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We propose to examine this all important subject in the light of the Bible.
One plain text of the Scriptures proves more than a thousand human assertions.

The words sanctification and holiness, as used in the Bible, mean the same thing. The same Greek word, hagiasmos, is translated in our Bible, sometimes by the word, holiness, and sometimes by the word, sanctification. The same is true of the word translated sometimes holy, and sometimes saint. The original is one and the same word.

1. Holiness implies, in common with a state of justification, or pardon, victory over outward sin. A person that is holy does not commit sin. This is also true of one who lives justified before God. “For sin shall not have dominion over you for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” That is, grace has the mastery over you. In the struggle between grace and sin, grace triumphs.

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin.”—1 John 3:9

But, “Sin is the transgression of the law.” So that he who imagines that he enjoys the blessing of holiness, and yet does what God in his word forbids, or neglects to do what he commands, is deceived. His so-called faith is fatal presumption.

2. Holiness is a state. It does not consist of a repetition of good acts, but is the gracious condition of the soul which prompts to the performance of all good actions. It is the pure fountain from which pure water continually flows.

Proof: “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”—I Peter 1:16.

This does not say, Do holy things, but BE HOLY.

To the end he may establish your hearts unblameable in holiness.”—I Thess. 3:13

It is the heart that is to be established; then the habits will be right, of course. These texts show that holiness is a state, and not merely good habits, much less simply a relation.

3. Holiness implies deliverance from all wrong dispositions, tempers and desires; and from all inclination to indulge those that are right, in an unlawful manner, or to an inordinate degree. There are dispositions of the soul that are wrong in themselves, such as anger, pride, and covetousness. From all wrong tempers a holy person is so far delivered that be not only does not yield to them, but he does not feel them. Other desires become sinful only when indulged in an unlawful manner, or to an inordinate degree. Our Saviour hungered. In this he did not sin, but he would have sinned, if he had yielded to the temptations of Satan to satisfy His hunger in an unlawful manner. Enoch walked with God, and begat sons and daughters. In a holy person all his powers of body and mind are brought into harmony with the will of God.

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.

This prayer teaches:

1. That the body is so far sanctified as to be blameless. For it must be so, before it can be preserved in that state. Hence, when the victim of the use of tobacco, or of strong drink, is sanctified, his body undergoes such a change, through the power of the Spirit of God, that he no longer feels the terrible cravings for indulgences, which were fast hastening him on to destruction.

2. The affections, passions, desires, and propensities are so subdued that they are the occasion of good, and not of harm.

3. The intellect, the judgment, the will and the imagination, are made pure and holy in all their exercises.

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.

Here we see that holiness is opposed to all filthiness, either of body or mind. It removes from soul and body everything that defiles.

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”—Rom. 8:12, 13.

He that does not live after the flesh, does not bring forth the works of the flesh.

These are: “Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditious, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: . . . they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”—Gal. 5:19-21.

They who are holy are led by the Spirit, and bring forth the fruit of the Spirit, which is:

Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.”—Gal. 5:22, 23.

4. Holiness is distinct from justification, and subsequent to it. When one is converted, he is so far made holy that he has victory over sin. But sin remains, though it does not reign.

And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.”—I Cor. 3:1.

These persons were “brethren,” “babes in Christ.” Therefore they were justified, they were not sinners, or backsliders, yet they were carnal—not yet made holy. A celebrated minister of the Gospel, suddenly attacked by disease, was recommended to drink brandy. He took a small quantity, and being unused to it, its effects were painfully visible. He was drunk, yet not a drunkard. So these believers were carnal—there were divisions among them, as is too often the case, over the respective merits of their favorite preachers—yet they were not carnally minded. In the main, their lives were in accordance with the precept of the Gospel.

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly.”—I Thess. 5:23.

This language implies that they were sanctified in part. Paul says that he remembered, without ceasing, their “work of faith and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” He says they were worthy of imitation by believers in the regions around,

So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.”—I Thess. 1:7.

Therefore they were not deluded, self-deceived, unconverted men and women who had crept into the church for the sake of popularity. Nor were they backslidden from God. Yet they needed to have God do a farther work for them—to sanctify them wholly.

Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection.”—Heb. 6:1.

These persons were living in the principles of the doctrine of Christ. They were justified believers. Paul exhorts them to go on to a perfection of holiness.

Do not these plain passages abundantly sustain all we have said as to the nature of holiness?

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