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The Bible on the Tongues Doctrine: 9. NO THIRD WORK OF GRACE

By Arthur Vess

      Those who teach that three works of grace are necessary, if we are to have a complete salvation in this life, violate both reason and the Scripture in their teachings on this important question.

      So far as we know, all orthodox Christians teach and believe that the carnal mind is left in the heart of the only regenerated Christian. Those who believe in only one work of grace teach that this carnal mind remains in the Christian until the death of the body. Some who believe in the additional baptism of the Holy Spirit, also believe that the carnal mind remains in us until death.

      The great body of original Methodist and holiness theologians and teachers declare that the carnal mind is removed by the fiery baptism with the Holy Ghost when He comes into the Christian's heart and life, as a second work of grace; that the baptism with the Holy Ghost purifies the heart when He comes in to dwell as our Purifier, Comforter and Guide. (Matt. 3: 11.)

      As we understand them, those who teach the necessity of the third work of grace teach that the heart is purified when one is sanctified, but that he does not receive the baptism with the Holy Ghost when he is sanctified; and that this third work, or baptism with the Holy Ghost, must be attested or "evidenced" by the gift of an "unknown" tongue, which we have already completely disproved by the Bible. Now, let us "search the Scriptures" as to whether there is such a thing as a "third work of grace," improperly so called, to be experienced in this life. The Bible plainly teaches three works of grace, namely: 1. Regeneration; 2. Sanctification; and 3. Glorification; but the last, and third, or glorification, is not possible or experienced until the resurrection of the dead.

      There is a lot of speculation and confusion about how much of the Holy Ghost we receive at any one time or place, but we cannot deal with that in this treatise. The Holy Ghost is a person, and cannot be divided into parcels at various times.

      Then what about the third work of grace in this life? Is there such a thing taught in the Bible, or experienced in the heart? Of course we answer, No! Here are the proofs for our answer:

      There is only one reason why the Holy Ghost does not come into the new heart when one is justified, regenerated, and adopted into the family of God; that is because the unholy, rebellious carnal nature remains in the heart after we are regenerated by a first work of grace. The Person of the Holy Ghost will not, and cannot, come into an unholy or carnal heart, or temple. John the Baptist declares, "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me ... : shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: whose fan is in his hand, and he will (then) throughly purge his floor (our hearts), and gather his wheat into the garner: but he will burn up the (carnal) chaff with unquenchable fire." We see here that the fiery cleansing of the heart is accompanied by the baptism with the Holy Ghost -- the Holy Ghost and fire," and that the Holy Ghost cleanses us from the chaff of carnality when He comes in, or when we are baptized by and with the Holy Ghost. He will burn up the "chaff" of carnality with unquenchable fire, and throughly, or completely, purge His floor -- our hearts. What could be simpler and plainer? The cleansing is the negative, while the positive baptism of the Holy Ghost accompanies and causes it, and remains as our Teacher, Comforter, and Guide.

      All must agree that the disciples were baptized and filled with the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, or must reject the Bible, for here in the implicit, direct statement, "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost." -- Acts 2:4.

      We read in the eighth chapter of Acts that Philip went down into the city of Samaria and preached Christ unto them. "The people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did." Devils were cast out, and many were healed, and "there was great joy in that city." "Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (for as yet he had fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost," as a second work of grace -- no third work here.

      All the great saints, reformers, and spiritual leaders through the centuries received the Holy Ghost as a second work of grace. See the writer's book, "Were the Disciples Born Again before Pentecost?" for their testimonies.

      In Acts ten, where we have the statement that Cornelius, a devout man, with all his house, received the Holy Ghost under the ministry of Peter, there is no reference whatsoever to his having been previously sanctified as a second work of grace. Peter himself testified that they received the Holy Ghost as well as we, or in the same way that we did.

      In Acts, chapter 19, we have the record that the disciples of Ephesus "were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus (for the remission of sins). And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them." No reference is even indicated to any previous second work of grace, but after they were baptized as disciples of Jesus Christ, at once Paul laid his hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost as a second work of grace, no more and no less. Why do people try to wrest the Scriptures to prove their false theories which are contrary to the Bible?

      In Acts 15:8, 9 -- "And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith." In other words, God Himself witnessed that they received the Holy Ghost when their hearts were purified or sanctified by faith. He not only declares that the Gentiles had their hearts purified when they received the Holy Ghost, but that in the same manner they received the same thing which the disciples had received on the day of Pentecost, which means that at Pentecost their hearts were purified and sanctified when they received the Holy Ghost. Any child should see this plain truth.

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