The Christian’s Secret to A Happy, Transformed Life

new-jerusalem-the-goal-of-our-christian-work-1024x768In introducing this subject of the life and walk of faith, I desire, at the very outset, to
clear away one misunderstanding which very commonly arises in reference to the
teaching of it, and which effectually hinders a clear apprehension of such teaching. This
misunderstanding comes from the fact that the two sides of the subject are rarely kept
in view at the same time. People see distinctly the way in which one side is presented,
and, dwelling exclusively upon this, without even a thought of any other, it is no
wonder that distorted views of the whole matter are the legitimate consequence.
Now there are two very decided and distinct sides to this subject, and, like all
other subjects, it cannot be fully understood unless both of these sides are kept
constantly in view. I refer, of course, to God’s side and man’s side; or, in other words, to
God’s part in the work of sanctification, and man’s part. These are very distinct and
even contrastive, but are not contradictory; though, to a cursory observer, they
sometimes look so.
This was very strikingly illustrated to me not long ago. There were two teachers
of this higher Christian life holding meetings in the same place, at alternate hours. One
spoke only of God’s part in the work, and the other dwelt exclusively upon man’s part.
They were both in perfect sympathy with one another, and realized fully that they were
each teaching different sides of the same great truth; and this also was understood by a
large proportion of their hearers. But with some of the hearers it was different, and one
lady said to me, in the greatest perplexity, “I cannot understand it at all. Here are two
preachers undertaking to teach just the same truth, and yet to me they seem flatly to
contradict one another.” And I felt at the time that she expressed a puzzle which really
causes a great deal of difficulty in the minds of many honest inquirers after this truth.
Suppose two friends go to see some celebrated building, and return home to
describe it. One has seen only the north side, and the other only the south. The first
says, “The building was built in such a manner, and has such and such stories and
ornaments.” “Oh, no!” says the other, interrupting him, “you are altogether mistaken; I
saw the building, and it was built in quite a different manner, and its ornaments and
stories were so and so.” A lively dispute would probably follow upon the truth of the
respective descriptions, until the two friends discover that they have been describing
different sides of the building, and then all is reconciled at once.
I would like to state as clearly as I can what I judge to be the two distinct sides in
this matter; and to show how the looking at one without seeing the other, will be sure to
create wrong impressions and views of the truth.
To state it in brief, I would just say that man’s part is to trust and God’s part is to
work; and it can be seen at a glance how contrastive these two parts are, and yet not
necessarily contradictory. I mean this. There is a certain work to be accomplished. We
are to be delivered from the power of sin, and are to be made perfect in every good
work to do the will of God. “Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord,” we are to be
actually “changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the
Lord.” We are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, that we may prove
what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. A real work is to be wrought
in us and upon us. Besetting sins are to be conquered. Evil habits are to be overcome.
Wrong dispositions and feelings are to be rooted out, and holy tempers and emotions
are to be begotten. A positive transformation is to take place. So at least the Bible
teaches. Now somebody must do this. Either we must do it for ourselves, or another
must do it for us. We have most of us tried to do it for ourselves at first, and have
grievously failed; then we discover from the Scriptures and from our own experience
that it is a work we are utterly unable to do for ourselves, but that the Lord Jesus Christ
has come on purpose to do it, and that He will do it for all who put themselves wholly
into His hand, and trust Him to do it. Now under these circumstances, what is the part
of the believer, and what is the part of the Lord? Plainly the believer can do nothing but
trust; while the Lord, in whom he trusts, actually does the work intrusted to Him.
Trusting and doing are certainly contrastive things, and often contradictory; but are
they contradictory in this case? Manifestly not, because it is two different parties that
are concerned. If we should say of one party in a transaction that he trusted his case to
another, and yet attended to it himself, we should state a contradiction and an
impossibility. But when we say of two parties in a transaction that one trusts the other
to do something, and that that other goes to work and does it, we are making a
statement that is perfectly simple and harmonious. When we say, therefore, that in this
higher life, man’s part is to trust, and that God does the thing intrusted to Him, we do
not surely present any very difficult or puzzling problem.
