A FOURFOLD SALVATION by A. W. Pink


A FOURFOLD SALVATION
by A. W. Pink

In 1929 we wrote a booklet entitled “A Threefold Salvation” based upon
the instruction we had received during our spiritual infancy. Like most of
that early teaching, it was defective because inadequate. As we continued
our study of God’s Word further light has been granted us on this
subject—yet alas how ignorant we still are—and this has enabled us to see
that, in the past, we had started at the wrong point, for instead of beginning
at the beginning, we commenced almost in the middle. instead of salvation
from sin being threefold, as we once supposed, we now perceive it to be
fourfold. How good is the Lord in vouchsafing us additional light, yet it is
now our duty to walk therein, and, as Providence affords us opportunity,
to give it out. May the Holy Spirit so graciously guide us that God may be
glorified and His people edified.
The subject of God’s “so-great-salvation” (

Hebrews 2:3), as it is
revealed to us in the Scriptures and made known in Christian experience, is
worthy of a life’s study. Any one who supposes that there is now no longer
any need for him to prayerfully search for a fuller understanding of the
same needs to ponder
“If any man think he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as
he ought to know” (

1 Corinthians 8:2).
The fact is that the moment any of us really takes it for granted that he
already knows all that there is to be known on any subject treated of in
Holy Writ, he at once cuts himself off from any further light thereon. That
which is most needed by all of us in order to a better understanding of
Divine things is not a brilliant intellect, but a truly humble heart and a
teachable spirit, and for that we would daily and fervently pray, for we
possess it not by nature.
The subject of Divine salvation has, sad to say, provoked age-long
controversy and bitter contentions even among Christians. There is
comparatively little agreement even upon this elementary vet vital truth.
Some have insisted that salvation is by Divine grace, others have argued
that it is by human endeavor. A number have sought to defend the middle
position, and while allowing that the salvation of a lost sinner must be by
Divine grace, were not willing to concede that it is by Divine grace alone,.3
alleging that God’s grace must be plussed by something from the creature,
and very varied have been the opinions of what that ‘something must be—
baptism, church-membership, the performing of good works, holding out
faithful to the end, etc. On the other hand, there are those who not only
grant that salvation is by grace alone, but who deny that God uses any
means whatever in the accomplishment of His eternal purpose to save His
elect—overlooking the fact that the sacrifice of Christ is the grand
“means’!
It is true that the Church of God was blessed with super-creation blessings,
being chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world and
predestinated unto the adoption of children, and nothing could or can alter
that grand fact. It is equally true that if sin had never entered the world,
none had been in need of salvation from it. But sin has entered, and the
Church fell in Adam and came under the curse and condemnation of God’s
Law. Consequently, the elect, equally with the reprobate, shared in the
capital offence of their federal head, and partake of its fearful entail:
“In Adam all die” (

1 Corinthians 15:22):
“By the offence of one judgment came upon all men to
condemnation” (

Romans 5:18).
The result of this is, that all are
“alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in
them, because of the blindness of their hearts” (

Ephesians 4:18),
so that the members of the mystical Body of Christ are
“by nature the children of wrath, even as others”
(

Ephesians 2:3),
and hence they are alike in dire need of God’s salvation.
Even when there is fundamental soundness in their views upon Divine
salvation many have such inadequate and one-sided conceptions that other
aspects of this truth, equally important and essential, are often overlooked
and tacitly denied. How many, for example, would be capable of giving a
simple exposition of the following texts: “Who hath saved us” (

2
Timothy 1:9),.4
“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling’
(

Philippians 2:12),
“Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed’
(

Romans 13:11).
Now those verses do not refer to three different salvations, but to three
separate aspects of one, and unless we learn to distinguish sharply among
them, there can be naught but confusion and cloudiness in our thinking.
Those passages present three distinct phases and stages of salvation:
salvation as an accomplished fact, as a present process, and as a future
prospect.
So many today ignore these distinctions, jumbling them together. Some
contend for one and some argue against the other two; and vice versa.
Some insist they are already saved, and deny that they are now being
saved. Some declare that salvation is entirely future, and deny that it is in
any sense already accomplished. Both are wrong. The fact is that the great
majority of professing Christians fail to see that “salvation” is one of the
most comprehensive terms in all the Scriptures, including predestination,
regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. They have far
too cramped an idea of the meaning and scope of the word “salvation” (as
it is used in the Scriptures), narrowing its range too much, generally
confining their thoughts to but a simple phase. They suppose “salvation”
means no more than the new birth or the forgiveness of sins. Were one to
tell them that salvation is a protracted process, they would view him with
suspicion; and if he affirmed that salvation is something awaiting us in the
future, they would at once dub him a heretic. Yet they would be the ones
to err.
Ask the average Christian, Are you saved? and he answers, Yes, I was
saved in such and such a year; and that is as far as his thoughts on the
subject go. Ask him, To what do you owe your salvation? and “the finished
work of Christ” is the sum of his reply. Tell him that each of those answers
is seriously defective, and he strongly resents your aspersion. As an
example of the confusion that now prevails, we quote the following from a
tract on

Philippians 2:12: “To whom are those instructions addressed?
The opening words to the Epistle tell us: ‘To the saints in Christ Jesus.’…
Thus they were all believers! and could not be required to work for their
salvation, for they already possessed it.” Alas that so few people today
perceive anything wrong in such a statement. Another “Bible teacher” tells.5
us that “save thyself” (

1 Timothy 4:16) must refer to deliverance from
physical ills, as Timothy was already saved spiritually. True, yet it is
equally true that he was then in the process of being saved, and also a fact
that his salvation was then future.
Let us now supplement the first three verses quoted and show that there
are other passages in the New Testament which definitely refer to each
distinct tense of salvation.
First salvation is an accomplished fact:
“Thy faith hath saved thee” (

Luke 7:50);
“by grace ye have been saved” (Greek, and so translated in the
R.V.—

Ephesians 2:8);
“according to his mercy he saved us” (

Titus 3:5).
Second, salvation as a present process, in course of accomplishment; not
yet completed:
“Unto us which are being saved” (

1 Corinthians 1:18—R.V. and
Bagster Interlinear);
“Them that believe to the saving (not the ‘salvation’) of the soul”
(

Hebrews 10:39).
Third, salvation as a future process:
“Sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation”
(

Hebrews 1:14);
“receive with meekness the engrafted Word, which is able to save
your souls” (

James 1:21);
“kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be
revealed in the last time” (

1 Peter 1:5).
Thus, by putting together these different passages we are clearly warranted
in formulating the following statement: every genuine Christian has been
saved, is now being saved, and will yet be saved—how and from what we
shall endeavor to show.
As further proof of how many-sided is the subject of God’s great salvation,
and how that in Scripture it is viewed from various angles, take the.6
following: by grace are ye saved” (

