How May I Enter In?
Here then are the steps:
- Do not expect to get the experience by having someone, either by tongue or by book, explain you into the blessing, for this is the prerogative of Him who will not share His glory with another.
- Do not expect to get in by way of the understanding, and then do the believing afterwards. The world is full of people who want to get into the Kingdom of God with head first, instead of heart first. “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness” (Romans 10:10).
- If you expect to attain to this grace by growth, of course you cannot expect it now, by faith. You cannot have it now by growth, for you will grow as long as you are able to learn, and that we hope shall be through all eternity.
- You, the seeker, must know that you are now soundly converted. “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ let us go on unto perfection” (Hebrews 6:1).
- You must be deeply interested about the matter. You must really want holiness. It is you the apostle beseeches, “by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). No trifling, no mere “trying,” nothing less than a purpose deep as the depths of the being will suffice. No halfway notions of a “deeper work of grace,” or “more religion,” or a “fresh anointing” will meet the needs of the hour. All these expressions voice a right desire, but carry in them a meaning that fails to measure the real nature of the work which needs to be done.
- You must believe it is possible for you now, in this life.
- You must really believe God is able.
- You must really believe that God is willing.
- You must believe that God, being both able and willing, is now ready, as the soul complies fully with the conditions.
- You must, as far as you are able, count the cost and be willing to have heart purity at any price. Fear of what people, or the world, or the church, or friends may say must not be allowed to stand in the way.
- Entire consecration of everything is required—time, talent, earthly store, all that is known, and the unknown future also must be given into the Master’s supervision and unfolding. This consecration is for the purpose of being sanctified wholly.
- This matter of consecration should be continued to completion, till there is nothing more that can be done in that way. You must know you are done, before you can believe for the cleansing.
- Abandon all plans you have fixed up as to where, when, and how you are to receive it. Leave all these to God. It may be that you will not know you have a plan of your own till after you have consecrated all, tried to believe, and come to a place where you say, “I have done all this, but I don’t feel as I expected.” Then you know you had fixed up a plan of feeling. Abandon it at once.
- Be perfectly willing to take it by faith.
- Be sure you do not expect to feel you are sanctified first and then believe it afterward. You will err and stop short on this point for sure if you do not watch very closely. Indeed, it is nearly, if not wholly, impossible to tell you plainly enough to guard yourself from shipwrecking here for a time.
- Having turned all over to God forever and forever, you may begin to reckon yourself dead unto sin and alive unto God “through our Lord Jesus Christ.” You have complied with the terms laid down so far, but heart purity is not by works, but by faith. Sanctification is not pay for consecration. There is still the great thing for you to do, that is believe. Having complied so far, you must next believe that God is at least as faithful as you are, and is doing His part, though you do not see Him, or feel Him. Believe He is now sanctifying you; not as pay for your effort, but because in His goodness and mercy He planned that way to accomplish the work.
- Believe what? That what God says of a soul who is complying with His requirements is true. “He who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). You cannot believe you have a feeling when you do not. You cannot have a feeling that you are sanctified till after the work is done. You cannot feel the witness till the work is done, for God cannot bear false witness. You can believe you are consecrated, and you can believe what God says a believing, consecrated soul receives. God honors such faith and does the work.
