lord has any ministry to be performed, He will tell the one whom He calls, and not trust it to erring persons.
Development in knowledge will prevent persons from making extravagant claims, which have been the bane of the holiness movement. Visions and revelations may be merely a figment of the imagination and in no wise produced from divine causes. God has given a full revelation for all time in Jesus Christ. His Word is the rule of faith and practice.
The cults that have sprung up within the last few centuries, which claim to be a further revelation of God, are false. These are but the cunning devices of men to overthrow the faith of the saints. It is also true that many of them are laying emphasis on some truth, while they blind their adherents to their errors. Some holy people are so wanting in knowledge of essential truths that they are swept away from their moorings to holiness, and engulfed in the error of some cult that has gained notoriety under the healing propaganda, or other spectacular advertisements and methods.
Holiness of heart is the one thing essential to salvation. The acid test to make of all cults is to determine what disposition they make of the sin issue. If they do not make holiness a point of major emphasis, they are false. Holiness is not a side issue in religion. It is fundamental. It is all there is in religion to be sought after. Many will come into judgment who have many marvelous works to their credit, even to casting out devils; yet they will be disowned by the Lord because they worked iniquity. They were not holy.
Sanctification does not prevent sickness or material losses from befalling the sanctified. The holy suffer like the unholy, many times. It may seem needless to say this, which is so obviously true. Yet there are those who mistakenly considered this grace to be a source of prevention of the ills and misfortunes of life. Holiness of heart has resulted in certain great privileges accruing to the people of God, which privileges they can use according to the will of God. It was the devil and unwise men who accused Job of being afflicted because he was not holy. But afflictions and losses are not any sign of unholiness in those who suffer them. Knowing these things as Job knew them will prevent one from charging God foolishly.
Faith for healing can sometimes be exercised with ease, and again it cannot be commanded to achieve this end. The reason for this does not lie within the moral standing of the believer. It may be that God has reasons unknown in His own good will for His children. To vow never to use any remedies, but rely on faith and prayer, is a grave mistake. It tends to fanatical claims which cannot be substantiated in Scripture. The same God who put food properties in the wheat that makes the bread to maintain life is the same God who put medical properties in the herbs and minerals in the earth which do cure some diseases, and counteract and prevent others. An instance of this error will serve to illustrate the truth. Years ago a good man dropped a harrow on his foot, the tooth penetrating deep into his instep. He steadfastly refused even to wash it with an antiseptic, but in company with his friends he prayed for healing. He even went so far as to say that he would be healed, because the Lord had promised to do it. He died of lockjaw, a victim of his own error and folly.
It becometh the sanctified to apply themselves diligently to know how to adorn the doctrine and experience of holiness with a beauty that will commend it to all right-thinking persons. Their mistaken ideas and fanciful notions often detract from the great truth of holiness rather than recommend it.
What holiness is has been greatly obscured by the unwise actions of many good people who profess it. Their extravagant claims have often proved impractical and impossible and unreasonable, serving only to discredit holiness before the community. It is very easy to topple over into extremes and lose all spiritual balance and poise, and become fanatical, claiming many things which cannot be done. If the devil cannot pull one back into sin, he will try to push him across the line into fanaticism and grievous errors. These errors may not result in the loss of the soul, but they do greatly limit the effectiveness of holiness.
Follow peace and holiness as life's pursuit, never turning to either the right or left to take up with anything which does not adorn this profession with honor. Consider that healing and all other things which are only privileges, and not necessities, are not the main issue. Holiness of heart is pre-eminent. Emphasize that experience, and live it with good sense in the sight of all.
Sanctification does not impart talent.
Knowing their limitations in this respect, many sanctified persons will find their place in the service of the Lord for which they are qualified, and in that service find delight. Many are misfits and failures, not because they are not sanctified, but because they are undertaking to do that of which they are not capable. David was better equipped with his sling and stones than he would have been had he insisted on wearing Saul's armor.
A mistaken idea about holiness which many have is that they can do anything if they are sanctified. The sanctified are vessels meet for the Master's use, and prepared unto every good work. But it is true, nevertheless, that not all are talented alike. The grace of God does not impart talent; it only purifies the believer and enables him to use all his talents to the glory of God.