Ephesians 2:8); “saved by his
(Christ’s) life,” i.e., by His resurrection life (

Romans 5:9); “thy faith
hath saved thee” (

Luke 7:50); “the engrafted Word which is able to
save your souls” (

James 1:21); “saved by hope” (

Romans 8:24);
“saved; yet so as by fire” (

1 Corinthians 3:15); “the like figure
whereunto baptism doth also now save us” (

1 Peter 3:21). Ah, my
reader, the Bible is not a lazy man’s book, nor can it be soundly expounded
by those who do not devote the whole of their time, and that for years, to
its prayerful study. It is not that God would bewilder us, but that He would
humble us, drive us to our knees, make us dependent upon His Spirit. Not
to the proud—those who are wise in their own esteem—are its heavenly
secrets opened.
In like manner it may be shown from Scripture that the cause of salvation
is not a single one, as so many suppose—the blood of Christ. Here, too, it
is necessary to distinguish between things which differ. First, the
originating cause of salvation is the eternal purpose of God, or, in other
words, the predestinating grace of the Father. Second, the meritorious
cause of salvation is the mediation of Christ, this having particular respect
to the legal side of things, or, in other words, His fully meeting the
demands of the Law on the behalf and in the stead of those He redeems.
Third, the efficient cause of salvation is the regenerating and sanctifying
operations of the Holy Spirit, which respect the experimental side of it; or,
in other words, the Spirit works in us what Christ purchased for us. Thus,
we owe our personal salvation equally to each Person in the Trinity, and
not to one (the Son) more than to the others. Fourth, the instrumental
cause is our faith, obedience, and perseverance: though we are not saved
because of them, equally true is it that we cannot be saved (according to
God’s appointment) without them.
In the opening paragraph, we have stated that in our earlier effort we erred
as to the starting point. In writing upon a threefold salvation we began with
salvation from the penalty of sin, which is our justification. But our
salvation does not begin there, as we knew well enough even then: alas
that we so blindly followed our erring preceptors. Our salvation originates,
of course, in the eternal purpose of God, in His predestinating of us to
everlasting glory.
“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not
according to our works, but according to his own purpose and.7
grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began”
(

2 Timothy 1:9).
That has reference to God’s decree of election: His chosen people were
then saved completely, in the Divine purpose, and all that we shall now say
has to do with the performing of that purpose, the accomplishing of that
decree, the actualization of that salvation.
1. SALVATION FROM THE PLEASURE OF SIN
It is here that God begins His actual application of salvation unto His elect.
God saves us from the pleasure or love of sin before He delivers us from
the penalty or punishment of sin. Necessarily so, for it would be neither an
act of holiness nor of righteousness were He to grant full pardon to one
who was still a rebel against Him, loving that which He hates. God is a
God of order throughout, and nothing ever more evidences the perfections
of His works than the orderliness of them. And how does God save His
people from the pleasure of sin? The answer is, By imparting to them a
nature which hates evil and loves holiness. This takes place when they are
born again, so that actual salvation begins with regeneration. Of course it
does: where else could it commence? Fallen man can never perceive his
desperate need of salvation nor come to Christ for it, till he has been
renewed by the Holy Spirit.
“He hath made everything beautiful in his time”
(

Ecclesiastes 3:11),
and much of the beauty of God’s spiritual handiwork is lost upon us unless
we duly observe their “time.” Has not the Spirit Himself emphasized this in
the express enumeration He has given us in
“For whom he did foreknow, he did also predestinate to be
conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn
among many brethren. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them
he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and
whom he justified, them he also glorified” (

Romans 8:29-30).
Verse 29 announces the Divine foreordination; verse 30 states the manner
of its actualization. It seems passing strange that with this Divinely defined
method before them, so many preachers begin with our justification,
instead of with that effectual call (from death unto life, our regeneration)
which precedes it. Surely it is most obvious that regeneration must first.8
take place in order to lay a foundation for our justification. Justification is
by faith (

Acts 13:39;

Romans 5:1;

Galatians 3:8), and the sinner
must be Divinely quickened before he is capable of believing savingly.
Does not the last statement made throw light upon and explain what we
have said is so “passing strange”? Preachers today are so thoroughly
imbued with free-willism that they have departed almost wholly from that
sound evangelism which marked our forefathers. The radical difference
between Arminianism and Calvinism is that the system of the former
revolves about the creature, whereas the system of the latter has the
Creator for its centre of orbit. The Arminian allots to man the first place,
the Calvinist gives God that position of honor. Thus the Arminian begins
his discussion of salvation with justification, for the sinner must believe
before he can be forgiven; further back he will not go, for he is unwilling
that man should be made nothing of But the instructed Calvinist begins
with election, descends to regeneration, and then shows that being born
again (by the sovereign act of God, in which the creature has no part) the
sinner is made capable of savingly believing the Gospel.
Saved from the pleasure and love of sin. What multitudes of people would
strongly resent being told that they delighted in evil! They would
indignantly ask if we supposed them to be moral perverts. No indeed: a
person may be thoroughly chaste and yet delight in evil. It may be that
some of our own readers repudiate the charge that they have ever taken
pleasure in sin, and would claim, on the contrary, that from earliest
recollection they have detested wickedness in all its forms. Nor would we
dare to call into question their sincerity; instead we point out that it only
affords another exemplification of the solemn fact that “the heart is
deceitful above all things” (

Jeremiah 17:9). But this is a matter that is
not open to argument: the plain teaching of God’s Word decides the point
once and for all, and beyond its verdict there is no appeal. What, then, say
the Scriptures?
So far from God’s Word denying that there is any delight to be found
therein, it expressly speaks of “the pleasures of sin,” it immediately warns
that those pleasures are but “for a season” (

Hebrews 11:25), for the
aftermath is painful and not pleasant; yea, unless God intervenes in His
sovereign grace, they entail eternal torment. So too the Word refers to
those who are “lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God” (

2 Timothy
3:4). It is indeed striking to observe how often this discordant note is.9
struck in Scripture. It mentions those who “love vanity” (

Psalm 4:2);
“him that loveth violence” (

Psalm 11:5); “thou lovest evil more than
good” (

Psalm 52:3); “he loved lies” (

Proverbs 1:22); “they which
delight in their abominations” (

Isaiah 66:3); “their abominations were
according as they loved” (

Hosea 9:10); who hated the good and loved
the evil” (

Micah 3:2); “if any man love the world, the love of the Father
is not in him” (

1 John 2:15). To love sin is far worse than to commit it,
for a man may be suddenly tripped up or commit it through frailty.
The fact is, my reader, that we are not only born into this world with an
evil nature, but with hearts that are thoroughly in love with sin. Sin is our
native element. We are wedded to our lusts, and of ourselves are no more
able to alter the bent of our corrupt nature than the Ethiopian can change
his skin or the leopard his spots. But what is impossible with man, is
possible with God, and when He takes us in hand this is where He begins—
by saving us from the pleasure or love of sin. This is the great miracle of
grace, for the Almighty stoops down and picks up a loathsome leper from
the dunghill and makes him a new creature m Christ, so that the things he
once hated he now loves. God commences by saving us from ourselves. He
does not save us from the penalty until He has delivered us from the love
of sin.
And how is this miracle of grace accomplished, or rather, exactly what
does it consist of? Negatively, not by eradicating the evil nature, nor even
by refining it. Positively, by communicating a new nature, a holy nature,
which loathes that which is evil, and delights in all that is truly good. To be
more specific.
First, God save His people from the pleasure or love of sin by puffing His
holy awe in their hearts, for “the fear of the Lord is to hate evil”
(

Proverbs 8:13), and again, “the fear of the Lord is to depart from evil”
(

Proverbs 6:16).
Second. God saves His people from the pleasure of sin by communicating
to them a new and vital principle: ‘the love of God is shed abroad in our
hearts by the Holy Spirit” (