- “We often make a joyous and gladsome state of mind the only evidence of our acceptance with the Father. This is a very mischievous error. To do this is to make the faith of our acceptance depend upon our emotions or feelings, as we saw above; whereas the Word is the only true basis of faith, on compliance with which all the promises become ours. We forget the Word which says, ‘If need be, ye are in heaviness’ (1 Peter 1:6); and, that our Saviour endured this, and yet was just as acceptable to the Father as when His emotions were the opposite. And now, as we are called to ‘endure hardness,’ 1 and it is given us to ‘suffer with Christ,’ 2 and also to bear some afflictions ‘for a moment,’ 3 we must certainly not consider any one state of feeling the only acceptable one. For if, when need be, ‘we are in heaviness,’ then heaviness must be felt. And if we are to have ‘afflictions,’ then we must sometimes feel ‘afflicted.’“You see therefore, that if you take one class of emotions to be the evidence of our acceptance, when you feel thus your faith in God will abound. But since our feelings necessarily change and vary, our faith in this case will sometimes be lost, and we may fall into consequent weakness and sadness, if not into gloom and total discouragement. Nay, such anchor-ground is too unstable. We need the immovable promise of God, which holds ‘both sure and steadfast’ 4 amid all the varying storms, winds, and rolling billows that come upon us.” 5
- Never forget that you must act for yourself. Never mind other people’s experience. You are not anybody else in the universe. As such, God will make a specialty with you, and, if you let Him, will give you an experience peculiar to yourself—one of your own. To do what others do, to feel as they feel, or to say just what they say, is neither expected nor wanted. If God sanctifies you, it will not be that way.
- Transact business with God. Don’t look to, or trust too much in persons, places, or ways. Be so interested in seeking holiness that you have little or no care as to how and where. Look steadily to God. Tell Him you believe what He says, that you now take Him for your Sanctifier, that you believe He is doing His part of the work now that your work is done, except trusting that He now does it. Reckon it as God says. Rest on the truth of His word and His divine performance of what He promised.
- Trust for the witness, do not simply wait to see if it will come. Believe it is coming, because God has promised to witness to His own work. Many stop here, after having gone safely so far, and try to complete the work by sight and reason or feeling.But do not content yourself to go on without the witness. You need it. It is yours for the seeking and receiving on the offered conditions. Without the witness one can never become “settled and grounded” and “know for themselves,” and will always be trying to reason the case out, and so remain in partial doubt.
And He the witness gives
To loyal hearts and true,
That every promise is fulfilled,
If faith but brings the plea.
[From Lewis Hartsough’s hymn,
I Hear Thy Welcome Voice]
How May I Abide?
This question is continually asked, both by those in the experience, and those seeking it: “How may the blessing of holiness be retained?” The true answer to this inquiry is not only important, but difficult to give, as the varied types of life are so many and so diverse. We can only hope therefore to give a number of suggestions, out of which some may find that which will help them into the way they wish to go. At any rate we expect the following items will furnish a number of suggestions which will be generally helpful to maintain the experience with constancy and continual enlargement.
- “As ye have received the Lord Jesus, so walk ye in Him” (Colossians 2:6).Remember that you received Him by faith, without feeling. Having received Him by faith, the devil will try to have you go on by feeling, and to make you think that because you have no feeling you have no experience. The feeling is a result of the experience, just as the flower is the product of the plant. As the plant is not dead when there is no flower, so the experience is not necessarily wanting when there is no tide of emotional exultation. Learn to walk by faith, and trust the needed feeling with the Lord. Attend to the walking and the Lord will attend to the lighting. Attend to the believing and the Lord will attend to giving the “oil of joy and gladness.”Further, you receive Him as your Sanctifier. You will have to retain Him as such, and so walk. You also received Him at the point of entire consecration, and it will be therefore necessary to walk in the way of a sustained consecration. The least break in this will have serious results. You will also remember that you received Jesus when you were at the end of everything else. You took Him at the point of your utmost extremity. Jesus only stays on these conditions.
- There are a good many “ifs” in the case. Among the first of these is, “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 cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).Refusing to walk in received and acknowledged light brings condemnation. Knowing the way of holiness and refusing to walk in it unjustifies. The man who has had the experience of holiness, and lost it, has light on the subject. If he does not go on into the grace again, he thereby loses his justification. The blood does not cleanse if we do not walk in the light. To retain sanctification or cleansing, you must walk in the light. There is a relation between the light and the blood which is inseparable. Walking expresses that relation. As we keep this up, the blood is applied by the Holy Spirit.
