The Visible Evidence Of Sanctification (3)

4. Sanctification does not consist in retirement from our place in life, and the renunciation of our social duties. In every age it has been a snare with many to take up this line in the pursuit of holiness. Hundreds of hermits have buried themselves in some wilderness, and thousands of men and women have shut themselves up within the walls of monasteries and convents, under the vain idea that by so doing they would escape sin and become eminently holy. They have forgotten that no bolts and bars can keep out the devil and that, wherever we go, we carry that root of all evil, our own hearts. To become a monk or a nun or to join a 'house of mercy' is not the high road to sanctification. True holiness does not make a Christian evade difficulties, but face and overcome them. Christ would have His people show that His grace is not a mere hot-house plant, which can only thrive under shelter, but a strong hardy thing which can flourish in every relation of life. It is doing our duty in that state to which God has called us, like salt in the midst of corruption and light in the midst of darkness, which is a primary dement in sanctification. It is not the man who hides himself in a cave, but the man who glorifies God as master or servant, parent or child, in the family and in the street, in business and in trade, who is the scriptural type of a sanctified man. Our Master Himself said in His last prayer, 'I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil' (Joh_17:15).

5. Sanctification does not consist in the occasional performance of right actions. It is the habitual working of a new heavenly principle within, which runs through all a man's daily conduct, both in great things and in small. Its seat is in the heart and, like the heart in the body, it has a regular influence on every part of the character. It is not like a pump, which only sends forth water when worked upon from without, but like a perpetual fountain, from which a stream is ever flowing spontaneously and naturally. Even Herod, when he heard John the Baptist, 'did many things', while his heart was utterly wrong in the sight of God (Mar_6:20). Just so there are scores of people in the present day who seem to have spasmodical fits of 'goodness', as it is called, and do many right things under the influence of sickness, affliction, death in the family, public calamities or a sudden qualm of conscience. Yet all the time any intelligent observer can see plainly that they are not converted, and that they know nothing of 'sanctification'. A true saint, like Hezekiah, will be whole-hearted. He will count God's commandments concerning all things to be right and 'hate every false way' (2Ch_31:21 ; Psa_119:104).

to be continued