Romans 5:5), and where the love of God
rules the heart, the love of sin is dethroned.
Third, God saves His people from the love of sin by the Holy Spirit’s
drawing their affections unto things above, thereby taking them off the
things which formerly enthralled them..10
If on the one hand the unbeliever hotly denies that lit is in love with sin,
many a believer is often hard put to persuade himself that he has been
saved from the love thereof With an understanding that has in part been
enlightened by the Holy Spirit, he is the better able to discern things in their
true colors. With a heart that has been made honest by grace, he refuses to
call sweet bitter. With a conscience that has been sensitized by the new
birth, he the more quickly feels the workings of sin and the hankering of his
affections for that which is forbidden. Moreover, the flesh remains in him,
unchanged, and as the raven constantly craves carrion, so this corrupt
principle in which our mothers conceived us, lusts after and delights in that
which is the opposite of holiness. It is these things which occasion and give
rise to the disturbing questions that clamour for answer within the genuine
believer.
The sincere Christian is often made to seriously doubt if he has been
delivered from the love of sin. Such questions as these plainly agitate his
mind: Why do I so readily yield to temptation? Why do some of the
vanities and pleasures of the world still possess so much attraction for me?
Why do I chafe so much against any restraints being placed upon my lusts?
Why do I find the work of mortification so difficult and distasteful? Could
such things as these be if I were a new creature in Christ? Could such
horrible experiences as these happen if God had saved me from taking
pleasure in sin? Well do we know that we are here giving expression to the
very doubts which exercise the minds of many of our readers, and those
who are strangers thereto are to be pitied. But what shall we say in reply?
How is this distressing problem to be resolved?
How may one be assured that he has been saved from the love of sin? Let
us point out first that the presence of that within us which still lusts after
and takes delight in some evil things, is not incompatible with our having
been saved from the love of sin, paradoxical as that may sound. It is part of
the mystery of the Gospel that those who be saved are yet sinners in
themselves. The point we are here dealing with is similar to and parallel
with faith. The Divine principle of faith in the heart does not cast out
unbelief. Faith and doubts exist side by side within a quickened soul, which
is evident from those words, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief”
(

Mark 9:24). In like manner the Christian may exclaim and pray, “Lord,
I long after holiness, help Thou my lustings after sin.” And why is this?
Because of the existence of two separate natures, the one at complete
variance with the other within the Christian..11
How, then, is the presence of faith to be ascertained? Not by the ceasing of
unbelief, but by discovering its own fruit and works. Fruit may grow amid
thorns as flowers among weeds, and yet it is fruit nonetheless. Faith exists
amid many doubts and fears. Notwithstanding opposing forces within as
well as from without us, faith still reaches out after God. Notwithstanding
innumerable discouragements and defeats, faith continues to fight.
Notwithstanding many refusals from God, it yet clings to Him and says,
Except Thou bless me I will not let Thee go. Faith may be fearfully weak
and fitful, often eclipsed by the clouds of unbelief, nevertheless the Devil
himself cannot persuade its possessor to repudiate God’s Word, despite
His Son, or abandon all hope. The presence of faith, then, may be
ascertained in that it causes its possessor to come before God as an empty-handed
beggar beseeching Him for mercy and blessing.
Now just as the presence of faith may be known amid all the workings of
unbelief, so our salvation from the love of sin may be ascertained
notwithstanding all the lustings of the flesh after that which is evil. But in
what way? How is this initial aspect of salvation to be identified? We have
already anticipated this question in an earlier paragraph, wherein we stated
that God saved us from delighting in sin by imparting a nature that hates
evil and loves holiness, which takes place at the new birth. Consequently,
the real question to be settled is, How may the Christian positively
determine whether that new and holy nature has been imparted to him? The
answer is, By observing its activities, particularly the opposition it makes
(under the energizings of the Holy Spirit) unto indwelling sin. Not only
does the flesh (that principle of sin) lust against the spirit, but the spirit (the
principle of holiness) lusts and wars against the flesh.
First, our salvation from the pleasure or love of sin may be recognized by
sin’s becoming a burden to us. This is truly a spiritual experience. Many
souls are loaded down with worldly anxieties, who know nothing of what it
means to be bowed down with a sense of guilt. But when God takes us in
hand, the iniquities and transgressions of our past life are made to lie as an
intolerable load upon the conscience. When we are given a sight of
ourselves as we appear before the eyes of the thrice holy God, we will
exclaim with the Psalmist, “For innumerable evils have compassed me
about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to
look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart
faileth me” (

Psalm 42:12). So far from sin being pleasant, it is now felt
as a cruel incubus, a crushing weight, and unendurable load. The soul is.12
“heavy laden” (

Matthew 11:28) and bowed down. A sense of guilt
oppresses and the conscience cannot bear the weight of it. Nor is this
experience restricted to our first conviction: it continues with more or less
acuteness throughout the Christian’s life.
Second, our salvation from the pleasure of sin may be recognized by sin’s
becoming bitter to us. True, there are millions of unregenerate who are
filled with remorse over the harvest reaped from their sowing of wild oats.
Yet that is not hatred of sin, but dislike of its consequences—ruined health,
squandered opportunities, financial straitness, or social disgrace. No, what
we have reference to is that anguish of heart which ever marks the one the
Spirit takes in hand. When the veil of delusion is removed and we see sin in
the light of God’s countenance; when we are given a discovery of the
depravity of our very nature, then we perceive that we are sunk in carnality
and death. When sin is opened to us in all its secret workings, we are made
to feel the vileness of our hypocrisy, self-righteousness, unbelief,
impatience, and the utter filthiness of our hearts. And when the penitent
soul views the sufferings of Christ, he can say with Job, “God maketh my
heart soft” (

Job 23:16).
Ah, my reader, it is this experience which prepares the heart to go out after
Christ: those that are whole need not a physician, but they that are
quickened and convicted by the spirit are anxious to be relieved by the
great Physician.
“The Lord killeth, and maketh alive; he bringeth down to the grave,
and bringeth up. The Lord maketh poor and maketh rich; he
bringeth low, and lifteth up” (

1 Samuel 2:6-7).
It is in this way that God slayeth our self righteousness, maketh poor and
bringeth low—by making sin to be an intolerable burden and as bitter
wormwood to us. There can be no saving faith till the soul is filled with
evangelical repentance, and repentance is a godly sorrow for sin, a holy
detestation of sin, a sincere purpose to forsake it. The Gospel calls upon
men to repent of their sins, forsake their idols, and mortify their lusts, and
thus it is utterly impossible for the Gospel to be a message of good tidings
to those who are in love with sin and madly determined to perish rather
than part with their idols.
Nor is this experience of sin’s becoming bitter to us limited to our first
awakening—it continues in varying degrees, to the end of our earthly.13
pilgrimage. The Christian suffers under temptations, is pained by Satan’s
fiery assaults, and bleeds from the wounds inflicted by the evil he commits.
It grieves him deeply that he makes such a wretched return unto God for
His goodness, that he requites Christ so evilly for His dying love, that he
responds so fitfully to the promptings of the Spirit. The wanderings of his
mind when he desires to meditate upon the Word, the dullness of his heart
when he seeks to pray, the worldly thoughts which invade his mind on the
Holy Sabbath, the coldness of his affections towards the Redeemer, cause
him to groan daily; all of which goes to evidence that sin has been made
bitter to him. He no longer welcomes those intruding thoughts which take
his mind off God: rather does he sorrow over them. But,
“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted:
(

Matthew 5:4).
Third, our salvation from the pleasure of sin may be recognized by the felt
bondage which sin produces. As it is not until a Divine faith is planted in
the heart that we become aware of our native and inveterate unbelief, so it
is not until God saves us from the love of sin that we are conscious of the
fetters it has placed around us. Then it is we discover that we are “without
strength,” unable to do anything pleasing to God, incapable of running the
race set before us. A Divinely drawn picture of the saved soul’s felt
bondage is to be found in Romans 7:
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good
thing: for to will is present with me, but how to perform that which
is good I find not. For the good that I would, I do not; but the evil
which I would not, that I do… For I delight in the law of God after
the inward man: but I see another law in my members, waning
against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the
law of sin” (vs.