- This brings us to the consideration of the relation of the truth to the matter of our sanctification. To retain the experience of sanctification, the Bible cannot be neglected. It is light indeed. It reveals God’s will. It expresses and unfolds His mind. It is the daily chart of the child of God. It directs the walk. It is the spoken word of Jesus. Use your Bible continually.
- To retain a holy experience, there must be continual prayer. One of the special laws of the kingdom is to ask in order to receive. To fail in asking is to fail in receiving. A prayerless life is an unholy life.
- Testify to the grace received. Gratitude for mercies given us is a natural dictate of a sanctified soul. Failure to acknowledge is proof of unworthiness. To be ashamed of Jesus, His words, or His works, is to prove ourselves subject to the fear of men. It is, in fact, to give out the impression before the world that we think more of the opinion of the world than we do of Jesus. We cannot be blessed in such a course. Besides we are His special witnesses to the special grace of holiness. As we could not testify to holiness till after we had the experience, so others not enjoying the grace cannot, and do not. If, therefore, we who have the grace will not be true and tell the world of it, we deprive God of his only witnesses. If we only testify as others not having the experience do, we fail also. To try to hide the truth, or to so mix up the evidence that the people will not know that we are holiness people, is to prove that we are either backsliding or on the road there. God knows. If He sees us trying to avoid the cross of definite testimony by keeping back a part of the truth, He cannot bless us. Definite testimony is a necessity. Failure cuts off further supplies. It will be the gateway to a lost blessing. Refusal to give evidence is contempt of the court that called you to the witness stand. There are no blessings along that route.
- Work your experience for all that it is worth. While a great many fail because they do not say anything about it, thousands fail because they do nothing with it. God cannot honor one in whom He has invested the fortune of holiness, who hides his talent. If satan cannot hinder one from obtaining the blessing of holiness—and he cannot if we are so minded—the next move he makes is to keep us from having any holy use of ourselves. He succeeds with thousands. Not a tenth of all whom God endows with the blessing of a pure heart work up to anything like their best. They do not farm one acre in forty of their claim. The thing to do, therefore, is to let your light shine. Put out your talent to interest. Tell what you have received, so that someone else will get it. Explain it, so that some other soul will grow hungry and go to the fountain. Work at the spread of holiness, so that people will see that you mean business. Put your redeemed soul to its best speed for God, and see how it will grow and luxuriate. Turn over your holiness fortune as often as possible. Be sure that the rust of inactivity is not crippling all your active powers. Do something with your experience, or it will rust away.Brother! Sister! Dare something for God. Get going at something. Knock some of the society bars down around you and get into new pasturage. Lay out a half acre of the enemy, and see how the whole army will begin to tumble into confusion and rout. Prick the bubble of circumstance with the sharp sword of the Spirit God has given you, and see it collapse from your pathway. Put the key of prayer into the lock of your prison, and see the gate swing open to free fields and fresh air. Dare to do something for God and holiness. If you cannot scale a mountain, climb a schoolhouse hill and open a meeting. If you cannot go ’round the world, go around to the holiness prayer meetings, or go to the holiness camp meetings. Go! Get a move on! Learn the art of “pushing things.”If you can’t give half a million dollars, give a dollar, or even a dime. If you cannot make a book, or a tract, you can, if you will, buy a hundred leaflets for ten cents and give them away. Rewards come according to effort, more than accomplished results. Push out. Stir up. Explore new territory. Climb out of the ruts. Break away from the usual society regulation of tame conformity to whatever your neighbor does or thinks. Free yourself from entanglements, both around you and within you. Movement, movement, movement, brother! Get into action! Do the next thing. Don’t wait till the camp meeting. Fill up today’s record. Time is precious now. Opportunities are passing now that never will return. Up, for eternity will soon be here. Arise! Eternal day breaks in the providential horizon of your moral history.
