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OBJECTION VII.

NOT A SCRIPTURAL DOCTRINE.


It is objected by some that entire sanctification as a possible experience is not taught in the Bible.

In reply to this objection allow us to present the following from Bishop Foster's book, "Christian Purity, or the Heritage of Faith."

In this treatise we shall employ both these methods for eliciting the Divine teaching; and we hope to sustain our position, not by a single and isolated declaration only, or a single inference only, but by a great number of both direct and inferential proofs of the most unequivocal and irresistible authority: declarations so various, contained in commands, promises, prayers, exhortations, statements, and narratives; and inferences so multiplied, arising from so many sources as to convince every candid reader that the doctrine we contend for is not limited to a bare and questionable place, a doubtful and uncertain existence in the holy records, but is repletely and abundantly, as well as explicitly, embodied as a cardinal feature throughout the whole system. It breathes in the prophecy, thunders in the law, murmurs in the narrative, whispers in the promises, supplicates in the prayers, resounds in the songs, sparkles in the poetry, shines in the types, glows in the imagery, and burns in the spirit, of the whole scheme, from its Alpha to its Omega its beginning to its end. Holiness! Holiness needed! Holiness required! Holiness offered! Holiness attainable! Holiness a present duty, a present privilege, a present enjoyment, is the progress and completeness of its wondrous theme! It is the truth glowing all over and voicing all through revelation; singing and shouting in all its history, and biography, and poetry, and prophecy, and precept, and promise, and prayer; the great central truth of the system. The truth to elucidate why the system exists. If God has spoken at all it is to aid men to be holy. The wonder is, that all do not see, that any rise up to question, a truth so conspicuous, so glorious, so full of comfort. — Christian Purity, Chapter V.



It would be almost superfluous to enter into any extended argument to prove that the word of God teaches holiness. We will quote a few passages among scores just as clear and give references for finding others, and leave the execution with the sword of the Spirit.

1. Holiness is taught in commands.

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength, and thy neighbor as thyself." Luke 10:27. "Be ye holy; for I am holy." — I Pet. 1:16. "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." — Heb. 12:14. "Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." — Matt. 5:48 See also I Tim. 1:5; II Cor. 13:11.

2. Holiness is taught in exhortations.

"Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." — II Cor. 7:1. "Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ. let us go on to perfection." Heb. 6:1.

3. Holiness is taught in promises.

"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." — Matt. 5:6. "If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." I Jno. 1:7. "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear." — I Jno. 4:18. "Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus." — Col. 1:28. "But whoso keepeth his word in him verily is the love of God perfected." I Jno. 2:5. "And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." — Eph. 4:24. "Wherefore Jesus also, that be might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate." — Heb. 13:12. "And this also we wish, even your perfection." II Cor. 13:9. "To the end that he may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before God." I Thess. 3:13. "For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness." I Thess. 4:7. "This is the will of God, even your sanctification. — I Thess. 4:3. "God hath chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth." — II Thess. 2:13. "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ; from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body, unto the edifying of itself in love." — Eph. 4:11-16. See also Matt. 5:6; Isa. 1:18; I Jno. 3:3; I Jno. 2:1; I Jno. 3:8.

4. Holiness is taught in prayers.

"For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." — Eph. 3:14-21. "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly: and I pray God your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." I Thess. 5:23. See also Heb. 13:20-21; Jno. 17:21-23.

5. Holiness is taught as an actual experience.

"But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life." Rom. 6:22. "Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world." I Jno. 4:17. "Our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." Rom. 6:6. See also Rom. 8:1-4; Gal. 2:20

In view of all these passages and of hundreds more we are forced to the conclusion that holiness, or entire sanctification, or perfect love, or Christian perfection, by whatever name it may be called, is attainable because: (a) God commands us to attain it, and he never commands impossibilities; (b) God exhorts us to seek and obtain it, and God never wastes words exhorting us to seek impossibilities; (c) God promises to give the experience to those who diligently seek it, and any person who says God will not do it makes him a liar; (d) Both Jesus and the apostles prayed that the church might be sanctified, and God inspired their prayers and will answer them; (e) and last, because the Bible gives examples of some who reached the goal and were made holy.