18, 19, 22, 23).
And what is the sequel? this the agonizing cry “O wretched man that I am!
who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” If that be the sincere
lamentation of your heart, then God has saved you from the pleasure of sin.
Let it be pointed out though, that salvation from the love of sin is felt and
evidenced in varying degrees by different Christians, and in different
periods in the life of the same Christian, according to the measure of grace
which God bestows, and according as that grace is active and operative.
Some seem to have a more intense hatred of sin in all its forms than do.14
others, yet the principle of hating sin is found in all real Christians. Some
Christians, rarely if ever, commit any deliberate and premeditated sins:
more often they are tripped up, suddenly tempted (to be angry or tell a lie)
and are overcome. But with others the case is quite otherwise: they—
fearful to say—actually plan evil acts. If any one indignantly denies that
such a thing is possible in a saint, and insists that such a character is a
stranger to saving grace, we would remind him of David: was not the
murder of Uriah definitely planned? This second class of Christians find it
doubly hard to believe they have been saved from the love of sin.
2. SALVATION FROM THE PENALTY OF SIN
This follows upon our regeneration which is evidenced by evangelical
repentance and unfeigned faith. Every soul that truly puts his trust in the
Lord Jesus Christ is then and there saved from the penalty—the guilt, the
wages, the punishment—of sin. When the apostle said to the penitent
jailor, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved,” he
signified that all his sins would be remitted by God; just as when the Lord
said to the poor woman, “thy faith hath saved thee: go in peace” (

Luke
7:50). He meant that all her sins were now forgiven her, for forgiveness
has to do with the criminality and punishment of sin. To the same effect
when we read “by grace are ye saved through faith” (

Ephesians 2:8), it
is to be understood the Lord has actually “delivered us from the wrath to
come” (

1 Thessalonians 1:10).
This aspect of our salvation is to be contemplated from two separate
viewpoints: the Divine and the human. The Divine side of it is found in the
mediatorial office and work of Christ, who as the Sponsor and Surety of
His people met the requirements of the law on their behalf, working out for
them a perfect righteousness and enduring Himself the curse and
condemnation which are due them, consummated at the Cross. It was there
that He was
“wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities”
(

Isaiah 53:5).
It was there that He, judicially,
“his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree”
(

1 Peter 2:24)..15
It was there that He was “smitten of God and afflicted” while He was
making atonement for the offenses of His people. Because Christ suffered
in my stead, I go free; because He died, I live; because He was forsaken of
God, I am reconciled to Him. This is the great marvel of grace, which will
evoke ceaseless praise from the redeemed throughout eternity.
The human side of our salvation from the penalty of sin respects our
repentance and faith. Though these possess no merits whatever, and
though they in no sense purchase our pardon, yet according to the order
which God has appointed, they are (instrumentally) essential, for salvation
does not become ours experimentally until they are exercised. Repentance
is the hand releasing those filthy objects it had previously clung to so
tenaciously; faith is extending an empty hand to God to receive His gift of
grace. Repentance is a godly sorrow for sin; faith is receiving a sinner s
Saviour. Repentance is a revulsion of the filth and pollution of sin; faith is a
seeking of cleansing therefrom. Repentance is the sinner covering his
mouth and crying, “Unclean, unclean!”; faith is the leper coming to Christ
and saying, “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.”
So far from repentance and faith being meritorious graces, they are self-emptying
ones. The one who truly repents takes his place as a lost sinner
before God, confessing himself to be a guilty wretch deserving naught but
unsparing judgment at the hands of Divine justice. Faith looks away from
corrupt and ruined self, and views the amazing provision which God has
made for such a Hell-deserving creature. Faith lays hold of the Son of
God’s love, as a drowning man clutches at a passing spar. Faith surrenders
to the Lordship of Christ, rests upon the merits and efficacy of His
sacrifice, his sins are removed from God’s sight “as far as the east is from
the west”: he is now eternally saved from the wrath to come.
We cannot do better here than quote these sublime lines of Augustus
Toplady:
From whence this fear and unbelief?
Hast Thou, O Father, put to grief
Thy spotless Son for me?
And will the righteous Judge of men
Condemn me for that debt of sin
Which, Lord, was laid on Thee?
If Thou hast my discharge procured,
And freely in my place endured.16
The whole of wrath Divine;
Payment God cannot twice demand
First at my bleeding Surety’s hand,
And then again at mine.
Complete atonement Thou hast made,
And to the utmost farthing paid,
What e’er Thy people owed;
How then can wrath on me take place,
If sheltered in Thy righteousness,
And sprinkled with Thy blood?
Turn, then, my soul, unto thy rest,
The merits of thy great High Priest
Speak peace and liberty.
Trust in His efficacious blood,
Nor fear thy banishment from God,
Since Jesus died for thee.
While deliverance from the love of sin has to do entirely with the
experimental side of our salvation, remission of the penalty of sin concerns
the legal aspect only, or in other words, the believer’s justification.
Justification is a forensic term and has to do with the law-courts, for it is
the decision or verdict of the judge. Justification is the opposite of
condemnation. Condemnation means that a man has been charged with a
crime, his guilt is established, and accordingly the law pronounces upon
him sentence of punishment. On the contrary, justification means that the
accused is found to be guiltless, the law has nothing against him, and
therefore he is acquitted and exonerated, leaving the court without a stain
upon his character. When we read in Scripture that believers are “justified
from all things” (

Acts 13:39), it signifies that their case has been tried in
the high court of Heaven and that God, the Judge of all the earth, has
acquitted them:
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in
Christ Jesus” (

Romans 8:1).
But to be without condemnation is only the negative side: justification
means to declare or pronounce righteous, up to the Law’s requirements.
Justification implies that the Law has been fulfilled, obeyed, magnified, for
nothing short of this would meet the just demands of God. Hence, as His
people, fallen in Adam, were unable to measure up to the Divine standard,
God appointed that His own Son should become incarnate, be the Surety.17
of His people, and answer the demands of the Law in their stead. Here,
then, is the sufficient answer which may be made to the two objections
which unbelief is ready to raise: how can God acquit the guilty? How can
He declare righteous one who is devoid of righteousness? Bring in the
Lord Jesus Christ and all difficulty disappears. The guilt of our sins was
imputed or legally transferred to Him, so that He suffered the full penalty
of what was due them; the merits of His obedience are imputed or legally
transferred to us, so that we stand before God in all the acceptableness of
our Sponsor (

Romans 5:18, 19;

2 Corinthians 5:21, etc.). Not only
has the Law nothing against us, but we are entitled to its reward.
3. SALVATION FROM THE POWER OF SIN
This is a present and protracted process, and is as yet incomplete. It is the
most difficult part of our subject, and upon it the greatest confusion of
thought prevails, especially among young Christians. Many there are who,
having learned that the Lord Jesus is the Saviour of sinners, have jumped
to the erroneous conclusion that if they but exercise faith in Him, surrender
to His Lordship, commit their souls into His keeping, He will remove their
corrupt nature and destroy their evil propensities. But after they have really
trusted in Him, they discover that evil is still present with them, that their
hearts are still deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, and that
no matter how they strive to resist temptation, pray for overcoming grace,
and use the means of God’s appointing, they seem to grow worse and
worse instead of better, until they seriously doubt if they are saved at all.
They are not being saved.
Even when a person has been regenerated and justified, the flesh or corrupt
nature remains within him, and ceaselessly harasses him. Yet this ought not
to perplex hint To the saints at Rome Paul said, “Let not sin therefore reign
in your mortal body” (