An instance will suffice to illustrate this. A good woman was persuaded to become the teacher of a Bible class. The fact that she was a sanctified woman had led to her election for this position. But she was a failure as a teacher. She was naturally retiring in her disposition, and had no ability for teaching. The class lost interest, and dragged along in a manner disheartening to all. She came to this writer for advice. Her first question was, "If I were sanctified, could I not do anything?" She was questioned as to what she felt she could do. For it is sure that all holy persons can do some things, but not all things. She related how she had gone about the city, and found the sick, and mothers with such families that they were not able to get to a church often; and with these she prayed and read the Scriptures. She had built up a regular circuit among this class. In this she found great joy, and her ministry was fruitful. But in the position of teacher she was a failure. She was advised to resign her .position as teacher, and continue her work among the sick and the poor. The latter service was her calling She was capable of performing it. The other was not within her ability to perform; in it she was a misfit.
The want of knowledge on the part of the sanctified as to their limitations in talents has worked many hardships among them. Many have found they had no pleas ure in the service they were trying to perform because of limitations within themselves which holiness did not remove.
There was a difference in talents among the disciples of our Lord. No two of them were alike in every respect in their abilities to serve in their respective callings. Some of them have not been mentioned except in name. If they preached, or wrote, or asked a question, the records fail to show it. They were all holy, but not all were used in the same manner. Those who did write of their ministries reveal that there was a marked difference in their talents.
The great consecration chapter, Romans twelve, reveals this truth. The presentation of the body must be done by all. The transformation will be the experience of all. The good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God will be for all to prove. But not all shall have the same measure of faith, nor the same ministry to perform.
One may prophesy, another may minister, another may exhort, another may teach, and another may give. All members of the same body have not the same office. One is an eye, another a hand, and another an ear. These all have not the same office, but all are necessary.
Sanctification is a transforming grace, but it does not impose responsibility beyond the capacity of any person to perform. There is always something holy persons can do for the Master. Let them find what they can do, and do it. But do not permit the devil to discourage if some things cannot be done and failure results.
Because of physical, mental, and natural limitations no holy person can ever live out all he would, nor all he feels within. The imprisoned spirit beats against these bars like the wings of a caged eagle longing for freedom. Songs and hymns make melodies in the heart which one would like to sing from the mountain-tops. But he cannot sing. There is no talent for song except in the heart. Someday God will remove these limitations; then let the angels draw nigh!
Thoughts and sentiments sweep through the confines of the soul, making the whole body tingle with the ecstasies of their sweetness. But these cannot be put into writing because the mind is dull, and words to express them cannot be found. Let the pure do all possible to apply themselves to the utmost of their capacities; but let none of them be discouraged if they find themselves bound by limitations.
Consecration means the giving of the all of self to Him, nothing more. There are limitations in every man beyond which grace never takes him. God demands a man's best always, but nothing beyond that.
Knowing these limitations and frankly refusing to go beyond them will surely exemplify holiness with the right spirit. There is nothing quite so pathetic as the sight of sanctified persons out of their places in service. These get out of place because they see not their own limitations. It is possible for holy persons to think more highly of themselves than they ought to think with respect to their capacities for service, and by so doing become misfits. Many are in official places in the church who should resign gracefully. They are wanting in vision and executive ability. They hinder the growth of the church because they drag rather than pull. These often refuse to take the initiative in anything that will advance the work. If they would only see their own limitations, and willingly resign their positions to others, then join in helping the others to serve in a better leadership, it would surely enhance the value of holiness.
The sanctified should know their privileges.
What privileges are extended to these that they should seek to know? Beyond what boundaries shall they not pass? The answer is that their privileges are as great as the grace of God. The boundaries for love and spiritual advancements terminate where the horizon of the eternities dip. To know the privileges which are accorded the sanctified is to know true riches of grace in Christ Jesus.
We know that the holy have started at a beginning which hath no end. All He has promised to do for His people has not been exhausted when He sanctifies them. At their disposal are put all things which make for their good. God wants them to know these things and, in so knowing them, to benefit by them.
