The Lord – As A Perfect And Present Saviour From The Daily Power Of Sin
There is a growth of the soul which we know little about – a spiritual maturity far beyond what we usually see. There is a tenderness of conscience, a strength of holy purpose, a singleness of eye, a degree of devotion, a oneness with Christ, a victory over the world, and a holiness of heart possible to God’s people which few Christians attain to.
It is a state of rest in Jesus, a union with Him, in which the "old man" is crucified, and sin loses its power to charm, and the victory of faith is complete, because the life is hid with Christ in God. In Scripture language it is called "holiness unto the Lord."
It is most needful that the believer seeking holiness of heart be fully convicted of two things – the utter impotence of the flesh to do any good, and the mighty power of the flesh to work evil. See the seventh chapter of Romans: "I am struggling to do right and I can not." It is when a man is brought under the conviction of the utter impotence of the flesh to do good that he will understand why he lost his temper, and why pride comes up, and why he speaks wrong words.
"The Holy Spirit convicts of pride as being of the flesh; unloving thoughts toward wife or friend or foe; self-pleasing before God and man. And so he needs an entire deliverance from that. At conversion he was delivered from the curse of sin; now he wants deliverance from the power of sin."
Conviction of Need
In his testimony David B. Updegraff writes: "I hated pride, ambition, evil tempers, and vain thoughts but I had them for all that, and they were a part of me. Not as acts, to be repented of and forgiven, but as dispositions lying behind the acts, natural to the ‘old man’ and inseparable from his presence in my being.
"I began to ask the Lord with a measure of faith to ‘cast him out.’ Along with this desire there came a great hunger and thirst to be ‘filled with all the fullness of God.’ I longed for a clean heart and a contrite spirit...I went upon my knees with the resolute purpose of presenting my body ‘a living sacrifice’ to God.
"There passed quickly before me the obstacles in the way, and the things to be suffered for Jesus’ sake – the misapprehensions, suspicions and revilings of carnal professors, as well as the conflicts with the world, the flesh and the devil. Selfishness, pride and prejudice joined forces and rose in rebellion, while the ‘old man’ pleaded for his life. But I could not, would not draw back. ‘Vile affections’ were resolutely nailed to the cross and those things that ‘were gain to me’ – denominational standing, friends, family, business, time, talent and reputation – were irrevocably committed to the sovereign control and disposal of my Almighty Saviour.
"With my all upon the altar, I had no sooner reckoned myself ‘dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God,’ than the ‘Holy Ghost fell’ upon me. Instantly I felt the melting and refining fire of God permeating my whole being. I had entered into rest."
Is Everything on the Altar?
Dr. Carradine states this condition thus: "I wanted to be able to turn upon sin and the world the eye and ear and heart of a dead man. I wanted the Holy Spirit to shed abroad in my heart the love of God and I wanted the rest of faith in my soul. This ‘dark something’ that prevented this life – I laid on the altar and asked God to consume it as by fire. I had pardon for sin but it was holiness I wanted…
"After the battle of consecration came the battle of faith. Consecration is vain without faith to secure the blessing. Men may be perfectly consecrated all their lives and never know the blessings of holiness…
"Here are the words of the Lord that proved a foundation for my faith: ‘...Every devoted thing is most holy unto the Lord’ (Lev. 27:28). ‘...The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin’ (1 John 1:7). Still again: ‘...The altar that sanctifieth the gift’ (Matt. 23:19; Ex. 29:37).
"In this last statement there is a great fact. The altar is greater than the gift. Whatsoever is laid on the altar in faith becomes sanctified and holy unto the Lord. It is the altar that does the work. The question arises: Who and what is the altar? In Hebrews 13:10-12 we have the answer: ‘We have an altar…Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered without the gate.’ The altar here mentioned is Jesus Christ. In Christ’s wondrous Person is embraced the Priest, the Lamb and the Altar. He did the whole work."