Romans 6:12), which would be entirely
meaningless had sin been eradicated from them. Writing to the Corinthian
saints he said,
“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” (

2 Corinthians 7:1):
obviously such an exhortation is needless if sin has been purged from our
beings..18
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that
he may exalt you in due time” (

1 Peter 5:6):
what need have Christians for such a word as this, except pride lurks and
works within them. But all room for controversy on this point is excluded
if we bow to that inspired declaration,
“If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not
in us” (

1 John 1:8).
The old carnal nature remains in the believer: he is still a sinner, though a
saved one. What, then, is the young Christian to do? Is he powerless? Must
he resort to stoicism, and make up his mind there is naught but a life of
defeat before him? Certainly not! The first thing for him to do is to learn
the humiliating truth that in himself he is “without strength.” It was here
that Israel failed: when Moses made known to them the Law they
boastfully declared
“all that the Lord has said we will do and be obedient”
(

Exodus 24:7).
All how little did they realize that “in the flesh there dwelleth no good
thing.” It was here, too, that Peter failed: he was self-confident and boasted
that “though all men be offended because of thee, yet will I not deny
thee—how little he knew his own heart. This complacent spirit lurks within
each of us. While we cherish the belief we can “do better next time” it is
evident that we still have confidence in our own powers. Not until we heed
the Saviour’s words “without me ye can do nothing” do we take the first
step toward victory. Only when we are weak (in ourselves) are we strong.
The believer still has the carnal nature within him, and he has no strength in
himself to check its evil propensities, nor to overcome its sinful
solicitations. But the believer in Christ also has another nature within him
which is received at the new birth: “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit”
(

John 3:6). The believer, then, has two natures within him: one which is
sinful, the other which is spiritual. These two natures being totally different
in character, are antagonistic to each other. To this antagonism or conflict
the apostle referred when he said,
“The flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh”
(

Galatians 5:17)..19
Now which of these two natures is to regulate the believer’s life? It is
manifest that both cannot, for they are contrary to each other. It is equally
evident that the stronger of the two will exert the more controlling power.
It is also clear that in the young Christian the carnal nature is the stronger,
because he was born with it, and hence it has many years start of the
spiritual nature, which he did not receive until he was born again.
Further, it is unnecessary to argue at length that the only way by which we
can strengthen and develop the new nature, is by feeding it. In every realm
growth is dependent upon food, suitable food, daily food. The nourishment
which God has provided for our spiritual nature is found in His own Word,
for
“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that
proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (

Matthew 4:4).
It is to this that Peter has reference when he says,
“As newborn babes desire the sincere (pure) milk of the Word, that
ye may grow thereby” (

1 Peter 2:2).
In proportion as we feed upon the heavenly Manna, such will be our
spiritual growth. Of course there are other things besides food needful to
growth: we must breathe, and in a pure atmosphere. This, translated into
spiritual terms, signifies prayer. It is when we approach the throne of grace
and meet our Lord face to face that our spiritual lungs are filled with the
ozone of Heaven. Exercise is another essential to growth, and this finds its
accomplishment in walking with the Lord. If, then, we heed these primary
laws of spiritual health, the new nature will flourish.
But not only must the new nature be fed, it is equally necessary for our
spiritual well-being that the old nature should be starved. This is what the
apostle had in mind when he said,
“Make not provision for the flesh, unto the lusts thereof”
(

Romans 13:14).
To starve the old nature, to make not provision for the flesh, means that
we abstain from everything that would stimulate our carnality; that we
avoid, as we would a plague, all that is calculated to prove injurious to our
spiritual welfare. Not only must we deny ourselves the pleasures of sin,
shun such things as the saloon, theatre, dance, card-table, etc., but we must.20
separate ourselves from the worldly companions, cease to read worldly
literature, abstain from everything upon which we cannot ask God’s
blessing. Our affections are to be set upon things above, and not upon
things upon the earth (

Colossians 3:2). Does this seem a high standard,
and sound impracticable? Holiness in all things is that at which we are to
aim, and failure to do so explains the leanness of so many Christians. Let
the young believer realize that whatever does not help his spiritual life
hinders it.
Here, then, in brief is the answer to our question, What is the young
Christian to do in order for deliverance from indwelling sin. It is true that
we are still in this world, but we are not “of’ it (

John 17:14). It is true
that we are forced to associate with godless people, but this is ordained of
God in order that we may
“let our light so shine before men that they may see our good
works, and glorify our Father which is in heaven”
(

Matthew 5:16).
There is a wide difference between associating with sinners as we go about
our daily tasks, and making them our intimate companions and friends.
Only as we feed upon the Word can we
“grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ”
(

2 Peter 3:18).
Only as we starve the old nature can we expect deliverance from its power
and pollution. Then let us earnestly heed the exhortation
“put ye off concerning the former conversation (behaviour) 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”
(

Ephesians 4:22-24).
Above, we have dealt only with the human side of the problem as to how
to obtain deliverance from the dominion of sin. Necessarily there is a
Divine side too. It is only by God’s grace that we are enabled to use the
means which He has provided us, as it is only by the power of His Spirit
who dwells within us that we can truly.21
“lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us,
and run with patience the race that is set before us”
(

Hebrews 12:1).
These two aspects (the Divine and the human) are brought together in a
number of scriptures. We are bidden to “work out our own salvation with
fear and trembling” but the apostle immediately added,
“for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his
good pleasure” (

Philippians 2:12, 13).
Thus, we are to work out that which God has wrought within us; in other
words, if we walk in the Spirit we shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh
(

Galatians 5:16). It has now been shown that salvation from the power
of sin is a process which goes on throughout the believer’s life. It is to this
Solomon referred when he said,
“The path of the just is as a shining light, which shineth more and
more unto the perfect day” (

Proverbs 4:18).
As our salvation from the pleasure of sin is the consequence of our
regeneration, and as salvation from the penalty of sin respects our
justification, so salvation from the power of sin has to do with the practical
side of our sanctification. The word sanctification signifies “separation”—
separation from sin. We need hardly say that the word holiness is strictly
synonymous with “sanctification,” being an alternative rendering of the
same Greek word. As the practical side of sanctification has to do with our
separation from sin, we are told,
“Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit,
perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (

2 Corinthians 7:1).
That practical sanctification or holiness is a process, a progressive
experience, is clear from this:
“Follow… holiness without which no man shall see the Lord”
(

Hebrews 12:14).
The fact that we are to “follow” holiness clearly intimates that we have not
yet attained unto the Divine standard which God requires of us. This is
further seen in the passage just quoted: “perfecting holiness” or completing
it..22
THE DIVINE SIDE OF OUR SALVATION
We must now enter into a little fuller detail of the Divine side of our
salvation from the power and pollution of sin. When a sinner truly receives
Christ as his Lord and Saviour, God does not then and there take him to
Heaven; on the contrary, he is likely to be left down here for many years,
and this world is a place of danger, for it lieth in the Wicked one (