The discoveries of modern science in the realm of electricity, and other forces and powers, are modern only in discovery, and not in existence. These forces of nature have been existing since the world was created. They were here when the Egyptian kings used their crude methods of transportation when they built the pyramids. They were only ignorant of them. If no effort had been put forth by men to know the wealth, resources, and forces about them, they would be as uncivilized as the bushmen. But knowing these things has added to their happiness and lightened their burdens.
The same facts obtain in the spiritual world that obtain in the natural world. God has opened to the sanctified a new realm in which they are at liberty to use that which they will. All the land on which the soles of their feet shall rest shall be theirs. Thus to acquaint ourselves with God-given privileges will add knowledge to faith, and result in a rich and useful Christian life.
Knowing the possibilities of prayer is necessary.
So vast is the unexplored realm of prayer possibilities that we hesitate to offer suggestions. The mere rim of this ocean of truth has only been touched. "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." That is as big as the demands of life. It is bounded only by the will of the abiding saint. "If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it." Here Jesus obligates himself to become a servant to His people. "I will do it." They do the asking; He does the work.
What power, then, is at the disposal of the holy man! He can with the right use of his privileges harness God's omnipotence to the task of holy achievements. Before such power mountains of difficulties will be removed from his way.
Many know these things are promised. They believe them in a way. But weakness and poverty of spiritual life prove that they have not been used. These privileges are to be known experimentally. They must be proved by use to be known by experience.
Some may possess a slight knowledge of electricity, knowing something of its possibilities; but if it becomes necessary to wire so this power may be used, their knowledge is too limited to be of use. It becomes necessary to employ an expert, one who does know how to harness this power.
We may possess the knowledge of the power released through prayer in such a meager way as to limit our usefulness, and impoverish our souls. God would have His people be experts in the art of prayer. To add knowledge to faith is imperatively necessary if we would be saved from barren and unfruitful lives.
There is a ministry of prayer.
The ministry of prayer to which all holy persons are called, we fear, is little known and, because of this lack of knowledge, is little in use. By a ministry of prayer we mean utilizing the promises of God in behalf of others through intercession. Paul used the ministry of prayer for the churches, almost as often as he used his ministry of word. Many of his epistles contain prayers which ask for saints things that no word of mouth could describe. There are things of the Spirit which can come to the soul only by His supply through prayer.
Persons in one continent have upheld others in another through the ministry of prayer. Some have been called from sleep by the Spirit, and urged to pray for another many miles away, and by it delivered him from imminent peril. God has evidently limited himself in a great measure to the prayers of His people. This we do know, some things would never have come to pass had not someone prayed when he did. Privileges in this ministry have been but little used. They open a great field of endeavor to all who will diligently seek to know more of their worth.
Know the scope and range of prayer.
"In every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." Here is revealed the range and scope of prayer as including "everything" -everything that pertains to the natural, physical, and spiritual life and welfare of His holy people. Everything from the greatest needs to the smallest details of life, God is ready to hear prayer concerning them.
It is often true that some will make the big things of life a matter of prayer, but overlook the lesser things. Those things which add to the weight of care accumulated in the course of a day are not beneath the notice of God, who careth for us. There are many petty aggravations met within the course of a day which sorely try the soul. One may bear them with grim determination, and live a holy and patient life despite them; but God will surely help His children to bear their petty trials with a greater ease if they will ask Him. It is in these smaller matters that many are suffering greater trials than in the storms which sometimes break with fury. The care of the family, the sense of responsibility in providing a living, rest with little weight upon the heart and mind of those who make the Lord a partner in their lives.
The people of God may ask Him to direct them in all business and financial matters. They may ask Him to provide them with work when in need of a position to earn a living honestly. Nothing is a matter too great or too small to make a matter of prayer, seeking for help, or guidance, or light, as the case may be. If it is of concern to us, it is within the scope of prayer, and God will help with grace in the time of need. Those who have learned this secret will find a joy unspeakable and full of glory filling their whole being as they advance in this holy way.
Know prayer as a source of supply for building Christian character.
