Pristine Grace

Their Work is a Sorry Foundation for the Soul's Peace
by Scott Richardson
Their Work is a Sorry Foundation for the Soul's Peace

“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” - 1 Corinthians 1:30

    My greatest sin is to sit under the glory of God and remain unmoved—How can we believe that way?

    We have heard people speak of sanctification as a progressive work, in virtue of which our old nature is to be made gradually better. And, until this process has reached its climax, that is until fallen and corrupt humanity has become completely sanctified, we are not ready for heaven. Now, so far as this view or the question is concerned, we have only to say that both scripture and the truthful experience or all believers are absolutely against it.

    The Bible never once teaches us that the Holy Spirit has for his object the improvement, either gradual or otherwise, of our old nature—that nature which we inherit by natural birth from fallen Adam. In 1 Corinthians 2:14, the Word of God declares that, "The nature man receiveth not the things of the Spirit or God, for they are spiritually discerned." Now, this verse is clear and conclusive on the point. If "the natural man can neither know or receive the things of the Spirit of God", then how can that natural man be sanctified by the Holy Spirit? So it is plain that. to talk of sanctification of our nature is directly opposed to scripture. An utterly ruined thing can never be sanctified. Do with it what you will; it is ruined and the Holy Spirit did not come down to sanctity e ruin, but to lead the ruined one to the Lord Jesus.

    "The flesh" in a believer is in no wise better than "the flesh" in an unbeliever. Most people are looking for what they never will find. They ere looking for a ground of peace in a sanctified nature instead or a perfect sacrifice—in a progressive work of holiness instead of a finished work of atonement. And seeing that this end is never reached, they have no settled assurance of pardon, and the result is they are miserable. They are seeking a foundation totally different from that which God has said he laid, and the result again is they have no certainty whatsoever. The only thing that seems to bring relief to them is some successful effort in a battle for personal holiness. If they had a good day, if they seemed to enjoy a peaceful devotional frame of mind, they are ready to shout victory. I want you to notice I Corinthians 1:30, "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” Here we see that Christ "is made unto us" all these things. God has given us, in Christ, a precious box; and when we open that box with the key of faith, the first gem that glitters in our view in this wisdom or God is "righteousness", then "sanctification and redemption ." We have them all in Christ. As we get one, so we get all. And how do we get one and all? By faith.

    How many people are there that are struggling to work out a sanctification for themselves? Their work is a sorry foundation for the soul's peace. Until we can see that our standing before God is in Christ, there will not be any settled peace. The soul that has really laid hold of Christ is indeed desirous of holiness, he has found his all in Christ, and the desire of his heart is to grow in his likeness. Many have come to Christ for righteousness , but now are seeking after sanctification in a different way altogether; they think that they must get sanctification by works.

    They do not see that we get sanctification the same way as we get righteousness. Christ is made unto us the one as well as the other. Do we get Christ by works? No—by faith. It is "to him that worketh not" (Romans 4:5). We can no more work out a sanctification than we can work out a righteousness. We may try it through labor, struggle, and resolutions, but in the end it's all vain. Whatever of righteousness or sanctification we possess, we owe it all to being "in Christ." If we have not gotten a perfect sanctification, we have not gotten a perfect righteousness. There is no such thing as a half sanctification. 1 Corinthians 6:11—"Such were some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, justified in the name of the Lord Jesus." Notice "but ye are ." The moment they received Paul's Gospel they were washed, sanctified, and justified. The purpose of the Holy Spirit is to lead us into a knowledge, the experience, and a practical display of what was true of us "in Christ" the very moment we believed Are we growing in love and appreciation of God's love for us in Christ? Yes, we most certainly are. What is this but the working out in me of that which was true of me "in Christ," the very second I believed. May we know the sanctifying power of the truth (John 17:17). May we know the sanctifying power of faith (Acts 26:18). May we know the sanctifying power of the name of the Lord Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:30 - 6:11). May we know the sanctifying grace of our Father (Jude 1).