1
John 5:19) and all pertaining to it is opposed to the Father (

1 John
2:16). Therefore the believer needs daily salvation from this hostile system.
Accordingly we read that Christ “gave Himself for our sins, that He might
deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God our
Father (

Galatians 1:4). Not only is the sinner not taken to Heaven when
he first savingly believes, but, as we have seen, the evil nature is not taken
out of him; nevertheless God does not leave him completely under its
dominion, but graciously delivers him from its regal power. He uses a great
variety of means to accomplish this.
First, by granting us a clearer view of our inward depravity, so that we
are made to abhor ourselves. By nature we are thoroughly in love with
ourselves, but as the Divine work of grace is carried forward in our souls
we come to loathe ourselves; and that, my reader, is a very distressing
experience—one which is conveniently shelved by most of our modern
preachers. The concept which many young Christians form from preachers
is, that the experience of a genuine believer is a smooth, peaceful, and
joyous one; but he soon discovers that this is not verified in his personal
history, but rather is it completely falsified. And this staggers him:
supposing the preacher to know more about such matters than himself, he
is now filled with disturbing doubts about his very salvation, and the Devil
promptly tells him he is only a hypocrite, and never was saved at all.
Only those who have actually passed through or are passing through this
painful experience have any real conception thereof: there is as much
difference between an actual acquaintance with it and the mere reading a
description of the same, as there is between personally visiting a country
and examining it first hand and simply studying a map of it. But how are
we to account for one who has been saved from the pleasure and penalty of
sin, now being made increasingly conscious not only of its polluting
presence but of its tyrannizing power? How explain the fact that the
Christian now finds himself growing worse and worse, and the more
closely he endeavours to walk with God, the more he finds the flesh.23
bringing forth its horrible works in ways it had not done previously? The
answer is because of increased light from God, by which he now discovers
filth of which he was previously unaware: the sun shining into a neglected
room does not create the dust and cobwebs, but simply reveals them.
Thus it is with the Christian. The more the light of the Spirit is turned upon
him inwardly, the more he discovers the horrible plague of his heart (

1
Kings 8:38), and the more he realizes what a wretched failure he is. The
fact is, dear discouraged soul, that the more you are growing out of love
with yourself, the more you are being saved from the power of sin.
Wherein lies its fearful potency? Why, in its power to deceive us. It lies to
us. It did so to Adam and Eve. It gives us false estimates of values so that
we mistake the tinsel for real gold. To be saved from the power of sin, is to
have our eyes opened so that we see things in God’s light: it is to know the
truth about things all around us, and the truth about ourselves. Satan has
blinded the minds of them that believe not, but the Holy Spirit hath shined
in our hearts
“unto the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of
Jesus Christ” (

2 Corinthians 4:4, 6).
But further: sin not only deceives, it puffs up, causing its infatuated victims
to think highly of themselves. As

1 Timothy 3:6 tells us, to be “lifted up
with pride” is to “fall into the condemnation of the devil.” Ah, it was insane
egotism which caused him to say,
“I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of
God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides
of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds: I will be
like the Most High” (

Isaiah 14:13, 14).
Is there any wonder then, that those in whom he works are filled with pride
and complacency! Sin ever produces self-love and self-righteousness: the
most abandoned of characters will tell you, “I know that I am weak, yet I
have a good heart.” But when God takes us in hand, it is the very opposite:
the workings of the Spirit subdues our pride. How? By giving increasing
discoveries of self and the exceeding sinfulness of sin, so that each one
cries with Job “Behold! I am vile” (

Job 40:4): such an one is being
saved from the power of sin—its power to deceive and to inflate.
Second, by sore chastenings. This is another means which God uses in
delivering His people from sin’s dominion..24
“We have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave
them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the
Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened
us after their pleasure: but He for our profit, that we might be
partakers of His holiness” (

Hebrews 12:9, 10).
Those chastenings assume varied forms: sometimes they are external,
sometimes internal, but whatever be their nature they are painful to flesh
and blood. Sometimes these Divine chastisements are of long duration, and
then the soul is apt to ask
“why standest Thou afar off, O Lord? Why dost Thou hide Thyself
in times of trouble?” (

Psalm 10:1),
for it seems as though God has deserted us. Earnest prayer is made for a
mitigation of suffering, but no relief is granted; grace is earnestly sought
for meekly bowing to the rod, but unbelief, impatience, rebellion, seems to
wax stronger and stronger, and the soul is hard put to it to believe in God’s
love; but as

Hebrews 12:11 tells us,
“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but
grievous; nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceful
(peaceable, AV) fruit of righteousness unto them which are
exercised thereby.”
This life is a schooling, and chastenings are one of the chief methods God
employs in the training of His children. Sometimes they are sent for the
correcting of our faults, and therefore we must pray, “Cause me to
understand wherein I have erred” (

Job 6:24). Let us steadily bear in
mind that it is the “rod” and not the sword which is smiting us, held in the
hand of our loving Father and not the avenging Judge. Sometimes they are
sent for the prevention of sin, as Paul was given a thorn in the flesh, “lest
he should be exalted above measure, through the abundance of the
revelations” given him. Sometimes they are sent for our spiritual
education, that by them we may be brought to a deeper experimental
acquaintance with God:
“It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn Thy
statutes” (

Psalm 119:71).
Sometimes they are sent for the testing and strengthening of our graces:.25
“We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh
patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope”
(

Romans 5:3, 4);
“count it all joy when ye fall into varied trials: knowing this, that
the trying of your faith worketh patience” (

James 1:2, 3).
Chastening is God’s sin-purging medicine, sent to wither our fleshly
aspirations, to detach our heats from carnal objects. to deliver us from our
idols, to wean us more thoroughly from the world. God has bidden us
“Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers… come out
from among them, and be ye separate” (

2 Corinthians 6:14, 17);
and we are slow to respond, and therefore does He take measures to drive
us out lie has bidden us “love not the world,” and if we disobey we must
not be surprised if He causes some of our worldly friends to hate and
persecute us. God has bidden us
“mortify ye therefore your members which are upon the earth”
(

Colossians 3:5):
if we refuse to comply with this unpleasant task, then we may expect God
Himself to use the pruning-knife upon us. God has bidden us “cease ye
from man” (

Isaiah 2:22), and if we will trust our fellows, we are made
to suffer for it.
“Despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou
art rebuked of Him” (

Hebrews 12:5).
This is a salutary warning. So far from despising it, we should be grateful
for the same: that God cares so much and takes such trouble with us, and
that His bitter physic produces such healthful effects.
“In their affliction they will seek Me early” (

Hosea 5:15):
while everything is running smoothly for us, we are apt to be self-sufficient;
but when trouble comes, we promptly turn unto the Lord. Own, then, with
the Psalmist
“In faithfulness Thou hast afflicted me” (

Psalm 119:75).
Not only do God’s chastisements, when sanctified to us, subdue the
workings of pride and wean us more from the world, but they make the.26
Divine promises more precious to the heart: such an one as this takes on
new meaning;
“When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee,… when
thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned”
(

Isaiah 43:2).
Moreover, they break down selfishness and make us more sympathetic to
our fellow-sufferers:
“Who comfortest us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to
comfort them which are in any trouble” (

2 Corinthians 1:4).
Third, by bitter disappointments. God has plainly warned us that “all is
vanity and vexation of spirit, and there is no profit under the sun”
(

