Sunday, October 6, 2013
The Father, The Word, and The Holy Spirit
It is possible that some have been led into confusion of thought on this subject by not considering all the Scriptures bearing on it. What is it that cleanses or sanctifies, and how? Jesus prays: ' Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth' (John xvii. 17). Here it is the word, or truth, that sanctifies.
John says: 'The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin ' (I John i. 7). Here it is the Blood. Peter says: ' God.............put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith ' (Acts xv. 8, 9). And Paul says: ' That they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith ' (Acts xxvi. 18). Here it is by faith.
Again, Paul writes: ' God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit' (2 Thess. ii. 13). And again, ' That the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost' (Rom. xv. 16). And Peter writes: ' To the strangers . . . elect . . . through sanctification of the Spirit ' (I Pet. i. 1, 2). Here it is the Spirit that sanctifies or makes clean and holy. Is there, then, confusion here ? Jesus says, ' the truth'
John says, 'the Blood'; Paul and Peter say, 'faith', and ' the Holy Ghost'. Can these be reconciled? Let us see.
Here is a child in a burning house. A man at the peril of his life rushes to the spot above which the child stands in awful danger, and cries out, 'Jump, and I will catch you! '
The child hears, believes, leaps, and the man receives him; but just as he turns and places the boy in safety, a falling timber smites him to the ground wounded to death, and his flowing blood sprinkles the boy whom he has saved.
A breathless spectator says: ' The child's faith saved him.' Another says: 'How quick the lad was! His courageous leap saved him.' Another says: ' Bless the child! He was in awful danger, and he just barely saved himself.' Another says: ' That man's word just reached the boy's ear in the nick of time, and saved him.' Another says: 'God bless that man! He saved that child.' And yet another says: ' That boy was saved by blood; by the sacrifice of that heroic man! '
Now, what saved the child? Without the man's presence and promise there would have been no faith; and without faith there would have been no saving action and the boy would have perished. The man's word saved him by inspiring faith. Faith saved him by leading to proper action. He saved himself by leaping. The man saved him by sacrificing his own life in order to catch him when he leaped.
Not the child himself alone, nor his faith, nor his brave leap, nor his rescuer's word, nor his blood, nor the man himself saved the boy, but they all together saved him; and the boy was not saved till he was in the arms of the man.
And so it is faith and works, and the word and the Blood and the Holy Ghost that sanctify.
The Blood, the sacrifice of Christ, underlies all, and is the meritorious cause of every blessing we receive, but the Holy Spirit is the active agent by whom the merits of the Blood are applied to our needs.
Posted by Steven Masone at 12:10 AM