"Building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost." Through prayer new material is supplied to the soul. Those who pray much grow large in spirit and faith and love. Their faith groweth exceedingly. Their love aboundeth more and more in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. They take on the proportions of a generous spirit from whose innermost parts flow rivers of living waters.
Little, dwarfish lives are due to the want of spiritual light and knowledge which can come only through intercession.
During seasons of prayer the Spirit whispers to us, telling us how we may improve our usefulness by mastering certain faults and infirmities. Seasons of waiting on God result in a strengthening with might by His Spirit in the inner man. Prayer becomes a kind of a conference held with the Lord from which one comes renewed in faith and hope, stronger in determination, and broader in vision. Knowing how to go from strength to strength by using the privilege of prayer will develop the character of the sanctified as nothing else will.
Know prayer as being the one safeguard against discouraging and trying conditions, which shall try the souls of the sanctified.
"And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint." Prayer is a means to prevent our giving up under the trial of world conditions which shall develop in the last days. Jesus had been telling what things should happen in the world prior to His second coming. Such conditions as shall prevail shall be exceedingly severe in trying the souls of His elect. The moral standards of the social order will be as low as that of Sodom. The spirit of the world will be one of pleasure madness, and excesses in sensuality. Persecution will be severe. Tribulations and distresses will come with the fury of perdition.
He promises that God will avenge His elect which cry day and night. These have resorted to prayers that brook no denials and know no discouragements.
Not only world conditions will add to the discouragements of the elect; but also the seeming slowness of the Lord. He may see fit to bear long with them, but He will avenge those who importune as the widow did the unjust judge.
Many who have the preparation of the ten virgins, all of whom would have entered in had the Lord not delayed His coming, may prove themselves to be foolish because they failed to pray always and not faint.
The lamp will not go out if the vessel is filled with oil to have in case of a delay. To break down in prayer life is to give up in weakness and lose the prize awaiting those who endure to the end. To endure thus, Jesus says, we ought always to pray.
The whole armor of God and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, are not sufficient equipment to stand against the wiles of the devil and withstand in the evil day. It requires a "praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints." Knowing these things to be privileges extended to the people of the Lord in order to secure them against fainting, let every sanctified person take heed, and give diligence to add this knowledge to his faith. Self-preservation is the first law of the nature of the sanctified. They are preserved, not by natural equipment, but by utilizing the divine resources at their command through prayer.
To faith must be added further knowledge of God.
Sanctification does not graduate the believer in the knowledge of God so that there is nothing else to know about Him. The sanctified have a very meager knowledge of Him compared with what is yet possible for them to know about Him. Their privileges in this respect are unlimited. The security of their own souls depends upon their knowing all they can about Him while they are in this world.
Holiness does result in the believer's knowing God, as has been shown; it also conditions that person to advance in a knowledge of Him far beyond the conception had of Him at the time such a one was sanctified. This means that all holy persons are privileged to have further revelations of God made to them by the Holy Spirit.
Paul, knowing these privileges, and seeing their importance, prayed the following prayer: "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe."
Here then, the "eyes of the understanding" are to be enlightened by the "spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him." This is something beyond what is known in the experience of holiness. This is an advancement in knowledge along three lines. They are to know what is the hope of His calling. They are to know the riches of the glory of His inheritance in His saints. And they are to know the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe.
The saints have two directions in which they are to look. They are to look back, remembering the pit from whence they were lifted, and forget not to thank God for His many mercies. They are ever to thank Him for deliverance. The song they sing in heaven is the song of deliverance.
But they have a forward look, and an upward look. The greatest things are yet to come. They have received only the earnest of their inheritance. It has not been revealed what we are to be, but we know when it shall be revealed we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Hence the necessity of knowing God is seen, because in such knowledge we are to know that to which He has called us. Know the hope of His calling.
Ignorance of what is for the people of God in full redemption has caused some to sell their birthright for a morsel of meat.
