God’s Ways and Man’s Methods
of Becoming Holy, Contrasted
In order to understand the material in the following chapters, it behooves us to define for the reader the basic terms which we will be using.
DEPRAVITY: The depraved nature. The inward, indwelling bias to do wrong in which men are born. The inward “don’t want to” obey God’s law when known; that internal crookedness which prompts to bad acts, sometimes called “indwelling sin,” when the word refers to a state of the heart as distinct from an act.
It is natural or native, in that it is inherited or derived from Adam’s apostasy. It involves no guilt till known and approved. We are not responsible for inherited depravity, though we are responsible for its approval, intensification and continuance. It is a state of the soul, and its remedy, cleansing.
SIN: As distinct from the above, it is the voluntary transgression of a known law. The evil principle of the heart resulting in action. Properly speaking, sin is intentional and willful, and so involves responsibility. It involves also knowledge of the law violated. There is therefore also a distinction between sin and error.
ERROR is a violation of the law of right through mistake. The heart meant right, but the head judged wrong. Error lacks the element of intention, which always inheres in the act of sinning.
INFIRMITY is not sin. The apostle “gloried in infirmity.” [2 Corinthians 11:30; 12:5,9]
TEMPTATION is not sin. James says: “Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations.” [James 1:2] Jesus was tempted. Sin begins not when we are tempted, but when we yield to that temptation.
REDEMPTION: A general term, including the whole process by which God changes the sinner and brings him to eternal glory.
CONVERSION: The act of a convicted sinner, in which he forsakes sin and turns to God.
REGENERATION: God’s work, imparting new life to a convicted, repentant sinner looking to Christ for salvation.
PARDON: Divine forgiveness of actual transgressions. The application of redemption to the voluntary violations of right. Pardon can only be for an act. A state cannot be pardoned.
JUSTIFICATION: A divine act by which the sinner’s relationship to God is adjusted. Pardon forgives the deed. Justification makes just the relationship up to the point where moral agency began—it is the grace of infancy. Beyond the act of sin, justification touches the stain the sinful act had left. Though the terms are not precisely synonymous, pardon and justification are often used interchangeably.
ADOPTION: The Father taking the converted, pardoned, justified son back into his home, for which he is now a fit subject. He is reinstated into heirship.
ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION: The application of redemption to the depraved, corrupt nature in which we were born. That feature of our salvation which lies back of pardon — which is for an act — and back of justification — which refers to our adjusted relations, namely, to our depravity. For our inheritance of our depravity we are not responsible. We never committed it and cannot repent of being so born, nor seek pardon for it. God’s remedy is CLEANSING, called “Entire Sanctification,” “Holiness,” “Perfect Love,” “Christian Perfection,” “Full Salvation,” ”Higher Christian Life,” etc. On the side of man it is through consecration and faith. On the part of God it is the application of the cleansing blood. As to our apprehension of its possibility in this life, our approach to it may be gradual. As to our obtaining of it, that must be instantaneous and conscious. As to our living it, it must be ever the same in quality, and yet continually expanding in degree. Being God’s work of cleansing, it implies much more than mere consecration on the part of man.
Entire sanctification makes us morally pure as to the state in which we were born. It destroys the old man of sin, that is, the carnal mind. The subject is perfect as to the kind of his Christianity or religion; it cannot be increased. He is holy in the sense that he is morally pure. He is sinless in the sense that his past sinful acts have all been pardoned and his corrupt nature cleansed. He is blameless in the sense that God sees in his pardoned and cleansed soul nothing condemned by the gospel law. As to his love, it is perfect in kind, and perfect in the sense that he loves with all the heart, mind, soul, and strength, and in the sense that “love is the fulfilling of the law” [Romans 13:10] and “the bond of perfectness.” [Colossians 3:14] As to progress, he is growing in it. The measure, power, and intensity of his life is on continual increase. His soul, made in kind heavenly, now matures in degree, and ripens for glorification.
Having offered these definitions, we will proceed in the following chapters to examine the arguments on which Man bases his theories and methods of being or becoming holy.
- The text itself is public domain. The original booklet, God's Ways and Man's Methods of Becoming Holy, Contrasted, was transcribed by Jim Kerwin, biographer of Isaiah Reid, and co-edited and emended with Denise Kerwin. Annotations and emendations are copyright © 2010 by Jim Kerwin along with his other contributions to the online, print, and e-book versions of Isaiah Reid's God's Ways and Man's Methods of Becoming Holy, Contrasted. ↩