Ecclesiastes 2:11), and that by one who was permitted to gratify the
physical senses as none other ever has been. Yet we do not take this
warning to heart, for we do not really believe it. On the contrary, we
persuade ourselves that satisfaction is to be found in things under the sun,
that the creature can give contentment to our hearts. As well attempt to fill
a circle with a square! The heart was made for God, and He alone can meet
its needs. But by nature we are idolaters, putting things into His place.
Those things we invest with qualities they possess not, and sooner or later
our delusions are rudely exposed to us, and we discover that the images in
our minds are only dreams, that our golden idol is but clay after all.
God so orders His providences that our earthly nest is destroyed. The
winds of adversity compel us to leave the downy bed of carnal ease and
luxuriation. Grievous losses are experienced in some form or other.
Trusted friends prove fickle, and in the hour of need fail us. The family
circle, which had so long sheltered us and where peace and happiness was
found, is broken up by the grim hand of death. Health fails and weary
nights are our portion. These frying experiences, these bitter
disappointments, are another of the means which our gracious God
employs to save us from the pleasure and pollution of sin. By them He
discovers to us the vanity and vexation of the creature. By them He weans
us more completely from the world. By them He teaches us that the objects
in which we sought refreshment are but “broken cisterns,” and this that we
may turn to Christ and draw from Him who is the Well of living water, the
One who alone can supply true satisfaction of soul..27
It is in this way we are experimentally taught to look off from the present
to the future, for our rest is not here.
“For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for
what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?” (

Romans 8:24).
Let it be duly noted that this comes immediately after “we ourselves groan
within ourselves.” Thus to be “saved by hope” respects our present
salvation from the power of sin. Complete salvation is now the Christian’s
only in title and expectation. It is not here said that we “shall be saved by
hope,’ but we are saved by hope—that hope which looks for the fulfilling
of God’s promises. Hope has to do with a future good, with something
which as yet “is seen not:” we “hope” not for something which is already
enjoyed. Herein hope differs from faith. Faith, as it is an assent, is in the
mind; but hope is seated in the affections, stirred by the desirability of the
things promised.
And, my reader, the bitter disappointments of life are naught but a dark
background upon which hope may shine forth the more brightly. Christ
does not immediately take to Heaven the one who puts his trust in Him.
No, He keeps him here upon earth for a while to be exercised and tried.
While he is awaiting his complete blessedness there is such a difference
between him and it, and he encounters many difficulties and trials. Not
having yet received his inheritance, there is need and occasion of hope, for
only by its exercise can things future be sought after. The stronger our
hope, the more earnestly shall we be engaged in the pursuit of it. We have
to be weaned from present things in order for the heart to be fixed upon a
future good.
Fourth, by the gift of the Spirit and His operations within us. God’s great
gift of Christ for us is matched by the gift of the Spirit for us, for we owe
as much to the One as we do to the Other. The new nature in the Christian
is powerless apart from the Spirit’s daily renewing. It is by His gracious
operations that we have discovered to us the nature and extent of sin, are
made to strive against it, are brought to grieve over it. It is by the Spirit
that faith, hope, prayer, is kept alive within the soul. It is by the Spirit we
are moved to use the means of grace which God has appointed for our
spiritual preservation and growth. It is by the spirit that sin is prevented
from having complete dominion over us, for as the result of His indwelling
us, there is something else besides sin in the believer’s heart and life,
namely, the fruits of holiness and righteousness..28
To sum up this aspect of our subject. Salvation from the power of
indwelling sin is not the taking of the evil nature out of the believer in this
life, nor by effecting any improvement in it:
“that which is born of the flesh is flesh” (

John 3:6)
and it remains so, unchanged to the end. Nor is it by the Spirit so subduing
indwelling sin that it is rendered less active, for the flesh not merely lusts,
but “lusteth (ceaselessly) against the spirit:” it never sleeps, not even when
our bodies do, as our dreams evidence. No, and in some form or other, the
flesh is constantly producing its evil works. It may not be in external acts,
seen by the eyes of our fellows, but certainly so internally, in things seen by
God—such as covetousness, discontent, pride, unbelief, self-will, ill-will
towards others, and a hundred other evils. No, none is saved from sinning
in this life.
Present salvation from the power of sin consists in, first, delivering us from
the love of it, which though begun at our regeneration is continued
throughout out practical sanctification. Second, from its blinding
delusiveness, so that it can no more deceive as it once did. Third, from our
excusing it: “that which I do, I allow not” (

Romans 7:15). This is one
of the surest marks of regeneration. In the fullest sense of the word the
believer “allows” it not before he sins, for every real Christian when in his
right mind desires to be wholly kept from sinning. He “allows” it not fully
when doing it, for in the actual committing thereof there is an inward
reserve—the new nature consents not. He “allows” it not afterwards, as
Psalm 51 evidences so plainly of the case of David.
The force of this word “allow” in

Romans 7:15 may be seen from
“truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for
they killed them (the prophets) and ye build their sepulchers”
(

Luke 11:48).
So far from those Jews being ashamed of their fathers and abhorring their
wicked conduct, they erected a monument to their honour. Thus, to
“allow” is the opposite of to be ashamed of and sorrow over: it is to
condone and vindicate. Therefore, when it is said that the believer “allows
not” the evil of which he is guilty, it means that he seeks not to justify
himself or throw the blame on some one else, as both Adam and Eve did.
That the Christian allows not sin is evident by his shame over it, his sorrow.29
for it, his confession of it, his loathing himself because of it, his renewed
resolution to forsake it.
4. SALVATION FROM THE PRESENCE OF SIN
We now turn to that aspect of our subject which has to do solely with the
future. Sin is yet to be completely eradicated from the believer’s being, so
that he shall appear before God without any spot or blemish. True, this is
his legal status even now, yet it has not become so in his state or
experience. As God views the believer in Christ, he appears before Him in
all the excellency of his Sponsor; but as God views him as he yet is in
himself (and that he does do so is proved by His chastenings), he beholds
all the ruin which the Fall has wrought in him. But this will not always be
the case: no, blessed be His name, the Lord is reserving the best wine for
the last. And even now we have tasted that He is gracious, but the fullness
of His grace will only be entered into and enjoyed by us after this world is
left behind.
Those Scriptures which present our salvation as a future prospect are all
concerned with our final deliverance from the very inbeing of sin. To this
Paul referred when he said,
“Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed”
(

Romans 13:11)
—not our salvation from the pleasure, the penalty, or the power of sin, but
from its very presence.
“For our citizenship is in heaven: from whence we also look for the
Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (

Philippians 3:20).
Yes, it is the “Saviour” we await, for it is at His return that the whole
election of grace shall enter into their full salvation; as it is written,
“Unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time
without sin unto salvation” (

Hebrews 9:28).
In like manner, when another apostle declares,
“We are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation,
ready to be revealed at the last time” (

1 Peter 1:5),.30
he had reference to this grand consummation of the believer’s salvation,
when he shall be forever rid of the very presence of sin.
Our salvation from the pleasure of sin is effected by Christ’s taking up His
abode in our hearts: “Christ liveth in me” (

Galatians 2:20). Our
salvation from the penalty of sin was secured by Christ’s sufferings on the
cross, where He endured the punishment due our iniquities. Our salvation
from the power of sin is obtained by the gracious operations of the Spirit
which Christ sends to His people—therefore is He designated “the Spirit of
Christ” (

Romans 8:9 and cf

Galatians 4:6,

Revelation 3:1). Our
salvation from the presence of sin will be accomplished at Christ’s second
advent:
“for our citizenship is in Heaven, from whence also we look for the
Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body that
it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the
working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto
Himself” (