The preacher who is speaking on man’s part in this matter cannot speak of
anything but surrender and trust, because this is positively all the man can do. We all
agree about this. And yet such preachers are constantly criticised as though, in saying
this, they had meant to imply there was no other part, and that therefore nothing but
trusting is done. And the cry goes out that this doctrine of faith does away with all
realities, that souls are just told to trust, and that is the end of it, and they sit down
thenceforward in a sort of religious easy-chair, dreaming away a life fruitless of any
actual results. All this misapprehension arises, of course, from the fact that either the
preacher has neglected to state, or the hearer has failed to hear, the other side of the
matter; which is, that when we trust, the Lord works, and that a great deal is done, not
by us, but by Him. Actual results are reached by our trusting, because our Lord
undertakes the thing trusted to Him, and accomplishes it. We do not do anything, but
He does it; and it is all the more effectually done because of this. The puzzle as to the
preaching of faith disappears entirely as soon as this is clearly seen.
On the other hand, the preacher who dwells on God’s side of the question is
criticised on a totally different ground. He does not speak of trust, for the Lord’s part is
not to trust, but to work. The Lord does the thing intrusted to Him. He disciplines and
trains the soul by inward exercises and outward providences. He brings to bear all the
resources of His wisdom and love upon the refining and purifying of that soul. He
makes everything in the life and circumstances of such a one subservient to the one
great purpose of making him grow in grace, and of conforming him, day by day and
hour by hour, to the image of Christ. He carries him through a process of
transformation, longer or shorter, as his peculiar case may require, making actual and
experimental the results for which the soul has trusted. We have dared, for instance,
according to the command in Rom. 6:11, by faith to reckon ourselves “dead unto sin.”
The Lord makes this a reality, and leads us to victory over self, by the daily and hourly
discipline of His providences. Our reckoning is available only because God thus makes
it real. And yet the preacher who dwells upon this practical side of the matter, and tells
of God’s processes for making faith’s reckonings experimental realities, is accused of
contradicting the preaching of faith altogether, and of declaring only a process of
gradual sanctification by works, and of setting before the soul an impossible and
hopeless task.
Now, sanctification is both a sudden step of faith, and also a gradual process of
works. It is a step as far as we are concerned; it is a process as to God’s part. By a step of
faith we get into Christ; by a process we are made to grow up unto Him in all things. By
a step of faith we put ourselves into the hands of the Divine Potter; by a gradual process
He makes us into a vessel unto His own honor, meet for His use, and prepared to every
good work.
To illustrate all this: suppose I were to be describing to a person, who was
entirely ignorant of the subject, the way in which a lump of clay is made into a beautiful
vessel. I tell him first the part of the clay in the matter, and all I can say about this is,
that the clay is put into the potter’s hands, and then lies passive there, submitting itself
to all the turnings and overturnings of the potter’s hands upon it. There is really
nothing else to be said about the clay’s part. But could my hearer argue from this that
nothing else is done, because I say that this is all the clay can do? If he is an intelligent
hearer, he will not dream of doing so, but will say, “I understand. This is what the clay
must do; but what must the potter do?” “Ah,” I answer, “now we come to the
important part. The potter takes the clay thus abandoned to his working, and begins to
mould and fashion it according to his own will. He kneads and works it, he tears it
apart and presses it together again, he wets it and then suffers it to dry. Sometimes he
works at it for hours together, sometimes he lays it aside for days and does not touch it.
And then, when by all these processes he has made it perfectly pliable in his hands, he
proceeds to make it up into the vessel he has purposed. He turns it upon the wheel,
planes it and smooths it, and dries it in the sun, bakes it in the oven, and finally turns it
out of his workshop, a vessel to his honor and fit for his use.”
Will my hearer be likely now to say that I am contradicting myself; that a little
while ago I had said the clay had nothing to do but lie passive in the potter’s hands, and
that now I am putting upon it a great work which it is not able to perform; and that to
make itself into such a vessel is an impossible and hopeless undertaking? Surely not.
For he will see that, while before I was speaking of the clay’s part in the matter, I am
now speaking of the potter’s part, and that these two are necessarily contrastive, but not
in the least contradictory, and that the clay is not expected to do the potter’s work, but
only to yield itself up to his working.
Nothing, it seems to me, could be clearer than the perfect harmony between
these two apparently contradictory sorts of teaching on this subject. What can be said
about man’s part in this great work, but that he must continually surrender himself and
continually trust?
But when we come to God’s side of the question, what is there that may not be
said as to the manifold and wonderful ways in which He accomplishes the work
intrusted to Him? It is here that the growing comes in. The lump of clay would never
grow into a beautiful vessel if it stayed in the clay-pit for thousands of years. But once
put into the hands of a skilful potter, and, under his fashioning, it grows rapidly into a
vessel to his honor. And so the soul, abandoned to the working of the Heavenly Potter,
is changed rapidly from glory to glory into the image of the Lord by His Spirit.