- Abstain from all appearance of evil. Avoid all doubtful things. Keep a sharp lookout for the “no harm things” so many tell you about. Set your face as a flint against them. Keep well out of the sphere of temptation. Don’t go that way. Put on the list of your everyday maxims: Whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23).
- Don’t talk too much. You can talk all your religion away. Especially avoid telling all the anti-holiness news you hear. Why should you tell all you hear? If perchance some soul, once bright in the experience, should fall, why should you want to run and tell it? Let the devil circulate his own papers. Remember also the divine injunction: “Speak evil of no man” (Titus 3:2).
- Avoid debate. If there is a difference, debate is not the best way out of it. Let the word of God and definite testimony do the work. Keep to the line of the very words of the Lord and the essential, special things He has done for you, and be willing to leave the matter there, with an added word of prayer if possible.
- Remember that you have powerful spiritual enemies. Acquaintance with their wiles seems needful to our best self-preservation. Eye-gate and ear-gate are liable to an attack at almost any time. 6 Eve fell at these two gates. David fell at the eye-gate. Peter failed through inward cowardice. Demas 7 loved this present evil world, and so forsook the good old way. Look well to the heart, for out of it are the issues of life. 8 Look well to the native passions. Then, there is that tongue of yours, and those lips. Well did Jesus say, “What I say unto you, I say unto all, watch” (Mark 13:37). On all these lines the devil has his forces afield and is ready to take the first advantage, and all the advantages he can get. Whether rightfully or not, the devil is the prince of this world, and he means that you shall be kept in mind of it, even if he cannot succeed in capturing you. You are in the enemy’s country, son, remember.
- Abide in love. Walk in its atmosphere wherever you go. Love wins where all else fails. “Love never fails,” the apostle says (1 Corinthians 13:8). Unkind feelings back of a show of kind words will not avail. There must be love. There is no substitute. Love is of God. To have love is to be most like Him. It is the more excellent way. 9 Every other grace, no matter how great it may be, is less than love. Holiness is love made perfect. Without it sooner or later you will count as nothing. Beware of that cold-blooded way of cutting people all to pieces by the light of lost holiness, pounding them to death under guise of some such text as “declare unto Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin” 10 and calling it holiness, long after all the sweetness of love has taken its flight. Love is a real fault-seer, but is never a fault hunter. It does not want to find faults. It never gloats over faults and failing, or heralds them to the world, but rather seeks to hide them from the public gaze. 11
- Go on, irrespective of what “they say.” Child of God, move on! A little while and the troubling of the wicked shall cease. 12 A day dawns when the ear shall no more hear the gibe of ribaldry. 13 Move on! A day comes when the cold shoulder shall no more be turned on you. Move on! Think of the time coming when no one on all the golden streets or the wide, wide sea of glass shall hang their heads when you give your holiness testimony. Wait a little, and Ahab shall sulk no more. Jezebel’s hand that plotted against the guiltless shall dash, broken forever, on the pavement. 14 Wait. The prophets of Baal have a limit. They will gather no more to contest with the despised prophet. 15
Fret not thyself because of evildoers,
neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
and wither like the green herb.
— Psalm 37:1-2 —
O, professor 16 of holiness, stand in thy lot. Yield not. Bear the scorn. Endure the pain. Let the enemy mock. Some day it will all be forgotten as a dream, as we sweep out from the verging shore of time, and eternity dawns lustrous with the coming day where there will be no more curse, for sighing and sorrow have fled away, and the Master, as the mother to a weary child, will say, as He welcomes you to your forever home: “O thou afflicted and tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colors, and lay thy foundation with sapphires. And I will make thy window agates and thy gates of carbuncles and all thy borders pleasant stones” (Isaiah 54:11,12).