Philippians 3:20, 21).
And again we are told,
“We know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we
shall see Him as He is” (

1 John 3:2).
It is all of Christ from beginning to end.
Man was originally created in the image and likeness of God, reflecting the
moral perfections of his Maker. But sin came in and he fell from his pristine
glory, and by that fall God’s image in him was broken and His likeness
marred. But in the redeemed that image is to be restored, yea, they are to
be granted a far higher honour than what was bestowed upon the first
Adam: they are to be made like the last Adam. It is written,
“For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be
conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the Firstborn
among many brethren” (

Romans 8:29).
This blessed purpose of God in our predestination will not be fully realized
until the second coming of our Lord: then it will be that His people shall be
completely emancipated from the thralldom and corruption of sin. Then
shall Christ.31
“present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having any spot or
wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without
blemish” (

Ephesians 5:27).
Salvation from the pleasure or love of sin takes place at our regeneration;
salvation from the penalty or punishment of sin occurs at our justification;
salvation from the power or dominion of sin is accomplished during our
practical sanctification; salvation from the presence or inbeing of sin is
consummated at our glorification:
“Whom He justified, them He also glorified” (

Romans 8:30).
Not so much is revealed in Scripture on this fourth aspect of our subject,
for God’s Word was not given us to gratify curiosity. Yet sufficient is
made known to feed faith, strengthen hope, draw out love, and make us
“run with patience the race that is set before us.” In our present state we
are incapable of forming any real conception of the bliss awaiting us: yet as
Israel’s spies brought back the bunch of “the grapes of Eschol” as a sample
of the good things to be found in the land of Canaan, so the Christian is
granted a foretaste and earnest of his inheritance on High.
“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of
the Son of God, to a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature
of the fullness of Christ” (

Ephesians 4:13).
It is to the image of a glorified Christ that we are predestinated to be
conformed. Behold Him on the mount of transfiguration, when a fore-view
of His glory was granted the favoured disciples. Such is the dazzling
splendour of His person that Saul of Tarsus was temporarily blinded by a
glimpse of it, and the beloved John in the isle of Patmos “fell at His feet as
dead” (

Revelation 1:7) when he beheld Him. That which awaits us can
best be estimated as it is contemplated in the light of God’s wondrous love.
The portion which Christ Himself has received, is the expression of God’s
love for Him; and, as the Saviour has assured His people concerning His
Father’s love unto them, “and hast loved them as Thou lovest Me”
(

John 17:23), and therefore, as He promised, “where I am, there ye may
be also” (

John 14:3).
But is not the believer forever done with sin at death? Yes, thank God,
such is the case; yet that is not his glorification, for his body goes to
corruption, and that is the effect of sin. But it is written of the believer’s
body,.32
“It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption; it is sown m
dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in
power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body” (

1
Corinthians 15:42-44).
Nevertheless, at death itself the Christian’s soul is entirely freed from the
presence of sin. This is clear from
“Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth, yea,
saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their
works do follow them” (

Revelation 14:13).
What is signified by “that they may rest from their labours?” Why,
something more blessed than ceasing from earning their daily bread by the
sweat of their brows, for that will be true of the unsaved also. Those who
die in the Lord rest from their “labours” with sin: their painful conflicts
with indwelling corruption, Satan, and the world. The fight which faith
now wages is then ended, and full relief from sin is theirs forever.
The fourfold salvation from sin of the Christian was strikingly typified in
God’s dealings with the nation of Israel of old.
First, we have a vivid portrayal of their deliverance from the pleasure or
love of sin:
“And the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and
they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the
bondage. And God heard their groaning” (

Exodus 2:23, 24).
What a contrast does that present from what we read of in the closing
chapters of Genesis! There we hear the king of Egypt saying to Joseph,
“The land of Egypt is before thee: in the best of the land make thy
father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen”
(

Genesis 47:6).
Accordingly we are told,
“And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen;
and they had possessions therein, and grew and multiplied
exceedingly” (

Genesis 47:27).
Now Egypt is the O. T. symbol of the world, as a system opposed to God.
And it was there, in the “best pan” of it, the descendants of Abraham had.33
settled. But the Lord had designs of mercy and something far better for
them: yet before they could appreciate Canaan they had to be weaned from
Egypt. Hence we find them in cruel bondage there, smarting under the lash
of the taskmasters. In this way they were made to loathe Egypt and long
for deliverance therefrom. The theme of Exodus is redemption: how
striking, then, to see that God begins His work of redemption by making
His people to groan and cry out under their bondage! The portion Christ
bestows is not welcome till we are made sick of this world.
Second, in Exodus 12 we have a picture of God’s people being delivered
from the penalty of sin. On the Passover night the angel of death came and
slew all the firstborn of the Egyptians. But why spare the firstborn of the
Israelites? Not because they were guiltless before God, for all had sinned
and come short of His glory. The Israelites, equally with the Egyptians,
were guilty in His sight, and deserving of unsparing judgment. It was at
this very point that the grace of God came in and met their need. Another
was slain in their room and died in their stead. An innocent victim was
killed and its blood shed, pointing to the coming of “the Lamb of God
which taketh away the sin of the world.” The head of each Israelitish
household sprinkled the lamb’s blood on the lintel and posts of his door,
and hence the firstborn in it was spared from the avenging angel: God
promised, “when I see the blood I will pass over you” (

Exodus 12:13).
Thus, Israel was saved from the penalty of sin by means of the lamb dying
in their stead.
Third, Israel’s wilderness journey adumbrated the believer’s salvation
from the power of sin. Israel did not enter Canaan immediately upon their
exodus from Egypt: they had to face the temptations and trials of the
desert where they spent not less than forty years. But what a gracious and
full provision did God make for His people! Manna was given them daily
from heaven—figure of that food which God’s Word now supplies for our
spiritual nourishment. Water was given from the smitten rock— emblem of
the Holy Spirit sent by the smitten Christ to dwell within us:

John 7:38,
39. A cloud and a pillar of fire guided them by day and guarded them by
night, reminding us of how God directs our steps and shields us from our
foes. Best of all, Moses, their great leader, was with them, counseling,
admonishing, and interceding for them—figure of the Captain of our
salvation: “In I am with you alway.”.34
Fourth, the actual entrance of Israel into the promised land foreshadowed
the believer’s glorification, when he enters into the full enjoyment of that
possession which Christ has purchased for hint The experiences Israel met
with in Canaan have a double typical significance. From one viewpoint they
presaged the conflict which faith encounters while the believer is left upon
earth, for as the Hebrews had to overcome the original inhabitants of
Canaan before they could enjoy their portion, so faith has to surmount
many obstacles if it is to “possess its possessions.” Nevertheless, that land
of milk and honey into which Israel entered after the bondage of Egypt and
the hardships of the wilderness were left behind, was manifestly a figure of
the Christian’s portion in Heaven after he is forever done with sin in this
world.
“Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from
their sins” (

Matthew 1:21).
First, save them from the pleasure or love of sin by bestowing a nature
which hates it: this is the great miracle of grace.
Second, save them from the penalty or punishment of sin, by remitting all
its guilt: this is the grand marvel of grace.
Third, save them from the power or dominion of sin, by the workings of
His Spirit: this reveals the wondrous might of grace.
Fourth, save them from the presence or inbeing of sin: this will
demonstrate the glorious magnitude of grace. May it please the Lord to
bless these elementary but most important articles to many of His little
ones, and make their “big” brothers and sisters smaller n their own esteem.

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