Having, therefore, taken the step of faith by which you have put yourself wholly
and absolutely into His hands, you must now expect Him to begin to work. His way of
accomplishing that which you have intrusted to Him may be different from your way.
But He knows, and you must be satisfied.
I knew a lady who had entered into this life of faith with a great outpouring of
the Spirit, and a wonderful flood of light and joy. She supposed, of course, this was a
preparation for some great service, and expected to be put forth immediately into the
Lord’s harvest field. Instead of this, almost at once her husband lost all his money, and
she was shut up in her own house, to attend to all sorts of domestic duties, with no time
or strength left for any Gospel work at all. She accepted the discipline, and yielded
herself up as heartily to sweep, and dust, and bake, and sew, as she would have done to
preach, or pray or write for the Lord. And the result was that through this very training
He made her into a vessel “meet for the Master’s use, and prepared unto every good
Another lady, who had entered this life of faith under similar circumstances of
wondrous blessing, and who also expected to be sent out to do some great work, was
shut up with two peevish invalid nieces, to nurse, and humor, and amuse them all day
long. Unlike the first lady, this one did not accept the training, but chafed and fretted,
and finally rebelled, lost all her blessing, and went back into a state of sad coldness and
misery. She had understood her part of trusting to begin with, but not understanding
the divine process of accomplishing that for which she had trusted, she took herself out
of the hands of the Heavenly Potter, and the vessel was marred on the wheel.
I believe many a vessel has been similarly marred by a want of understanding
these things. The maturity of Christian experience cannot be reached in a moment, but
is the result of the work of God’s Holy Spirit, who, by His energizing and transforming
power, causes us to grow up into Christ in all things. And we cannot hope to reach this
maturity in any other way than by yielding ourselves up utterly and willingly to His
mighty working. But the sanctification the Scriptures urge as a present experience upon
all believers does not consist in maturity of growth, but in purity of heart, and this may
be as complete in the babe in Christ as in the veteran believer.
The lump of clay, from the moment it comes under the transforming hand of the
potter, is, during each day and each hour of the process, just what the potter wants it to
be at that hour or on that day, and therefore pleases him. But it is very far from being
matured into the vessel he intends in the future to make it.
The little babe may be all that a babe could be, or ought to be, and may therefore
perfectly please its mother, and yet it is very far from being what that mother would
wish it to be when the years of maturity shall come.
The apple in June is a perfect apple for June. It is the best apple that June can
produce. But it is very different from the apple in October, which is a perfected apple.
God’s works are perfect in every stage of their growth. Man’s works are never
perfect until they are in every respect complete.
All that we claim then in this life of sanctification is, that by a step of faith we put
ourselves into the hands of the Lord, for Him to work in us all the good pleasure of His
will; and that by a continuous exercise of faith we keep ourselves there. This is our part
in the matter. And when we do it, and while we do it, we are, in the Scripture sense,
truly pleasing to God, although it may require years of training and discipline to mature
us into a vessel that shall be in all respects to His honor, and fitted to every good work.
Our part is the trusting, it is His to accomplish the results. And when we do our
part, He never fails to do His, for no one ever trusted in the Lord and was confounded.
Do not be afraid, then, that if you trust, or tell others to trust, the matter will end there.
Trust is only the beginning and the continual foundation; when we trust, the Lord
works, and His work is the important part of the whole matter. And this explains that
apparent paradox which puzzles so many. They say, “In one breath you tell us to do
nothing but trust, and in the next you tell us to do impossible things. How can you
reconcile such contradictory statements?” They are to be reconciled just as we reconcile
the statements concerning a saw in a carpenter’s shop, when we say at one moment that
the saw has sawn asunder a log, and the next moment declare that the carpenter has
done it. The saw is the instrument used, the power that uses it is the carpenter’s. And so
we, yielding ourselves unto God, and our members as instruments of righteousness
unto Him, find that He works in us to will and to do of His good pleasure; and we can
say with Paul, “I labored; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” For we
are to be His workmanship, not our own. (Eph. 2:10.) And in fact, when we come to
look at it, only God, who created us at first, can re-create us, for He alone understands
the “work of His own hands.” All efforts after self-creating, result in the marring of the
vessel, and no soul can ever reach its highest fulfillment except through the working of
Him who “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.”