Moses made his great choice to suffer afflictions with the people of God, esteeming the reproaches of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt, because he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. He looked to that which was before him, and forsook all; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. Abraham saw the city which had foundations, whose builder and maker was God; he was content to be a sojourner and pilgrim in the earth ever afterward, living in the hope of His calling. Paul forgot the things which were behind, and reached forth unto the things which were before; he pressed toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
If the people of God will consider the things which are not seen to be eternal, the afflictions of life will be counted "light afflictions" which endure but for a moment. They have nothing to go back to, and everything that is of real worth is before them; so let all know the hope of His calling, for in such knowledge there are security and encouragement.
Know the riches of His inheritance in His saints. The Lord's portion is His people. They are to Him a treasured people. They are the pearl of great price which Jesus sacrificed all to purchase.
Redemption reveals God to be a social Being. His glory and pleasure are not in things but in persons. Redemption means the bringing to Him a people in whom He can take pleasure. He has through Christ cleansed and sanctified the Church, that He may present it to himself a glorious Church, a body of sanctified people who shall be a source of eternal delight and pleasure to Him. "Unto him [is to] be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end."
"In the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: that we should be to the praise of his glory."
Surely in the face of such truth the sanctified should be greatly encouraged in the knowing of these things. Give all diligence to add to your faith knowledge of Him.
Know what is the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe.
God's power manifest in the saving of the soul from sin is great, but that which is put at the disposal of the saved to enable them to overcome all enemies, perform all duties, and preserve themselves without spot and blameless unto His coming, is equally as great.
The human infant is the most helpless at birth of all creatures. It is utterly dependent on others. It has no natural weapons for defense. Man has survived on the earth in the struggle for existence because he is endowed with intelligence. He can, through the faculty of the mind, invent ways and means of escape from foes. He can harness powers to serve him in all purposes of life. Because God designed man should rule the earth, He gave him the mind by which he could acquire that knowledge so necessary to his own life and happiness. The same truth obtains in the nature of things in the spiritual world. A person who is saved from sin, and comes into spiritual life and existence, is as helpless in many respects as an infant. Such a one is as dependent upon God as a child is dependent upon its parents. The child instinctively clings to its parents for protection and sustenance. So the child of God naturally looks to the Heavenly Father for protection and life's necessities.
Sanctification no more gives the holy a full understanding of the evils and perils that threaten them than birth endows an infant with a full knowledge of the world into which it has come. Neither does sanctification impart full knowledge of the power and grace that are to usward that believe.
But God, as a wise Father, will protect His helpless children as the apple of His eye. He guards them with a tender carefulness. They must rest upon His bosom of love without fear, never doubting the love which overshadows them. "In whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory."
Now growth and development advance the child beyond the state of helplessness because it acquires knowledge of things about; it learns to make use of the forces and laws of the world for its own good and safety. By so doing the child becomes a source of greater joy to the parents. Strength by wisdom makes for more happiness than weakness through ignorance.
Growth and development in the sanctified life make for happiness and independence. Not that such ever become independent of God. But they know how to utilize the powers of God placed at their command and become independent of circumstances and things, in that it is not necessary for them to see or feel in order to be happy. They know God will not leave them nor forsake them; therefore they are careful for nothing. They are not happy because they are rich in things; but they are happy because they are rich in a faith in the God of all things. Bread is promised them day by day. Knowing this promise is theirs, they are independent of conditions that threaten them with want. God has a way of providing for His own. All these things shall be added unto them.
The story is told of a man who eked out a life made wretched by poverty in raising cabbages on the side of a mountain filled with gold. He died ignorant of the wealth he possessed. Holiness has made the sanctified heirs of God. They need not eke out a precarious existence when all things are theirs. "Whether ... the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's."
All that is in the world which is necessary to life and happiness God will give to His people. Redemption has made the world theirs. Life present and life eternal are theirs through Jesus Christ. All things that pertain to life are given them through the knowledge of Him that hath called them to glory and virtue.
Death is theirs because they are conquerors over it through the exceeding greatness of His power to all who believe, "according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places." He "hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."
Things present and things to come are theirs. All present trials are sanctified to their good. All things present and future are to work together for their good. God will press men, angels, and devils into service and cause them to contribute to the eternal good of His holy people. In the knowing of these things there is security, because faith for them is based upon the knowledge of them. Then give all diligence to add to your faith knowledge, for in so doing you shall never fall.