- Identify and associate yourself with holiness people. There is a failure on this line continually. People go home from a live camp meeting or conference, or some other meeting, where all the influences are in their favor, and find there is a cross in being among those who have neither seen what they have seen, nor heard what they have heard, and there being but a few souls to sympathize with them, the tendency is to relax not only the testimony, but the assembling of themselves together. Such a course is always attended with loss. The old law holds good, even in holiness: “Show me the company a man keeps and I will tell you what he is.” Go among holy people. Go to the holiness prayer meeting. Go to the holiness camp meeting.
- Keep yourself supplied with good holiness literature. Read books on the subject. Keep freshened with the best thoughts and experience of others. Read the holiness periodicals. By no means neglect the publication that represents the work in the region where you live. Identify yourself with the people and the agencies around you that are doing the work, though they may be more humble in appearance than those a thousand miles away.
- Don’t shirk the responsibility of being, as you profess, a “holiness” man or woman in the place where you live. Stand to the truth of it. Dare to be loyal to your convictions. Show your colors, or rather nail them to the mast and let them fly, no matter who comes to see you or who drives by.
- Don’t yield to discouragements. They will come.
- Don’t faint in the day of adversity. Trials are part of the business. Sometimes it seems that the way God has to finish us off with the best polish is to keep us much of the time on the grindstone. It has been coming to me of late that God crowds on us all the trials that we are willing to stand. When we cry, “Hold!” it is equivalent to taking a cheaper grade of polish.
- Don’t mistake temptation for sin. If you are not clear on this point, the devil will keep you in hot water most of the time.
- Be careful to obey the inward voice of God. This voice of the Holy Spirit may be very gentle, yet it is of the highest importance that you hearken quickly and follow willingly.
- Insist on conscious, clear knowledge of the forgiveness of all past sins. If this be dim and indefinite, so that the soul is not clearly certified of the fact, it is impossible for a clearcut, positive, progressive or effective life to follow. Awakening should be deep and soul-moving, conviction sharp and radical; and penitence, bitter and revolutionary. Then may we expect powerful and abiding conversions, which is a crying need of the times. If we would be more specific on these things in our revival efforts, we might make faster and surer speed. In our eagerness to see souls converted, we may defeat our own hopes, and leave them where in a short time their “last state will be worse than the first.” 17
- Insist on a second work of heart cleansing, or holiness of heart. The truly converted man has holiness of life. That is, he has quit sinning. Externally, he does not break God’s law. The sanctified man has holiness of heart. Externally, he is not a sinner; internally, he is clean and pure. His depraved nature has been cleansed. He is holy in his disposition. This point must be definitely insisted on. It will now be seen how essential it is that one be certainly and consciously converted. Otherwise no progress will be made onward to that place where “God speaks a second time: ‘Be clean.’ ”
- Insist on the positive need of habitual testimony both to justification and sanctification. We hear much said about testifying to our sanctification, but it should be remembered that the only way we shall get the world to understand what we mean is by distinctly stating both in the order in which God gave them to us. It is for our own sakes also, as we are only made the recipients of new gifts by the acknowledgment of what we have. If our experience is on the march, we will have more things to tell of than we have chance to give in detail. Refusal to make the acknowledgment clogs the wheels. The wheels of testimony and wings of progress move together. When one goes, the other goes.
- Look to Jesus, not to the waves.
- Keep on, “anyhow.”
- “Now the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21).
Standing on the promises I now can see
Perfect, present cleansing in the blood for me;
Standing in the liberty where Christ makes free,
Standing on the promises of God.Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord,
Bound to Him eternally by love’s strong cord,
Overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword,
Standing on the promises of God.Standing on the promises I cannot fail,
Listening ev’ry moment to the Spirit’s call,
Resting in my Saviour, as my all in all,
Standing on the promises of God.
[From the hymn
Standing on the Promises of Christ My King
by R. Kelso Carter]
Without holiness, the following conditions are all too true:
- We cannot enter heaven. Hebrews 12:14.
- We cannot have perfect love. James 4:17.
- We cannot “walk in all His ways.”