When I approach this subject of the true Christian life, that life which is hid with Christ
in God, so many thoughts struggle for utterance that I am almost speechless. Where
shall I begin? What is the most important thing to say? How shall I make people read
and believe? The subject is so glorious, and human words seem so powerless!
But something I am impelled to say. The secret must be told. For it is one concerning
that victory which overcometh the world, that promised deliverance from all our
enemies, for which every child of God longs and prays, but which seems so often and so
generally to elude their grasp. May God grant me so to tell it, that every believer to
whom this book shall come, may have his eyes opened to see the truth as it is in Jesus,
and may be enabled to enter into possession of this glorious life for himself.
For sure I am that every converted soul longs for victory and rest, and nearly
every one feels instinctively, at times, that they are his birthright. Can you not
remember, some of you, the shout of triumph your souls gave when you first became
acquainted with the Lord Jesus, and had a glimpse of His mighty saving power? How
sure you were of victory then! How easy it seemed, to be more than conquerors,
through Him that loved you. Under the leadership of a Captain who had never been
foiled in battle, how could you dream of defeat? And yet, to many of you, how different
has been your real experience. The victories have been but few and fleeting, the defeats
many and disastrous. You have not lived as you feel children of God ought to live.
There has been a resting in a clear understanding of doctrinal truth, without pressing
after the power and life thereof. There has been a rejoicing in the knowledge of things
testified of in the Scriptures, without a living realization of the things themselves,
consciously felt in the soul. Christ is believed in, talked about, and served, but He is not
known as the soul’s actual and very life, abiding there forever, and revealing Himself
there continually in His beauty. You have found Jesus as your Saviour and your Master,
and you have tried to serve Him and advance the cause of His kingdom. You have
carefully studied the Holy Scriptures and have gathered much precious truth
therefrom, which you have endeavored faithfully to practise.
But notwithstanding all your knowledge and all your activities in the service of
the Lord, your souls are secretly starving, and you cry out again and again for that
bread and water of life which you saw promised in the Scriptures to all believers. In the
very depths of your hearts you know that your experience is not a Scriptural
experience; that, as an old writer says, your religion is “but a talk to what the early
Christians enjoyed, possessed, and lived in.” And your souls have sunk within you, as
day after day, and year after year, your early visions of triumph have seemed to grow
more and more dim, and you have been forced to settle down to the conviction that the
best you can expect from your religion is a life of alternate failure and victory; one hour
sinning, and the next repenting; and beginning again, only to fail again, and again to
But is this all? Had the Lord Jesus only this in His mind when He laid down His
precious life to deliver you from your sore and cruel bondage to sin? Did He propose to
Himself only this partial deliverance? Did He intend to leave you thus struggling along
under a weary consciousness of defeat and discouragement? Did He fear that a
continuous victory would dishonor Him, and bring reproach on His name? When all
those declarations were made concerning His coming, and the work He was to
accomplish, did they mean only this that you have experienced? Was there a hidden
reserve in each promise that was meant to deprive it of its complete fulfillment? Did
“delivering us out of the hands of our enemies” mean only a few of them? Did
“enabling us always to triumph” mean only sometimes; or being “more than
conquerors through Him that love us” mean constant defeat and failure? No, no, a
thousand times no! God is able to save unto the uttermost, and He means to do it. His
promise, confirmed by His oath, was that “He would grant unto us, that we, being
delivered out of the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and
righteousness before Him, all the days of our life.” It is a mighty work to do, but our
Deliverer is able to do it. He came to destroy the works of the devil, and dare we dream
for a moment that He is not able or not willing to accomplish His own purposes?
In the very outset, then, settle down on this one thing, that the Lord is able to
save you fully, now, in this life, from the power and dominion of sin, and to deliver you
altogether out of the hands of your enemies. If you do not think He is, search your
Bible, and collect together every announcement or declaration concerning the purposes
and object of His death on the cross. You will be astonished to find how full they are.
Everywhere and always His work is said to be, to deliver us from our sins, from our
bondage, from our defilement; and not a hint is given anywhere, that this deliverance
was to be only the limited and partial one with which the Church so continually tries to
be satisfied.
Let me give you a few texts on this subject. When the angel of the Lord appeared
unto Joseph in a dream, and announced the coming birth of the Saviour, he said, “And
thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.”
When Zacharias was “filled with the Holy Ghost” at the birth of his son, and
“prophesied,” he declared that God had visited His people in order to fulfil the promise
and the oath He had made them, which promise was, “That He would grant unto us,
that we, being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, might serve Him without fear,
in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life.”
When Peter was preaching in the porch of the Temple to the wondering Jews, he
said, “Unto you first, God, having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you in
turning away every one of you from his iniquities.”
When Paul was telling out to the Ephesian church the wondrous truth that Christ
had loved them so much as to give Himself for them, he went on to declare, that His
purpose in thus doing was, “that He might sanctify and cleanse it by the washing of
water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having
spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
When Paul was seeking to instruct Titus, his own son after the common faith,
concerning the grace of God, he declared that the object of that grace was to teach us
“that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and
godly in this present world”; and adds, as the reason of this, that Christ “gave Himself
for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify us unto Himself a peculiar
people, zealous of good works.”
When Peter was urging upon the Christian, to whom he was writing, a holy and
Christ-like walk, he tells them that “even hereunto were ye called because Christ also
suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follow His steps: who did no sin,
neither was guile found in His mouth”; and adds, “who His own self bare our sins in
His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness;
by whose stripes ye were healed.”
When Paul was contrasting in the Ephesians the walk suitable for a Christian,
with the walk of an unbeliever, he sets before them the truth in Jesus as being this, “that
ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according
to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the
new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
And when, in Romans 6, he was answering forever the question as to continuing
in sin, and showing how utterly foreign it was to the whole spirit and aim of the
salvation of Jesus, he brings up the fact of our judicial death and resurrection with
Christ as an unanswerable argument for our practical deliverance from it, and says,
“God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not
that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?
Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised
up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of
life.” And adds, “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of
sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”
Dear Christians, will you receive the testimony of Scripture on this matter? The
same questions that troubled the Church in Paul’s day are troubling it now: first, “Shall
we continue in sin that grace may abound?” And second, “Do we then make void the
law through faith?” Shall not our answer to these be Paul’s emphatic “God forbid”; and
his triumphant assertions that instead of making it void “we establish the law”; and that
“what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His
own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the
righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh, but after
the Spirit”?
Can we suppose for a moment that the holy God, who hates sin in the sinner, is
willing to tolerate it in the Christian, and that He has even arranged the plan of
salvation in such a way as to make it impossible for those who are saved from the guilt
of sin to find deliverance from its power?
As Dr. Chalmers well says, “Sin is that scandal which must be rooted out from
the great spiritual household over which the Divinity rejoices . . . Strange
administration, indeed, for sin to be so hateful to God as to lay all who had incurred it
under death, and yet when readmitted into life that sin should be permitted; and that
what was before the object of destroying vengeance, should now become the object of
an upheld and protected toleration. Now that the penalty is taken off, think you that it
is possible the unchangeable God has so given up His antipathy to sin, as that man,
ruined and redeemed man, may now perseveringly indulge under the new
arrangement in that which under the old destroyed him? Does not the God who loved
righteousness and hated iniquity six thousand years ago, bear the same love to
righteousness and hatred to iniquity still? . . . I now breathe the air of loving-kindness
from Heaven, and can walk before God in peace and graciousness; shall I again attempt
the incompatible alliance of two principles so adverse as that of an approving God and
a persevering sinner? How shall we, recovered from so awful a catastrophe, continue
that which first involved us in it? The cross of Christ, by the same mighty and decisive
stroke wherewith it moved the curse of sin away from us, also surely moves away the
power and the love of it from over us.”
And not Dr. Chalmers only, but many other holy men of his generation and of
our own, as well as of generations long past, have united in declaring that the
redemption accomplished for us by our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary is a
redemption from the power of sin as well as from its guilt, and that He is able to save to
the uttermost all who come unto God by Him.
A quaint old divine of the seventeenth century says: “There is nothing so
contrary to God as sin, and God will not suffer sin always to rule his masterpiece, man.
When we consider the infiniteness of God’s power for destroying that which is contrary
to Him, who can believe that the devil must always stand and prevail? I believe it is
inconsistent and disagreeable with true faith for people to be Christians, and yet to
believe that Christ, the eternal Son of God, to whom all power in heaven and earth is
given, will suffer sin and the devil to have dominion over them.