- We cannot “love and serve the Lord with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” Deuteronomy 10:12.
- We cannot “keep His commandments and His statutes,” for He says, “Be ye holy.” Deuteronomy 10:13; 1 Peter 1:16.
- We cannot “abide in the Vine,” for “whosoever abides in Him sins not.” 1 John 3:6.
- We cannot see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14; Matthew 5:8.
- Without holiness “we sin every day in thought, word and deed.”—Presbyterian Catechism.
- Without holiness we retain the “prone to wander” in the soul, and so plead for that line retained in the hymn. 18
- Without holiness, the heart, the seat of the carnal mind, is hindered in its journey, and from internal compulsion sings as a true experience:
My soul can neither fly nor go.
Look how I grovel here below, etc. 19
- Without holiness, the heart has something of an appetite for fashion, fairs, festivals and such like, and does not seem to see the inconsistency of the ways of the world in the church or in itself.
- Without holiness there is usually a spirit of opposition to those who profess holiness, or at least a spirit of criticism of them and their profession, their work and ways, and a refusal to read their literature.
- Without holiness there is often a manifest neglect of the Bible, a lack·of love for it, and no habit of soul to use it as a lamp of one’s life.
I struggled and wrestled to win it,
The blessing that setteth me free;
But when I had ceas’d from my struggles,
His peace Jesus gave unto me.
He laid His hand on me and heal’d me,
And bade me be every whit whole;
I touch’d but the hem of His garment,
And glory came thrilling my soul.
The cross now covers my sins;
` The past is under the blood;
I’m trusting in Jesus for all;
My will is the will of my God.
[From the Wilbur F. Crafts hymn entitled
I Stand All Bewildered with Wonder]
(Continued in Part 3 of 3)
|Return to Top|
Endnotes for The Holy Way
1 2 Timothy 2:3
2 Philippians 1:29. See also Romans 8:17.
3 2 Corinthians 4:17
4 Hebrews 6:19
5 Most probably, Reid is quoting an editorial entitled “Seeking Holiness,” by Benjamin T. Roberts (founder of the Free Methodist Church) in the periodical The Earnest Christian. However, for these two paragraphs, Roberts himself is quoting a Methodist minister named C. Larew, so it is possible that Reid, too, had the original publication (whatever it was) before him as he wrote these words.
6 Eye-gate and Ear-gate are spiritual concepts taken from John Bunyan’s second-most-famous work, The Holy War. In this wonderful allegory, eclipsed only by Bunyan’s more famous The Pilgrim’s Progress, the soul of a man is likened to a town (called Mansoul) which is besieged and won by the Lord Jesus. Eye-gate and Ear-gate are portals through which both truth and temptation can pass into Mansoul.
7 2 Timothy 4:10
8 Proverbs 4:23
9 1 Corinthians 12:31
10 Micah 3:8
11 Proverbs 10:22
12 This seems to be an allusion to Proverbs 22:10.
13 Ribald means indecent or vulgar in speech. So ribaldry is irreverent, abusive, or coarse mocking.
14 The Ahab/Jezebel allusion refers specifically to the story in 1 Kings 21. The dashing on the pavement recalls Jezebel’s demise in 2 Kings 9:30-37.
15 Reid is thinking of the story in 1 Kings 18.
16 Professor is used in the older sense of someone who professes something, and should not be mistaken for college professors (though we wish more of them were professors of holiness, too!).
17 Matthew 12:45; Luke 11:26
18 The hymn to which Reid refers is Robert Robinson’s Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing. The quote, “prone to wander,” which comes from the third verse, was a standard point of contention for holiness people.
19 I can find neither the author or the name of the poem from which Reid quotes, but the words seem to come from a stanza which says,
My soul can neither fly nor go,
To reach eternal joys.
See how I grovel here below,
Fond of these earthly toys.
|Part 1 of 3||Beginning||Part 3 of 3|
|Return to Top|