“But you will say no man by all the power he hath can redeem himself, and no
man can live without sin. We will say, Amen, to it. But if men tell us, that when God’s
power comes to help us and to redeem us out of sin, that it cannot be effected, then this
doctrine we cannot away with; nor I hope you neither.
“Would you approve of it, if I should tell you that God puts forth His power to
do such a thing, but the devil hinders Him? That it is impossible for God to do it
because the devil does not like it? That it is impossible that any one should be free from
sin because the devil hath got such a power in them that God cannot cast him out? This
is lamentable doctrine, yet hath not this been preached? It doth in plain terms say,
though God doth interpose His power, it is impossible, because the devil hath so rooted
sin in the nature of man. Is not man God’s creature, and cannot He new make him, and
cast sin out of him? If you say sin is deeply rooted in man, I say so, too, yet not so
deeply rooted but Christ Jesus hath entered so deeply into the root of the nature of man
that He hath received power to destroy the devil and his works, and to recover and
redeem man into righteousness and holiness. Or else it is false that ‘He is able to save to
the uttermost all that come unto God by Him.’ We must throw away the Bible, if we say
that it is impossible for God to deliver man out of sin.
“We know,” he continues, “when our friends are in captivity, as in Turkey, or
elsewhere, we pay our money for their redemption; but we will not pay our money if
they be kept in their fetters still. Would not any one think himself cheated to pay so
much money for their redemption, and the bargain be made so that he shall be said to
be redeemed, and be called a redeemed captive, but he must wear his fetters still? How
long? As long as he hath a day to live.
“This is for bodies, but now I am speaking of souls. Christ must be made to me
redemption, and rescue me from captivity. Am I a prisoner any where? Yes, verily,
verily, he that committeth sin, saith Christ, he is a servant of sin, he is a slave of sin. If
thou hast sinned, thou art a slave, a captive that must be redeemed out of captivity.
Who will pay a price for me? I am poor; I have nothing; I cannot redeem myself; who
will pay a price for me? There is One come who hath paid a price for me. That is well;
that is good news, then I hope I shall come out of my captivity. What is His name, is He
called a Redeemer? So, then, I do expect the benefit of my redemption, and that I shall
go out of my captivity. No, say they, you must abide in sin as long as you live. What!
must we never be delivered? Must this crooked heart and perverse will always remain?
Must I be a believer, and yet have no faith that reacheth to sanctification and holy
living? Is there no mastery to be had, no getting victory over sin? Must it prevail over
me as long as I live? What sort of a Redeemer, then, is this, or what benefit have I in this
life, of my redemption?”
Similar extracts might be quoted from Marshall, Romaine, and many others, to
show that this doctrine is no new one in the Church, however much it may have been
lost sight of by the present generation of believers. It is the same old story that has filled
with songs of triumph the daily lives of many saints of God throughout all ages; and is
now afresh being sounded forth to the unspeakable joy of weary and burdened souls.
Do not reject it, then, dear reader, until you have prayerfully searched the
Scriptures to see whether these things be indeed so. Ask God to open the eyes of your
understanding by His Spirit, that you may “know what is the exceeding greatness of
His power to usward 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.” And when you have begun to have some faint
glimpses of this power, learn to look away utterly from your own weakness, and,
putting your case into His hands, trust Him to deliver you.
In Psalms 8:6, we are told that God made man to “have dominion over the works
of His hand.” The fulfillment of this is declared in 2 Cor. 2, where the apostle cries,
“Thanks be unto God which always causeth us to triumph in Christ.” If the maker of a
machine should declare that he had made it to accomplish a certain purpose, and if
upon trial it should be found incapable of accomplishing that purpose, we would all say
of that maker that he was a fraud.
Surely then we will not dare to think that it is impossible for the creature whom
God has made, to accomplish the declared object for which he was created. Especially
when the Scriptures are so full of the assertions that Christ has made it possible.
The only thing that can hinder is the creature’s own failure to work in harmony
with the plans of his Creator, and if this want of harmony can be removed, then God
can work. Christ came to bring about an atonement between God and man, which
should make it possible for God thus to work in man to will and to do of His good
pleasure. Therefore we may be of good courage; for the work Christ has undertaken He
is surely able and willing to perform. Let us then “walk in the steps of that faith of our
father Abraham,” who “staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was
strong in faith, giving glory to God; being fully persuaded that what He had promised,
He was able also to perform.”

By Hannah Whitall Smith

About goodnessofgod2010

author, attorney
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